"the Negro"

Geoffrey Nunberg nunberg at ISCHOOL.BERKELEY.EDU
Sun Apr 27 05:52:01 UTC 2014

What was revealing, I think, was the determiner, not the noun that followed it --the old-fashioned social-scientistic "the negro," like "the homosexual," which turned a marginalized group into a representative figure in a museum diorama.


> From: Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject: Re: Latest on "negro"
> Date: April 26, 2014 6:23:17 AM PDT
> To clarify: Costello and everyone else who commented scored Bundy as a
> racist for his idiot musings about slavery. But they also condemned his use
> of what one black commentator called "the 'Negro' word."
> Nobody explained why "the 'Negro' word" was bad, however. It just is.
> You're just supposed to know. You're not supposed to say it.
> How does the American Negro College Fund stay in business??  They even run
> ads on TV!!
> (I think the word is still OK for anthropologists, because they write books
> nobody else reads.)
> JL

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