Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 09:43:15 -0800 From: Peter McGraw Subject: Re: PC Dictionaries? On Tue, 28 Oct 1997, STEVE ALLEN NOLDEN wrote: > I am a Black man, not African-American, and the use of the word "Nigger" > or shall I say the definition of the word, in the Merriam dictionary > greatly offends me. Who gave them the right to define any one person or > race. Is the publisher of Merriam God. Nope. Of course Merriam-Webster is not God: this is precisely the reason why it cannot define a word in whatever way it pleases. God might change language; a dictionary cannot. A dictionary records language; it has no power to determine or change it. So what gives him the > right to call me a "Nigger." M-W is not "calling" anyone anything. It is truthfully recording the (unfortunate) fact that some speakers of American English do in fact use the term to refer to black people in a derogatory manner. Pretending otherwise would be dishonest and would not change the fact that the usage exists. Peter McGraw