Southern racists adopt "Canadian" as a euphemism for "black"

The Canadian National Post looks on with mild horror as American linguists report on the growing trend in the American south to use "Canadian" as a masking euphemism for black people, so that white racists can say socially inappropriate things without tipping listeners off about the cancer in their souls.
Last August, a blogger in Cincinnati going by the name CincyBlurg reported that a black friend from the southeastern U.S. had recently discovered that she was being called a Canadian. "She told me a story of when she was working in a shop in the South and she overheard some of her customers complaining that they were always waited on by a Canadian at that place. She didn't understand what they were talking about and assumed they must be talking about someone else," the blogger wrote.

"After this happened several times with different patrons, she mentioned it to one of her co-workers. He told her that ‘Canadian' was the new derogatory term that racist Southerners were using to describe persons they would have previously referred to [with the N-word.]"

A similar case in Kansas City was reported last year on a Listserv, or electronic mailing list, used by linguistics experts. A University of Kansas linguist said that a waitress friend reported that "fellow workers used to use a name for inner-city families that were known to not leave a tip: Canadians. ‘Hey, we have a table of Canadians.... They're all yours.' "



  1. This is new? I’ve heard this for a few years now. The most common usage I’ve seen is by waiters/waitresses when they seat people.

  2. It’s the part about the District Attorney in Texas using it to describe jurors, and then pretending to believe that there were Canadians on the jury that’s new.

  3. Why not adopt a subtler euphemism – one that doesn’t refer to people? It’s still pretty clear to onlookers that you’re saying something unpleasant about others.

    How about using the euphemism “addlepated dongleberries” as a term for “Southern racists”?

  4. This simply proves that offense is all about intent.
    Regardless of how inoffensive a term may seem if others find the term offensive then it is simply good form to follow suit and refrain from using that particular term in the offensive context.
    I respect dogs, but being called one raises my dander…Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
    Example: When it’s chilly I no longer say there is a ‘nip in the air’ and subsequently I no longer see that look of disapproval flit across the face of my Japanese wife.
    Noting wrong with the word ‘Canadian’ in and of itself but when applied as a coded epithet, as in this instance, it manages to convey all the ignorance and hate associated with the term it purports to replace.
    Sadly, it associates itself with a country known for it’s tolerance and all around friendliness which, in point of fact, merely helps to illustrate the idiocy of those who use it as a pejorative.
    Lets nip this one in the bud, damnit, next time you see something innovative, smart or progressive you can just say, “Oh, how Canadian!”

    “Language is a virus,” William S Burroughs, American Chemist and Failed Marksman.


  5. I applaud DragonFrog’s stance, but I’m simply horrified that this sort of thing still goes on.

    As evidenced by the race issue that’s dominating the Democratic nomination for the next US President, the USA as self-elected leader of the free world has a hell of a long way to come before the rest of the world thinks it’s anything more than a huge, dangerous toddler.

  6. …GodDAMMit! Leave it to the neo-Nazis and the Klansmen to screw up one of my favorite pasttimes – making fun of Canuckleheads! Now I’ll have to start calling them something else, otherwise I’ll be accused of being a racist!

  7. Proud Canuck here.

    Sadly, it makes a teensy bit of sense.

    I work with an American who recently emigrated to Canada from one of the “suh-then” states. He tells me our early stance against the “war” on Iraq left a bad taste toward Canada in the rural south. Raw hate and “we should invade those b*stards and kick them out on an ice flow” rage was quite common in his semi-rural area.

    Using “Canadian” in this fashion would be a logical progression. They’re not being ironic at all.

    @Darren Barefoot: Oh, we call them what we’ve always called them. (WINK!)

  8. I was under the impression that Canadian “snow-bird” tourists had built a reputation for under-tipping and driving slowly. I suppose the under-tipping could have extended to inner-city black customers who may have tipped less because they had less. Hence the label creep. Also, a growing political correctness climate would require safe code words be developed to avoid federally mandated employer retaliation in the workplace.

    I wonder who is most offended here? Canadians?Black Americans? rational humans?

    In any case, I long for days gone by when an epithet was a proper acid dripping,hate filled,ignorant epithet. Hark back to the early days of the National Lampoon Magazine ,where such creativeness as “rat-fucking Canuck bastards half crazed on their crude lichen brandy”
    was representative of the effort people put into proper hate mongering.

  9. You know, it’s times like this that I wonder why our government ever decided to send our troops along side the americans. Land of the free? No, I’ll take the True North strong and free any day of the week.

  10. BXRGUY @14:

    If the label “Canadian” as an insult is because of Iraq, then is anyone being called “French”?

    (Do I really want to know?)

  11. I guess this is only fair, since for the last few years, ‘American’ has been synonymous with ‘arrogant and ignorant’ in Canada. If someone is acting like a boor, more often than not, they’ll get shrugged off as an American tourist.

  12. Hey Takuan,

    Greetings from Soviet Canuckistan.

    At one point in time, this was apparently a mildly popular joke amongst waiters from Florida:

    Q: What’s the difference between a Canadian and a canoe?

    A: Canoe’s tip.

  13. Two Problems here. One is “euphemism” for “black.” A euphemism is a substitute word for something offensive. Perhaps you meant a euphemism for the N-word.

    Two: The indication that the usage is confined to “southern racists” is contradicted by the citation of the (midwestern) Kansas City users.

    As someone who’s lived in the North, the South, and the Midwest, I find racism to be equally prevalent. All the snide, smug, ignorant, anti-southerner bigotry by self-professed open-minded always seems to get a pass, though.

  14. This is an example of the ‘euphemism treadmill’. Ultimately, trying to outlaw euphemisms is as fruitless as trying to outlaw sin. There will always be sinners.

    The only longterm answer is to understand the nature of ‘offensive terms’; to recognise that not only should offenders strive not to offend, but the people thus abused should strive not to rise to the bait.

    I dream of a time when there’s no such thing as a taboo word.

  15. I think that this demonstrates not only the sheer crippling stupidity of these gomers, but it’s also a great display of the typical cowardice of these racist morons?

    It’s actually somewhat funny in that they just don’t seem to have the conviction to stand by their twisted beliefs, and subsequently have to contrive these silly, misguided euphemisms.

  16. The correct response to BS like this, is exactly what boingboing is doing. Shine the good light of reason and direct attention towards the irrationality; wait for the knowledge of it to spread.

    As a Nashville resident I have loudly and publicly confronted people using the word Canadian instead of its vulgar counterpart. Without fail, they stammer, stutter, blush and are humiliated by being exposed as the ignorant bigots they are; unable to defend their behavior they are forced to retreat (though they never apologize).

    My friend has parents that used to use the word frequently until she married an actual Canadian. When she told them that he was Canadian they went totally ape-shit. She informed them that they were not invited to the wedding. When they found out he wasn’t black (oh the relief… you should’ve seen it), they apologized. They’re still bigots, but possibly one degree less so now.

  17. I have long thought that Cory’s continued use of the word Canadian was offensive, but now that he knows the term is offensive to African-Americans he has no excuse but to remove it from his vocabulary.

  18. As a son of Yankees raised in Georgia, I must say that racist thought and attitude is not an exclusive trait of folks from the “suh-then” states”. Can you say ‘Boston’? And ‘JG’, ask your Japanese wife about the Ainu. I hope that Canadians have all calmed down about that “Asian” thing.

    Recent attempts to stop the use of the word NGGR have all struck me as useless. I’ve heard so many words of hatred in my life. That one is just one of many. Haters can be creative!

    Racism (IMHO) seems to stem from an attitude of superiority / fear of inferiority. Everyone wants to feel good about themselves. But some folks seem to think that pushing others down will somehow push them up.

    Stupidity, fear and hatred can all be erased by listening to Monty Python’s ‘The Universe Song’ about 30 or 40 times a day. So grab your favorite racist and just have a good laugh. You’ll both feel better.

  19. I live in Pennsylvania, where I’ve heard a similar practice; many of my father’s friends use the term “Democrat” instead of “Canadian” for the exact same purpose. Most of these guys are old, white Republicans, and many of them are also Freemasons.

  20. I guess this is only fair, since for the last few years, ‘American’ has been synonymous with ‘arrogant and ignorant’ in Canada. If someone is acting like a boor, more often than not, they’ll get shrugged off as an American tourist.

    Indeed you are correct, nothing is ruder than an Eastern Canadian realizing you’re an American visiting their country. When my family took a summer vacation in Nova Scotia the populace could not have been more rude or mocking of us- our accents, our clothes, our careful review of the currency that wasn’t ours. Most often it was guys in plaid shirts calling us F___s for wearing t-shirts!? I never again will spend money in Canada. Their rudeness is only matched by their lack of self-awareness regarding their rudeness. In the Maritimes. I’ve been told Vancouver is more open, but still, more provincial and monocultural than any US city.

  21. I live in Michigan City, Indiana and I’ve heard the term “Canada” and “Little Canada” when some none-too-liberal white folks have talked some of the poor, primarily black sections of town. They started using those terms at least 15-20 years ago.

  22. I’m sorry, but I think this is a bunch of unrelated anecdotes strung together in a very thin effort to establish “evidence” of some kind of bizarre trend. I am a lifelong southerner related to several stereotypical southern racists, and I have never heard them say Canadian in reference to anyone other than our neighbors to the north. If they want to be subtle, they usually just say “black” instead of N.

    Course, they all know I disapprove of their attitudes, so maybe they just don’t say it around me, seeing as I’m a Canadian-lover.

    Oh, and I have a great one – some of my best friends ARE Canadian!

  23. “Indeed you are correct, nothing is ruder than an Eastern Canadian realizing you’re an American visiting their country. When my family took a summer vacation in Nova Scotia the populace could not have been more rude or mocking of us- our accents, our clothes, our careful review of the currency that wasn’t ours. Most often it was guys in plaid shirts calling us F___s for wearing t-shirts!? I never again will spend money in Canada. Their rudeness is only matched by their lack of self-awareness regarding their rudeness. In the Maritimes. I’ve been told Vancouver is more open, but still, more provincial and monocultural than any US city.”

    while not excusing anyone’s rudeness here, your response is equally small-minded and insulting.

    i am assuming your inference too money was a knock on its colourful nature. the dollar is at par. spend your greenbacks if you want.

    first, you attack the cultural clothing tradition of the region.

    then you generalize this one-time, limited experience into a grossly inaccurate representatoion of an entire country and its populace.

    you then say that you’ve heard of only one city, on the opposite coast, that might be more open-minded, but then surmise that all of canada is small and kind of backwater anyway so probably not.


    i can only guess that this behaviour is equally manifest in your day to day interactions as it is in your written word. if so, it’s exactly this sort of smug, self-impressed, and superior attitude that causes some canadians to react to some people from the us in a negative way…

  24. At #29, I also am a life-long southerner and I have heard this being used several times. It was always in a conversation that I got out of very quickly.

    As far as this being about the Iraq War and the notion that it is recent, this is all untrue. This has been going on for a long time and is not a new thing.

  25. #32: They have those up there??!!??

    I’ve been living south of the Manon-Nixon line for fifteen years, and this one’s new to me. I’ve made studying the various southern speech imped– err, dialects, kind of a hobby, and I’m certain I’ve never come across this one. Of course, I don’t hang out with the people most likely to use this word, but my work does bring me into contact with some of our more belt-buckle-wearing countrymen, if ya know what I mean.

    I’m personally of the opinion that the best thing to do with “dirty words” is clean them up by watering them down, thereby removing their power to shock and offend. For instance, my girlfriend got a black Apple laptop last week, and to distinguish it from my white one, we call it either the BlackBook or the Niggerpooter. But I realize I’m in the minority on this one. Maybe Canuckibook?

  26. I have heard “Canadian” used to describe black people in the Northeast since at least 1990. I grew up within a stone’s throw of the Canadian border, yet the resulting confusion of when people really were talking about Canadians didn’t curtail usage at all.

  27. I’m with THE LIFE OF BRYAN and the good REVEREND ROBBIE, I’m a Southerner born and bred and I’ve never heard this. My friends hadn’t either. It’d be nice if all y’all would remember that the term “Southerners” includes a rather large and highly diverse group; many aren’t the racist ignos so often portrayed in pop culture. From most of these comments, it looks like it’s more prevalent outside the South. What do we know from Canadians anyway?!

    REVDOUG is right on,too. Is this really racism as in denying people basic civil rights and marginalizing a complete segment of the population or is it just a bunch of jerks trying to bring others low so they won’t feel so small? Let’s not give it more power than it deserves.

  28. Tak-kun,

    Where do you live that you know about snowbirds? In Palm Springs, we call slow-driving tourists ‘Canadian Roadblock’.

    Q: What’s the difference between Canadians and cockroaches?

    A: At least the cockroaches move faster when you scare them.

    disclaimer: My grandparents were Newfs. To my people, Canada is the oppressor nation.

  29. Friends of mine from Maine used to complain about Canadians not tipping at the restaurants where they worked. Is this a cultural thing? Is it true that Canadians don’t tip, or did one or two non-tipping Canadians ruin the reputation of Canada with waitresses in the US? Or maybe Americans just over tip, and have built up an unreasonable ideal of a good tip (I seem to remember a good tip was 15% back in the 70’s, now it’s 20%). Just call me. “Mr. Pink.”

    I highly suspect racism is more-or-less the same in most of the US, it just manifests itself in different ways, some more obvious than others. Before you go pointing at someone else, take a look at yourself.

  30. I’m inclined to call shenanigans on the piece partly because the evidence is pretty thin gruel (a single email from 2003?) and partly because the National Post often runs pointlessly provocative articles.

    Even when taken at face value it’s got to be good news that racist idiots are forced to use increasingly bizarre euphemisms to escape detection from “normal” people. It suggests their social standing is similar to that enjoyed by pedophiles and purveyors of child pornography. So that’s sort of a good sign, right?

  31. Could you have a better example of clueless racists than certain posters to this thread?

    The Life Of Bryan – “I’m certain I’ve never come across this one. Of course, I don’t hang out with the people most likely to use this word but I call my Mac a “NIGGERpooter” and I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. By the way, I and my white friends are an oppressed minority.”

    Reverend Robbie – “I’m sorry, but I think this is a bunch of unrelated anecdotes strung together because all my white racist friends are comfortable using “nigger” when they are around me. On the rare occasion when they do feel slightly embarrassed they revert to using “black” instead. I’ve let them know that I disapprove but not enough to impact our friendship. They all think of me as a Canadian-lover, er… nigger-lover anyway.”

    JEC – “I’m a Southerner born and bred and I’ve never heard this but it can’t be racism to call someone a nigger because you aren’t really denying anyone their basic human rights simply by uttering words. Beside, these are just ordinary guys puffing themselves up. It isn’t like there was ever a time when my fellow southerners would have a picnic and find a themselves a nigger to string up, torture and then burn alive all while children were playing, the womenfolk chatting away and the men drinking. Let’s not give it more power than it deserves by remembering those uncomfortable times.”

    1. The prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races

    2. Discriminatory or abusive behaviour towards members of another race.

    Note to Teresa – I claim the right to use the “N” word in order to expose this hate for what it is. I am poor and I live in a poor urban environment. Many of my friends are black and I have spoken out against racism when I see it in my daily life. I myself belong to the GLBT community and have been discriminated against also. There is no surer way to piss me off than by being an ignorant, racist, homophobic jerk.

  32. #39, I’m Canadian and I’ve always tipped in the range of 15-20%, but I work with one guy and when he gave my money to the pizza man for my order, he didn’t give him any of the change I left behind for a tip. I thought he didn’t wanna give money that wasn’t his, but when he ordered a pie a couple days later, he pays the guy exact change, and nothing more. So all I can say is just like anything else, it could go either way depending on who you meet.

  33. HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHahahahahaha..hee..heehee.. *cough*

    …I’m sorry, but I would take that as a complement. :P

  34. #39, the difference in tipping is partly because of the difference in wages waiters. In Ontario, the current minimum wage for a normal job is $8/hour. Waiters are under the class of Liquor Servers usually, so they get the slightly lower minimum of $6.95/hour. Tips are supposed to make up the difference. As I understand it, the minimum for waiters in the US is $2.95/hour, but the regular minimum is $5.85 (or higher in many states). So tipping is expected at a higher rate to make up the larger difference.

    Does anyone know if prices in restaurants are cheaper in the US to make up the difference?

  35. Not exactly the same, but somewhat parallel, I can remember hearing “Hawaiian” being used in this sense when I was going to university then law school in Central NY.

    I suppose using Canadian there wouldn’t work due to confusion with actual Canadians, who were not a rare sight in the Finger Lakes.

  36. All right. We now know what word we’re referring to. That’s enough.

    If we keep throwing the word around, someone’s going to start pushing the line, then someone else will do it too, and then I’ll have to decide where the line is and what to do about the comments that are on the wrong side of it. I don’t want to do that.

    So: you don’t, and I won’t, and we’ll all be just fine.

  37. I think the business of waiters earning significantly less than minimum wage is the ticket – I normally tip somewhere around 15% on large orders, or 30-50% on small orders (who leaves a 25c tip for a coffee and danish?).

    But tips are only for good service. I have no trouble leaving no tip at all, if the service was rude or incompetent. I expect that a restaurant will pay their staff enough to live on – a gratuity is supposed to be gratuitous, as I see it.

  38. #27, were you treating people around you like they were ‘provincial’ and ignorant? Were you behaving as if local custom had to bend to your worldview rather than the other way round? I’ve lived and worked in the maritimes for almost eight years and I can assure you that they are friendly and open and sensible. They come across as self-deprecating but there is a fierce core of pride that you offend at your own peril. You may want to think back about how you were behaving, because in my near-decade of experience, maritimers do NOT go about insulting strangers. It’s anathema to them.

    And I have to laugh about Vancouver being the most open-minded Canadian city. I know a few Asian-Canadians and First Nations folk who might disagree.

  39. In some countries, waiting tables is a real career with benefits, so tipping is unnecessary. In the US, it’s perceived as something that you do to put yourself through college, so the pay is vile. Even if the service is horrible, tipping is part of the cost of the meal. For one thing, it’s not the servers’ fault if the kitchen or the bar is slow, so it doesn’t make sense to penalize them. Imagine a day at work where you’re not perfect and cheerful for the whole day, so the boss sends you home with $30 for 8 hours work. Unless the server actually spits in my face, I just leave the 15%. However you view it, it’s their salary.

  40. As a Canadian I’m not disturbed by this.

    We do the same thing, using “American” as euphemism for “senseless population” all the time :)

  41. You may want to think back about how you were behaving, because in my near-decade of experience, maritimers do NOT go about insulting strangers. It’s anathema to them.

    I specifically said that these guys called us anti-gay slurs because we were wearing t-shirts! Call me at age 12 and called my father who was easily 50. I think the issue was I had a light blue surf shirt. We were in PEI and ordering ice cream cones. These guys were 15-18 and picking on a 12 year old. What could I have said, that I came from “America?” instead of the USA? Please. Did I mispronounce ice cream cone? I knew a handful of people from Toronto and Montreal who immigrated to the USA and they never said it was an anathema to Maritimers, they said Maritimers were comparable to our states like West Virginia or Alabama. I simply say that Canadians imagine they are a more open and friendly society than they are in real life. The tipping stereotype is part of that. There is a misconception about how to behave in another country that isn’t theirs. In the US we are all warned about Ugly Americanism. Canadians wear their flag on their backpack. Think about it.

    1. You ever think that maybe these guys were victims of this strange phenomenon that reaches beyond borders called “being an a**hole”? You’re talking about a couple teenagers calling someone a “f*ggot” like it’s something native ONLY to the region where you were. Teenagers are a**holes everywhere. I know because I’m one of them.

      The Maritime Provinces are generally full of extremely friendly people. I think you may be generalising, and if there were comments based on your being American, then perhaps it was during a time when there was alot of anti-Americanism in the world (referring to George Bush’s time in office, during which anti-Americanism was relatively justifiable)

      You also seem really uneducated about the entire country, so I think you might want to avoid generalising. Vancouver is quite open-minded. But it’s CERTAINLY not mono-cultural. In fact, it’s arguably the most culturally diverse city in Canada, which is quickly becoming one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. I believe more than 50% of the populaion of Vancouver is a visible “minority”. I’m not going to try and say Im extremely educated on the topic, but I feel like that’s much more culturally diverse than most places in the United States, perhaps other than cities near the border, and on the west coast.

      Not only that, but we allow people of these cultures to retain their cultural identity. Our system is called a “cultural mosaic”, as opposed to the American “melting pot”. I know it seems like my comment is a little overkill, but Canadians are very proud of our diversity and openness (not to say we dont have or history of stupid people, and a few stupid people around today), it’s one of the few things that we’re openly proud of.

      Anyways, I might have to visit the states and see if people start dropping the n-bomb on me for being an actual Canadian.

  42. Why exactly is it that only US citizens are called Americans when Canadians, Mexicans, etc. all live in the Americas? We don’t refer to citizens of the Union of South Africa as Africans to the exclusion of the rest of the continent, nor are the Saudis exclusively (or at all) called Arabians. We just steal everything from everybody, even the name.

  43. As a dingleberry, southern born and occasionally bred, we much prefer the appelation ‘Klingon’ though that language is as just as much foreign as is the king’s English; that being said, just enough to be uncomfortable, as the Brits would prefer. Pity the poor, black Canadians, who wouldn’t know a maple leaf from marijuana. Aaaaay?

  44. #25, Revdoug, “As a son of Yankees raised in Georgia, I must say that racist thought and attitude is not an exclusive trait of folks from the “suh-then” states”. Can you say ‘Boston’?”

    Why do you suggest that Boston is particularly racist?

    #53, DCER, ” These guys were 15-18 and picking on a 12 year old.”

    Sounds like you are judging an entire Province by a small group in their Beavis and Butthead stage of life.

  45. “You see in the last decade or so the African American community has reappropriated that word as a way of depriving it of its meaning.” — 30 Rock

  46. Why do you suggest that Boston is particularly racist?

    Busing. Louise Day Hicks. Some of the worst ongoing race riots of the 70s. A photo of a white guy using a flagpole with an American flag on it to spear a black guy. It was ugly.

  47. Actually, the term “Canadian” in reference to black people has been around and in prevalent use for years, like seven or eight of them. It can’t have taken that long for the mainstream to have figured that out. The new term is “German” because it was feared that black folks were catching on to the “Canadian” thing a couple of years ago.

  48. #61,
    Do you judge every city by events from the 1970s? Bad science. Did you know that Massachusetts citizens elected a black governor?
    It’s 2007!!

  49. well, I just had this reported to me a few weeks ago from someone who’s moved to a coastal southern state and was talking about how shocked she was at the open racism on display. she specifically mentioned the use of “canadians” to refer to black customers.

    It’s not geographical of course, it’s cultural. the culture of rural/semi-rural mostly-poor mostly poorly-educated and proud of it whites. even if they’re not remotely from the south, they adopt a fake pseudo-southern accent which is passed on to some of their children. their whole minds are geared around drawing a circle around “their people” and everyone else is an outsider. outsiders of any type are to be harassed, scammed, harmed, etc. to the extent they can get away with. it’s pathetic tribal bullshit.

  50. @8 The phrase “a nip in the air”, as well as “call a spade a spade”, “niggardly”, “a chink in the armor” and a host of others aren’t in the least racist.

    The nip in question refers to a bite, like someone “nipping at your heels”. Unless of course you actually were referring to a flying Japanese person.

  51. Regarding Race Relations in the South:

    I once read an observation that ONE (and there are many) of the differences between the Northern
    and Southern approach to race is that the North tends to reject the Individual while embracing the Race.
    The South conversely seems to have prejudice towards the other Race while embracing the Individuals.
    It’s a generalization to be sure but one with more than a grain of truth.
    Blacks and Whites have always lived closely in the South, most southerners have an aquantince of another race whom they like, while at the same time generalizing about the ‘others’.
    The North has always been more segregated and less mixed in ordinary commerce and interaction. They accept the race but interact with few individuals of another group. Leading to less real experience with the other group.
    Fewer Northerners subsequently have friends of a different race.

    I think we a need to be cautious when making these generalizations but I believe they still offer food for comment.

    I guess I’m just saying that one shouldn’t assume the South has a less open society because of some who have lingering, isolated, racist attitudes towards ‘Canadians’.
    It just seems that these notions, are more exposed, and carry more gravity due to their past.

    “Why can’t we all just get along little doggy?”


  52. will it be eventually possible to genetically engineer a virus that is wildly contagious, infects only humans and causes skin cells to accumulate large quantities of melanin?

  53. @ #8.

    If I had a Japanese wife, I’d use the term “nip in the air” all the time. I’d probably get hit a lot, though. :D

    /I’m always getting hit for stuff I say.

  54. #67 —
    It was said jokingly.
    Thanks for stating the obvious.

    #30 “Vancouver is more open, but still, more provincial and monocultural than any US city.”

    Wow, that’s one BIG misconception about Vancouver BC.
    I visit Vancouver several times a year. I consider it one of the most welcoming in all my travels.

    A racially mixed, open city with a constant stream of world travelers and multi-cultural influences.

    The (IMHO) most beautiful city from San Diego to Alaska, it boasts the largest Chinatown in the west and an arts/film scene to rival cites 3 times it’s size. And they can swear on TV just like in real life!!
    The only prejudice I found was their boast that
    their White Widow is better than that grown in the USA.
    My reply,”Hey, our electricity is just as good as yours!”

    Or so I’ve heard…..


  55. BottleKid@#65,

    I haven’t lived there for 30 years, but when I did, Boston was notorious for its racism. People who have seen racial violence don’t forget it, even three decades on. I’d be pretty surprised if an African-American person would feel safe walking through Southie, even in 2008. Now that I mention it, as a gay person, I wouldn’t feel safe there either. Also, Boston and Massachusetts are not identical concepts. The state is ultra-liberal, but the city isn’t.


    That’s a pretty good summary of the differences.

  56. I am black and have known about this for at least 15 years. Friends who have been servers told me about this many years ago.

  57. #75 Antinous, you’d be surprised how much has changed. I was down near the D Street projects recently and there was about a 50-50 mix of blacks and whites in the area. My sister lives in Southie. My niece was telling me over the holidays about how all of the asian immigrants that used to live across the street are gone, and have mostly been replaced by same sex couples. Apparently, two income, childless couples are about the only ones who can afford the high real estate prices. The old Southie lives on in the movies and maybe in the pubs, but I think the city you once knew has changed a lot. People love to cling to the old reputation of Boston as a racist city, but let’s face it, racisim exists everywhere, and I don’t recently reacall any nooses being hung from trees in Boston, or any Klan rallys either.

  58. Sounds like you are judging an entire Province by a small group in their Beavis and Butthead stage of life.


    Provinces, this was Quebec, New Brunswick, PEI and Nova Scotia, but the worst was definitely PEI. Bunting, New Brunswick was not as fun as depicted on SCTV.

    you are simply ignoring the larger truth to what I experienced by trying to pick holes in it. I’ve gone through these stories with my Canadian immigrant friends and they definitely are like, “hey, what would happen to me in Mississippi?” or “Same thing would happen to me because I’m from Toronto.” You don’t want to accept it and as I said, a lack of self-reflection and “who, us? Canadians would never do that” seems to be part of this. Americans understand about ugly Americanism.

  59. #72 “will it be eventually possible to genetically engineer a virus that is wildly contagious, infects only humans and causes skin cells to accumulate large quantities of melanin?”

    and then we can all start hateing based on religion. Then sexual preference. Then weight. Then height. then…?

  60. nfrtntly ths s smply whr th crrnt trnd f hypr pltcl crrctnss nd snstvty hs brght s. Mny wrnd tht vr dmnzng f th “N-WRD” wld ld t dd nd nd hr w r.

    s smn mntnd rlr ts nt th wrds tht nd t chng bt th ppl, bth th srs f sch dcy bt ls ths wh fl thy hv rght t nt b ffndd. Tht rght dsn’t xst nr shld t. ls ndrstnd tht thsnds f yrs f sclly ccptd rclly nd sxlly/sxst mtvtd bhvr (by VRYN) s nt gng t dsppr wthn n r tw lftms smply bcs scl chng s mvng t brknck pc. t’s brd dp wthn ll cltrs nd vn wthn r wn srvvl mchnsm t b sspcs nd vn dngrt smn tsd r wn “trb”. t dsn’t mk t ccptbl r rght bt t’s vry hmn nd t tks tm. lrdy My sn nd mny hs gnrtn n lngr tlrt th vry n-PC lngg tht grw p wth nd tk fr grntd s t S hppnng.

  61. #54 ANTINOUS– Well, I understand Canadians and Mexicans are “Americans” too (NORTH Americans. . . even Brazilians are “Americans” if you want to go that far), but the bottom line is there isn’t anything else we can call citizens of the US without sounding awkward– “UnitedStatesians”?? “U-S-ers”?? “Usians”?

    #76 MICHAEL SLAVITCH– Yeah, we are off on tangents here, but is nothing compared to what I’ve seen on AOL. And at least it’s intelligent here. I sometimes get a masochistic thrill out of peaking there after any major news story to see how someones always blaming “those liberal traitors.”

    And before you assume Boston is as racially hostile/divided as it was when that Pulitzer Prize winning photo was taking during the busing riots of the 70’s — read this (and also know that the black man assaulted with the flag in that famous photo still lives there and calls it home). 1972 was a long time ago indeed.

  62. As has been said before, I heard about ‘Canadians’ as code word when I was tending bar at a Bennigan’s in Evanston, IL, in 1989 or so. Nothing new here.

  63. Bottlekid,

    I’m glad to hear that Boston has changed. I assumed that it had. But history doesn’t disappear as long as there are people alive who remember it. Which is sometimes a good thing (cf. holocaust denial). Have you ever been assaulted, watched a race riot from your bedroom window, seen somebody bleed to death? As for nooses from trees, there were plenty in the 1600s for victims of religious persecution. I didn’t mean to suggest that Boston is any worse than anywhere else, just to answer the question about why someone might have singled it out.

    As to the virus that increases melanin, bring it on. I’m sick of carrying this fucking parasol every time that I leave the house.

  64. As a life-long southerner, I’ve heard of this kind of thing, but not specifically this term. The divide between black culture and white culture in the south is gigantic, but is better with each generation.

    I say this because, as easy as it is to caricature southern people, there are plenty of awesome, open-minded and progressive people here. As was discussed with the Boston example, it’s not entirely fair to judge everyone by the worst examples of past decades.

  65. I worked in a financial brokerage house in 2000 in NYC, and the guys I worked with told me “Canadian” was the code word for black in the financial business.

  66. As a Canadian of African descent (who happens to be told she tips too generously), I don’t even know where to start.

    I’m unsurprised, but generally disappointed with most of the comments I’m reading on this thread. Commenters mostly miss the point, dismiss the real problem, or make your their prejudices more apparent.

    I keep making the mistake when I read the smarter blogs, that I will also see smarter comments when it comes to discrimination issues. The ignorance and dismissal just manifests itself differently, especially among those who may even feel they are quite enlightened.

    So in that vain, it has been very educational and teaches me why I still have to keep vigilant of *everyone* I meet. Thanks for the link… and the reminder.

  67. #63 oneswellfoop

    The new term is “German” because it was feared that black folks were catching on to the “Canadian” thing a couple of years ago.

    OMG…you mean we beat France in attracting the wrath of the southern Hick?? Is it because our country is run by a little girl?
    But, but…George likes her…he even does little funny stunts when they have BBQs…

    Sleepless nights for me this week…

    On another note…I’m genuinely surprised that “the N-word” (it really feels silly, but Theresa has spoken) seems to be such a taboo here…is that a general States thing?

    The reason I find it surprising is its general inflationary use in American Hip Hop and to an extend the movie industry. I can’t treat something as a taboo that is thrown at me within a minute I enter a record store or switch on the radio.

    Maybe Europeans find it a bit harder to come to terms with that contradiction…I remember about 10 years ago a Scandinavian band brought out this song called “N-word” (not literally) and the refrain was a little something like “N-word, N-word, N-word, N-word….N-word”.

    The lyrics were criticising(!) the pop-cultural over-use of The Word and I guess I agree. A particular branch of Hip Hop has a lot to answer for…

  68. Hate speech is a constant reminder that somebody hates you. I cheerfully call myself queer, faggot, cocksucker, whatever, but when I hear it in a movie or on television, it’s a slap in the face. There’s a pretty good chance that, at some point, a racial epithet was accompanied by violence, intimidation, job discrimination. When you hear the word, the rest of it comes flooding back to you.

  69. If hatred comes from fear and fear comes from ignorance; is this discussion doing any good at all?
    Has anyone learned anything? Is there at least some commiseration of the like-minded? In a good way?

  70. #90 Tamu

    So in that vain, it has been very educational and teaches me why I still have to keep vigilant of *everyone* I meet. Thanks for the link… and the reminder.

    Sounds like part of the problem from the opposite angle to me.

    I also would be interested in what a non-ignorant comment would have read like. You’re not giving many clues.

  71. Takuan, just my opinion, but when you try to steer a conversation towards a predetermined if worthy outcome, the *best* you can hope for is a bunch of politically correct lip service masking the antipathy of the prodded.

    Is racism bad? Of course it is. Is this coded racist speach bad? Of course it is. Nobody who’s posted so far has said anything to the contrary.

    Does every poster have to explicitly acknowledge these facts? No. No they don’t.

  72. I learned that South Boston is integrated. That’s interesting to me at least. I learned that, if white people perceive themselves as hip, they sometimes feel entitled to use racial epithets. I’m not so good with that one. I learned (via side research) that calling a spade a spade comes from the mid 16th century and derives originally from Plutarch. And I learned that there are people on earth who use the word ‘nip’ without thinking ‘clamp’.

  73. I laughed at @23’s story so much I spit coffee on my laptop.

    As Western Canadian who has spent much time in rural northern Louisiana, I have been treated kindly by whomever I met down there.

    It’s a shame that certain Canadians have a blind spot towards their own country. Squamish, Bathurst Goose Bay, and the Abitibi are all “Ignorant and proud of it” IME. Ever wonder why trailer park boys is set in Nova Scotia?

  74. We have some great trailer parks in the Palm Springs area. Some of them have amazing mid-century trailers that have been beautifully restored. There’s one where a lot of the trailers have been encased in exotic facades: Egyptian, Chinese Chippendale…

  75. “Ever wonder why trailer park boys is set in Nova Scotia?”

    Actually no, I don’t, since I know that is where the creators of the show come from. It is unfortunate the conclusion that you tried to imply.

  76. Yeah, screw it…not really getting any answers here anyway. Let’s talk trailers…

    I like trailers, not sure about the parks. I’m also fond of houseboats and mobile homes. I lived in a VW camper for 6 months just going around Australia…it’s becoming the retiree past time of choice here to buy fully decked-out motorhomes and basically spend most of their time on the road.

    Nothing makes more sense…

    Where were we?

  77. Who knows what Southeners are “thinking?” Here in Detroit we just call people “Canadians” when it’s obvious that they don’t know how to drive! Ha ha ha! Besides, everyone knows Canada is just like America’s back yard, and most of us LOVE it (except the French part).

  78. Um. Scapegoat much?

    I’m from the South and find many of the comments above to be quite offensive. I’m not sure that the approach of fighting the ignorant bigotry of others with your own ignorant bigotry is really coming across as well as you think. Maybe it’s just me.

    I guess if I ever travel to any of your home towns, I’d better hide my accent or I might get lynched….

  79. I am a proud Southerner and find most of these post offensive. The term is not new. My wife waited tables 20 years ago and it was in use then. It means black people who don’t tip. She would tell you that the vast majority of the people of color didn’t tip at all. Imagine having someone tie up one of your tables and you run your ass off to be the best server and they stiff you. I’ve seen this happen to her with tabs that were several hundred dollars and her boss actually gave her a tip out of the total bill. She did have several black customers who gave very generous tips and I never heard them referred to as “canadian”. It’s worth mentioning that the other ethnic group that doesn’t tip is “redneck” aka “white trash”. I’m sure there’s some better code for them but they typically leave a dollar regardless of the amount they spend or they just stiff you outright. SO it means black and not tipping. I do find it ironic that we can excuse someone not paying for part of their meal(given that the service was up to par) and accuse someone who’s actually losing money due this behavior of racism because they label the behavior with a nice word. Isn’t that stealing? I don’t buy the “they don’t tip because they’re perceive this underlying racism and they receive inferior service” argument. If they tipped before the word would never have come in to use in this context.

  80. Interesting, because these same people, if they were Canadians (not black, I mean living in Canada, of course they could be black but you know what I mean), would be the ones reading the hateful right wing rag called the National Post.

  81. ububbatu:

    are you serious?

    first, what you are doing is called racism. you are attaching a hate term to a particular racial demographic. just because you use a new word does not make it any less racist, ignorant, or hateful.

    you also blame the victim for your ignorance. if they had just been netter blacks you wouldn’t of had to refer to them with that camouflaged racial slur after all, no?

    lastly, tipping is optional. not tipping is not theft. if tipping is not optional, it should be included in the price on the menu. perhaps these people aren’t tipping exactly because they know people like you are in the back calling them “canadians”. or maybe they just remember all those years where they weren’t allowed in your fine restaurants. i know you stated you don’t buy that, but i’m sure people wouldn’t have called black these people n*****s either, except that they did something to deserve it.

    it never ceases to amaze me when people stand up and try to explain their racist behaviour…

  82. > I do find it ironic that we can excuse someone not paying for part of their meal(given that the service was up to par)

    No one is entitled to a tip. It’s not stealing to not leave a tip. A tip is a bonus, a gift, a present. You remind me of morons where I work complaining that they didn’t get an annual bonus. You don’t get to complain that you didn’t get a tip, by definition.

    Also, a tip for quality of service is based on unbelievably subjective criteria. Even if you believe that, in theory, someone is entitled to a tip, the concept is completely unmeasurable.

    > and accuse someone who’s actually losing money

    Not getting a tip is not losing money. It may be not getting any money, but it’s not losing money.

  83. Everything else aside, I always find it amusing when folks try to come up with excuses for not tipping.

    “Bah, humbug!” indeed.

  84. Hi! I happen to be a white, southern male who has honestly never heard of the word Canadian used to refer to anyone other than our northern neighbors with flip-top heads. I also have never worked in a table-waiting restaurant (I delivered pizza), so I guess that would explain my lack of worldly experience.

    First, I would like to congratulate most of you for showing your prejudices on all fronts. We’ve got folks who are bigoted towards black people, folks bigoted towards Canadian (the country) people, and folks bigoted towards southern people.

    There are blacks who ignore the value of education, call their peers in school who are trying to succeed ‘acting white;’ just as there are ignorant, backwards redneck idiots who think that anyone not pale of skin, Christian (protestant) of faith, and rural in outlook aren’t worth the time it takes to spit. There are also proud Canadians that think they’re better than their neighbors to the south in culture, breeding, and couth.

    Stereotypes do, indeed have a basis in fact. However, and to keep in this thread’s theme of trite phrases, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.

    Someone above me mentioned that there hasn’t been any race riots in Boston in 30 years. Someone else mentioned nooses and lynchings… might I remind you that the ‘rebirth’ of the Klan in the mid-century arose in the midwest, and that there have been NO lynchings within my recollection about that long anywhere in the country. We *are* moving forward. It’s slow, takes time, and takes the *individual* effort of a lot of forward-thinking people making a difference one relationship at a time. I’m walking. Who’s with me?

  85. When did these Canadians (the real ones) go and get all uppity and anti-US?

    To be quite honest, I’m starting to regret my recent 11 DVD purchase of “Due South” (seasons 1-3). It all seems like a lie now. :-(

    Hateful people are hateful people, regardless of affiliations.

  86. I’m Canadian and I’m ok with this. I mean, what are we talking about here? Some inbred, overfed, ignorant hicks? Ha! I’m impressed that they had the whit to come up with this. It shows intellectual progress and an almost seinfeldian comedy lilt…. Wait, no. Oops, I’ve compared rednecks to a Jewish dude… too soon?

    I guess tit-for-tat and we could call all ignorant, racist, Americans… FRENCH! “Oooh no! More of those bloody Southern French are crossing our border! ”…

    Hhhehee… I crack myself up…

  87. Takuan,

    I’m revising what I’ve learned from this thread. I learned that, after you and I are fast asleep, the really creepy, hateful people crawl out of the woodwork. And I’m including the ‘no tipping’ theorists in that group.

  88. geno and subzero
    I am serious.
    I see you’ve never worked at a profession like waiting tables or you would understand that it is part of the pay and it IS expected and it is customary. Do you stiff your server? are you that asshole. Here’s a tip for you: THEY ARE SPITTING ON YOUR FOOD. They are losing money and it is just an excuse not to tip. This is part of civilized living. That’s why they add a gratuity to the check for a group so you can’t stiff them, you jackass. And you called me a moron?
    i do find it completely ironic that you would flame me. This news is hardly earth-shattering since i heard it 20 years ago and it would not exist if the the behavior did not exist. I’m not explaining away anybody’s racism, I’m explaining away a euphemism. I don’t use the “C” word and I don’t work in an eating establishment so we’re not talking about me. For that matter, Canadians everywhere should beam with pride because it was there sqeaky-clean image that made them the perfect choice. Because nobody hates Canadians.
    Are you saying that past injustice makes it right to not tip? …I’m am without words. Not tipping as reparations absolutely takes the cake and i’m out… it’s ok to not tip and hate the South …. reference hitler and end teh thread

  89. Some9guy (52), I’ve lived in Toronto, and I know you aren’t kidding. Exaggerating, maybe; but I’ve heard it done.

    DCer (53), you’re the first person I’ve heard of having consistent problems in the Maritimes. What year was that? Had the U.S. just done something exceptionally irritating? Was there anything distinctive about you and your father, aside from your nationality?

    IMJGalt (56), jokes that misfire are the author’s responsibility.

    Korpo (67), word origins aren’t the controlling factor. If a word in a phrase has two meanings, and one of them is an emotionally charged slur, that’s the meaning we’ll hear first.

    Actually, that works with any kind of strong emotional charge. This is why words that have one strongly sexual meaning will tend to lose the other meanings: it’s no use insisting you meant “ejaculate” as a manner of speaking, when everyone heard something else.

    JG (70), perceptions like that are why statistical studies were invented.

    Antinous (75), Massachusetts =/= Boston. Boston =/= all neighborhoods in Greater Boston.

    Let me point out in Boston’s defense that it was ground zero for the Abolitionist Movement. Also, I’m surprised that no one’s pointed out that Canada was the terminus of the Underground Railway. I’ve been assuming all along that the use of “Canadian” currently under discussion owes a lot to that.

    Michael Slavitch (76): Explain?

    DCer (79), people who are challenging your assertions aren’t “simply ignoring the larger truth.” They’re questioning the idea that that larger truth exists.

    Takuan (81): that’s the ultimate comment on the subject, though I wish he’d gone more into the economic implications of exclusion from the in-group.

    WickedAshTray (82), I dislike canned rants. Anyone who thinks this story and its subsequent thread is evidence of an excess of sensitivity in our discourse is not cooking from scratch.

    Tamu (90), you’d do more for the intelligence of the general discourse if you stuck around and talked about your own experience and perceptions.

    Elnico (93), I don’t have a problem with intelligent people of good will who want to use that word where it’s relevant. What I don’t want are the yahoos who sometimes show up if you say “Go ahead and use that word all you please.” They’re not interested in the conversation. They just want to say that word a lot and have an audience while they do it.

    MercerMachine (97), I’m all for people trying to steer conversations toward worthy ends, especially if one of the definitions of “worthy” is “more interesting.” Trying to steer conversations toward predetermined ends is doomed from the start. You can sometimes pull them, but you can’t push.

    Mindpowered (101), I know someone with a fair amount of First Nations ancestry who grew up primarily Francophone (one of his parents was the French teacher) in a white, English-speaking small town in Northern Ontario. He got beaten up a lot.

    Jeff (106), was it necessary this late in the conversation to channel the Ugly American on vacation in Niagara?

    Gnubunny (107), not if you don’t explain why, you don’t.

    Myku (108), puh-leeze. You and yours are in no danger of getting lynched. And how is it scapegoating Southerners to talk about a term used by Southerners?

    Agreed, the South doesn’t have a patent on racial prejudice.

    Ububbatu (109), want to explain why you need to have a special term for blacks who don’t tip, but you don’t have a term for whites who don’t tip, or a general term for people who don’t tip?

    Failure to tip can’t be a universal habit of the group of whites you single out as non-tippers. It seems to me you ought to have a term for them, in fairness to the members of that class who do tip. Otherwise, someone might get the impression that you’re using race- and class-based slurs.

    EDT (116):

    “When did these Canadians (the real ones) go and get all uppity and anti-US?”

    I’m going to let that one stand, just as it is.

    Ububatu (119), I’ve got a tip for you: failure to tip your server is not a characteristic that’s confined to any one race or social group. There are jerks everywhere.

  90. I guess my comment about trailer parks was too oblique.

    The class of people in Canada who pride themselves on not being the US and get delightfully offended about such things as Black people being described as “Canadians” are in my experience the most myopic about their own country.

    Why is it appropriate to complain about “Hong Kong” drivers? Call beer cans “Indian artifacts”?

    Given the terrible record of our treatment of first nations people (It’s ok at least we didn’t shoot them as much as they did down south), and the systemic discrimination of other minorities which only really broke down in the 1980’s even in the major cities, to look down upon the southern US as contemptible backwater is surely hypocritical.

    As for the whole tipping business, when our dollar was 60c US it was a stretch to make the trip, let alone tip. Now that the shoe is on the other foot I notice far fewer Americans around.

  91. In the interests of light, good and harmony would someone who works as a waitperson please explain for the larger audience the concept of “Tipping-out”.

    It has nothing to do with prejudice and everything to do with understanding why tipping is such a volatile issue.

  92. There’s an MTV short clip which I had thought was innocently hilarious – a young black man comes out to his white parents as… a German.
    Now I’m not sure what to make of it. Did the writers know about people substituting “German” for “Black” or is it just an odd coincidence?

  93. Well, “tip-out” is the money the server has to (or is supposed to) take from their shift’s tips and give to the bussers and bartenders.

    Sometimes, this is a predetermined amount. Let’s say a server makes an average of a 100 dollars on a Thursday night. After her shift, she then gives 10 to each busser, and 15 to the bartender. If the server got shafted by a table of non-tippers, she still may have to tip out those amounts (depending on the restaurant).

  94. so if you wait tables and get stiffed a few times, you might actually LOSE money for working that day.

    I’d be angry too.

  95. @ #120 Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator:

    “Myku (108), puh-leeze. You and yours are in no danger of getting lynched. And how is it scapegoating Southerners to talk about a term used by Southerners?”


    In regards to scapegoating: I’m assuming that since you’re the moderator you’ve actually read the article that’s being linked to. It contains only one reference to the South and that is basically a “friend of a friend” type story.

    “Oh, somebody wrote this blogger who we don’t know an email and said….” Top notch journalism, for sure. And yet, it has this sensationalist title that targets Southerners.

    As one commenter above noted, the story isn’t even about the South. It’s about happenings in Texas with a little blurb thrown in about the South and another blurb about Kansas City.

    Now, MANY of the comments above contain derogatory, insulting, and hate-filled language directed at people from the South. I see that you’ve had no problem coming to the aid of Canadian citizens who’ve posted here and felt that they were being insulted or attacked in some way, but it seems that same consideration does not apply to everyone.

    As far as my claiming that I might be attacked if I left the South? Um. That was a joke. Sorry if it didn’t come off that way, but I was alluding to the scarily aggressive hate-speech directed at “me and mine” in the above comments.

    I’m not trying to flame you, not trying to be a problem, and am NOT RACIST. I just don’t like people calling me names, nor do I like double-standards.

  96. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator

    Here’s a tip for you:
    You need to reference my original post …
    “It’s worth mentioning that the other ethnic group that doesn’t tip is “redneck” aka “white trash”. I’m sure there’s some better code for them but they typically leave a dollar regardless of the amount they spend or they just stiff you outright.”

    If you do not tip, expect to be called names. I can assure that “canadian” is not what she/he will call you when you stiff them.

    I hate non-tippers. I hate Black non-tippers and White non-tippers. And I hate them equally. And since we’ve had this discussion I’ve realized that I even hate Jewish and Asian non-tippers just as much.
    there, I said it and I feel free.

  97. ububbatu:

    i knew you were serious. just thought i’d give you an out.

    first, you know absolutely nothing about my work history, but it is not unusual for a person to work a food-service job at some point early in their life. good try though.

    as explained, tipping is optional, not a given. it is not part of the expected pay. that angle is largely pushed by owners/mangers who do not want to pay their waiting staff an adequate rate. maybe they’re the real “canadians”? you know, those servers are “loosing” money because of this. it’s just so uncivilized…

    aside: i pesonally tip, unless given a reason not to. however, way to call me an asshole over your imaginary scenario. do you tip fast food workers? are you an asshole? a hypocrite?

    also, how are people spitting on my food before they even know if i will tip. are you saying that your wife and her coworkers regularly spit on black people’s food on the basis of their prejudices? maybe that has something to do with the low tip rate…

    you are not explaining away anything, much less a euphemism. what you are doing is detailing the sequence of racial prejudices and actions your wife and, i assume, her coworkers routinely engage in.

    and yes, we are talking about you, whether you think we are or not. why? exactly because you stood up and attempted to rationalize what is clearly racist speech. i’m sorry [truly] that you are unable to grasp that.

    lastly, why should i, as a canadian, be proud that you have usurped my nationality to engage in a racist sleight-of-hand? i am insulted by the use, not proud.

  98. Myku (126): People have said some unpleasant things about Southerners, but I wouldn’t dignify it with the term “hate speech,” and I certainly wouldn’t let it frighten me.

    Exactly how much control do you think I have over the fine details of phrasing in comments posted here? I’ve suppressed the frivolous and/or excessive use of one word, and I’m thinking of doing the same for pr wht trsh, which I was raised to regard as an offensive term. I’ve deprecated some bits of loaded language and a few ill-made arguments. Beyond that, my godlike powers as a moderator mostly consist of trying to set a good example, and praising those who write praiseworthy comments. It’s not much, and it wouldn’t work at all if the people here didn’t want to have engaged and reasonably civil conversations.

    Have I been defensive of Canadians? A bit. They’re the ones whose proper noun is being used as a stand-in for “black” by people who don’t like blacks. If people start doing something like that with “Southerner,” I’ll be defensive on their behalf too.

    Ububbatu, I’ve got no use at all for habitual non-tippers. They’re right down the bottom circles of hell with people who amuse themselves by harassing desk clerks, waitstaff, chambermaids, receptionists, and other low-level service personnel who can’t yell back. In the circle just below that one are the people who lift tips from other tables as they’re walking out of the restaurant.

    I worked a lot of food service jobs when I was young.

    Michael Slavitch (128), I’m happy to listen to all kinds of arguments, but you’re not going to convince me that I don’t know how to read. The meaning of your comment was obvious to you. If you’re satisfied with that outcome, neither you nor I need do anything further.

    Sum Zero (129), I thought the difference in attitude was partly due to Canada having stronger minimum-wage laws.

  99. snc y ddn’t sy y hld jb n fd srvc .. tht’s n. blh blh. S y hvn’t bn stffd. nd y hv n cncpt f hw tht wrks.
    cn tll by yr tn y’v stffd mr n wtr wh rnd tp frm y. Prbbly sm sngl mthr tryng t fd hr kds r sm cllg stdnt tryng mk nds mt. Y cn dny t bt “ptnl” s wht ppl wh dn’t tp sy. sm.zr= yr tp
    t’s k, t’s yr rght. t’s ptnl.
    Th spttng fd rmrk ws hmr. srry. hv nvr hrd nr sn cs f prmptv fd spttng. nd dtld n sch sqnc. rtnlzd thr flng f ndgntn nd dsr t lsh t t thnc grps tht tnd nt t tp – rdncks dn’t slly tp thr. nd dd rtnlz t jst y rtnlz nt gvng tp. wll gv tht thr’s rcl lmnt t th trm bt n mr thn rdnck r wht trsh.
    Lstly, ddn’t nvnt th trm nd dn’t s th trm. S, n w’r nt tlkng bt m.
    Slght-f-hnd? gss f vrybdy knws thy’ll pck nthr wrd wn’t thy nd thn Cnd cn g bck t bng mrc’s fnny ht. S gt crckn’

  100. #131 posted by Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator

    Hi, Teresa.

    I’m sorry, but I feel I’ve possibly been misunderstood by you. I did not, and am not, asking you to intervene. But when I step in to defend myself and comment on the hypocrisy of certain people using bigotry to fight bigotry and you criticize me for it, I find it hard to understand.

    As one commenter above said “As someone who’s lived in the North, the South, and the Midwest, I find racism to be equally prevalent. All the snide, smug, ignorant, anti-southerner bigotry by the self-professed open-minded always seems to get a pass, though.”

    Being called “inbred,” a “hick,” and compared to a “dingle-berry” may not fall into the hate-speech category to you, but I take offense. Go figure. I can’t help but feel if these comments were directed at another group of people that they would be thought of as hate speech. And when I say the comments are “scary,” I don’t mean I’m physically afraid. C’mon.

    I did notice that some of the comments above have since been censored by you. I definitely was not insinuating that you should be controlling or censoring speech here. I just wanted to point out that fighting hate with hate is not good and stereotyping people is not good, no matter where those people happen to live or what color they are.

    BTW: I don’t think I would use the word “dignify” to describe hate-speech. (That’s beside the point, though).

  101. “Sum Zero (129), I thought the difference in attitude was partly due to Canada having stronger minimum-wage laws.”

    to clarify, i believe in tipping.

    i however do believe that tipping has become essential to make ends meet working on in a food service position is largely a result of owners/managers shifting these costs to the consumer. it is same in canada, food service workers rely on tips even with minimum wage protections because minimum wage is a subsistence living standard. managers hide behind minimum wage to avoid paying a living wage.

    but let’s be clear, a tip is a gratuity. it is earned. the earning may be trivial, say the minimum standard as per the job description, but it is not guaranteed. it is also possible to be undeserving of this gratuity for various reasons.

    and while i understand the frustration expressed by ububbatu regarding his wife, that does not condone racist behaviour. full stop.

  102. @ #120 – Teresa N.H./Moderator:

    Let me point out in Boston’s defense that it was ground zero for the Abolitionist Movement. Also, I’m surprised that no one’s pointed out that Canada was the terminus of the Underground Railway. I’ve been assuming all along that the use of “Canadian” currently under discussion owes a lot to that.

    Really? I can’t help but think that you’re giving them (the users of this particular colloquialism, if it indeed is in use) far too much credit.

    @ #134 – ill lich:

    I sure hope the moderator gets paid for this.

    She works for tips. :-)

  103. RE: HATE

    #127 “I hate non-tippers. I hate Black non-tippers and White non-tippers. And I hate them equally. And since we’ve had this discussion I’ve realized that I even hate Jewish and Asian non-tippers just as much.”

    So much HATE, there certainly seems to be more than enough to go around.

    Some Language creates more heat than light.
    Light exposes hatred, heat just gives it a warm place to dwell.

    Reviewing the VAST majority of these posts I see a rather civil discussion of language, intention and a bit of recent history.
    With that in mind, I’m a little surprised that some posts are censored for specifying the very words we want to discuss.
    Once again few seem abusive in this string of comments.

    With all respect to our overworked moderator..why the censor?

    Just wondering…


  104. White Southern female, lifelong Texas resident, has waited tables, has never heard this word used to refer to blacks.

    I, too, get tired of the anti-South prejudice that is all too common on the Internets and elsewhere. People who haven’t lived here (and as someone else pointed out, there’s a lot of “here” here) think they know all there is to know about us.

  105. @ Teresa

    You know, I just checked back and it seems that you’ve got your hands full with this thread. Although I feel quite strongly about the issues we’ve been discussing, I believe that it’s best that I don’t press you anymore ;).

    I am still confused about our miscommunication- c’est la vie. We all hate racism. And being from the South, you tend to get sick of being stereotyped and associated with society’s worst when you’ve done nothing wrong yourself. Maybe I’ve just got a chip on my shoulder. If so, sorry.

    I am a long-time reader of BoingBoing and have always admired your work as a moderator. Therefore, I feel uncomfortable being at odds with you. This is actually my first time commenting on this blog! I don’t want it to go like this :-).

    And I have to agree with (#134) ill lich. I hope you’re getting paid for this- looks like hard work….


  106. Hmm. Not so sure that I can speak to Southern racism with authority, but I do know that up here in the enlightened Northeast, a lot of people used to say “Canadian” instead of “Jew” when I was growing up in the seventies. And not being, you know, Canadian myself, I heard it a lot.

  107. About racism and the use of the “N” word, here in Brazil the “African Brazilians” took another approach to the whole thing, instead of forbidding people from use the “bad terms” they adopted the term and started to use it them selves. Instead of saying the Portuguese “N” word, Negro, is a bad word they turned the other way and took proud on using it themselves. It was common to see T-Shirts who said “100% negro”, for instance. This seem much more sane than trying to stop everyone to use a word.

    About tips, I aways thought that we should tip good service. I don’t know how it works in the USA, but here in Brazil all restaurants charge 10% over the bill, and many times this “TIP” does not even goes to the waiter, but end up in the owner pocket. I don’t like to tip in this conditions, it is just a price makeup scheme, and they say you must pay even when you’re treaded like shit and waited for hours to be served. I believe that a tip should go to the waiter pocket, but only when you’re served well.

  108. I’m as tolerant as they come, but most of you on here are making me sick. I think “racist” is a far more dangerous and misused word that “Canadian” or even–gasp–“nigger”.

    The fact is that a vast majority of black people who eat at restaurants don’t tip, and if they do, they tip poorly. They run you around like a little bitch and talk down to you and make you lick their boots and don’t leave you a penny. From a financial perspective, it makes sense to want to avoid these types of customers and it’s no secret that servers stand huddled in fear when a black table walks in a given restaurant.

    But I’m sure all you have cushy jobs not dependent on individual consumers and so you have no experience observing economic trends by race. Ah, ignorance.

    Let’s not be afraid to call a spade a spade folks: disliking blacks and calling them names because, AS A GROUP, they impede your financial success, is not racist–maybe childish, but wanting to avoid these types of people is completely logical and economically sound.

    Oh, and to the people who are confused about tipping. YES, tipping is optional but NO, you shouldn’t not leave one just because you don’t feel like it. By entering into an establishment whose waitstaff makes its wage off of tips, you implicitly agree to a contract whereby you tip the person taking care of you. If you choose not to, that makes you…well, a really shitty person. The reason the tip is not included in the check is for tax purposes–if money is going directly from your patrons to your employees, you have no liability over it. That is big for companies.

    Any other questions?

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