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“Chink” is not the only word that can get you in trouble

Having a good vocabulary can be career-threatening: On January 15, 1999, David Howard, a white aide to Anthony A. Williams, the black mayor of Washington, D.C., used “niggardly” in reference to a budget. This apparently upset one of his black … Continue reading ?
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Obama’s Big Race Speech

US Politics / Conservative : Patterico's Pontifications (7 years ago)

I’m listening to it now. Apparently he never heard Jeremiah Wright say a cross word about white people — you know, the same white people who (Wright thinks) deliberately gave black people AIDS. He is explaining about b... Read Post

Vocabulary Out Of Vogue

Politics : The Daily Dish By Andrew Sullivan (last year)

Brad Leithauser ponders how “words become unusable for all sorts of reasons”: Though “niggard” and “niggardly” have a rich pedigree running through Chaucer and Shakespeare and Browning, they’ve recently fallen out of currency as the... Read Post

Playing defence

Politics / US Politics : Democracy in America (last year)

TO GET a sense of the racial sensitivity that pervades the District of Columbia consider this: a mayoral aide was once fired for using the word niggardly. He was later re-hired after the mayor's office consulted a dictionary. Even t... Read Post


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