Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Words, Words, Words

I have been shocked that the word "uppity" has been designated to black people.  I love the word.  Never thought that it was a pejorative word to black people.  I thought it was possibly a negative word, yet descriptive to the British.  Really, there have been so many great characters in fiction and in real life that have been uppity.  How many incredible characters played by the superlative Maggie Smith could be called uppity?  Does this all go back to Clarence Thomas and the Senate hearings?  And now, Rush Limbaugh about Michelle Obama? Other than those two examples, can you tell me others?  I don't want the word to become defined so narrowly to one specific segment of the population.  As far as I am concerned, the word has been used far more in novels, plays, and movies toward white women than black people.  Maybe I should be insulted for all white women when the term is used towards them, but I think it's a great word. I like the way it sounds. I like the way it feels to say it.  I am here to take back the word!

Have you seen the commercial for D'Noir Prunes?  Noir is and has always been a French word pronounced n-wahr.  Film noir?  On the commercial for Sunsweet they sat in their marketing meeting and decided to pronounce it Duh-Nor.  Really?  Are they kidding me?  Duh-Nor?  Noir means black in French.  Why are the advertisers bastardizing another language? L'Oreal has a new mousse called Sublime.  Sublime has always been pronounced sub-lieyme.  Not the L'Oreal mousse.  They are calling it Subleem.  Really?  How is it even possible to get through all the levels that have to sign off on product names and scripts?  It is truly unbearable to hear words mispronounced on the subway, but now in products and commercials?  Do you know anyone that pronounces negotiate as ne-go-see-ate?  It's making a comeback.  It is the English pronunciation not the American English pronunciation.  I knew someone who one day heard an English person say negosiate and from that point on said it that way.  Really?  I have heard people on the news saying it and it's not Piers Morgan.  Why doesn't anyone say anything?  Art directors? Teachers? Spouses? Producers?  Someone?  Anyone?  

Sidebars: I am deeply disheartened by the announcement that Congressman Barney Frank will not be running for re-election.  He is without question the most uncensored voice in the Democratic party.  You may not always agree with what Barney Frank has to say, but he doesn't mince words.  He stands on his own and stands up for both his constituents and all Americans.  Congress will be just a bit more homogeneous without him.

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  1. I have to say that in my experience that the word "uppity' has been historically used for black people in the south who were trying to attain upward mobility. That type of cultural reference is/was common. I know that it probably was a word in existence prior to that but I believe that that is where it attained more common usage. I'm pretty sure if you asked any black people, they'd be able to tell you the same thing. So, it definitely didn't start w/Clarence Thomas and it makes perfect sense for Rush Limbaugh to invoke that negative term about Michelle Obama. But, mostly, in the beginning, I believe it was used by black people about other black people. Thus ends today's history lesson. Great blog. So sad about Barney Frank - another good one bites the dust. Now what?