Posted by TheFallen on May 17, 2002
In Reply to: It's Official - I Am A Racist posted by Barney on May 17, 2002
: : Posters to this forum in the UK will be aware of this story, since it's made national news media, but clearly the politically correct lobby has gone stark staring mad.
: : Apparently, the term "nitty gritty" has been deemed by official and governmental bodies to be both offensive and racist, since they have decided that it originates from sailors' slang to describe the debris in the bottom of a slavers' ship. It's therefore being struck from official language. The archaic term "good egg" has also been declared racist, just in case it's derived from Cockney rhyming slang - which I bet it's not. It's also true that in certain more "right on" councils, employees are not allowed to take their coffee black or white - just with or without milk.
: : I remember chuckling (but with some sadness) at the story someone posted here about some US official having to resign because he'd described a budget as "niggardly", and was instantly accused of racism. I thought it could never happen here in the UK with our less litigious culture. Nevertheless, it is - it's almost as if there's some earnest bevy of people somewhere just desperately trying to become offended by any and every term, and if they can dredge up even the most unlikely of references, out come the pruning shears and another expression or two is lopped off the English language tree.
: : English is a constantly evolving and rich language, and I'm sure most right-thinking people are more than capable of deciding for themselves what is or isn't racist, without having some Big Brother organisation wringing its bleeding heart hands and censoring at every turn, simply for fear of being seen as politically incorrect.
: : Frankly, I despair.
: Getting down to the nitty gritty I can see that you are not only in despair but you're also in the business of making mountains out of molehills.
: Any investigation of the facts would reveal that the words 'nitty gritty' were used by a Government Minister at the recent Police Conference where it was subsequently revealed that in some police forces use of the expression was avoided because of reported racial overtones. It's a well known fact that the Police, as an organization, are not expert linguists and have been known to make mistakes. The expression is not on any official banned list: I use it on a daily basis and have not noted any increase in racial tension as a result.
: Good luck with you're campaign
You're? Anyway, the thing is, there is no official banned list. However, given St. Blair of Islington's frenzied desire never to give offence (at least overtly) to anyone who holds a vote - no matter the costs - I think it's a fair bet that this and any other expressions deemed bizarrely unfit won't be used any more by any form of officialdom. I can see this percolating down into the state-run education system too. It's a shame. I too am more than happy to carry on using "nitty gritty", simply because claiming it is an expression with insulting racial undertones is a farce. Even in the unlikely event that it did once, it's evolved to have a completely innocent and well-understood meaning. Mind you, I admire your position in using it on a "daily basis" - that's nothing short of dedicated.