Latest on "negro"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Apr 25 22:00:16 UTC 2014

You've studied logic, John. Why would you think it applies here?

There's been an increasing tendency for the past thirty-plus years to
interpret "Negro" as a  mealy-mouthed or dog-whistle equivalent of
"nigger," which is allegedly what white people who say "Negro" *really*
mean, and what black people who say it are buying into.

I won't get into why, because it makes little sense.

Also, to be precise, I think Costello - an unusually articulate,
professional user of current English - may have said "mind-boggling," not

In either case, notable emphasis on "mind."


On Fri, Apr 25, 2014 at 5:40 PM, Baker, John <JBAKER at> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Baker, John" <JBAKER at STRADLEY.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Latest on "negro"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Costello's remark seems a bit bizarre to me.  Bundy is not a racist
> because he used an old-fashioned (but not inherently invidious) term to
> refer to people of sub-Saharan African descent.  He is a racist because he
> thinks they should be picking cotton rather than, as he puts it, on
> "government subsidy" (although he demands a much larger government subsidy
> for himself).
> John Baker
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
> Of Jonathan Lighter
> Sent: Friday, April 25, 2014 10:05 AM
> Subject: Latest on "negro"
> Yahoo! News doesn't capitalize the word in its headline:
> "Jon Stewart takes a victory lap around Cliven Bundy's 'negro studies'
> debacle<
> >
> "
> On CNN, child-free Carol Costello notes that Bundy's "use of the word
> 'Negro'"  was by itself "mind-blowing" and "reprehensible."
> (Bundy said today he thought that people of all colors should be able to
> sit anywhere on the bus they wanted.)
> JL
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list