Friday Ephemera

Phantom Subtext

Zoe Williams, whose search for radicalism was mentioned yesterday, previously thrilled us with her discovery that “hoodie” is in fact a “sleight-of-hand” and a “sinister” racial code word. The list of hitherto innocuous words that now, apparently, hold terrible racist significance continues to grow. Allah (pbuh) highlights an article by David K Shipler, who, like Williams, possesses some kind of racial Spider Sense and can detect heinous racist intent where none was thought to be.

[W]hen his opponents branded [Obama] an elitist and an outsider, his race made it easier to drive a wedge between him and the white, rural voters he has courted. As an African American, he was supposedly looking down from a place he didn’t belong and looking in from a distance he could not cross. This could not happen as dramatically were it not for embedded racial attitudes. “Elitist” is another word for “arrogant,” which is another word for “uppity,” that old calumny applied to blacks who stood up for themselves.

As Allah notes,

If you take this tool seriously, there’s quite literally no good-faith way to accuse a member of a minority group of being snobbish or condescending. Every road through Shipler’s copy of Roget will lead inevitably back to “uppity,” no matter how circuitous the route may be.

It is, as ever, fascinating to watch people tilting their heads, squinting and bearing down quite hard until they can see just about everything through the unreliable lens of identity politics - a gift bestowed upon them by others, very often educators, with similar paranormal talents.