A lexicon of new racist words

One argument we are already hearing is that if you are against President Obama you must be racist.  That’s a powerful subliminal argument, though when it’s made explicit it can get pretty ridiculous.  Thus Democrats are taking umbrage (or pretending to do so) at a raft of seemingly-innocent words that they claim are actually code for racism.  Among them:

angry

Chicago

Constitution

Experienced

Golf

Food stamps

Holding Down the Fort

Kitchen Cabinet

Obamacare

Privileged

Professor

You people

For explanations and quotations see That’s Racist! – Michelle Malkin – National Review Online.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    I refuse to allow other people to define my terms and intentions.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    I refuse to allow other people to define my terms and intentions.

  • Pete

    I draw the line at golf.

  • Pete

    I draw the line at golf.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Implying that Democrats are being ridiculous with which words they consider “code” for racism is clearly also racist itself, you people.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Implying that Democrats are being ridiculous with which words they consider “code” for racism is clearly also racist itself, you people.

  • Kathy

    This list reminds me of the book 1984, in which certain words were forbidden. The meaning and ideas behind the words were lost, and thus minds were controlled.

  • Kathy

    This list reminds me of the book 1984, in which certain words were forbidden. The meaning and ideas behind the words were lost, and thus minds were controlled.

  • James Sarver

    A Pythonian paraphrase:

    The Witch: I’m not a racist. I’m not a racist!
    Sir Bedevere: But you are dressed as one
    The Witch: *They* dressed me up like this!
    Democrats: We didn’t! We didn’t…
    The Witch: And this isn’t my opinion. It’s a false one.
    Sir Bedevere: [lifts up her false opinion] Well?
    Pundit 1: Well, we did do the opinion.
    Sir Bedevere: The opinion?
    Pundit 1: And the white hood, but she is a racist!
    Democrats: Yeah! Burn her! Burn her!
    Sir Bedevere: Did you dress her up like this?
    Pundit 1: No!
    Pundit 3, Pundit 2: No!
    Pundit 3: No!
    Pundit 1: No!
    Pundit 3, Pundit 2: No!
    Pundit 1: Yes!
    Pundit 2: Yes!
    Pundit 1: Yeah a bit.
    Pundit 3: A bit!
    Pundit 1, Pundit 2: A bit!
    Pundit 2: a bit
    Pundit 1: But she has got a wart!

  • James Sarver

    A Pythonian paraphrase:

    The Witch: I’m not a racist. I’m not a racist!
    Sir Bedevere: But you are dressed as one
    The Witch: *They* dressed me up like this!
    Democrats: We didn’t! We didn’t…
    The Witch: And this isn’t my opinion. It’s a false one.
    Sir Bedevere: [lifts up her false opinion] Well?
    Pundit 1: Well, we did do the opinion.
    Sir Bedevere: The opinion?
    Pundit 1: And the white hood, but she is a racist!
    Democrats: Yeah! Burn her! Burn her!
    Sir Bedevere: Did you dress her up like this?
    Pundit 1: No!
    Pundit 3, Pundit 2: No!
    Pundit 3: No!
    Pundit 1: No!
    Pundit 3, Pundit 2: No!
    Pundit 1: Yes!
    Pundit 2: Yes!
    Pundit 1: Yeah a bit.
    Pundit 3: A bit!
    Pundit 1, Pundit 2: A bit!
    Pundit 2: a bit
    Pundit 1: But she has got a wart!

  • Random Lutheran

    Some, perhaps, might have anti-minority overtones in current usage, or are heard as having such by many. But most of these? Nah. I bet they bring other pictures to mind for most of the electorate:

    Chicago: tommy guns, bathtub gin, corrupt cops, and cigars.
    Professor, privileged: annoying East Coast types.
    Constitution: Ron Paul keeps bringing it up, whatever it is.
    Experienced: Jimi Hendrix sang about it.
    Golf: terrible clothing and anger. The Boss.
    Obamacare: someone complaining about it on Fox.

  • Random Lutheran

    Some, perhaps, might have anti-minority overtones in current usage, or are heard as having such by many. But most of these? Nah. I bet they bring other pictures to mind for most of the electorate:

    Chicago: tommy guns, bathtub gin, corrupt cops, and cigars.
    Professor, privileged: annoying East Coast types.
    Constitution: Ron Paul keeps bringing it up, whatever it is.
    Experienced: Jimi Hendrix sang about it.
    Golf: terrible clothing and anger. The Boss.
    Obamacare: someone complaining about it on Fox.

  • Josh

    Bravo, James, bravo!

  • Josh

    Bravo, James, bravo!

  • Cincinnatus

    I understand how “food stamps,” “angry,” and “Chicago” could feed into racist tropes–though I don’t see them as racist in themselves. But golf? Experienced? Holding down the fort? Since when is it an insult to refer to anyone besides a teenaged girl as “experienced”?

    And isn’t the use of “privileged” usually designed to accuse someone of being racist?

  • Cincinnatus

    I understand how “food stamps,” “angry,” and “Chicago” could feed into racist tropes–though I don’t see them as racist in themselves. But golf? Experienced? Holding down the fort? Since when is it an insult to refer to anyone besides a teenaged girl as “experienced”?

    And isn’t the use of “privileged” usually designed to accuse someone of being racist?

  • SKPeterson

    Apparently, these words are what are viewed as weaknesses, or points of vulnerability, of the President. If they can be (mis)construed as racist, or traces of a racist agenda, then they become less effective as arguments against the President.

    Thus, any argument that the President is exceeding his Constitutional authority = racist. Any argument that he is inexperienced = racist. Any argument that he’s a product of Chicago Democrat machine politics = racist. Any argument that he is experienced in Chicago Democrat machine politics = racist. Any argument that he is a benefit of privilege = racist. An out-of-touch professor = racist. Questions why the “post-racial” President hangs so much of his campaign rhetoric on the issue of race = racist.

  • SKPeterson

    Apparently, these words are what are viewed as weaknesses, or points of vulnerability, of the President. If they can be (mis)construed as racist, or traces of a racist agenda, then they become less effective as arguments against the President.

    Thus, any argument that the President is exceeding his Constitutional authority = racist. Any argument that he is inexperienced = racist. Any argument that he’s a product of Chicago Democrat machine politics = racist. Any argument that he is experienced in Chicago Democrat machine politics = racist. Any argument that he is a benefit of privilege = racist. An out-of-touch professor = racist. Questions why the “post-racial” President hangs so much of his campaign rhetoric on the issue of race = racist.

  • Tom Hering

    Seems to me that Democrats are a bit late to the craziness game, and have some serious catching up to do. I mean, we’ve been hearing from the Right for years, if not decades, that words like “inclusion” and “tolerance” and “diversity” are actually code for anti-white racism (when they aren’t code for a socialist plot against America). Yup, we’ve got a long way to go to match the Right, code word for code word. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    Seems to me that Democrats are a bit late to the craziness game, and have some serious catching up to do. I mean, we’ve been hearing from the Right for years, if not decades, that words like “inclusion” and “tolerance” and “diversity” are actually code for anti-white racism (when they aren’t code for a socialist plot against America). Yup, we’ve got a long way to go to match the Right, code word for code word. :-D

  • James Sarver

    Josh @ #7,

    Just a small excerpt from that classic of absurdity,
    “Barry Python and the Wholly Fail”.

  • James Sarver

    Josh @ #7,

    Just a small excerpt from that classic of absurdity,
    “Barry Python and the Wholly Fail”.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Can anybody say, “Newspeak”?

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Can anybody say, “Newspeak”?

  • SKPeterson

    Well, Tom – it goes hand-in-hand with Democracy = excuse to do whatever we want domestically or anywhere else in the world. Questioning the resulting foreign adventurism = isolationism. It all fits. For the Right, democracy = empire, unless democracy is used by Democrats, then democracy = socialism. This is balanced by Republicans using the word republic = empire, against the Democrats who use republic = fascism. When politicians use the phrase “republican democracy” they mean either, on the Right, EMPIRE!, or on the Left = A more tolerant fascism, except for those guys we don’t like.

  • SKPeterson

    Well, Tom – it goes hand-in-hand with Democracy = excuse to do whatever we want domestically or anywhere else in the world. Questioning the resulting foreign adventurism = isolationism. It all fits. For the Right, democracy = empire, unless democracy is used by Democrats, then democracy = socialism. This is balanced by Republicans using the word republic = empire, against the Democrats who use republic = fascism. When politicians use the phrase “republican democracy” they mean either, on the Right, EMPIRE!, or on the Left = A more tolerant fascism, except for those guys we don’t like.

  • Cincinnatus

    [W]ords like “inclusion” and “tolerance” and “diversity” are actually code for anti-white racism

    In the academy, this is actually often true. I know this because I just finished reading a paper (written last month) from a fellow and distinguished political theorist haranguing against “white privilege” and the “white lifeworld” while insisting on the need for more tolerance, inclusion, and diversity. He doesn’t define any of his terms, so God knows what he means–but I’m pretty sure it could be construed as at least mildly racist.

  • Cincinnatus

    [W]ords like “inclusion” and “tolerance” and “diversity” are actually code for anti-white racism

    In the academy, this is actually often true. I know this because I just finished reading a paper (written last month) from a fellow and distinguished political theorist haranguing against “white privilege” and the “white lifeworld” while insisting on the need for more tolerance, inclusion, and diversity. He doesn’t define any of his terms, so God knows what he means–but I’m pretty sure it could be construed as at least mildly racist.

  • Tom Hering

    There are examples like that on both sides, Cincinnatus. It becomes craziness when one side sees every use of a particular word by the other side as code.

  • Tom Hering

    There are examples like that on both sides, Cincinnatus. It becomes craziness when one side sees every use of a particular word by the other side as code.

  • SKPeterson

    That’s a new one to me Cincy – “white lifeworld”. I wonder what that actually entails.

  • SKPeterson

    That’s a new one to me Cincy – “white lifeworld”. I wonder what that actually entails.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    He who controls the language, controls the debate (and especially, the accompanying emotive content). Both sides are doing this. And it is despicable either way.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    He who controls the language, controls the debate (and especially, the accompanying emotive content). Both sides are doing this. And it is despicable either way.

  • Cincinnatus

    Tom@15:

    Sure, but I’m suggesting that, in the academy, these aren’t just isolated “examples.” There’s an entire identity-politics industry in the academy that has saturated all the humanities and social sciences. It masquerades under names like postcolonialism, gender studies, poststructuralism, multiculturalism, and ethnic studies.

    What’s crazy in this world is not that the “other side” perceives the idiom of these eggheads as “code”–it is code, and thinly veiled code at that. I’m not sure there’s a suitable analogue on the cultural right, mostly because there are very few, if any, elite cultural institutions (e.g., Hollywood, television, prestigious journalism, the academy, etc.) that are dominated by the Right. Those responsible for building and defining acceptable discourse in the United States by and large hail from the Left (defined not necessarily as the Democratic Party, but as the words I used above).

  • Cincinnatus

    Tom@15:

    Sure, but I’m suggesting that, in the academy, these aren’t just isolated “examples.” There’s an entire identity-politics industry in the academy that has saturated all the humanities and social sciences. It masquerades under names like postcolonialism, gender studies, poststructuralism, multiculturalism, and ethnic studies.

    What’s crazy in this world is not that the “other side” perceives the idiom of these eggheads as “code”–it is code, and thinly veiled code at that. I’m not sure there’s a suitable analogue on the cultural right, mostly because there are very few, if any, elite cultural institutions (e.g., Hollywood, television, prestigious journalism, the academy, etc.) that are dominated by the Right. Those responsible for building and defining acceptable discourse in the United States by and large hail from the Left (defined not necessarily as the Democratic Party, but as the words I used above).

  • Tom Hering

    Not much to argue with there, Cincinnatus @ 18. But my point is that American politics (beyond the world of academia) has become real craziness – that both Left and Right are now totally whack. I sometimes think my country is mentally ill.

  • Tom Hering

    Not much to argue with there, Cincinnatus @ 18. But my point is that American politics (beyond the world of academia) has become real craziness – that both Left and Right are now totally whack. I sometimes think my country is mentally ill.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “American politics (beyond the world of academia) has become real craziness – that both Left and Right are now totally whack. I sometimes think my country is mentally ill.”

    If you permit a slight edit:

    American politics is mentally ill.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “American politics (beyond the world of academia) has become real craziness – that both Left and Right are now totally whack. I sometimes think my country is mentally ill.”

    If you permit a slight edit:

    American politics is mentally ill.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Election: A vociferous exercise in neo-tribal identity affirmation.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Election: A vociferous exercise in neo-tribal identity affirmation.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Sure, sure, both sides do it blah blah blah. But, at least as far as the specific details go, Malkin is — beyond all probability — correct.

    I couldn’t bring myself to look up more than the first page’s worth, so painful is this kind of dialogue, but yes, there are a bunch of idiots out there stumping for Obama.

    Of course, Malkin (being Malkin) desperately overreaches when she tries to claim that

    If the Left’s self-appointed Omniscient Diviners of True Meaning have their way, conservatives in the public square won’t be left with anything at all to say. Ever.

    But that’s just the level of outrage one has to strike these days to get your opinions aired, of course. (Memo to Ms. Malkin: you’re part of the problem you describe, not the solution — you’re just the other half of the coin.)

    Of course, if you actually pull up the video of Touré (whoever the heck he is; never heard of him) making his ridiculous claims, you’ll actually note that he gets completely schooled by some other talking head who has more reason in her, and that on MSNBC. I don’t know if she’s considered “conservative” enogh or not, but clearly she got her say. That’s how these kinds of shows work, though. Bring in people to say ridiculous things. Let others reply. Repeat.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Sure, sure, both sides do it blah blah blah. But, at least as far as the specific details go, Malkin is — beyond all probability — correct.

    I couldn’t bring myself to look up more than the first page’s worth, so painful is this kind of dialogue, but yes, there are a bunch of idiots out there stumping for Obama.

    Of course, Malkin (being Malkin) desperately overreaches when she tries to claim that

    If the Left’s self-appointed Omniscient Diviners of True Meaning have their way, conservatives in the public square won’t be left with anything at all to say. Ever.

    But that’s just the level of outrage one has to strike these days to get your opinions aired, of course. (Memo to Ms. Malkin: you’re part of the problem you describe, not the solution — you’re just the other half of the coin.)

    Of course, if you actually pull up the video of Touré (whoever the heck he is; never heard of him) making his ridiculous claims, you’ll actually note that he gets completely schooled by some other talking head who has more reason in her, and that on MSNBC. I don’t know if she’s considered “conservative” enogh or not, but clearly she got her say. That’s how these kinds of shows work, though. Bring in people to say ridiculous things. Let others reply. Repeat.

  • Steve Bauer

    This goes on because our culture as a whole has lost the capacity for reasoned debate. It has been replaced by what C.S. Lewis termed bulverism.

  • Steve Bauer

    This goes on because our culture as a whole has lost the capacity for reasoned debate. It has been replaced by what C.S. Lewis termed bulverism.

  • fjsteve

    Racist language is, very often, in the ear of the beholder.

  • fjsteve

    Racist language is, very often, in the ear of the beholder.

  • fjsteve

    KK, #17,

    Both sides may be doing it but the Left has more experience and is much better at it. When the Right tries to do it, they come up with nonsensical terms like “homicide bomber”.

  • fjsteve

    KK, #17,

    Both sides may be doing it but the Left has more experience and is much better at it. When the Right tries to do it, they come up with nonsensical terms like “homicide bomber”.

  • dust

    Steve Bauer at 23…thanks for the new word, which is actually an old word!

    Once again it’s true, there is nothing new under the sun :)

    cheers!

  • dust

    Steve Bauer at 23…thanks for the new word, which is actually an old word!

    Once again it’s true, there is nothing new under the sun :)

    cheers!

  • fws

    the honest use of language is something. we all fall far short of. and to say everyone does it is to say what about ours morality?

  • fws

    the honest use of language is something. we all fall far short of. and to say everyone does it is to say what about ours morality?


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