Date: Wed, 14 Dec 1994 12:40:14 -0500


Subject: Re: Get Over It

There's a less benevolent sense of "get over" which is also used in

AAVE. I guess it's related to Smitherman's second sense, but with an

addition of "by hook or by crook", or even "pulling a fast one".

However, I don't think any of these senses are very transitive;

theymay take prepositional objects, but I've never heard any of them

taking direct objects. As usual, I may be wrong (speakers do the

strangest things when linguists are not looking).

But I sincerely doubt that any of this was informing our

once-and-future Mayor's use when he said "Get over it" to the white

population of DC the day after the election. There was quite a

brouhaha in the media here, with Barry denying that he ever said it or

directed it to white people (though the recorded quotes left no doubt

that he had) and various columnists and talk-show hosts, white and

black, interpreting it. My sense is that it was clearly understood by

most people as a message to the rich and powerful white minority to

overcome their resistance to a Barry victory, which Barry repeatedly

cast as racism in and after the election (though as William Raspberry

pointed out none of the other local races showed evidence of a white-

black voter split). The sense of GIT OVAH quoted above is clearly

representative of an oppressed minority's ability to triumph or

succeed, so Barry would've have to have said "We got over". If he was

inviting the white population to "get over too", then who are the

oppressors they're supposed to triumph over? I can't see it.

--peter patrick

georgetown univ.

linguistics dept.