Date: Tue, 16 Dec 1997 13:23:59 +0000

From: Jim Rader jrader[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]M-W.COM

Subject: Re: sand nigger

We have only a handful of post-Gulf War cites for sand nigger ,

though Nexis has (naturally) more data. The earliest cite I located

was from the 7/28/86 issue of The New Republic . Where the

reference is specified, it usually refers to an Arab (a vague enough

term in itself), though not surprisingly the people using this term

are not strong on geography: it is quoted in reference to an

Iranian-American (San Diego Union-Tribune 8/24/93), a person of

Armenian descent (Automotive News 8/8/94), and the "East Indian"

customers of a Nissan dealership (Denver Post 8-5-94). Sand nigger

and camel jockey got some publicity when Terrel Bell, a Reagan-era

secretary of education, published a book in 1987 claiming that White

House staffers routinely used these epithets.

The most interesting cite was from USA Today (3/21/90): Chippewa

Indians in northern Wisconsin report that white locals refer to them

as "sand niggers" and "timber niggers." Is this a recycling of the

Middle Eastern slur or something of independent lineage?

Synynoms offered, in addition to camel jockey , are raghead

(already recorded in Dialect Notes in 1921), rughead , and

towelhead .

Jim Rader