Thursday, September 25, 2008

In the Interest of Fairness: How Many Ways Can You Say "Black" Without Actually Saying Black?

Taking up the challenge made by one of our internet allies, let's reverse the gaze so to speak.

We would never want to be accused of "reverse racism," so let's play a game of how many ways can you say Black without saying "black?" As a nation, we are actually in the midst of a shortage of code words for black people (maybe this is a result of the economic downturn, or because frankly, when folk want to call out black people, they don't tend to be subtle). Let's predict: I say the over/under on this list is 15/25. As is customary, I will begin our list with some customary softballs.

1. Urban
2. Ghetto
3. Disadvantaged
4. Assailant
5. Children in under-resourced schools
6. Those people

And yes, just as we are giving a prize for the best contribution to the "Euphemisms for White Folk" list, we will be opening our goody bag for this contest too.

Let's get this party started...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

also, inner-city.

at least before the parisification of US cities.


Anonymous said...

Center city residents; Inner city residents; Section 8 recepients; public housing residents; Gang members; Gang affiliated;

FYI, I live in SW MO, in the Ozarks, which is 97% Lily White with a capital LW. The other 3% is all the others combined -latino, asian, black and the Native Americans who actually declare it (won't go there right now). Anyway,I hear these "Euphemisms for Black Folks" around here ALL THE DAMN TIME, and yet like I stated above, the area is 97% LW! Several times I have called someone out about it: one of the local station had a "gangs in the Ozarks" news segment and all they could show was pics of blacks and latinos. I called them up and bitched them out. I told them that going by the numbers they were using and the pics they were showing, EVERY black and latino person in the Springfield metro area was in a gang, even the babies in diapers. I was then informed they were just using "stock" footage they got from the National broadcast station. I told them I didn't give a shit where they got it, it was a blatantly racist story.

Another time someone was yapping about the poor job of the local schools teaching thier kids/drop out rate, etc., and he said it was all the wrong influences in the school. I came right out and asked him "Who are you trying to blame for the "wrong influence" for your kids screwing up in school as there aren't enough niggas and spics around here to even make a blip on the Census?" Yes, that's exactly what came out my mouth! He SO did not expect me -a small black woman- to come right out and jump his shit and challenge him on it. But I did. And I never did get a reply. I just got that dazed, glazed, deer in the headlights, cow chewing cud blank look.

Keep up the good work.


Anonymous said...


"Lower Income"

"Home boys"

"Community Organizer"

"Good dancer"


J. Clarence said...

While I agree that people in the press use code words to side-step the issue, the reality is "urban" no longer solely can be applied to Black people alone. All the words you have listed also applies to myriad of other ethnicities and groups, that make up Urban--as in city-isque--environment. From poor whites, to Latinos, etc.

Anonymous said...

city residents

unwed mothers

deadbeat dads

criminal element

baby mothers/fathers

gang bangers

welfare recipients

hip-hop community

Anonymous said...

Affirmative action

Zora said...

You people!

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

I don't know about that one because you would be talking to black folk and thus it would be obvious you are saying black, a la Ross Perot.

chauncey d

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

mentally ill
low income
inner city youth
nigger ( yes, this is still being used in the inner circles of certain individuals)
you people
dead-beat dad
single mother

Anonymous said...