Posted by Colin D Campbell - Nottingham, England on April 19, 2002
In Reply to: Book about the "n-word" posted by Marian on March 13, 2002
I am 76 years of age but like to consider myself as a free thinker. Take the word "nigger". It is my belief that the word originated as a title for the people of the Niger Valley. If this is the case, the word has a good etymological base.
There are various ways of insulting and demeaning people, and the use of a particular word is just one of the ways. Take the word "Wog" for example. When I was in the British army in India in the mid 1940s, we used to refer to all of the local peoples as "Wogs". There was no insult intended. It was a short word that had a clear meaning. In my diaries that I have retained from that date I have recorded that we (our platoon) played the Wogs at football (in Britain, that is soccer). I well remember that the char-wallahs beat us despite the fact that we played in army boots and the local lads kicked off their chaplis (a sort of sandal) and booted the ball with the side of their bare feet.
Consider how the Australians use the word "bastard". It can be a term of endearment.
Consider a little human psychology. If a person has an inferiority complex, they can be hurt by any word that they feel might be used as an insult.
If I am called a "pinky" it doesn't offend me. A Frenchman is not insulted when an Englishman calls him "a froggy". He knows why we use the word and he has his own equivalent.
It is my belief that most PC wimps are just looking for an excuse to try and elevate their inadequate egos.
I'd like to hear from anyone who has a comment. I have a lot more to say on the subject.
I reckon Colin Powell has done the black community a world of good.
Colin Campbell (In Britain we pronounce my forename as "Collin".