imkittymyers at hotmail dot com
Friday, May 19, 2006
"`Mawnin'!' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee - `nice wedder dis mawnin',' sezee.
"Tar-Baby ain't sayin' nuthin', en Brer Fox he lay low."
I have a friend whose quick wit makes him fun to be with, but whose public demeanor can be compulsively PC. I recently stopped by where he works to see him, and during our conversation he said, "It's not right and it's not fair." To which I replied, "Sounds like a black man's left leg" (a line spoken by Diana Rigg's character in the 1982 movie Evil Under the Sun). Witnessing his reaction, you would have thought I had yelled the *N* word right there in the store.
"It's an old joke," I explained.
"It's racist!" he whispered, looking to see who might have heard it.
"What's racist about it ... the word 'black'?"
So it's no wonder that Tony Snow's tar baby comment caused a stir.
Wizbang had a good rundown: Is the term used as a derogatory term for black people? Occasionally, yes. Is more commonly used otherwise? Absolutely, as Kim Pearson's examination details. In fact Toni Morrison has a Nobel prize winning novel tittled Tar Baby, which was a modern take on the fable.
DeWayne Wickham writes: It's obvious to me that Snow had no racial reference in mind when he uttered those words. Like others who use the term "tar baby" in describing a sticky situation, Snow was probably unmindful of its more insidious usage.
To many blacks, "tar baby" is a racial slur. It's a derogatory term used to describe blacks with really dark skin. Snow, who succeeded Scott McClellan as White House press secretary, should have known better than to use the words "tar baby" in any way.
Outside the Beltway noted: Dan Froomkin notes that the press corps was downright niggardly in criticism over Tony Snow's use of the racist term tar baby in a press conference ... Which reminded me of the 1999 ruckus over niggardly.
I did a search for "tar baby" and discovered that the picture was used in this anti-Bush/anti-war political cartoon at this university .
Not to mention that a man named TARBABY is the owner and Founder of Tar Media Productions.
So we now have a *T* word, forbidden to certain people only, even when it's used in a non-racist way. Who's writing these rules anyway?