There are a lot of slurs that are so ingrained into English-speaking culture that people who say them don’t always realize that they are slurs.
- People say them without meaning them as slurs, but they still hurt people
- Because people also say them…
Spade is a slur for black person. Not as common today as it used to be.
The saying also dates back to ancient Greece, while the slur was apparently first recorded in 1928 and has nothing to do with that. But, yeah, slurs. :(
I don’t know what to do with that. Am reblogging in hopes that some of y’all do.
There’s a few other “fake bigotry" situations that immediately come to mind.
- There’s a popular myth that “rule of thumb” is a misogynistic reference to domestic violence. The saying really does just refer to measuring objects with one’s body parts and not actual measuring tools - but the myth dates to the late 18th century and is very widespread.
- A few years ago there was a fuss about some politician describing some of his opponents as “niggardly,“ which is an extremely obscure word that means greedy and is no etymological relation to the words it sounds like.
- Some organizations, like hospitals, that color-code people and have staff prone to abbreviation may have discussions about human beings that refer to “reds” or “yellows" or “blacks" in the color-code way and not the racial way.
- “Dike” is a synonym for levee that has fallen out of use largely due to sounding just like (and sometimes being spelled just like) the epithet for
The point of communication is getting ideas across to people without hurting them. These aren’t intrinsically hurtful in the sense of being grounded in gross things, but they can distract from one’s point by making it look like you’re doing that. You can make reference to “calling a spade a spade" without intending it as a racial thing, especially if you have no knowledge of the racial thing, and the person who understands it as upsetting may be linguistically incorrect.
You have still upset them. That is best avoided. In the case of older institutions, such as the UNCF, acronyms are our friends.
Things I need to think about.