[Ads-l] Racist origins of "Grandfathering"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat Dec 19 07:43:27 UTC 2020

The article reads:

> Grandfathering comes from the "grandfather clauses" used following the
Civil War to keep Blacks from voting.

I've come across this definition of _grandfather clause_ only recently,
perhaps within the past year. However, I first encountered the term ca.
1951, when I was in the second year of high school. It occurred in the
American history textbook in a brief paragraph on the history of the
development of Jim Crow social organizations, especially labor unions,
in the United States. In order to gain admission to membership in a country
club, a college fraternity, a labor union, etc., you had to be a descendant
of a former member in good standing, a relative of a current member, or you
had to have the personal sponsorship of a current member and, even then,
you could be black-balled, permitting such organizations to restrict
membership to white, male Christians without having to write any such
restriction into the by-laws.
The paragraph didn't say anything about using grandfathering to keep
Negroes from voting. Ways of doing that are countless and have existed
since the Creation. No social work-around is necessary. Most recently,
having the Supreme Court cut the heart out of the Voting Rights Act has
been sufficient.
IMO, claiming that the use of_grandfathering_ must be banned because it has
racist overtones is just plain silly. If "racist overtones" is acceptable
as a valid reason for 1984-ing American English, _black, white, brown,
half-black, half-white, red, salt & pepper, yellow, Afro-American,
African-American, colored, line, bar, Africa, jazz, blues, inner-city,
urban, football, basketball, player, back, baller, banjo, Latin, mambo,
hambone_, etc., etc., etc., and more would have to be banned, because they
*all* have some reference to racism, to a greater or a lesser negative

On Fri, 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

- Wilson
All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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

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