Posted by Brian from Shawnee on November 22, 2004
In Reply to: Call a spade a spade posted by JMM on November 22, 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.
: 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.
P.S. I restored the original posts that JMM deleted, but now the colons are messed up. Hope that doesn't freak anyone out.