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Wordsmith.org Forums General Topics Q&A about words political correctness
#4393 08/04/00 01:16 AM Also, picking up the past postings on PC terms and the supplanting in the USA of "black" by "African American", how are white folk described now? "American-American" ( - silly)? "European-American"? (- misleading). And having been away from the UK for 12 years now, i don't know whether the usage has spread to there, in which case is it "African-British" (or possibly "West Indian - British")?
My tongue is slightly in my cheek, but it does perhaps illustrate the reductio ad absurdum. But I certainly agree with the post-modernist notion that our appelation for something very much influences the way we think about it - a rose by any other name would definitely not smell as sweet!
Steve Biko the murdered South African lawyer/apartheid victim wrote a very good essay on the use in English of phrases with negative or pejorative connotations which include the word "black" (blackball, black sheep, even denigrate itself). It is referred to in Donald Woods's "Cry Freedom".
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