Friday, July 11, 2008

Some Niggardly Comments

Being offended at coarse language is one thing, but when you call for someone's resignation, public apology, and overt humiliation when you are blatantly disregarding the conventional meaning of words is ignorant and rude. So, at the grave risk of causing offense and being asked to resign from my personal blog, I'm going to offer comments to niggle you with.

I've mentioned BEFORE that it's intellectually dangerous to put too much weight on the etymological derivations of a word. But to ignore such study altogether leads to nightmares in the practical world of social relationships. This ignorance is plunging us into a dark age of linguistics, while blind acceptance of Ebonics is promoted as enlightened.

Ok. I can almost see a reason to get upset about NIGGARDLY. Niggardly does sound like niggerly, especially when spoken with an inner-city accent. But BLACK HOLE? That's just plain stupid. There is just too much gravity involved to close our eyes to such a blunder. Do you realize what the world would be like if there were any validity in complaining that 'black hole' were a racial epithet?
If people were really that concerned, why make a big deal out of nigritude? Ok, so Don Imus was rightly reprimanded for his remarks. But just imagine if he called Rutgers girls 'nappy headed black holes'. Mr. Inner-city accent would certainly freak about that.

Would I be in the wrong for ordering blackened chicken at a restaurant? Would it be a blunder if my company was in the black this quarter? I could go on and on.

This is all reminiscent of something that happened in our office a few months back. One of my co-workers, who daily heralded the delivery of UPS packages by exclaiming 'Hey! The brown Santa came!', was accosted by the UPS delivery guy. It turns out that being called the brown Santa was offensive to his Mexican self. Never did the guy think that my co-worker was celebrating him, but only insulting.

This whole denuding of language bullshit is quickly becoming a black mark in our nation's histology.

Hat tip to FR. BARRY for the links and aggravating subject matter.

1 comment:

Ignoramus said...

There is a contradiction somewhere in the whole issue that I don't understand. On the one hand, as you point out, people want to eradicate racially explicit nuances from language. On the other hand, they want to celebrate diversity. Now wouldn't a racially flattened language militate against a celebration of real-world racial diversity?

I don't quite get it. But I bet I know who is behind it all....