“The incessant attempt to turn race-neutral phrases into racial testing grounds is part of a larger political war in which race agitators seek to turn everything into a discussion of race all the time in every sphere of life…Equating the race-neutral phrase “brown bag” used in the context of bringing lunch to work with some esoteric past-practice of inter-black skin tone testing is so ludicrous that it may have revealed a chink in the armor of the language police, which can be exploited by the vast majority of Americans of all races and colors who just want to get on with the conversation.”
—–Prof. William Jacobson, deriding yet another outbreak of mind-numbingly ridiculous political correctness word-censorship, an edict against using the term “brown bag” in Seattle, and the unwelcome return of one of the all-time silliest imaginary offenses, a CNBC reporter being criticized for using the phrase “chink in the armor.”
My family thanks you, Prof. Jacobson. This could have been me. And might yet…
I (and my loving family, which really, really likes me) need to thank Professor Jacobson, the author of the blog Legal Insurrection, for writing his post about this topic—one I truly hate—-before I learned myself about the “brown bag” memo and especially the unwelcome sequel to the Jeremy Lin “chink in the armor” controversy. For one thing, after a long and infuriating day of traffic jams and car trouble, had I read the reports of these embarrassments to the human species in straight news accounts, some aneurism deep in my brain might well have popped, killing me on the spot. For another, he invested such obvious contempt and exasperation in his excellent post that I don’t have to risk death by working myself into a head-exploding rant-producing fury to do this continuing outrage justice. Jacobson pretty much knocks this hanging curveball right out of the park.
Among other things, he links to his discussions of previous examples of perfectly good, innocent and useful words, idioms and phrases that have been attacked by political correctness fanatics (which, unfortunately, includes a disturbingly large percentage of U.S. Democrats), including such “offensive” terms as black list, “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” rejigger, Providence Plantations, Black Friday, gobbledygook, illegal immigrant, undocumented immigrant, and master bedroom. Inexplicably, the professor left out the grandaddy of them all and my personal favorite, “niggardly,” the perfectly good word meaning “stingy” the use of which once got a supervisor in the D.C. government fired, and which spawned Ethics Alarms’ indispensable Niggardly Principles, 1 and 2. He also chose to omit the long list of various words and phrases MSNBC’s Chris Matthews has declared as racist, including urban, “monkeying around,” welfare, food stamps, and even Chicago, but these are cynical “gotcha’s,” devised to show that every opponent of President Obama is secretly motivated by racial hate. Continue reading →