phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

The pot...

Posted by ESC on January 22, 2000

That "Black and White" thread got so curved that it hurt my neck to read it. So I am taking the liberty of starting another one. I, too, have felt the wrath of Amos. He accused me of being a drinker I believe. But you have to admit the man does turn a nice phrase. "I should like to believe that the rustle I think I hear in the echoing silence is the sound of dried leaves on the dead vine of prejudice but I have fears that it's merely Winter waiting for a Spring of luxuriant growth."Is that original?

But any how I agree with Bob that we are getting way off the point of discussion. Is the phrase "pot calling the kettle black" a racist phrase? When the question was first posted, I said, "No. It's not a racist phrase. Then I did some research that lead me to believe that, well, maybe it is. I will repeat, in part, what I posted: ".Usually the source of the phrase is given as Cervantes' 'Don Quixote' and simply as 'The pot calls the kettle black,' but another version of Don Quixote comes out as: 'Said the pot to the kettle, get away black-face!'."

I think an important question is, when did the black/white animosity begin? I know we all started in the Garden of Eden, but for a while thereafter we were on separate continents. When did we get together again and start hurling insults? Does this old saying pre-date racial slurs against blacks?

As an aside, I want to note that many times people unknowingly use old phrases that are slurs. (See the entry about Dutch. Those guys have it rough.) For example, a few weeks ago I overheard one person thanking a second for a favor. She said, "That was mighty white of you." Now that's a phrase that should be purged.

And another thing. Amos Jackson. Jim Brown. Richard Roundtree. ??