Airline sued for saying "Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Moe"

Two black women have sued Southwest Airlines for discrimination, claiming “physical and emotional distress” after hearing a simple rhyme spoken:

The airline was found not liable, but this is just one of countless accusations of racism made over gestures that merely draw vague associations to racial stereotypes or slurs or history.

So the question is, can’t blacks agree to a more reasonable place to draw the line over whether something should be considered racism?

This is silly. I’ve never even heard the “catch a n----- by his toe” version. The only version I’ve ever heard was “catch a tiger by the toe”. I’d bet that’s the most widespread one. If the other was ever in vogue, it was well before me or pretty much anyone of my generation would have had ears to hear it.

You mean: “these particular two black people, the only ones mentioned in the article” right? Right? Or are you really starting off a “what’s wrong with all these BLACKS…” thread based on a single incident, reported largely because it is exceptional fringe-type news?

To put it simply, I don’t see what grounds this suit is even based on. first of all, it’s one thing to claim emotional distress (I don’t see any description of physical anything here) as part of a crime that was done to you. But causing someone emotional distress alone, even intentionally, is not any sort of crime that I am aware of. That their lawyers even let them pursue that claim could only be a means of bilking them out of legal fees. I don’t know if these ladies were too dumb to find seats on time, but boy are they dumb when it comes to finding legal representation.

But on the part of the case that was allowed: what the heck is “objectively” racist? What idiot spent so much time studying tort reform that they forgot that utterances are NEVER objective events? This is a clear case of two differing SUBJECTIVE interpretations.

And, even given that, what law was broken. Is there a law against offending people with even deliberately meant racist remarks? Are they claiming discrimination (based on what? they got every material thing their ticket entitled them to: a seat, meals, transport, etc.,)

I hardly think its a black american thing… there are so many stories of outrageous suits in the US… I suppose its more of a national thing. Its way too easy to sue.

(I didn’t know about the “nigger” version of the ryhme… )

All 25 million of them? Unlikely. And even if they could, you (assuming you are white) might not agree that it was “reasonable” anyway. So it goes to the courts like a lot of things do.
Hey, I think most people can agree that this was a silly lawsuit. We even had a thread about this back when it first broke, and most people never heard the version of nursery rhyme that containted the “N” word.

Yes, the lawsuit was frivolous, the claims of “damages” were laughable and these two women deserve nothing but ridicule but let’s not generalize these two individuals into “black people.” The vast majority of black people have endured far more egregious and deliberate racial insults than this imagined slight and they don’t go running to lawyers. This kind of action is not representative.

It’s a damn silly lawsuit, but yeah I grew up fully aware of the racist version of “eenie meenie miney moe”.

Just to give this thread a little balance, when I was a kid (1960s & 70s) the "… catch a n***** by the toe… " version was the only one I ever heard. (We’re talking solid white, Italian-American Brooklyn here, a neighborhood that would probably have been happy to sponsor a Klan rally if the KKK didn’t hate Catholics. I doubt many opinions have changed in the minds of the old timers even today.) When I finally heard the “… catch a tiger …” variation, sometime in my 20’s or later, I laughed to myself that someone has sanitized the *real * version.

I’m not saying that these women have a valid case, but I can see how they might be taken aback at the “Eenie, Meenie” reference if the racist version is the only one they’ve ever heard (like me). Once someone explained to them that 99% of the world is used to the inoffensive version they should have gotten over it.

To those who grew up with the ‘clean’ version, did you actually say ‘tiger’ or was it ‘tigger’? (And did you use the second line, ‘if he hollers, let him go’?) The version I heard was with ‘tigger’, so it was eventually obvious that it was formerly something else. Also, tigers don’t have toes, and they don’t ‘holler’. That being said, I’ve met a few people who were surprised to learn that there’s a racist version of the rhyme.

We always said ‘tiger’, and I never heard the old version till college–I think I read it, really, and was quite surprised. I can see where plenty of people in this country can have gotten to adulthood without ever hearing it. (Tigers do too have toes, you just wouldn’t really want to catch a tiger by one. But then, how many teddy bears can turn around, and who kisses snakes accidentally, and since when can you slide down a rainbow? It’s no more nonsensical than any other schoolyard rhyme.)

We also had a sung version that was ‘whipper-whopper.’ (Eeny meeny and a, miney mo, catch a whipper-whopper, by its toe, and if he holler-holler-hollers, don’t let him go, eeny meeny and a, miney mo)

:smack: Can someone point me to the court case that made people think they were entitled to sue for millions of dollars if someone said something that made them uncomfortable?

:smack: Jeez, squeels. If you’re going to start a thread about racism, use a little discretion and avoid making pronouncements that could be taken as racist.

This whole incident reminds me of the black guy who accused a Washington D.C. Councilmember of using racist language just because he had used the word “niggardly” in describing a budget proposal. (“Niggardly” means stingy or miserly and is derived from the Scandinavian word for miser, Nygaard – a far cry from the Latin word for black, Negro, which of course, the other word comes from.)

Previous version of this thread, from a year ago: Airline sued for “eeny meenie miney mo”

‘Can’t blacks agree’


You think that black people are a monolithic entity?

There are stupid petty people in every population, doing stupid petty things and feigning (or genuinely experiencing) offense at the most stupid petty stimuli - this example is just another one of those.

Can you imagine the brouhaha that would have ensued if the stewardesses, while passing out drinks and snacks, used this one instead?

“Me insert ethnicity or nationality here, me play joke, me go pee-pee in your Coke!”

Weird! This is something that I unfortunately have personal experience with. First, I am not a rascist but I am a white country boy (and no, this does not somehow forgive what I am to describe but may go quite some distance in explanation.)
Basically, this is what happened.
I’m standing on a darkened porch with three very good friends and a choice in rotation comes to the fore, I must choose a person. Unthinking and nonchalant, and perhaps with a bit of juvenile ritualism I proceed to “eeney meenie miney moe” the pass. Well, “eeney meeeney miney moe” was always of the more “traditional” variety within my immediate childhood circle and was probably learned from my family, so I get to the damning part and I stutter and obviously flounder, “Catch a Nnnn…nTIGER!.. by the toe…” (internal dialogue: “Oh shit, wait! my black friend is here!”) I flushed. I was never so embarassed and horrified at the nonchalance of a childhood prejudice! Simultaneously, as I felt the warmth in my face, I also realized that I intended no slur upon my friend- my intentions were from habitual semantics and had no rascist undertone. The word “Nigger” is politically charged and swollen with prejudice of and within its etymology. I also simply realized that the simple fact that I caught myself and was embarassed so deeply must point to my redemption. Surely, I would have no such remorse if I were rascist? Does a word still carry hate, if without the intention of hate?

If they win this case, I’m going to sue anyone who uses the term “Paddy-Wack”.

You should sue the manufacturers of Nik-Nak corn chips, in that case.

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: I think when all the blacks meet up at their secret world HQ to decide this, your statement will still fall on the wrong side of the line.

The version I learned had “catch a monkey by the toe, if he hollers make him pay/fifty dollars every day.”