recognize that anybody who can say 'niggardly' can also say 'cheap' without any
significant loss of meaning. whether anybody likes it or not, 'niggardly' *is* loaded and
will be for a time.
if one could presume that blacks would be insulted by not hearing the word because it
insults their intelligence, one could also presume that blacks would be insulted by
hearing the word as a *test* of their intelligence. if the racial prejudices against
blackfolks didn't include those against their intelligence, this could not be an issue,
but it is.
again, i've been asked enough times about eating watermelon, and had my sensitivity about
'black' gang violence questioned obliquely enough to know that these are ways whitefolks
test blacks. i know these are questions whitefolks don't ask each other and whether or not
they are innocent enough on the surface, they are racial investigations and everyone
understands how delicate such matters can be.
niggardly is a codeword now. well, not a codeword per se, but certainly more loaded than
it was 3 months ago. i can't imagine that anyone who has heard the story can think of it
exactly the same way.
as i've said elsewhere, i take offense at the arrogance of people who think they have an
inalienable right to express themselves in defiance of misinterpretation - that the
dictionary controls all context and to hell with anyone stupid enough to disagree.
i think anyone who has considered this matter at length, for whatever reason, has ample
enough reason to consider 'niggardly' a poor choice of words, and should rephrase, no
matter what their company.
'awful' used to mean awesome. language changes. it's not a shame, it's a reality.
i don't think there should be any reason to feel especially attached to the word
'niggardly' in its original form. where is the great loss? it has had a good run and now
it has been destroyed. it is forever tainted with racial baggage because of the washington
incident. that's life. common sense dictates that the word be avoided because now it has
become impolite. yet so many people are guarding the word's norse origins like a holy
shrine. civilization is not going to become dismembered because another old word has
become racially loaded.
there's way too much of this emotion, of these emotional matters crowding out common
sense. get over it.