CNN is now joining Twitter in calling for the removal of allegedly racist words and phrases in the English language. CNN’s list, however, includes many terms that have no connection to slavery, yet the news outlet suggests removing them from everyday use.
For example, the first item in CNN’s article about allegedly racist terms is “master bedrooms/bathrooms,” yet it admits that the phrase first appeared in 1926 – more than 60 years after slavery was abolished in the U.S. Further, the term wasn’t widely used until after World War II. CNN acknowledges that even though “it’s unclear whether the term is rooted in American slavery on plantations, it evokes that history.”
The outlet does the same thing for the Masters Tournament, a golf tournament for “masters” – meaning, the best players in the sport. The name originated in 1934, long after slavery was abolished, and was adopted in 1939.
“The name appears to have been a reference to golfers with great skills, but its connotations have brought the name under scrutiny,” CNN reported. Apparently, the mere word “master” is no longer allowed to be used.
CNN, like Twitter, called for an end to the terms blacklist and whitelist, which are used in the tech industry to refer to things that are blocked versus allowed. “Though the origins of those terms don’t appear to be directly connected to race, some argue that they reinforce notions that black=bad and white=good,” the outlet reported.
Again, something with no connection to slavery must go because now colors are racist.
Similar acknowledgments are made for terms like “blackball” and “black mark,” but again, activists claim that color-coded words are racist.
The outlet also lists some phrases that are not racist themselves, but derived from racist points in history, like the “grandfather clause,” which was used in 1867 to ensure anyone who was able to vote previously would not have to take literacy tests, own property, or pay poll taxes. This, according to CNN, disenfranchised black voters because they weren’t granted the right to vote until 1870. Even though the phrase itself is not inherently racist, it must be sacrificed in today’s racial movement. The “peanut gallery” also suffers this fate. It’s used to refer to the cheap seats or hecklers, but when it was adopted, those cheap seats usually belonged to black audience members. The first documented use was in 1867 but was popularized in the 1940s and 50s by “Howdy Doody,” who used it to refer to the children in the show’s live audience.
The other terms on CNN’s list either have racist origins or are inherently problematic, like the tech industry using “master” and “slave” to refer to software and hardware components that are linked, with one controlling the other. The article also mentions “lynch mob,” “uppity,” and “sold down the river,” which do have racist histories, although many people today may not know the racist origins of the terms “uppity” or “sold down the river.”
Author: Ashe Schow