We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

With all terms that can be insulting, context is everything. For example, I would prefer people to not to write “I disliked the fact he used the N-word to insult him.” … I think it is far better to write “I disliked the fact he called him a nigger.”

Acting as if the word “nigger” is almost like speaking the True Name of Christ to unmake the world is not a good idea.

Perry de Havilland

6 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Jacob

    Acting as if the word “nigger” is almost like speaking the True Name of Christ to unmake the world is not a good idea.

    Of course.
    Now, go to the US and utter the word in public. You get lynched. Crazy nation the US.
    Why, they even went as far as purging the word from Mark Twain’s books. They did.

  • Ferox

    The hostility over “nigger” is entirely racist in its motivation. Consider the fact that all the offended and concerned crowd who will lynch a person for saying this don’t get offended or concerned at all when it is said millions of times a day, even on television and on the internet.

    It’s all about not liking the skin color of the person saying it. A mathematical proof – factor out the word itself, since its use doesn’t correlate with the outrage that follows – and you are left with the only commonality – the race of the speaker. QED.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Stimulated by Perry’s comment, i have started re-reading A Right to Die, written in 1964 (by Rex Stout). The word ‘nigger’ is used in the edition i am reading, printed in 1984.

    One interesting quote, from a young Black character:

    Most of them up here [NY City] wouldn’t say that word, nigger, but they’ve got that word in them. Everybody. It’s in them buried somewhere, but it’s not dead.

    It seems to me that such a statement might have had truth back then, but basically would be ruling-class propaganda today.
    But i could be wrong.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Still, the word ‘negro’ does appear in Latin dictionaries, so let’s just cancel that Latin lingo, entirely!!

  • The Jannie

    Revisionist sore point with me: like thousands of others at that time and later, Guy Gibson’s Labrador wasn’t called “Nword”.

  • In Arabic and in English, Slav is to slave as Negro is to nigger. In both cases, the term for a much-enslaved ethnic group became a slang term implying that was their status, with the denigration that implied – hence its capacity to be an insult.

    It was the viking connection that made ‘slave’ an English word. By far the largest operation was vikings from the Swedish side of Scandinavia acquiring slaves and supplying them down the Russian rivers into the Islamic world – hence Slav/slave. The slaves carried all the other merchandise being sold and then, last thing before going home, the Swedish vikings sold them too. The comparable Danish and Norse operation that captured slaves from areas around the North Atlantic and sold them to Islamic Spain was a good deal smaller, so slav/slave became the common word across the viking world.

    The vikings got converted and the Islamic world had to find other ways to get their slaves – who continued to include many Slavs. Slavs (and Negros) were being sold in Egyptian slave markets for years after slavery was abolished in the United States. But I guess the feelings of some ethnic groups are more equal than the feelings of others.