Dennis Prager, who once lamented that white people can't say the N-word and keep their teeth, is still obsessed with how minorities refer to themselves. There's really no good introduction for the following clip other than "hold on to your airsick bag."

PRAGER: I don't care which term we use, but I don't see what's wrong with "American Indian."

Genocidal monster Christopher Columbus callously labeled the indigenous inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere “Indians," because he thought he'd landed in the Indies, the old-school term for Asia. He actually landed in the Bahamas, which is not Asia. Columbus was greatly confused is what we're saying.


PRAGER: What's wrong was that it was used a lot.

Yes, it was “wrong" that an incorrect term was used to classify a diverse group of people. It's like showing up at the wrong house and naming everyone there “Stan."

PRAGER: So they needed something new to show that they are more sensitive.

This is a tiresome conservative trope. “Liberals" can't simply care about the feelings of other people. It's all just "performative wokeness."

PRAGER: "Indigenous people" -- that's better than "Native American" even!

Native people have diverse opinions about references to their identity. It's a complex topic with a painful history rooted in American imperialism. I agree with how Amanda Blackhorse described the subject for Indian Country Today.

Each time we choose to elect our own names and references we are empowered. This discussion does not argue that the term 'Indian' is better, or that 'indigenous' is, or to invalidate being an American or not to be; it is about choice; what we choose as well as how and why we used these names. One thing is certain, we can all agree to reject pejorative references to Native people, e.g. 'redskins,' 'squaw,' 'savages,' etc. This discussion is complex, and I have discovered there is no singular nor simple answer:

It's also worth noting that many white conservatives complained about the term “Native American" because weren't they natives of the United States, as well? They were born here and everything.

PRAGER: I'm going to start a movement to rename Native Americans.

Not sure that's your place there, Dennis, but please continue your grossness.

PRAGER: Not to knock Native Americans but to knock people who change names all the time.

You mean like John Mellencamp? I repeat: Native Americans are a diverse group of almost seven million people from 562 distinct tribes. They aren't the Borg.

PRAGER: How many names have Blacks gone through in my lifetime?

Sweet Christ, he's having a racist stroke right in front of our eyes. Someone please take grandpa into the other room., because Thanksgiving dinner is over.

Prager is a few months younger than my father and every black person I know around that age has consistently referred to themselves as “black." It's white people who tended to use more creative names.

I Am Not Your Negro clip - Baldwin on Segregation www.youtube.com


PRAGER: Colored, Negro, African American, black ... that's four different titles for the same human being.

There are 42 million black people in the United States. We also all haven't existed during Prager's lifetime. We don't all vote on the nomenclature. It's not the census or some shit. I've been pushing “Time Lord" for decades now, but I'm not every black person.

PRAGER: What was wrong with Negro?

I ... can't answer that. “Negro" wasn't even a commonly used term when I was growing up in 1980s South Carolina. “Black" reportedly became the major preference in 1974, the year I was born. That's a good run. We're not a fickle people. Maybe we can give "Time Lord" a shot?

PRAGER: What was wrong with colored?

Uh ...

Yeah, we're still touchy about all this.YouTube

He's taking this very personally. It's as if he came up with these names himself. Now all this intellectual property is going to waste.

PRAGER: None of them, there's no problem with any of them.

There's no problem with “Mark," either. It's even Prager's middle name, but I don't get to say which name Prager should use.

PRAGER: Did you know the NAACP is still the “National Association for the Advancement of Colored People"?

Got us there. Guess we're all “colored" now.

PRAGER: African American ... that changed, too, remember. Does it have a dash, a hyphen, or not?

LANGUAGE IS SO HARD!

PRAGER: I don't know what was connoted by having a hyphen or not?

Google exists.

Wow, that was a lot of racist asshattery packed into a minute and a half. This colored, Negro, African American, black man is going to lie down for a spell.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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