Fun_People Archive
3 Feb
Watch Your Words - niggardly

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed,  3 Feb 99 12:54:18 -0800
To: Fun_People
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Subject: Watch Your Words - niggardly

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649
From: Jim Propp

> >I heard about the D.C. civil servant given the chop for using the word
> >"niggardly". Seems the local black community misunderstoodly its origin
> >and freaked out. Does aforementioned civil servant still have his job
> >and have the lawyers been lining up, drooling, to fight his dismissal
> >case?
>  He wasn't dismissed, he resigned. And the mayor is taking a good deal
> of heat over it, including criticism from some black leaders

The word comes from a Swedish word meaning "miser".  Using a word like
"niggard" and "niggardly" when when perfectly good alternatives like "miser"
or "cheapskate" are available is thus a subtle way of calling attention to
a connection between miserliness and Swedishness.  That is, it's a veiled
slur against all Swedes.  On second thought, maybe it's a veiled slur
against all _non_-Swedes.  All I'm sure of is, I'm incensed as hell, even
though I'm not yet sure on whose behalf. ;-)

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