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I’m black (excuse me, African-American), and I grew up in the 1970s. I think that my radar for intolerance is as active as anyone else’s.
Re: this “niggardly” incident with David Howard: I can’t help feeling the low blow dealt under the guise of PC. Once again, there’s the usual rumor-milling resulting in resignation, only this time due to the use of a decrepit word that (to anyone with a working vocabulary) is more liable to make its user appear a stuffed shirt than a racist.
Never mind the word’s ancient etymology. Never mind the schizophrenic way in which its pejorative sound-alike is rejected in the name of enlightenment and embraced as a term of endearment. Never mind a more worthy target of ire such as the Redskins. Our people have fallen far from the collective strength that led us to resist the injustices of police dogs and fire hoses when we become a party to this sort of niggling (there goes another one!) bullshit.
Re: Those of us with tender sensibilities, the “Memo” (1/29) does show the potential problem with statements we might hear across the District:
(Chamber of Commerce) They’re shooting Schwartzenegger on M Street.
(Department of Parks) Use the new truck, the one with the black winch on the front.
(Office of the Mayor) Our new staff cars were delivered by Koons.
Finally, does all this mean that Howard’s being blackballed?
Takoma Park, Md.
via the Internet