September 05, 2008

An uppity post, from an uppity guy

I feel downright uppity today. I know it seems somehow counterintuitive to be both "downright" AND "uppity," but that's how I feel.

Gosh darn it, that MUST mean I'm racist.

UPDATE: Having experienced the stench of wading through a Jeff Fecke comment thread firsthand, the following image came to mind:


What would Freud say. . . ?

Posted by Ryan at September 5, 2008 09:34 AM | TrackBack

Dude, he's a congressman from GEORGIA. And the definition of the word "uppity" is: taking liberties or assuming airs beyond one's station; presumptuous. When a white guy from Georgia calls a black politician uppity, it's not unreasonable to infer racist connotations.

I don't particularly think it's worth making an issue out of, but come on.

Posted by: Joshua at September 5, 2008 12:52 PM

Your are obviously a clueless little twit. And you are clearly a horrible person. Clearly.

Posted by: LearnedFoot at September 5, 2008 12:53 PM

From my perspective, I'd never thought of "uppity" as even remotely a racist term. If you think it's reasonable to believe it was meant as a racist slur because it was uttered from somebody in Georgia. . . well, I think there's a word for that way of thinking. I'm sure it will come to me.


Posted by: Ryan at September 5, 2008 01:19 PM

From my perspective, I'd never thought of "uppity" as even remotely a racist term.

Is it possible that this is because you live in the north and -- I'm speculating here -- haven't had a lot of regular social contact with a large African American community?

I think there's a word for that way of thinking. I'm sure it will come to me.

Context? Is that the word you're looking for? Or maybe historical perspective? I know that's two words, but you're not making much sense so I'm trying to help you out here.

Georgia is a state with a record of entrenched state-sponsored racism during Lynn Westmoreland's lifetime. They legally mandated segregated seating on buses in his hometown until he was in the 5th grade. Schools and colleges were segregated until he was middle school. Mixed marriages were illegal in Georgia until he finished high school. Those weren't anachronistic social customs practiced by an unpopular minority -- or even a vocal majority -- of Georgians, that Lynn Westmoreland may or may not have had anything to do with. Those were the laws in Georgia during Lynn Westmoreland's youth.

Context matters, and there are some inflammatory behaviors that are more inflammatory when certain people engage in them. English people shouldn't refer to Scotland or Wales as "England". The Chancellor of Germany should probably make a special effort not to accidentally turn off the eternal flame memorializing Holocaust victims at a Holocaust museum in Israel. If you're making a plaque for MLK Day in Florida, you probably want to double-check the spelling on a memorial plaque and you probably want to make double-damn sure that you don't accidentally thank James Earl Ray instead of James Earl Jones for the plaque.

And if you're from Georgia, and you may have ridden on segregated buses when you were a kid, you probably want to avoid referring to the first serious black candidate for President as "upppity," a word with specific historical and lexical connotations to class and race. Not because of an imagined history of racism or a long-ago history of racism, but because of a history, rooted in living memory, of poll taxes, literacy tests for voting, and legal segregation in education, housing, transportation and public accommodations.

When the German government released the three surviving perpetrators of the Munich Massacre in 1972, it mattered that it was Germany that did it and that the victims of the massacre had been Israelis. That wasn't prejudice -- it was context. The government of Germany at that time had a living connection to the government of Nazi Germany. Much as Westmoreland has a living connection to a Georgian government with an openly racist system of laws and beliefs.

You can aspire to a context-free universe if you like, but that's not how most people think or live and insisting that the negative reaction to Westmoreland's comments is unreasonable -- without regard to the historical and cultural context in which it exists -- basically makes you sound like a twat.

Posted by: Joshua at September 5, 2008 10:35 PM

A niggardly twat?

Posted by: Ryan at September 6, 2008 07:50 AM

I think "niggardly" twat would imply that you're trying to jew me out of something -- that you're an indian giver or some other kind of blackguard intent on gypping me. Nothing could be farther from the truth. But it's been a coon's age since we agreed on anything and I was hoping, just this once, that you could be convinced to call a spade a spade.

That's all I'm saying.

Posted by: Joshua at September 6, 2008 02:50 PM

I think a "niggardly" twat would suggest that you were trying to jew me out of something, or that you were some sort of indian giver or blackguard who was trying to gyp me. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It's just we haven't agreed on anything in a coon's age and I was hoping, just this once, that you could be compelled to call a spade a spade.

That's all I'm saying.

Posted by: Joshua at September 6, 2008 05:12 PM

Your comments engine sucks ass.

Posted by: Joshua at September 6, 2008 05:13 PM

Don't you guys realized that only LiberIdiots are allowed to determine what is and what isn't considered "racist"? Their gravitas, nuance, UberIntelligence and omniscience enables them to determine the "real" meaning behind others words.

One question for you, Joshua, does Jimmuh Retardah calling Teh Obamessiah™ "boy", a week or so ago, reveal that he's actually a closeted hood-wearing, cross-burning KKK member? He IS from Georgia, ya' know...

Also, just so you don't go gettin' all uppity on me... I'm from farther South than you, Spanky, speak more than one language and, yes, I have heard, and used, the word to describe persons-of-other-than-African-descent (aka "Honkies, Krackerz, Whitey, Da' Man")

Now, get off the computer and get back to workin' your corner before your pimp gets all uppity on your ass. ;-)

Posted by: B.C. at September 6, 2008 08:01 PM

Why, hello there crazy person. Nice to hear from you.

Posted by: Joshua at September 7, 2008 04:03 PM

My comment engine DOES suck ass. No arguments there.

The niggardly comment was just something I threw out there as I was on my way out the door to a golf tournament. I meant nothing by it, really.

Posted by: Ryan at September 7, 2008 04:55 PM

I'd like to register a complaint. I've been commenting on this blog for years now and your comment engine has not once sucked my ass. By the way, uppity is totally racist.

Posted by: Erik at September 7, 2008 05:47 PM

I meant nothing by it, really.


Posted by: Joshua at September 7, 2008 11:58 PM

I admit it. I wasn't at a golf tournament; I was attending a Klan rally.

Posted by: Ryan at September 8, 2008 08:43 AM

Is the world of words is so rich with "context" that we dare not use any of them? I believe Joshua thinks so. :-/

Posted by: Troy at September 8, 2008 09:50 AM

Troy: And I believe your parents were siblings. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Posted by: Joshua at September 8, 2008 09:43 PM

for the record, despite its dictionary definition, i have also pretty much only ever heard the word "uppity" used in a racist way, so i have to agree with the interpretation of Westmoreland's use; the context only reinforces that.

Posted by: amy.leblanc at September 10, 2008 11:43 AM

Well, then I truly must be a sheltered Minnesota boy, because I've used "uppity" on countless golf courses to refer to golfers who are golfing unusually well. Speaking with my parents over the weekend, they didn't think of it as racist, either (and my Mom's a former English teacher, for whatever that's worth). Of course, the lovely people who comment on that blog I linked to would call me a lying liar who lies, but then again, they can all just go eat a cock.

Posted by: Ryan at September 10, 2008 01:13 PM
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