Posted by Lewis on November 25, 2004
In Reply to: The fridge calling the stove white posted by Lotg on November 23, 2004
: : : ESC brings up a good point:
: : : I treated you white" can be considered a racial slur. I treated you right. I treated you with respect.--ESC
: : :
: : : as with "Mighty white of you." What's a term for a slur like this, so ingrained that its user doesn't realize it's a form of bigotry--DH
: : I find that 'white man' expression inherently offensive, as a fellow paleskin.
: : do other people think calling 'a spade a spade' is saying that somebody would call a black person 'a spade' to their face, not just behind their back?
: : I've had mixed thoughts on that expression - a spade is clearly a digging implement, but it is also a suit of cards - incidentally from 'spade' - which I understand was an Italian word for 'sword' - earlier packs of cards not having fixed suits and swords being one - along with cups, coins and polo mallets (I jest not!)
: : 'black as the ace of spades' was a common expression (still well in use in the 1970s) describing somebody dark-skinned.
: : any thoughts?
: : L
: : : I don't know about calling a spade a spade, but John Cleese once famously called a watering can "a large, cylindrical tin-plated vessel with a perforated pouring piece, much used by the lower classes for the purpose of artificially moistening the surface soil".
: : My personal opinion about "call a spade a spade" and "the pot calling the kettle black" is that they're usually not consciously used racially. However, if there are people who know these expressions were originally racial slurs, and they're offended, then they ought to be set aside. I've invented my own phrase as a replacement for the pot-calling-the-kettle one, which is "the fridge calling the stove white". You know, fridges, stoves, washing machines, etc. are known as "white goods" in the business, already.
: : --Brian.
: : P.S. I restored the original posts that JMM deleted, but now the colons are messed up. Hope that doesn't freak anyone out.
: Have we all gone mad? Calling a spade a spade, was originally based on cards wasn't it? And the pot calling the kettle black is simply because they all used to be black. What on earth is racist about either of those? And things like mighty white of you eminate from things like 'tweety bird' cartoons or something don't they? I always assumed those were more a slur on people with speech impediments that racial slurs - if they're a slur at all. Actually I think that frankly they're just jokes and pretty damned harmless too.
: I think if we're going to get all thingy about such terms, we might as well all go out and shoot ourselves, because it's just TOO ridiculous! And maybe we shouldn't be spending so much time dwelling on ourselves and looking for reasons to feel offended.
pot calling the kettle black - no racism in that one - a 'kettle' in olden times was another word for boiling pan and got just as blackened with soot as a pot/saucepan. it just meant that anything over the fire was equally sooty - I don't think 'back'in that context was other than literal.