The latest “niggardly” incident

Question: What kind of celestial body is niggardly with light?

Answer: A black hole.

Not for the first time, and not for the last, a black person—and in this case it’s not just a low level bureaucrat, but a county commissioner in Dallas, Texas, during a televised meeting—reacts negatively to a use of the word black in a phrase that has nothing to do with race. (See story below.) In a rational world, people who demonstrated this degree of stupidity and racial paranoia would be disqualified from occupying any responsible public or private position. And let us remember that such views are not merely personal irruptions on the part of individual blacks who are ignorant of various expressions in our language that include or seem to be associated with the word “black.” There is a movement in black America that seeks to eliminate from the English language all phrases that use “black” with a negative connotation.

Correction: The famous “niggardly” incident involved more than the reaction of a relatively low-level employee. A black staffer of the black mayor of Washington, D.C., Anthony Williams, was offended when a top Williams aide, David Howard, used the word “niggardly,” meaning miserly, in a meeting. And Williams, the mayor of Washington, D.C., accepted Howard’s resignation. Williams didn’t say, “This is ridiculous, Howard is a valued aide of mine. If people must lose their jobs over innocent use of language, we’ll all be living in a mad house.” No, Williams didn’t say that. He said that Howard had caused too much offense to blacks, and had to go. I therefore designate Williams as among those people who are too stupid to occupy any position of responsibility in this country.

Hey, lately there’s been talk, even among liberals, about recolonizing Africa for its own good. How about recolonizing some cities in the U.S. as well?

(Also, the “niggardly” event took place in 1999. I could have sworn it was just a couple of years ago.)

From the Dallas City Hall blog at the Dallas Morning News:

Dallas County officials spar over ‘black hole’ comment

A special meeting about Dallas County traffic tickets turned tense and bizarre this afternoon.

County commissioners were discussing problems with the central collections office that is used to process traffic ticket payments and handle other paperwork normally done by the JP Courts.

Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield, who is white, said it seemed that central collections “has become a black hole” because paperwork reportedly has become lost in the office.

Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is black, interrupted him with a loud “Excuse me!” He then corrected his colleague, saying the office has become a “white hole.”

That prompted Judge Thomas Jones, who is black, to demand an apology from Mayfield for his racially insensitive analogy.

Mayfield shot back that it was a figure of speech and a science term. A black hole, according to Webster’s, is perhaps “the invisible remains of a collapsed star, with an intense gravitational field from which neither light nor matter can escape.”

Other county officials quickly interceded to break it up and get the meeting back on track. TV news cameras were rolling, after all.

- end of DMN article -

- end of initial entry -

Robert B. writes:

“That prompted Judge Thomas Jones, who is black, to demand an apology from Mayfield for his racially insensitive analogy.”

Can you imagine this man in a law school class, let alone passing it? Lawyers must cringe when they have a case assigned to this man. This show of ignorance should be enough to get him removed from the bench.

LA wrote to Lydia McGrew (July 10):

Your mention of my joke at your blog encouraged me to move it up from the bottom of the VFR entry, where I had put it, to the beginning.

In fact, I had initially thought of putting it at the beginning of the entry or in the title, but I felt it would be too racially provocative to place it so prominently, because it would seem to be confirming the views of these idiots that these innocent words have a racial connotation, i.e., it would be slyly suggesting that blacks do not put forth much light.

But when I saw your entry with the joke displayed at the start, it seemed ok. Also, frankly, they deserve to be tweaked for these things.

Lydia McGrew replies:

Well, you’re right, I am tweaking a bit. But (I hope this doesn’t sound too childish) they asked for it. And started it. If they are so ignorant as to insist that these things have these connotations, they deserve some ridicule.

LA replies:

Well put.

Thanks again for giving me more confidence in my joke.

Philip M. writes from England:

Was your reader Robert B. correct to ascribe the offence taken at the use of the term “black hole” to ignorance? Or does the gentleman involved regard himself as being involved in a race-war in which no quarter can be given, no opportunity to exersize power over, humiliate, or demoralise the enemy should be left untaken? Did he do it precisely because he “could”?

I am not saying this is correct, merely asking the question. His motivation intrigues me. The devil at my shoulder has sometimes whispered that I should pursue a similair line at work and in life—to dispute every trivial claim of discrimination against me as a white, straight (left-handed) male in order to clog up the system I despise with frivolous claims, to help create discord and balkanisation (what the hell, it will happen anyway so we may as well jump on the bandwagon and speed it along), and to point out the absurdity and reductio ad absurdum of liberalism—a world in which every bad-tempered left-hander can organise mass walk-outs of all his cack-handed brethren every time someone uses the words “sinister” or “gauche” (both words have left-handist origins and are just another form of racism).

LA replied:

Where is Robert B’s comment you’re replying to? It’s not in the “another niggardly incident” entry.

And what is “cack-handed”?

Philip pointed me to this page with Robert B.’s comment, and continued:

Did I misunderstand the above? Are you trying to imply I am hallucinating this entry in the “niggardly” thread just because I happen to use the right-hemisphere of my brain? Are you accusing me of being another paranoid left-hander? This would seem to be the implication.

Cack-handed is a hate-term that I have to endure every time a coworker sits at my seat and finds the mouse in the wrong place—it means left-handed, but also “clumsy” or “poorly executed” eg “George Bush’s invasion plan for Iraq has been shown to be cack-handed.”

Philip M Sharpton

LA replies:

You’re right, Robert B.’s comment was right there, I just missed it.

I truly apologize. As a half-left hander myself (I write and eat with the left hand, throw and bat and play tennis righty), I fully sympathize (or, should I say, I half-sympathize) with the cruelties you full-lefties have to endure. I will try to be more sensitive in the future and not doubt something you said you saw.

As for cack-handed, I never heard this expression. I guess it’s just in Britain.

Philip has more on the scourge of anti-Lefthandedism here.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 10, 2008 10:10 AM | Send

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