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Dunderhead of the Day (update)
Posted by: McQ on Friday, September 05, 2008

Uh, that would be Republican Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia:
“Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they’re a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they’re uppity,” Westmoreland said, according to The Hill, a newspaper that covers Capitol Hill.

When asked to clarify, Westmoreland said, “Uppity, yeah.”
As I said once before when admonishing some other yahoo who had called a black man "boy", this is simply dumb, shoot-yourself-in-the-foot thing. The fact that he used the word isn't as bad as the excuse he throws out there to justify it:
U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, who was born and raised in the South, said Thursday that he’s never heard the word “uppity” used in a racially loaded fashion — and meant nothing more than “elitist” when he applied it to Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.
That's just unbelievable BS. You have to have lived in a cave in the mountains without human contact for your entire life to have that become a believable excuse. And you certainly can't be a true child of the South without knowing that the word is racially loaded.

You may not like it and may not agree, but to pretend you didn't know about its use in relation to blacks and how that is perceived is just a lie.

Unless, of course, you can claim a life in that cave, that is.

UPDATE: The self-inflicted wound begins to fester.
 
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Being a mostly noreast raised white 24 year old i have to say that i only just barely know of the racial connotations, but i still know them.
 
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
Ditto Josh’s words...

Yeah I now know there is a racial conotation, but my mind STILL seems hard-wired to think "elitist/prideful", without racial stygma attached...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
I was born in Tennessee and live in Alabama. I have lived in the South for 3 decades. I have never, ever heard that word being used that way. I still do not know what the connection is or what it means but will wait until I get home to google it. I do not live in a cave. I asked three of my buddies who work with me. None know of the connection. We are all younger than 32. Does that matter?
 
Written By: Is
URL: http://
You may not like it and may not agree, but to pretend you didn’t know about its use in relation to blacks and how that is perceived is just a lie.
Then please, by all means, call me a liar. Because I grew up in Georgia (heck, my daughter is named Georgia) and I’ve never, ever, ever even considered the word uppity to mean anything but snooty.

Yes, I’ve heard the phrase "the Negroes are getting uppity", but that doesn’t mean the words "the", "getting", and "are" mean anything different.

And, I still find it disheartening that you’re so bound the the PC world of "don’t use a word that might offend someone, even if that’s not what you mean". I have no problem with someone claiming that another person used a word with the INTENT to insult, but it’s illogical to claim you know the person didn’t MEAN anything BUT an insult was still given.
 
Written By: Robb Allen
URL: http://blog.robballen.com
It’s politics, and a politician should know better than to hand out free rhetorical ammo
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
It’s politics, and a politician should know better than to hand out free rhetorical ammo.
Bingo!

You live in and represent the state of MLK and much of the civil rights movement and claim never to have heard that the word is racially loaded.

BS.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Sorry, McQ. I’m here in Atlanta with you. Been here for 34 years, and I’ve never heard of the phrase "uppity" being used in a racial context. Heck...I use it all the time to describe the people that live in the rich neighborhoods.

I googled it to see what I’m missing, and freedictionary.com doesn’t say anything about any racial context. In fact, the expample use of the word comes from a quote in the New York Times. Sure would like to see the original context of that! Who were they describing as uppity?

Not saying that there isn’t some history behind it (obviously there is because there were several links in my google search that provided more info), or that Westmoreland couldn’t have used a better word, but I don’t doubt for a second the possibility that he’s never heard it used in that context. It’s obvious other people from this area haven’t heard it used that way, so I don’t think such great offense should be taken. Robb hit the nail on the head above.

What this will demonstrate, though once again, is the incredible double-standard in the media. A white man uses a marginally insensitive word in a context that doesn’t appear to be racially loaded (although of course, ANY criticism of the Obama’s is automatically racially loaded) and will get grilled by the media and liberal blogs. Jesse Jackson uses the n-word in a clearly negative and insulting manner and gets a pass. Go figure!
 
Written By: scott
URL: http://
I guess I’ll just stop talking all together. Who knows when I will choose a perfectly legitimate word from the English lexicon that unbeknownst to me, was once used in another way? I’m sorry, but this is completely ridiculous. And, I am sick of it. I can’t say "uppity"? Come on!
 
Written By: Is
URL: http://
I don’t know. After reading that rather confusing quote, it seems he doesn’t know the meaning of the word ’individual’, either, so maybe he is that ignorant.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I’m a Southerner, and I am quite aware of the racial connotations of the word "uppity".

At any rate, shark hits the nail on the head. The professional race baiters will seize upon ANY excuse to say, "Aha! Look at how bigotted the Republicans are!" Witness the "macaca" incident. Or a man being fired for using the word "niggardly". Or the false outrage over using the term "black hole" to describe an inefficient government office.

Westmoreland is an idiot. I-D-I-O-T. I’m not surprised to find that he’s a member of Congress, which must have the lowest per capita common sense quotient outside of a group of stoned teenagers.
 
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://
And, I still find it disheartening that you’re so bound the the PC world of "don’t use a word that might offend someone, even if that’s not what you mean".
It really has nothing to do with that - it has to do with politics and self-inflicted wounds. As I’ve said any number of times, perception is reality in politics and whether or not you like the rules, they’re still the rules.

If southern politicians have no knowledge of this word being racially loaded wouldn’t they be using it all the time to describe Obama? After all, as it is used it would be synonymous with "elite".

But they don’t. Not one, other than Lynn Westmoreland, has used the word "uppity" when describing Obama.

They’ve certainly used the term "elite". But none, other than Westmoreland, use the word "uppity".

Why?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Why? Because people like you who promote the "Perception is reality" meme. I guess I shouldn’t speak at all because there’s always some a**hole out there that is going to try to interpret my words as something else. I won’t give into that even if you will.

I’ve NEVER considered the word Uppity to mean anything but elitist. Others have already chimed in with their points. I just got through asking my VERY liberal coworkers what they thought the word meant, and not a single one of them thought it racist.

Call BS all you want, Bruce but you’re wrong on this one. And by agreeing with the race baiters, you are the one giving them ammunition.
 
Written By: Robb Allen
URL: http://blog.robballen.com
How many words in the English language get to have a racial stigma attached to them? Having to walk on eggshells because somebody might perceive a slight from an innocent choice of words is an effort that I choose not to participate in. I don’t see a lot of ethnic groups concerned about what may offend me and my ilk. In fact it is quite the contrary. I understand that the point in this post is a suspect denial of the word’s connotation. Nevertheless, it’s another situation that arose because a word or phrase is supposed to be avoided by all except one ethnic group. It seems to me that group has a monopoly on quite a few words. Funny as hell when they use it. Egregious when somebody else does.

F@%& that!
 
Written By: jfw1961
URL: http://
Well whether or not you think it’s racist...the fish is in the fire now.
I’m a 30 year transplant and the connotation I’ve heard it in is almost always racially tinged.
And it’s another word that whites can’t use that blacks CAN.

Remember "niggardly" was a problem.
As recently as LAST MONTH "Black Hole" used in context to mean a department wherein all matter (money) seems to vanish was a problem in the Dallas city council meetings.

Like it or not, people who want to get offended are much more likely to see it in it’s racial sense.

You can bet that "uppity" is going to be a problem ESPECIALLY because he used it IN the same sentence as the name OBAMA. And they’ll ride this horse as far and fast as they can now.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Why? Because people like you who promote the "Perception is reality" meme.
I’m not promoting anything - I’ve found that to be a political truth.

So it’s up to you - you can be politically dumb and pay the consequences or be politically smart and play the game until such a day as "uppity" is no longer considered a racially loaded term.

If you feel the need to go out and use the term ’uppity’ in relation to a black person, be my guest.

But when you distract from whatever point you were trying to make, don’t come crying to me.

Reality is a b*tch who doesn’t really care what you would prefer or how much it offends you not to have it your way. She is what she is.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I’m 33, born (and still live) in Alabama. The only times I can recall hearing the word "uppity" in a racially tinged sense is when I heard a phrase something like "the Negroes sure are getting uppity" used by people while mocking others. That’s not to say it hasn’t been used by racists in the sense McQ is referring to, but I haven’t heard it used that way. Now that I think about it, prior to this Westmoreland guy, I don’t think I’ve every heard the word used at all other than the aforementioned mocking sense.
 
Written By: meh
URL: http://
Sorry, McQ. I was born and raised in California and am living there today. Is it okay that I’ve never heard of the phrase "uppity" being used in a racial context?
 
Written By: Nuclear
URL: http://
English not being my native tongue, I’ve never heard of the term ’uppity’ being used to describe anything but arrogant conceitedness. But after learning the Urban Dictionary definition of ’uppity negro’, I do see the point McQ is trying to make.
Either Westmoreland didn’t know this alternative use of the word and made a gaffe that could be exploited by the left as an example of the perceived racism of the Republican party, or he did know and used it anyhow.
In both cases, Westmoreland is wrong. Politicians should be able to foresee the political implications of their choice of words. Not doing so, and not taking PC-ness into account is just bad political strategy
 
Written By: ishopphotos
URL: http://
I think there is a bit of a generational gap between those who’ve heard "uppity" used in a racially tinged manner, such as McQ and Westmoreland (or, at least, as Westmoreland should have known), and those who may have only heard used in an ironic/sarcastic sense. Personally, I’ve always known it was racially charged, and I’ve never once heard it to describe someone as elitist.

In my experience, it’s only ever applied to someone who doesn’t know their place. It’s not a term used to describe someone who is rich or powerful by someone who is less well of on the social scale, but instead, by someone who perceives themselves as being in a higher position of standing and status, such parent to child: "Don’t get uppity with me, young man!"

For Westmoreland to claim that he hadn’t ever heard that connotation is disingenuous IMHO, and he should have known better than offer race-baiters a free swing.
Why? Because people like you who promote the "Perception is reality" meme. I guess I shouldn’t speak at all because there’s always some a**hole out there that is going to try to interpret my words as something else. I won’t give into that even if you will.
Feel free to speak in whatever manner, and using whichever words you like. I mean, it’s real shame that words like "Negro," "colored," and "boy" are no longer as versatile to you as they once were. So, by all means, use them how you see fit. Just don’t be surprised if others don’t see it the same way.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://qando.net
it’s only ever applied to someone who doesn’t know their place
B I N G O.

And tying it to Obama in one sentence...the rest will be a furious 5 day history.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
It really has nothing to do with that - it has to do with politics and self-inflicted wounds.
So, if I’m a conservative, and don’t use those bad phrases, and bad words, does that mean they’ll hate me any less? Somehow I don’t think so.

Seems to me we just had this discussion as regards Islamic terrorists,

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
"Why? Because people like you who promote the ’Perception is reality’ meme."
That is exactly correct. It’s a basic surrender to nonsense, horribly unworthy of McQauin, who would do well to throw it overboard.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
McQ is right.

Better be careful who you call a "buffalo", too.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Sorry, McQ. I was born and raised in California and am living there today. Is it okay that I’ve never heard of the phrase "uppity" being used in a racial context?
Does this answer your question?
And you certainly can’t be a true child of the South without knowing that the word is racially loaded.
Just so you know, "the South" does not include Southern California.
It’s a basic surrender to nonsense, horribly unworthy of McQauin, who would do well to throw it overboard.
Uh, no. It’s called basic common sense, as in your point won’t be heard or understood if you’re being disrespectful. I’m not surprised you don’t get that.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://qando.net
Reality vs the way you guys wish it would be.
On this premise I think I’ll test gravity here at the office today. It’s only 3 stories.

I wonder which will win, my wish about how it works, or how it works.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Gimme a break you guys. I’m 35, grew up in NJ, and have never heard or read "uppity" used in any context aside from "uppity Negro."

I’m with McQ and MichaelW. Feel free to try and reclaim the oh-so-useful in everyday life "uppity" and cry tears of woe as to how this term has also been denied you, but the fact is a man who grew up in frickin’ Georgia in the 50s and 60s is no way, no how ignorant of the common usage of uppity when applied to someone black.

He was an idiot to use the term and deserves to be called out as such. And yes, I find it offensive - and I’m not even black! He’s got every right to say it, just like you have every right to call me a cheap Jew, doesn’t make it appropriate.



P.S. I lived in DC when the guy had to quit for using the word niggardly - and was appalled. Totally different case - he was run out by ignorant people for using an inoffensive word correctly. This guy is being called out for using a term commonly understood as really offensive. (and no I don’t think he should have to quit because of it).
 
Written By: Amy
URL: http://
I wonder...

The elephant in the room in this election is race. I’ve seen stories about dems waxing furious WITH THEIR OWN VOTERS who (so far) haven’t swung wholeheartedly behind The Annointed One. This is especially true of white union workers in places like PA who went for the Hilldabeast; union leaders have all but called their serfs members "racists".

If the Obama camp tries too hard to play the race card based on Westmoreland’s idiot, it might backfire. As we see from many of the comments above, "uppity" isn’t universally considered to be a racially-loaded term. How many white voters will be put off by a campaign that tries to make a racist mountain out of a molehill, especially in light of The Annointed One’s oft-repeated promises to "change politics"?

Playing the victim card may not get people to vote for McCain, but I don’t think it will entice them to vote for The Annointed One, either.

One final note: why do we consider Obama to be black? His mother was white.
 
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://
When I refer to my coworkers as "the boys I work with" Am I insulting the white ones because it infers they aren’t white or the black ones because it infers they have a lower social status?
If they are offended, is it the black ones that are snooty or are they all being a little uppity? Perhaps my statement is a double entendre, meant to offend some but not all, and left to reader to decide.

Isn’t that a big arrow in a politicians quiver?

I say it adds color to the political landscape and is welcome in the public arena. Maybe I should have said "flavor".......Nyaaah!
 
Written By: BugSpray
URL: http://
BugSpray:

If you want to know the answers to your question, I suggest you walk around the office addressing everyone as "boy" and, if they get out of line, telling them that they’re being "uppity." Once you’ve found a new job, you can let us know about the results of your research.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://qando.net
McQ is right - but let a democrat, for instance, draw a racist cartoon of a black republican, and listen for the deafening silence.
 
Written By: The Gonzman
URL: http://
McQ, by simply repeating the words, is just as guilty as Westmoreland. Because if simply saying the word makes you a racist, intent be damned, then Bruce is equally at fault for printing it on his blogs. I don’t see the logical difference especially given that Bruce ADMITS he "knows what the word means" where Westmoreland claims he doesn’t.

Is it reality that people are so stupid they think they have the logical right to take whatever meaning they wish from any sentence they hear even when they know that it wasn’t the speakers intent? Yes, it is. But it is cowardly and asinine for you assume that because people are that stupid that we should not attempt to correct the error. 20 years ago you’d have been laughed out of a meeting for suggesting "black hole" was racist, but today, great minds cower and blame the speaker for using a term they *know* could offend someone.

What a brave world we inhabit.
 
Written By: Robb Allen
URL: http://blog.robballen.com
McQ, by simply repeating the words, is just as guilty as Westmoreland. Because if simply saying the word makes you a racist, intent be damned, then Bruce is equally at fault for printing it on his blogs. I don’t see the logical difference especially given that Bruce ADMITS he "knows what the word means" where Westmoreland claims he doesn’t.
You’re kidding, right?

Come on Rob, you can do much better than this.

I never once implied saying any word makes you a racist. I said that depending on the context in which it is used, it can be a racially loaded term based on it’s history of use in that context.

Now if you can’t figure that out and understand the difference, I’ll have to admit to being surprised.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Sorry if I come off a little p!ssy, but you guys are talking "that’s the reality of politics" but it’s more than just that. I shouldn’t be fired for calling a department a "black hole". If I claim another programmer "monkied up my code", that’s not racist even if the offending programmer is black. And it simply amazes me those of you here that fight for liberty like I do seemingly accept this as a "fact of reality" when it’s not. It’s a lie, a falsity that the PC brigade pushes in order to silence others.

How am I supposed to speak if I fear that any turn of phrase, no matter how benign, could be misconstrued for some offensive statement? To grant legitimacy to this practice by claiming "that’s reality" is literally insane. Yes, people will get offended by ANYTHING, but that’s not the same as saying logically then they are correct.

Granted, I probably shouldn’t grab a hold of this tar baby...

As to responding to you Bruce, there is no difference. I can claim that you used the word KNOWING that it’s an insult. Context be damned because you’re ignoring the context of Westmoreland, and you’ve also called me a liar when I claimed I didn’t get the connotation you did thus ignoring MY context. Some of us have different contexts and as someone raised in Georgia, I honestly do not get the problem because in MY context, I’ve heard the word used plenty of times and none of them racist.

If you are stating that Westmoreland MEANT to insult, I can agree with that train of thought. But you have stated that even if he didn’t, he shouldn’t because someone MIGHT take offense. Where do we draw the line?

You know I respect you all, and I don’t want to come across as an jerk, but I’ve learned that intent belongs to the speaker and the path to PC oblivion is directly tied to removing the intent and placing it on the listener.
 
Written By: Robb Allen
URL: http://blog.robballen.com
It’s a context issue, it’s a timing issue.

Why are you guys pretending this is any different than saying
"Wow! that chick is the BOMB", while standing in the security line at O’Hare,
or remarking in the greeting line at a Jewish wedding that your buddy Robert Heller who fell out of the canoe into the mud sure was a "dirty Jew".

Certain words you just don’t use at certain times and in certain contexts without causing yourself problems.

Stop pretending this is some magically isolated case of reality.
Stop acting all offended that you really do have to "watch your mouth" at times.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Ok, looker, if it’s a timing issue riddle me this - When can I call the Obamas ’Uppity’.

At what time and in what context is that permissible?
 
Written By: Robb Allen
URL: http://blog.robballen.com
I can claim that you used the word KNOWING that it’s an insult.
You can claim whatever you wish. Whether anyone will treat your claim as credible just because you make it is another thing altogether isn’t it?

Obviously, other than you, no one here is making that claim, so I’d have to conclude your claim is baseless.

But in the context that Westmoreland used it is is commonly understood, based on past use in that context, to be a racially loaded term meaning he (Obama) should know his place.

Now you deny knowing that uppity when used when talking about a black person is a racially loaded word. I can’t help you with that. I’m 60 and I’ve known what it means to use the word in that context for 50 years.

And Lynn Westmoreland is 2 years younger than me and was born in Atlanta and lived there during the 60’s and the civil rights era.

You may actually not have ever heard the term used in that context, but it stretches credulity beyond a resonable point to believe Westmoreland is ignorant of it.
Context be damned because you’re ignoring the context of Westmoreland, and you’ve also called me a liar when I claimed I didn’t get the connotation you did thus ignoring MY context.
I don’t recall calling you a liar but I certainly think Westmoreland is BSing us.

But to your point - you context is meaningless unless you utter the word to yourself. But, as Michael points out, try going out to a group of black people and, with your "context" call them "uppity". See what reaction you receive. I’d love to know.
You know I respect you all, and I don’t want to come across as an jerk, but I’ve learned that intent belongs to the speaker and the path to PC oblivion is directly tied to removing the intent and placing it on the listener.
Well then go out and call a black guy a "n*gger" and then explain to him that your intent is to demonstrate that not doing so is "the path to PC oblivion" and you’re only trying to avoid that.

Whose context do you think he’s going to consult?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
uppity

uppity

uppity

uppity

Uppity negro

uppity

uppity music - gee....wonder why he picked the word uppity


uppity - Jesus, look at the list of code words at the top of THIS PAGE page....rape, fried chicken, gangsta, dawg, cottonpicker, coon...gee...I wonder what uppity is doing with all those other hot button words, why would it be there?
It IS a puzzler no?
Ok, looker, if it’s a timing issue riddle me this - When can I call the Obamas ’Uppity’.
Geeze Rob, I guess when you’re black you might be able to, otherwise if it were me as a white guy, and I didn’t want the boat load of aggravation I was surely going to get I’d sure as hell steer clear of using the term in the same sentence as anything relating to Barak Obama.

Now you all can have fun with a quick google search and see just HOW many of the links to "Uppity" will tie to some reference to "people of color", I stopped after two pages worth, and there sure are a lot of people who are reading it the way McQ reads it and I SUPPOSE it could be because McQ mentioned it, you know, like, they all got the idea from him...somehow though, I’m doubting it.

Do some statistics on it, I mean, just because you guys never heard it used that way, it must mean it’s NEVER used that way, right?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Robb, a thing is what it is. I don’t particularly care for the PC aspects of it, but the fact remains if I use certain words in certain contexts I am going to be crucified. More so if I am a public figure.

Worse - there is a double standard. Not a decade ago I sat and listened to some white Democrat in my own town refer to Clarence Thomas’ wife, and call Clarence her "Mandingo." Got laughs. From a mixed race, liberal audience. I’m part Lenni Lenape- minute liberals find out I’m not their performing monkey, out come the "Uncle Tom-Tom" sneers. Yeah, this from the bunch who think "Washington Redskins" is "just awful!" (Insert pout and foot stomp.) Harry Belafonte calls Colin Powell GWB’s "House Nigger." Not a peep. Jesse Jackson calls NYC "Hymietown." Not a peep.

If I publicly desecrated a Koran, I’d have to go into hiding, and not just from the Islamofascists. Liberals everywhere would say the video of my beheading was "what I deserved." Let PZ Myers desecrate a communion wafer - not a peep. In fact, the damn Catholics need to lighten up. (Of course, that also says a lot about the specious charge of Christofascism - Offend Christians and they write letters to the editor. Offend Muslims and they burn cities.)

Still remains, as my father taught me - you can be so right you’re dead right. By all means, the light is green, you have the right of way, and that drunken asshat has no business on the road much less running the light.

We’ll carve it as your epitaph. "He was right!"

We should be able to speak such things. Damn skippy. But that is not a plan for changing the way things are.
 
Written By: The Gonzman
URL: http://
Robb Allen,

Intellectually, I agree with you. We (allegedly) have freedom of speech in this country, and it is (allegedly) a deeply-held American principle that a person can say what he likes within the very wide bounds of the laws forbidding slander or causing some danger to the public good, such as inciting a riot or yelling "Fire!" in a theater. It’s ridiculous that people will wax so indignant over a mere word.

But reality is what it is. Westmoreland, a Republican politician, has used a term that can easily be construed as racially offensive. Whether he was trying to be "cute", whether he was actually trying to be offensive, or whether he’s just an idiot, doesn’t really matter. He has committed the "crime" of offending a segment of the population that is constantly on hair-trigger alert for any HINT of offense, especially from a Republican. It’s similar to pulling alongside a police car and racing your engine while smoking a hand-rolled cigarette: not illegal, but definitely not smart, either.

We can bemoan the facts that our language is being bastardized and censored and that our freedom of speech is being curtailed, but the fact is that, if a person transgress against society’s rules, then he must be prepared to pay the penalties. He may not like the rules or agree with them, but they have affect nonetheless. Westmoreland effectively committed crimespeak, and people other than himself are going to have to pay the penalties for it.
 
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://
Dixie Chicks moment - when you discover your freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences for your speech.

McQ points out reality and some people go off on him like the Catholic Church with Galileo.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
it’s only ever applied to someone who doesn’t know their place
B I N G O.
I second that bingo.

“Uppity” is a stupid word anyway.

There are so many better, more specific to your meaning words than "uppity", and a congressman should know a few, yes?
assuming, assumptive, audacious, bold, boldfaced, brash, brazen, cheeky, contumelious, familiar, forward, impertinent, insolent, malapert, nervy, overconfident, pert, presuming, presumptuous, pushy, sassy, saucy, smart
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Ya know though Pogue, I think it’s bad all around in any way shape size or form to imply Obama ’doesn’t know his place’.

In the US this business of ’knowing your place’ is not supposed to have any meaning. Knowing your place is, well, a commoner knowing better than trying to be nobility, a slave knowing better than trying to act like a free man, a serf knowing better than trying to be a lord. There’s just no good context to me for saying someone ought to ’know their place’. It’s demeaning and intended to be so.

As I look through that list the only words I can find that I’d be willing to use would be audacious, bold, or overconfident. There’s not a single one of the rest that I’d try and apply. Audacious and bold have more positive connotations to me, and while he may be audacious and bold, overconfident is what I would actually use.

However, as a duly elected Senator from the state of Illinois he CERTAINLY has a right to think his place may be the White House, even if I think he’s overconfident to think so.

Uppity sure was a crappy way of saying overconfident if that’s what he meant.

Cheers.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Look, it’s real simple.
Some words and situations are racially charged in our culture. You cannot get around it and for the love of god why would have any desire to. It is what it is and I can’t think of any situation where it would detract from one’s well being. It’s merely being polite and respectful.

Think about this for a second. Think about fried chicken and watermelon.
Now I don’t know anyone, white, black, green, or purple, who doesn’t like fried chicken or watermelon. Yet the combination of fried chicken and watermelon carry a certain racial context to it, for better or worse.
Personally, I love fried chicken and watermelon. In fact I think those to be two of the best things on the planet. And my lily white, freckled Irish ass is as pale as they come.

However, if I had new neighbors move in that happen to be black, and I invited them over for supper and a movie, I certainly wouldn’t serve fried chicken and watermelon. Imagine their first impressions.

It’s just a matter of respect.

I’d probably serve some good old white boy dinner with lots and lots of mayonnaise. But I’d probably wouldn’t have them over for a movie anyway… you know… they’d probably talk throughout the entire thing.

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
What is it with these knuckleheads? Use a word they don’t like, even if perfectly descriptive, and they tag it with ’racial’.

I was born in Atlanta and lived in the south.... deep south, for 22 years. I’ve heard ’uppity’ attached to any (or combination of) gender, race, and/or social position perceived by others to ’be putting on airs’. Examples being: buying a car seen as above one’s station in life, attending a church with a congregation that is above your socio-economic station, shopping at high end stores, and/or undertaking leisure activity at odds with your peers... like ordering Courvoisier when everyone else is having PBR in pitchers.

How about spending some brain power on real issues?
 
Written By: John Chapman
URL: http://
It’s surprising to a lot of you that some people, even people like me who had some LOVELY names attached to him as a child (mixed breed, you know. Try growing up in the 70’s in Georgia with that) don’t get the racial overtones of the word uppity. And a Google search proves nothing, I can search for "fire cannot melt steel" and come up with hundreds of pages too, doesn’t mean anything (and nice try using links to OTHER people talking about the SAME story!).

However, this is actually beside the point I’m trying to make. If you think this guy used the word in a racially disparaging way, that’s logical. If you are someone like me who can’t wrap his head around a word that he doesn’t find insulting, the you might believe he didn’t mean it. Honestly, I don’t know the guy, I don’t know the context of his upbringing (just being a Georgian has nothing to do with it, maybe it’s different in Alpharetta than Marietta), so I can’t claim to be able to read his mind. But the only logical conclusions are he was trying to be insulting or he wasn’t.

What bothers me is when people say "Oh, we know he didn’t mean it to be racially charged, but we’re going to accuse him of being racially insensitive nonetheless." Reality of politics or not, that is illogical. It’s like saying "I know you’re 6’8", but I’m labeling you a midget anyway".

To grant you all a point, smart politicians know how to choose words that mean the same thing that have less of a chance of being misconstrued, or in Obama’s case, say a lot of things with no chance of any sort of substance coming out. However, when blacks had to sit at the back of the bus, that was "political reality". Thank God people didn’t buy into that and worked to change the system. That’s what I’m trying to do - get people to realize that a person who speaks owns the intent of his words and even if YOU wouldn’t have used those words, you cannot transfer your intent to them. Nothing more, nothing less.

Group hug?
 
Written By: Robb Allen
URL: http://blog.robballen.com
a congressman should know a few, yes?
Indeed. Although this congressman doesn’t seem to be able to put together a coherent English sentence. If we try to actually parse it out, he apears to be saying that the Obamas are part of some individual, an elitist-class individual. And that that individual thinks the Obamas are upitty.

It don’t make no sense. No-how.

Although perhaps he’s anthropomorphizing the democratic party, of which the Obamas are, in fact, a part. Then he could be suggesting that the accusation of upittiness comes from the Democratic party as represented by an Elitist-Class Individual. Yeah, that’s the explanation I’d have gone with.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
That’s what I’m trying to do - get people to realize that a person who speaks owns the intent of his words and even if YOU wouldn’t have used those words, you cannot transfer your intent to them. Nothing more, nothing less.
Fair enough, Robb, and I don’t think you’ll get much disagreement around here. The difference between PC nuttiness and calling a black person "uppity", however, is one worth pointing out.

No matter how aware of it you or others may be, blacks surely know how they see it. Their pretty sensitive to be told that they need to know their place because for centuries that place was either slavery or second-class citizen. That’s not the case now (of course, some will disagree), but there are lots of black people that remember those days, and their children and grand-children have heard the stories. When a white person in power refers to a rising politician of African decent as "uppity" you can bet your britches that the black community is going to take umbrage at it, and not just the race hustlers. Taking all that into account, and then understanding that in this context Westmoreland was rhetorically attacking Obama, it should have occurred to him that "uppity" was not the word to use.

Plus, consider the fact that "uppity" is a familiar term. You may call your friends and acquaintances uppity from time to time, but you don’t talk that way about people you don’t know without expecting some sort of backlash.

No matter what his intent, Westmoreland should have known that. Part of effective communication is making both the substance and intent of your thoughts understood with clarity. He failed at that task miserably.

Now, if Westmoreland had wanted to make a point about Obama being stingy and referred to him as "niggardly" he would likely have gotten much the same reaction, it’s true. But I’d be right there with you condemning the outrage because there’s nothing condescending or derisive about the word, and there’s no particular history of demeaning a group of people with the word.

That didn’t happen here though, so I think Westmoreland is properly chastised, regardless of whatever innocuous meaning the word might have.
Group hug?
Perv.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://qando.net
Ya know though Pogue, I think it’s bad all around in any way shape size or form to imply Obama ’doesn’t know his place’.
I dunno. I would think using a counterfeit of the Presidential Seal during a campaign for the same absolutely does fit the dictionary definition of "uppity." Though it would still be better by far to consult a thesaurus rather than a dictionary when speaking on the public record.
 
Written By: The Gonzman
URL: http://
"No matter what his intent, Westmoreland should have known that."

Indeed. I am reasonably sure that at least a few of his constituents are black, and it is surprising that he is not more aware of their sensibilities. He must not be a very good politician.

"Think about fried chicken and watermelon"

My wife and I were house hunting a few years back, and we looked at quite a few of them. As we toured one house I remember thinking that it was immaculate and well decorated, until I got to the kitchen. The theme was watermelon. I detest watermelons. Watermelon printed towels, ceramic watermelons, prints of watermelons, all sorts of kitschy watermelon c**p that contrasted with the rest of the beautifully decorated house. I was puzzled, and as we continued on into the living room I was nonplussed. The owner, a black woman, was sitting on the sofa. I do not think we discussed her choice of decorative motif in the kitchen (which I now regret), and I wish I could have gotten to know that woman. Pure class, and probably a great sense of humor and irony.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
He should have said "high-falutin’" which doesn’t have a racial context.

I do hope that uppity can survive and lose its racial context, because it is a funny word...up+a bunch of letters+y...

I recently heard on of CNN’s female commentators say that Obama’s campaign could "re-jigger" their message to attack Palin...ooooooooh, I wonder if she regretted saying that, and why did her brain choose that word instead of the simpler and safer "change."
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
This kind of thing can get just plain stupid.

I was once told on a left-wing blog that I shouldn’t use the term "folks" to refer to folks because it was term some well-known right-wing broadcaster used—so my condemner stated—as a way to fake being "of the people", and so he assumed I meant it the same way.

I didn’t, and don’t, mean it that way.

I just mean folks. No matter what the other guy thought. So, I just thought he was being kinda uppity.

 
Written By: Ron Good
URL: http://northernsubverbia.blogspot.com

 
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