Sunday, January 27, 2008


Apparently, American racists are using the term "Canadian" to refer to black people, so they can make bigoted remarks without people knowing WTF they are actually talking about, e.g.:
"He overcame a subversively good defence by Matt Hennessey that had some Canadians on the jury feeling sorry for the defendant and forced them to do the right thing," [wrote ADA Mark Trent in an office-wide memo]...

It is unusual that a seasoned attorney like Mr. Trent would not have wondered how a Harris County jury came to be stacked with Canadians. (There were no Canadians on the jury but there were some black members.) "The only way that there could have been Canadians on the jury, was if they were born in Canada and then became U.S. citizens, and then became citizens of the county in which the case was tried," Mr. Vinson noted.
Why Canadians?
Stefan Dollinger, a postdoctoral fellow in linguistics at University of British Columbia and director of the university's Canadian English lab, speculated that the slur reflects a sense of Canadians as the other.

"This ‘code' word, is the replacement of a no-longer tolerated label for one outsider group, with, from the U.S. view, another outsider group: Canadians. It could have been terms for Mexicans, Latinos etc. but this would have been too obvious," he said. "What's left? Right, the guys to the north."
Let's come up with a coded way of talking about racist bigots. How about "Morlocks?" Or does that actually have undesirable connotations of the whole social strata "evolving" into different species thing that H.G. Wells had going on in "The Time Traveller," which smacks unpleasantly of sociobiological determinism and ideas that various ethnicities are truly "different" on some biological level? According to Wikipedia, however, Morlocks "apparently have little or no melanin in their skin," for what that's worth.

In the movie at least, the Eloi were also like white as can be, though. Don't remember if Wells says that in the book.

No comments: