[Ads-l] Racist origins of "Grandfathering"

Dennis During dcduring at GMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 18 19:49:19 UTC 2020

What does one accept as evidence that a given term (eg "grandfather" verb
and noun, in the sense under discussion) is actually offensive to actual
normal members of the group involved.  One wouldn't normally simply accept
anecdotal evidence or interest-group leadership statements in support of
definitions or assertions published in a respectable work of lexicography.
Is the current standard simply that if some assert the offensiveness of a
term and a sufficient number of official authorities and experts accept the
assertion, then lexicographers should label the term 'offensive'?  How many
such instances should it take?  This is an oft-recurring issue at English
Wiktionary. We require attestation for definitions, but have no evidentiary
standards for other content (other than accepting the authority of OED and
DARE and the weight of opinion represented by entries in other references).

I should say that the use of the term 'grandfather' (or 'grandparent')
makes me feel bad because I am old enough to be a
(great-great-)grandfather, but have no children and, hence, no
grandchildren.  When ageists try to insult me by calling me 'grandad' they
are also speaking from a position of parental fecundity privilege. I'll
have to speak to AARP about this. (Is this paragraph microaggression?)

On Fri, Dec 18, 2020 at 2:04 PM Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>

> "Lisa Luten, a district spokeswoman, said that Wake will drop the use of
> the word "grandfathering" because it's not inclusive.
> "We aim to use inclusive language in our communications," Luten said in an
> email to the News & Observer. "This word is not inclusive. It's really that
> simple.”
> It’s also not inclusive of grandmothers.  I’ve heard (and used)
> “grandparent(ed) (in)” as the relevant verb (participle), but that clearly
> doesn’t solve the consideration addressed here.  Is there a proposed
> substitute?
> --LH, who’s only been able to literally grandfather for 2.5 years, much of
> them curtailed by the pandemic
> > On Dec 18, 2020, at 12:09 PM, Bill Mullins <amcombill at HOTMAIL.COM>
> wrote:
> >
> >
> https://greensboro.com/news/education/wake-schools-will-stop-using-the-term-grandfathering-because-it-has-racist-origins/article_478ba8fc-3664-11eb-9a49-3706dfbe2e2b.html
> >
> > News to me.
> >
> > OED has 1953 for the relevant sense.
> >
> > 4. transitive. North American. To exempt from new legislation or
> regulations, usually because of some prior condition of previously existing
> privilege. Frequently with in (also with into, out). Also in extended use.
> >
> > 1953   Kentucky Revised Statutes 2190/2   All certificates or permits
> grandfathered shall be subject to the same limitations and restrictions.
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

Dennis C. During

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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