Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Chauncey DeVega says: How Many Ways Can the Mainstream Media Avoid Using the Word "White?" or Alternatively Entitled: Euphemisms for Naming White Folk

Let us count the ways...

One of the most striking features of the 2008 Presidential Campaign has been the way that pundits, critics, and many in the public have avoided speaking truth to power, of naming the obvious: This election is about White America and its role in an increasingly "post-racial" world. Perhaps, it is the result of a myopic and twisted understanding of "colorblindness" where the very act of naming race as a social fact is itself considered "racist." Maybe, it is a result of an anxiety wherein actually talking about White America, and how White racial identity will influence voting decisions, is dangerous because it destroys the myth of a colorblind America (a myth which should have been shattered to this point by the pathetic pandering of the Democratic Convention, and the unapologetic White Nationalism on display at the Republic Convention).

This fear of saying "White," and/or of naming "whiteness" in our public discourse is a type of mental illness. Naming race, or more appropriately the fear of doing so, is like the elephant sitting in the corner of the room taking a crap on the carpet while you are trying to have a dinner party: this is the absurdity, everyone knows the elephant is there, but they are desperately trying to ignore it. So let's call a spade a spade--do you like that Oscar Wildesque wordplay?--and name what we are seeing. Wow! Sometimes I am so easily impressed with myself.

As a humanitarian act, we respectable negroes are going to conduct an intervention where we help to cure White America of this problem. In this treatment, taken right out of the DSM-IV, we are going to list of all the ways to say "White" or to signal "whiteness" without actually using those words. To that end we are going to keep a running list of these terms and phrases and update it each week.

To begin, here are some softballs:

1. Values voter
2. Heartland
3. Mainstream voter
4. Hard working Americans
5. Lunchpail voters
6. Soccer moms

I especially like this new phrase which I heard last week on Fox News:

1. Walmart Moms

Our respectable negro readers, friends, allies, and family members, please help cure White America of this pathology by adding to our running tally. We must name that which does not want to be named if we are to help cure the sickness afflicting America's racial id.

Here is my prediction for our tally come November, I say less than 40 or over 60 for the total number of names on our final Euphemisms for Naming White Folk list. And I will throw in a prize for the best and/more most obscure and creative name or phrase...something from my own personal library for understanding the ways of white folk.

What is your guess for the total? And what are some more words and phrases to be added?


Nelson said...

Don't forget Nascar Dads.

Werner Herzog's Bear said...

The much abused term "blue collar" falls into this category too.

Lady Zora, Chauncey DeVega, and Gordon Gartrelle said...

And for the record you aren't eligible for a prize mr. werner herzog's bear because 1) you have drunk beer in my house and 2) you already have more books than i do.

Ha ha ha!

Good one though...


Glennis said...

1. Walmart Moms


As a white yuppie, elitist, latte-drinker, feminist (only white women are "feminists", don't you know!) SUV driver, "West Coast elistist" (because only white folks live west of the Continental Divide) -

I salute you!

You are brilliant!

aimai said...

you forgot "regular americans" and "real americans" which I believe are both used by Chris Matthews for love of the object whose name must not be spoken.

love your blog

Jim Eikner said...

The Base

Zora said...

"Hard-working Americans."

Lady Zora, Chauncey DeVega, and Gordon Gartrelle said...

I already got that one ma'am! but maybe your emphasis is different.

How about "culture war" voters or Palin's Army..I heard this latter one the other day too.


Admiral Komack said...

"Joe Six Pack"

"Joe Lunch Pail"

Anonymous said...

RN: I just wanted to COMMEND you on this thread!! I have been watching this line, but now I'll get focussed!! :>) GREAT CONTEST!!

Was "Hockey Mom" used? :>)

Anonymous said...

RN: Guess "red neck" would not be appropriate - huh?

"The Gov."' future son-in-law said that he was one!!

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess thanks to Palin you could add "Hockey moms" to delineate from "soccer moms."

I think it is interesting because everytime they use those euphemisms, I IMMEDIATELY conjure up an image of a white person.

For "heartland" I think of some farmer and for "hardworking Americans" my mind always goes to some "blue collar" white guy who's been on the line for 29 years, lost his job one year away from retirement and will vote for McCain because Palin is pro-life.

Anonymous said...

How about - from the lips of "The Gov": American Workers

Work Force

Karen said...

Dear sirs and madam: I humbly submit the following for your review:

"Regular Folks"

"Ma and Pa Kettle"

"My (or your) neighbors"

"Average American Voter"

"Rural Voters"


"My accountant"

nickwah22 said...

Small Town Voters
"The Woman Vote"
"Middle America"


nickwah22 said...

"American People"

Shaina said...

For white female voters of a certain age:

"Active Grannies"