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View Diary: Salon: Obama Used to Be "Uppity" (353 comments)

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  •  maybe (0+ / 0-)

    maybe it's my age (21) or my relatively insulated upbringing, but i wouldn't have known that this word had negative/racist connotations.  i've used it before, more implying 'elitist' than 'not in their place.'  would be more than willing to delete from my vocabulary if i were to learn otherwise though.

    •  Yes, it is racist (8+ / 0-)

      "Uppity" has very long roots in racist characterization of African-Americans, going back to slavery - if you read anything about Southern history or history of slavery in this country, you'll see it there.

    •  Now you know better... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pHunbalanced, lirtydies, mcfly, corvo

      pick up a copy of Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States". This isn't the kind of stuff you learn in high school classrooms - or college, unless you take classes specifically dealing with gender, race, and psychology.

      There's a whole bag of racism that used to be openly acceptable just fifty years ago. If you're ever able, grab a live Rat Pack show from the sixties and listen to the slurs thrown at Jews, blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities.

      We're trying to move past those dark days. And words like "uppity" are a direct throwback to the ugliness of what some refer to as the "good ol' days".

      "Just give me an easy life and a peaceful death" -The Sundays.

      by Diaries on Sun Feb 11, 2007 at 08:20:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  eh (0+ / 0-)

        actually already read "people's history" -- guess it's a good time to re-read, between the other 8 books and 6 classes i've got lined up...

        question though: doesn't it say something that i've never grown up with that word having a negative connotation?  i come from a conservative christian household, and my parents have never used it in that way, and they never would.

        •  It's nothing against your parents... (0+ / 0-)

          however, a lack of knowledge is rarely a good thing. There's certain stuff we should all try to become aware of - especially when it's a part of our collective history. If I somehow grew up without hearing the word "bitch", I'd be rather surprised when I found out about its derogatory application to women. Then I'd make a note of it, and move on.

          "Just give me an easy life and a peaceful death" -The Sundays.

          by Diaries on Sun Feb 11, 2007 at 08:34:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  you dont see the possibility (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JRG

            of having parts of language losing their derogatory meanings in some circumstances?  i understand the importance of recognizing and reconciling the negative aspects of our country's collective history, and now that i know that this word is potentially injurious i wont use it.  

            however, i guess i'm just optimistic that there will be a point in time where we can move past the hate and separation of the past, and thought my encounter or lack thereof with the negative aspect of the word as indicative of some step in that direction.  or should we just retire such words?

            •  I do believe that day will come... (0+ / 0-)

              but until it does, such words will continue to be used by people who use them firmly in the spirit of the times when they drew the most blood. I'll enjoy the day when lots of stuff isn't taboo, but we've got to keep working if we're going to get there. And part of that work, for right now, includes calling out people like Salon for what happened here. We might not be able to drive every bigot away, but it's definitely possible to drive a lot of them out of the mainstream.

              "Just give me an easy life and a peaceful death" -The Sundays.

              by Diaries on Sun Feb 11, 2007 at 08:48:30 PM PST

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              •  ok (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                leberquesgue, countrycat

                ... devil's advocate here...

                since me and my family (and, i would posit, a majority of my generation) have never heard or used that word in that way, is it possible the editor/proofer hasn't either?  is it necessary to ferociously pounce on every hunch of racial/ethnic/gender/etc mislabeling when it may or may not be intentional?

                i think it can be addressed in a reasonable, rational, healing way.

                •  Check it out below... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ptmflbcs

                  the managing editor has already apologized for it. She pretty much admitted responsibility for the situation.

                  The thing is, you might be able to afford such a mistake as a layperson. But if you're anywhere near the article-writing arm of a major online political rag, you've got to know better. Basically, the higher your position, the more you're expected to know - right off the bat. That's why it's a much bigger deal for Biden to refer to Obama as "clean" than it is for the guy who delivers my mail. People who are older generally are more likely to have lived in times when such stuff was openly said. Presuming they learned that such things were bad as they became older, these aren't mistakes they typically make at this stage of the game.

                  The idea, anyway, isn't to spread venom - it's simply to educate more people about this stuff. Some words just aren't used accidentally - certainly not when they appear in high profile magazines when discussing high-profile candidates. No matter how much of a racist Bush might be, you'll never see him use a directly derogatory word toward any minority in the State of the Union. People are paid to know what can be said, and what can't.

                  "Just give me an easy life and a peaceful death" -The Sundays.

                  by Diaries on Sun Feb 11, 2007 at 09:03:15 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Read Gone with the Wind (0+ / 0-)

          Or any other book that's set during the Civil War and you'll see it in its historical context.

          That a man can stand up. - Johnny Tremain

          by lirtydies on Mon Feb 12, 2007 at 10:37:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Listen here... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leberquesgue, a dumb dreamer

      ...whippersnapper.  All your aunts and uncles here at the dKos general store will be glad to learn ya a few things.  Pull up an apple crate near the wood stove, refill my coffee cup, fetch me a good whittlin' stick from the box of fire wood, and we'll tell ya some more tales of the bad ole days.  Just as soon as I put my teeth back in.

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