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

N star star star star, not N star star star star star

Either the Independent‘s “Race Correspondent” (who, to add to the comedy, is called Nadine White) has written a report almost designed to be misunderstood, or she is a satirist of genius. I present to you this story:

“Now the royal family is dragged into the n-word race row”

Juicy! Which one of ’em was it? Will Meghan’s Spotify podcast be coming back so she can discuss it? Sorry to disappoint, but the connection to the current royal family is strong as a cobweb: it seems a catalogue of gems and jewels owned by the Royal Collection “contained more than 40 mentions of offensive racial terms”. The aberrant public catalogue concerning a sub-collection of jewels, cameos, and other small items was actually published fifteen years ago in 2008 but remained on the Royal Collection’s website until the intrepid offence archaeologists of the Independent found it last Thursday. Since the cataloguing and study of the whole collection by historians is an ongoing process, those particular entries could have been written decades earlier. Here is the current webpage. Fear not, it has been purged.

And about that “offensive racial term” in the 2008 version… it wasn’t the n-word the Independent wants you to think it was.

In the latest instance, the offensive terms are mostly used to describe people of African ancestry who appear on the jewels. The words are also included in a number of names of items in the collection.

One brooch is described in the following terms: “Head of a n**** in three-quarter profile to the right, with drop-pearl earring. This type of a n****’s head is found on several sixteenth-century cameos.”

Another item depicting a white person is accompanied by this description and slur: “Athough it uses the dark layers of the stone for the profile, the features are not n*****d’.

Count the asterisks. Four, not five. Ergo it was egro, or in the final example, egroid.

UPDATE 16:20 BST: Someone at the Independent read the readers’ comments. The newspaper has now changed n**** to n***o throughout the article.

9 comments to N star star star star, not N star star star star star

  • God forbid these people come across Spanish!

  • Paul Marks.

    “Negro” was the polite word – Martin Luther King and other Civil Rights leaders used it, so even did the radical Malcolm X.

    As Natalie points out – the “Independent” is being dishonest, sickeningly dishonest. Sadly this is normal for the establishment left.

  • JohnK


    I agree. This story might have been a little footnote, if that. A term which is now not used, was used in the past by royal archivists. So what?

    The way the “Independent” splashed it across its front page implied that the royal archives were like the Ku Klux Klan. It is thoroughly dishonest of them, real gutter journalism.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    The best thing to do is to ban the Latin language, which is the source of these words!
    JohnK, what would you say to a journalist whom you found in a gutter?
    Personally, I’d congratulate them on having escaped from a sewer!

  • bobby b

    IIRC, some years back, a White House aide was fired for using the word “niggardly” in a speech.

    The initial press accounts describing what he had done sounded very much like the story above. “Omigawd, he said n********!”

    He got his job back when the hysterical idiots quieted down and some educated people were allowed to explain. But it was touch-and-go for a bit.

  • Sigivald

    “The United Negro College Fund and National Association For The Advancement Of Colored People could not be reached for comment.”

    Neither of those terms were ever deliberate slurs (both were used as such, by the sort of person that will make any term a slur), unlike the Actual N-Word, which was always one.

    Pretending they’re equivalent because Old Slightly Less Bigoted People Used Them Too is, well, typical idiocy.

  • James Hargrave

    Utter rubbish.

    What else is one supposed to deploy in connexion with art objects: negro’s head/negro head, perfectly usual, long usage. And what other word is available to describe negroid features. Coloured, outwith the USA – surely synonymous with mulatto (again, a word that seems to have acquired unwarranted baggage).

    I imagine that the offence mongers would have to look up a good old four-letter Rhodesian slang word for a blackamoor that is some way beyond kaffir.

  • Paul Marks.


    Yes – the leftist “Independent” are horribly dishonest, and they are not the only ones.

  • Alan Peakall

    Paul, JohnK: ISTR that it was the Dead Ringers team who made the observation most stingingly: The IndependentThe Dail Mail for people who recycle.