Date: Tue, 25 Oct 1994 11:38:53 -0400

From: Steve Harris etnibsd!vsh[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UUNET.UU.NET

Subject: Re: P.S. re Offending Idioms

With regard to racially offensive phrases, and their place within the

language, here are two more examples using "nigger".

1. "Nigger work": difficult and unpleasant work, work which one would

prefer not to do (e.g., pick and shovel work on a hot and humid


The "nigger" in "nigger work" connotes powerlessness: anyone with

power would find a way to make somebody else do the work.

2. My college roommate, who grew up in Tennessee, had a childhood pal


"attached a 'nigger knob' to his bicycle handlebar".

Referring to the little hand knob that some people attach to their

car steering wheel. Here, I think, there is a connotation of


Though I would never use these phrases in public, as I run them through

my mind, I confess I find them (1) descriptive and (2) humorous. The

phrases _are_ insensitive and demeaning; nevertheless, in a literary

context, each describes in a concise and vivid way, both an activity

and the mindset of the individual using the phrase.


Steve Harris - Eaton Corp. - Beverly, MA - vsh%etnibsd[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]