An apropos accompaniment to Mr. Parks' video is a recent essay by Michelle Malkin, an essay whose title I borrowed for this post.
When I first saw the title of her essay at Townhall, I thought Ms. Malkin would be introducing us to a link for a quickndirty humorous Kindle takedown of the rapidly expanding and increasingly surreal list of Words-That-Cannot-Be-Said-During-This-Campaign-Because-Aggrieved-Black-People-Will-Frown. Though I am careful with my Kindle budget, such a book was not to be missed.
However, Ms. Malkin has chosen for the moment to stick to the essay form - though I am sure there are many others out there who would love to see what she could come up with for a brief Kindle book. Lord knows there is enough ugly stuff flying around; a small butterfly net, a few hours, and she'd have fascinating specimens pinned to the page in no time. It would make a good 2012 Campaign memento.
I first noticed the insanity of this particular "coded words" meme in mid-August. Given how little we use media, you know something has spread when even the Baron and I hear about the issue. In this case, it was the High Dudgeon-cum Grievance style humming in the background. No doubt you've heard it yourself: an almost sub vocal baritone humming of "Nobody Knows De Trubbah Ah Seen".
Then someone else called them "dog whistle words". Say what?? A short trip to Wikipedia gave me the context and origin of dog-whistle politics - the origin of the term being Australian, of course. They're a smart bunch, those Aussies. Thus, in an analogy to the biological fact that dogs' auditory nerves permit them to pick up a range of high notes that lie outside human hearing, so it is that all cultural groups and sub-groups can pick up code words that lie outside the experience of the larger group.
[For a short stroll through Southern Ladies' Dog Whistle Words, 101, look here.]
In our case, the "Racial Code Words" came to our attention when some MSM talking head (an ignorantly liberal black talking head named, I think, Touré) claimed there were coded race words in this Romney statement: Obama ought to take his campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago. According to the angry black dude, Romney was indulging in a "niggerization" of the campaign. Of course, pulling that 'N' word out of its holster and aiming it at his white interlocutors left them with no way out of this deliberately crazy-making double bind. I believe one woman present (perhaps their token conservative?) protested this assault on language.
That was the moment I knew we could either kneel and put our heads on the chopping block or we could make that bully back down.
He had just pushed the envelope far enough to tear it open. Now ALL words could be turned into something ugly. This was just more of the Marxist twaddle about "free speech rules don't apply if I find your words offensive". Mr. Touré can talk about niggerization all he wants from now on because he just gave everyone else permission to do the same. Yeah, he was forced to walk back that stupidity later, but the cat was out of the bag by then. The BLACK cat was out of the BLACK bag and it wasn't going to return before dark, if ever.
As Ms. Malkin says at the end of her essay, you'll be a -gasp - "Raaaaaaaaaaacist!" if you dare to cross these people. (Or, as we used to say here at Gates of Vienna, a "Waaaaaaaaaaacist!" We thought - we still do think so - that our version added a certain je nais se quoi to the word, lending to the term an Elmer Fuddian gravitas).
Or rather, you may utter them but you do so with full malice aforethought. Thus any "niggeriaztion" of the common parlance by those not in possession of sufficient melatonin will be the fault of the Right, because "everyone knows" - another favorite truism - only Whitey can be Waaaaaaaaaaacist. Unfortunately for the dim-witted the Rule of Unintended Consequences has now come into play: having over-used the accusation of racism as a handy bullyclub to silence anyone with whom they disagree, they're making most of us immune to this silly charge. And it is silly because they trivialized it. They were promiscuous in its use and now they've loosened a lot of cement that held civil discourse together. Bullies eventually reach the end of the line. You know how you can tell this one has ended? Because the whiners are becoming targets of ridicule themselves.
Ms. Malkin outlines the au courant race words here. Read the list to see how utterly trifling they are. It is simply impossible to take a fanatic seriously. And a thin-skinned fanatic is particularly prone to treated with a lack of gravitas. When you get right down to it, there's no 'there' there, but these people simply can't stop talking in an attempt to shock. The only problem with such an approach is that each successive shock has to be even more extreme.
Niggerization indeed! I know a number of black church ladies who'd gladly wash Touré's mouth out with soap before making him write "I will speak politely" at least a hundred times. He'd be treated to a well-deserved lecture on courtesy. They'd murmur among themselves that he hadn't been raised right, and their assessment would be correct.
You can read more about Bob Parks here.