The Charlotte News
Thursday, March 28, 1940
Site Ed. Note: "Word Saga" presents a little vignette still emblematic of problems of sensitivity in the country, and not just with regard to race. It was, after all, just a year ago that the Us-man got into trouble over the off hand comment regarding the Rutgers women's national championship basketball team in the game with Tennessee. The piece below communicates understanding of that sensitivity, while pointing out the changing customs and attitudes with time regarding specific words, which, regardless of their seeming might, will never hurt you.
Indeed, anyone who today would use the word "Negro" or "Afro-American" would at least be considered woefully behind the times and lacking astuteness to conventional modes of contemporary communication, if not even, by that lack of astuteness, of questionable sensitivity to race labels.
As to "darkey", it is of course as easy to understand why someone, especially in 1940, would be inappreciative of such a segregationist, slave-connotative label as that, as would someone Caucasian probably not care for an African-American to address them, "Yo, whitey, what's catching?" Or, some Neanderthal pol branding some American-born citizen a "Red". Or, someone today calling a Japanese person "little brown man".
The latter of which, of course, we make special note, as it was in regular usage in these columns by Cash in 1937-41. But that label was also used by Cash exclusively to connote, not the average Japanese citizen or Japanese-American, but rather the Japanese militarists, a term of deliberate stereotype and disrespect for their disrespect of the rights of the Chinese since at least 1931, as well as to their feints and flirtations by this juncture toward alliance with Hitler and Mussolini, eventually to become an unraveling reality.
We ourselves have no problem with occasionally tossing off "white trash" to connote retrograde thinking in some, both past and present, though not suggestive in our view at all of poor people socio-economically or those lacking in education. It is merely shorthand suggestive of the attitude of some. There are many quite rich people and well-educated who display these white trash points of view of which we sometimes speak, should you wish to dignify them by calling them points of view, as opposed to emotive projections to brand handy scapegoats to provide some imagined solace for their own perceived troubles and feeling of instability in a fast-changing world.
And, we could pass the date were we not, once again, to gloat a little that we made yet another perfect prediction: we foresaw successfully the last opponent, that is if you grant that the editorial accompanying the day of our last self-congratulatory note carried an editorial, by sheer coincidence, on low-cost housing. Not to disparage such housing per se, but then one could easily find a leap therefrom to the old song, "Little Pink Houses". And well, the last opponent were the Cougars, you see.
And, of course, the forecasted score was precisely accurate, too. The 68 winner's tally being quite so obvious that we shall say nothing of it.
But the 47? The 47, you might ask. How in the world did we predict that one, the tote of the losing Cougars? Well, it is simple, and you business majors will surely appreciate it as such (even if we ran past the business school, with the save aversion which most reserve for graveyards, every time we got anywhere near it when we were in school). For in "Never Again" of yesterday, the editorial declares the statistics that 82 (or was it 62?) of North Carolina's 100 counties were in default on bonded indebtedness in 1933 while there were 35 towns in that depressed shape in 1940, compared to 152 in 1933. Well, 82 less 35... There you are.
But what if it was instead actually 62 amid the squigglies, not 82? you now quibble. What about that, o wise one?
Okay, always to back up our predictions with fool-proof checkpoints, there is an alternative method for getting to that opponent's sum. Because, as we said, in 1948, Lyndon Johnson won his first Senate seat by a margin of 87 votes. And he lost in the special election in his first run for the Senate in 1940. A little quick math and voila! Perfection is sweet as we tickle the proverbial twinings and unnerve and enew the nylons once again. (There might even be a tertiary backup, as the 1945 edition of our school's teams managed to get to the Final Four only to lose to national champion Oklahoma A&M, now Oklahoma State University. And, remember, we misspelled cubolo as cubulo, substituting the o with a u, O.U. being the in-state rival of course; and since there are two letters to add there both with the dropping of the A&M for "S.U." and our own misspelling... Well, we admit that these tertiary backups are a bit of a reach.)
And, what is more, as we said, we accurately predicted tomorrow's opponent, the red birds, otherwise known as the Cardinals. No, it was not the Volunteers. (You look back a few days and find out why.)
And you know of course already who it was that told us these pre-ordinated mysteries of the universe before they occurred in our presently habituated space-time sequence.
Congratulations, too, to the Davidson Wildcats, their furthest advance in the tournament, we believe, since that last-second scot-free long shot (which we still have somewhere from our own live tv-captured Super 8 film from the dark ages, replete with the rolling images resultant from that quiver factor, the difference between the speed of the film and the transmission, or something or other) in the 1968 East Regional final.
All in the stars, they say.
Ah, we can see it now.
Have we already predicted the next opponent? Well, not to look ahead, for it is still but three down, three to go. To be, or not to be? ...With his pointed shoes and his bells.
Wage & Hour Law Appears Ready For The Boneyard
All our little scholars above the sixth or seventh grade remember what happened to NRA. The Blue Eagle became a dead cat and was buried hastily and unceremoniously, not that its skeleton might have a decent resting place but to get the darned thing out of sight.
It now begins to appear that the Administration, in its vaunted Wage & Hour Law, has another Blue Eagle on its hands. There has been much talk and discomfiture about the nuisance phases of the law but precious little evidence that it was to be taken literally.
Its enforcement, that is, has been a joke. And yesterday the point of this joke was given emphasis by the action of the House, which upheld its Appropriations Committee and refused to restore to the Wage & Hour Administration's insufficient budget a deleted item of $1,035,000, mostly for salaries.
It takes (would take) personnel to enforce this most complex and detailed of laws, and to the request for personnel the House said no. More remarkable still were the remarks with which the Appropriations Committee had accompanied its report on the President's budget recommendation. There was a "confused administrative problem here," it said. Furthermore, the law needed amending.
And so they decided to let the undertaking languish awhile for want of funds with which to carry out Congress's instructions as set forth in the Federal law books.
Getting The Reds This Way Costs Us Too Much
Martin Dies is plainly a man who needs a strong and persistent check if his activities aren't to be a greater menace than those of the Reds and Nazis (he doesn't much bother about these last) he is out to show up.
His latest move is to charge that the Communist Party in America is serving as a spy agency in the United States for Russia, and to demand that the leaders of the Party be forced to reveal the names of all members under penalty of being thrown into jail for contempt of the Dies Committee and held there until they do reveal the names.
That the Communist Party is guilty of what he charges we haven't much private doubt. Nevertheless, the offense is one punishable by law. And if forcing the leaders to reveal the names of their followers is designed to turn up the evidence of criminal conspiracy-as it certainly is-, then it will be these leaders themselves who will be likely to suffer the consequences. The whole business, therefore, sounds most perilously like an attempt to force them to testify against themselves, in defiance of one of the first principles of American law.
If the Reds are guilty, they ought to go to jail as common traitors, and enemies of the republic. But if to get them, it is necessary to tear up the rules established for the safety of the innocent, it is ten thousand times better to let them go scot free. Once the rules are destroyed for the Reds, they are destroyed for everybody.
From The Politest Term, It Has Become An Insult
Words undergo strange changes in value sometimes. Consider that word, "darkey."
It precipitated a storm at Tieless Joe Tolbert's Republican state convention in Columbia yesterday. One of the white speakers had told several stories, one of which referred to "an old darkey on my father's farm." A hubbub broke out among the Negro delegates. Then up rose one to say that they felt that they had been insulted by that word "darkey"-demanded an apology. The white man hummed and hawed, finally gave in.
That represents a complete turn-about from the days of our boyhood. Then, as we distinctly remember, the only really polite way to refer to colored people in their presence was to use precisely this word "darkey." "Colored man" or "colored woman" was permissible, but was apt to evoke no enthusiasm from the object of the designation. As for Negro, you simply didn't dare.
The metamorphosis is curious. The objection of Negroes to "nigger" is easy to understand. It has acquired connotations of contempt, and has never been used in the presence of its victims save by the crudest sort of white people. But "darkey"-"darkey" is a term of affection coined by the old master class of the South.
But the change is not, of course, wholly inexplicable. In part, at least, it is the reflection of the Negro's changing psychology-of a desire to get completely away from whatever he associates with slavery and its ideology.
Job For Joe
He Is Plainly Man To Run Stokowski & Co. To Earth
So far as we know, the Hon. Joe Starnes, Alabama Congressman, hasn't yet barged into that argument over whether Leopold Stokowski, the orchestra conductor, can be safely turned loose on the South Americans or not. But it is manifestly his meat.
The Hon. Joe is the man who once hotly demanded that Christopher Marlowe be summoned before the Dies Committee as a Red Menace. But Stokowski is obviously better game than Kit, who would naturally have faded a little after 300 years in the grave.
We have made no investigation of Dr. Stokowski['s] politics. But the facts are plain. The man is a Pole by birth, and Robert Rice Reynolds long ago established the doctrine that a man of alien birth is necessarily a Communist, with all the clarity and precision with which Dr. Pangloss established the celebrated syllogism: "The nose is manifestly formed for the bearing of spectacles, thus we have spectacles."
Far worse, Dr. Stokowski has regularly scorned to play (except for a fat Hollywood fee) the Hundred Per Cent productions of Tin Pan Alley in favor of the works of composers with names like Tschaikowsky, Beethoven, Verdi, Mozart, Saint-Saens, Debussy, Wagner, etc. What that has done for Philadelphia anyone can see for himself. Isn't it of record that the town brazenly deserted the Republican Party in 1936?
Joe should come out of his retirement to line up with the Hon. Gene Cox and the Hon. Ham Fish to save the Latins. And while he is about it, he might look into those Tschaikowskies, etc. Some of them have been dead only a few years, and since they didn't give off blue notes in their music, the assumption is that they must have been Red.
Mr. Jackson Hears What His Friends Think Of Him
The Rev. John Long Jackson had a unique experience yesterday. In excellent health and with an even wider future in the ministry opening up to him, he sat and heard himself eulogized to his face.
He had the satisfaction, too, of knowing that in the spontaneous tribute there lay upon his witnesses nothing of the nullis mortuis nisi honum obligation. The good man, for 25 years rector of Saint Martin's Episcopal Church and the replica of what we have always imagined an English vicar to be, has simply and unconsciously endeared himself to all his parishioners. For the city as a whole, he has rendered indefatigable service in active work with its social agencies. The record of his board and committee memberships reads like a roster of the Community Chest.
Regret at the departure of this minister is relieved by the pleasure that he is to become bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana, and sadness at parting with so useful a man tempered by the thought that the community is fortunate to have benefited by his helpfulness for a whole quarter of a century.
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