We were in Kentucky when my husband’s car broke down.

The man who fixed it said, “I might have to afro-rig something.”

Am I the only one who finds this comment baffling? If you’re going to be racist, why not just go whole hog and say “nigger rig”?

Does anyone feel that substituting “afro” for “nigger” turns this offensive statement into a benign one?

No, it’s still a negative statement based on race.

Maybe it shows that modern society is getting through to this kind of mentality. I’m sure the guy still thinks that the PC police rule, but if it gets him to modify his vocabulary, maybe we haven’t won the war but maybe we won the battle.

I don’t know. For me, it’s as if he thinks there’s a loophole, that he can be as racist as he wants so long as he doesn’t use a few forbidden words.

Or he’s a dumbass, like those that say “lets make like a tree and move”.

But it means that society is getting into his head. Maybe not today, nor tomorrow, but maybe into his kid’s heads. If someone who was born in the 1930’s-40’s stopped saying “nigger” around his kids, and said “black” “Afro-American” or anything else, maybe it, incrementally, makes a slight bit of difference.

But if he’s using it as a derogatory term, how is that different? The word has changed, but not what he means by it.

I am baffled because I have never heard either term before and don’t know what it means (though I suppose I can guess from the context) and, therefore, why it would be offensive. But I certainly know that the dreaded n-word is offensive.

My grandmother–progressive for the time and place where she grew up–used to say “colored” rather than the more objectionable terms for Negro. Trying saying that today and the least you’ll get is a nasty look. I agree with jsgoddess; he seems to feel he’s found a way to use an implicitly and historically insulting term–to “nigger-rig” or fix something in an extemporaneous, slip-shod manner–that satisfies modern sensitivies while retaining the same connotation. Meanwhile, people continue to be offended by the use of that previously widely accepted term in the dialogue of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn while blacks use it colloqually to refer to one another with locker-room affection.

What would make a difference is the mechanic’s children recognizing that one’s phyletic background is not an automatic indicator of one’s social status or capabilities. Somehow, I doubt this is the lesson being imparted to this hypothetical child.

Besides, it’s a really stupid sounding neologism.

Never fear that we’ll be without racial epitaphs; there’s always the Irish, and almost nobody–or at least nobody worth mentioning–raises more than a faint objection to offensive characterization of that species. We may be removing offensive stereotypes from state flags and school mascots, but Lucky the Leprechaun will eternally grace the front of Lucky Charms cereal as long as General Mills keeps shipping it.


They did say “nigger rig” something when I grew up in West Texas. Back then and there, no one gave it a second thought, myself included I’m sorry to say, but it was just what we grew up with, so there you have it. Then people started to say “Afro rig” as a joke, but no one was trying to be politically correct; it was a joke against “those sissy liberals.” I would never say such a thing now. What I do hear in this day and age is to “jury rig” something.

Oh, and I’ve heard “Afro engineer” something, too, as well as references to the art of “Afro engineering.”

Isn’t “jury-rig” originated from “Jerry-rig,” which meant “German” because Jerry was the slang term for the Germans back then? Funny, because now “German-engineered” is a positive thing.

“Jury-rig” is the only version I’ve ever heard anyone say.

‘jury-rig’ is probably pretty old. ‘Jury’ for ‘temporary and not made to last’ in nautical usage (‘jury-mast’) dates back to 1616. There’s also the British “jerry-built”, which refers more to shoddily made goods. It goes back to the 19th Century and is possibly etymologically related. This leads to the variation “jerry-rigged”. Use of “Jerry” as slang for German soldiers makes some feel that ‘jerry-built’ comes from that and may be mildly offensive.

Not nearly as offensive as ‘nigger-rig’ or ‘Afro-rig’. The problem I see with it is that it’s slightly more acceptable to most people and thus has a longer lifetime. ‘Nigger-rig’ won’t be tolerated; it’s going to drop from people’s vocabulary quickly. A milder form is going to last a lot longer, because some people won’t mind it quite as much. If I heard someone say it I probably wouldn’t even realize what they said until later, but if someone says “nigger-rig” I’m going to notice it right away.

So I can see how someone would switch, and also why it might end up being a favored term for people being racist.

I guess I’m naive, but when I first saw this thread title, I immediately assumed it was about some sort of scaffolding to put inside your afro to keep it poofy and structurally sound. You know, afro-rigging.

Then again, I’ve never heard the more offensive version of the term either. I do think that if a carelessly racist person begins to take notice of certain uncrossable lines, that’s progress, even if it’s not very substantial progress.

I assumed it meant something along the lines of propping up an Afro too, only because I’ve never heard the “afro-rigging” variation before, but have heard the more offensive one way too often. But scaffolding gave me a good visual to chuckle with.

Outside of this board, I’ve never heard anyone use either term in the OP. Nor jury-rig, actually. OTOH, I’ve heard “jerry-rig” more times than I can count.

I guess that’s where we get the word “jury”, as in a court trial. Because these people are convened temporarily.

Well, I’m going to confess that when a co-worker talked about “Jewing down” someone, I told him not to use that phrase. He looked embarrassed so I continued, “You should say you Hebrewed him down.”

Much laughter ensued.

I’m a bad, bad man.

I had a co-worker tell me that an African American fellow employee had a “porch n-word” mentality. I was too stunned to say anything.

In the spirit of Bill Mahr:

New Rule

Substituting the politically correct word for a minority into a disparagement of said minority doesn’t make you less prejudiced. It does make you an a**hole.

In that vein, though, dude- why not just type “asshole?”