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-   -   Social "Morays" (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=888994)

glowacks 01-25-2020 08:45 AM

Social "Morays"
 
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...ilk-duds-plus/ has a second question about Social "morays".

Obligatory Far Side:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/501658845988418257/

I don't remember if I got the joke when I first saw it, but once I did understand it it was burned into my head.

Colibri 01-25-2020 03:04 PM

When a fish bites your heel
And it looks like an eel
That's a moray!

Larry Borgia 01-26-2020 01:50 AM

Honestly Cecil was a little bit of an asshole on that one. Probably a little racist too.

D'Anconia 01-26-2020 01:03 PM

Racist, how?

Jackmannii 01-26-2020 05:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Larry Borgia (Post 22101067)
Honestly Cecil was a little bit of an asshole on that one. Probably a little racist too.

Maybe a bit insensitive to the spelling-challenged, but racist? Moray eels can be black or white, ya know.

Tim R. Mortiss 01-26-2020 06:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by D'Anconia (Post 22101672)
Racist, how?

I assume the charge of racism is based on Cecil's use of the phrase "call a spade a spade." A phrase which wasn't racist in 2001 but probably is today.

Horatio Hellpop 01-26-2020 07:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss (Post 22102165)
I assume the charge of racism is based on Cecil's use of the phrase "call a spade a spade." A phrase which wasn't racist in 2001 but probably is today.

It was considered mildly racist in the 70s when I first heard it. Did some bump in the space/time continuum cause it to get a free pass in 2001 specifically?

Tim R. Mortiss 01-26-2020 07:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Horatio Hellpop (Post 22102343)
It was considered mildly racist in the 70s when I first heard it. Did some bump in the space/time continuum cause it to get a free pass in 2001 specifically?

Well that was the date of the article.

John W. Kennedy 01-26-2020 08:53 PM

We’ll just ignore the fact that “call a spade a spade” (16th century) is centuries older than the racist usage of spade (20th century), and the fact that “call a spade a spade” refers to the digging implement (from Anglo-Saxon spadu), which is a completely different word from spade the playing card suit (from spada, Italian for “sword”).

Melbourne 01-27-2020 12:53 AM

Another word I learned separately from reading and from conversation, without realizing that the two words were the same.

Aspidistra 01-27-2020 01:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John W. Kennedy (Post 22102473)
We’ll just ignore the fact that “call a spade a spade” (16th century) is centuries older than the racist usage of spade (20th century), and the fact that “call a spade a spade” refers to the digging implement (from Anglo-Saxon spadu), which is a completely different word from spade the playing card suit (from spada, Italian for “sword”).

Example from the late nineteenth - The Importance of being Ernest

Quote:

Originally Posted by GBS
Cecily: When I see a spade I call it a spade.

Gwendolen: I am glad to say that I have never seen a spade. It is obvious that our social spheres have been widely different.

Yup, that's a digging implement alright

Horatio Hellpop 01-27-2020 04:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John W. Kennedy (Post 22102473)
We’ll just ignore the fact that “call a spade a spade” (16th century) is centuries older than the racist usage of spade (20th century), and the fact that “call a spade a spade” refers to the digging implement (from Anglo-Saxon spadu), which is a completely different word from spade the playing card suit (from spada, Italian for “sword”).

You're being disingenuous. A word or expression can have wildly different meanings in different centuries or milieus. Sure, "bitch" means female dog--at the kennel. That doesn't give you a free pass in the office. And while "niggardly" has, I'm sure, the most innocent of etymologies, the manager who famously used it with a black employee in the DC budget office a decade or so back should have known better. He sure does now. An expression's modern connotation exists quite separately from however Christopher Marlowe or Oliver Goldsmith originally intended it.

RTFirefly 01-27-2020 05:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John W. Kennedy (Post 22102473)
We’ll just ignore the fact that “call a spade a spade” (16th century) is centuries older than the racist usage of spade (20th century), and the fact that “call a spade a spade” refers to the digging implement (from Anglo-Saxon spadu), which is a completely different word from spade the playing card suit (from spada, Italian for “sword”).

It's been at least 40 years since I've heard 'spade' in reference to black people; give it another couple of decades, and it'll be like how almost nobody knows that 'welshing' on a bet/deal/whatever was once a slam at persons from Wales.

FWIW, while 'spade' was a slang person for black people in the 1960s and early 1970s, at least in that era it just seemed to be slang, without any derogatory connotations attached. (Maybe in earlier times it did have more of a derogatory implication; I wasn't around then.)

bump 01-27-2020 08:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Horatio Hellpop (Post 22102769)
And while "niggardly" has, I'm sure, the most innocent of etymologies, the manager who famously used it with a black employee in the DC budget office a decade or so back should have known better. He sure does now. An expression's modern connotation exists quite separately from however Christopher Marlowe or Oliver Goldsmith originally intended it.

That's just kowtowing to sheer ignorance. The word has NOTHING to do with the racist term that's similar, and the outcry was absurd.

It's about as stupid as if hispanic people got angry about the use of the term "spic and span".

ftg 01-27-2020 12:35 PM

Ray.

More Rays.

markn+ 01-27-2020 04:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bump (Post 22102991)
That's just kowtowing to sheer ignorance. The word has NOTHING to do with the racist term that's similar, and the outcry was absurd.

It's about as stupid as if hispanic people got angry about the use of the term "spic and span".

That could never happen.

But I agree, it's irritating when someone perceives offence due to their own ignorance. I once saw a Facebook exchange where a woman got very angry when someone asked her if she was retired. It turns out she was confusing the words "retired" and "retarded".

Melbourne 01-27-2020 05:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Horatio Hellpop (Post 22102769)
You're being disingenuous. A word or expression can have wildly different meanings in different centuries or milieus. Sure, "bitch" means female dog--at the kennel. That doesn't give you a free pass in the office. And while "niggardly" has, I'm sure, the most innocent of etymologies, the manager who famously used it with a black employee in the DC budget office a decade or so back should have known better. He sure does now. An expression's modern connotation exists quite separately from however Christopher Marlowe or Oliver Goldsmith originally intended it.

You're being disingenuous. The fact that the word 'spade' could be racist in some context doesn't give you a free pass to call it racist in this article on this website in this century.

You have to come up with a justification that actually includes a justification, not just the observation that there are no free passes.

bump 01-27-2020 10:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Horatio Hellpop (Post 22102343)
It was considered mildly racist in the 70s when I first heard it. Did some bump in the space/time continuum cause it to get a free pass in 2001 specifically?

The phrase dates from the time of Aristophanes; it was old by the time Plutarch used it, and even older when Erasmus (15th-16th century) transcribed it as "spade" instead of "trough" or "fig".

Only in the last century has it been conflated with "spade" as a racial slur.

squidfood 02-03-2020 02:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Horatio Hellpop (Post 22102343)
It was considered mildly racist in the 70s when I first heard it. Did some bump in the space/time continuum cause it to get a free pass in 2001 specifically?

A phrase in North England (particularly said of straight-taling Yorkshire country folk) is "He doesn't call a spade a spade, he calls it an effing shovel." I'm probably pretty naive but I always associated it with the gardening tool.

Chronos 02-04-2020 02:57 PM

Literally the only time I have ever seen any reference to "spade" meaning "person of African descent" is people taking offense, or worrying about offense, from the phrase "call a spade a spade".

And I suspect that if there were a racist usage of a phrase of that sort, "spade" would not be the word used, anyway.

Riemann 02-04-2020 03:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Horatio Hellpop (Post 22102769)
You're being disingenuous. A word or expression can have wildly different meanings in different centuries or milieus. Sure, "bitch" means female dog--at the kennel. That doesn't give you a free pass in the office. And while "niggardly" has, I'm sure, the most innocent of etymologies, the manager who famously used it with a black employee in the DC budget office a decade or so back should have known better. He sure does now. An expression's modern connotation exists quite separately from however Christopher Marlowe or Oliver Goldsmith originally intended it.

Are you suggesting that, in a conversation over the water cooler at an office about pets, it's not appropriate to use the word "bitch" to refer to a female dog?

And the word "niggardly" is not an apt analogy. It's an obscure archaic word that many people will not know, so there's good reason on purely pragmatic grounds to avoid it to avoid the potential for misunderstanding.

The word "spade", on the other hand, is a very common word for a digging implement. Unless you think that we should remove the word from the lexicon altogether for all purposes and use some other word for digging implements, why should its use to mean in a digging implement in one particular phrase be avoided?

Quote:

Originally Posted by markn+ (Post 22104257)
...it's irritating when someone perceives offence due to their own ignorance...

In most cases that's what's going on, and I wholeheartedly agree.

But perhaps we should also be wary of real racists making use of innocuous phrases for the explicit disingenuous purpose of sneaking in racial slurs with plausible deniability.

Guest-starring: Id! 02-08-2020 01:16 PM

At least we've been able to avoid any offensive references to David Spade so far.

/ok got nuthin

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chronos (Post 22119695)
And I suspect that if there were a racist usage of a phrase of that sort, "spade" would not be the word used, anyway.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Riemann (Post 22119783)
Unless you think that we should remove the word from the lexicon altogether for all purposes and use some other word for digging implements, why should its use to mean in a digging implement in one particular phrase be avoided?

These.

AppallingGael 02-08-2020 10:21 PM

I'm not Larry Borgia but I guess he had in mind this closing bit: 'are you sure it’s spelled “Karon”?' A suggestion that one does not know how to spell one's own name would strike many as "assholish", while "probably a little racist" likely derives from two of her three sons bearing black-sounding names, plus the Sade song title in her signature. Though the only "creatively" spelled name is her own, which she is presumably not responsible for.


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