Posted by TheFallen on March 23, 2002
In Reply to: The n-word by any other name posted by Word Camel on March 23, 2002
: The receptionist at my doctor's office today was asking me if it was true that in Britian I-G-A was a colour. It completely confused me until she whispered the n-word. "You know," "I-G-A"
: I told her about TheFallen's mother and "nigger brown" but told her I didn't think it was common these days.
: Anyway, "I-G-A" seems to be a new version.
: Which only goes to show, once again that eliminating inequality and prejudice is political task, not a linguistic one.
I'd fully agree that language is a symptom far more than a cause of prejudice, though it's arguable that language helps perpetuate an alreasdy extant prejudice. As for my mother, (who is the least intentionally racist person you could hope to meet), following serious yet well-meaning beatings with rubber hoses and suchlike, nowadays she almost never uses the term, and only then when she forgets herself. I do feel for her previous confusion a little, though - her usage of the phrase was, as I have said before, in all innocence, and actually intended to be far more close to the original Latin roots of the word - she simply meant a blackish brown.
I have never heard the term "nigger brown" used by anyone under the age of 60 in the UK, and am not aware of any newer variants either.
Out of sheer idle speculation, to apply the same principles, surely the obsessively politically correct among us would rather die before they used such terms as "Scandinavian blonde" or "Celtic red".