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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Monday, February 05, 2007

Code words

I was driving back to the office this afternoon, following an interview and I turned to AM Radio and came across the Radio Factor, Bill O'Reilly's syndicated chat show.

Before any of you who lean left give me crap, you should know I also listen to Al Franken's show and probably will continue to do so as long as the few remaining squirrels powering the treadmill that runs Air America continue to be fed.

Anywho, O'Reilly started an interesting discussion that made me wonder how widespread his surprise was.

Here's the deal: By now we've all heard how Democratic Sen. Joe Biden stuck both feet in his mouth last week when he opined that fellow Dem Sen. Barack Obama is "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice looking guy."

Biden's comments, which he says were innocent and complimentary, were met with with harsh criticism by pundits and some media-appointed black leaders who wanted to know what he meant by "clean" and why Obama's speaking ability, hygiene, and appearance, warranted that sort of compliment.

So fast-forward a couple of days. In an interview with Fox News Channel host Neil Cavuto, Pres. Bush was asked what he thought of Obama. He too complimented the senator for seeming to be a nice capable guy. And while the president suggested Obama had a long way to go in terms of gaining enough experience to qualify himself for the White House, he added "He’s an attractive guy. He’s articulate. I’ve been impressed with him when I’ve seen him in person."

So back to O'Reilly. He said he was surprised that anyone would take offense at the "articulate" comments. O'Reilly did say that he understood the criticisms of Biden's "clean" comments. But he said he would bet that most white people would also be baffled as to why the articulate thing might be annoying. A compliment of being articulate and attractive should be appreciated, O'Reilly said.

For the record, I am paraphrasing O'Reilly, not quoting him exactly, 'cause I was not recording his radio show. No one is gonna accuse me later of twisting his or anyone else's words.

Now, if you've read this blog for even a week you know I'm not hyper-sensitive about discussions and debates on race and culture. I'm just the opposite, actually. You also know I don't believe in out of control political correctness.

But this topic fascinates me, 'cause I understand the criticisms. I completely understand them.

You have to understand that this one is not necessarily a racial issue. It's a matter of people not wanting to be condescended to.

I've gotten both those compliments dozens, maybe even hundreds of times from white people (usually elderly)...especially the one about how good looking I am ;-)

And I didn't always take offense. It's about context.

If you know me, then you don't need to tell me I'm articulate. I'll assume you think as highly of me as I deserve. If you're a potential employer or someone about to interview me for say a media outlet and you call my associates and ask about me in preparation and they tell you, among other things, that I'm articulate it's all good. They're just trying to give you a well-rounded feel for who/how I am.

But if you're a stranger and you tell me I'm articulate or tell other people how clean I am, I'm sorry, but I just have to wonder why. And I can't help but wonder if you'd feel the need to say the same things to me if I were a well-spoken, clean young white man.The history behind this comes from mass media portrayals of black folks back in the day as inarticulate boobs who all sounded like Mush Mouth from The Fat Albert Show. So yes, some of us ruffle when people we don't know tell us "You speak so well!" or "You are so clean cut!"

Those aren't bad words. They are compliments, taken at face value. But can you understand why I would in turn ask myself "Well, how did you expect me to sound, stupid, maybe?" or why I might ask myself "How did you expect me to look, dirty, and unkempt?"

Finally, I'll leave you with this anecdote: When I was in college, I was blessed with a tough, but great job that allowed me to pay for most of my college bills out of pocket. If you've read this blog before you know that I was a civilian aircraft machinist on the Naval Air Station in Norfolk, Va. When I was 19 I bought myself a new pick-up truck - maroon Nissan Hardbody. I thought I was the coolest cat around. But that's another story. Anyway, the car salesman told me I should consider investing some of my money more aggressively than I could with a regular bank account. Naturally, he recommended his wife, an investment advisor with a big, well-known firm. After weeks of phone conversations with his wife, I finally agreed to meet her in person at her downtown office. So I skipped class one morning and drove to her office building, wearing my best suit at the time, a $600 Hugo Boss number, my best shoes, best watch, etc. When I got off the elevator on her floor, a young white man stepped off the elevator behind me. He was wearing laborer's clothing and was covered in enough grease to suggest that he was some kind of mechanic too. The receptionist looked us both over and though he stood behind me, she looked around me to ask the other guy if she could help him first. I wasn't having it and corrected her. She pouted, but complied and alerted my financial advisor that I was waiting in the lobby. A minute or so later the woman - the car salesman's wife - came to the lobby. She looked me over. Then she studied the other guy. Finally she extended her hand to him and said "James, nice to meet you!" He was a little confused, understandably. So I stood up and told her "Actually, I'm James." She turned beet red, stammered a minute, and explained what till that point had been an innocent error with "I'm so sorry. It's just on the phone you sounded so, so..."

Articulate?

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39 Comments:

  • Grrr...that's happened to me so many times I can't even remember all the instances.

    There's a great article in the NY Times about language and race that nails this issue, in my opinion.

    One of the points made in that article was that people should ask themselves if they'd refer to a white person as "articulate" or not, in any given situation. If so, carry on. If not - then think about why that is. I think this is completely fair.

    I think Joe Biden should know better. Do I think he's racist? Hell, no. But I think it's insidious, and not something that has to be over to have an effect on others....

    By Blogger bc, at 8:28 PM  

  • Also - I'd bet that the woman in your anecdote wasn't going to say "articulate", but was going to say "white"...I've gotten that from both black AND white people!

    By Blogger bc, at 8:31 PM  

  • I am often described as being articulate. I've always felt it was complimentary. And I agree that I am probably more expressive than your average bear. This is one of those things that folks tend to reserve for others who seem more verbal or more verbally creative or more linguistically colorful than average. It's also often used to describe people who seem to communicate well, with ease. In my case (and yours), it's true.

    I don't see this as being a race issue. Then again, context is everything.

    The clean comment stumps me a little. Could it have been "clean-cut," rather than simply "clean"?

    By Blogger Yvette, at 8:38 PM  

  • I'm going to be blunt. It's racial.
    I grew up in a family that wasn't so cool with racial issues. Since I'm of hispanic heritage so I was a little more forward thinking than the rest of my family.

    When someone hears my last name before meeting me they automatically assume I'm a dumb illiterate mexican, when someone talks to me on the phone they automatically assume white and clean cut.

    These articulate, clean cut nice looking comments are born out of negative stereotypes that are still being perpetuated.

    Look at the way minorites are portrayed on TV. Not our best foot forward for general colorblind acceptance.

    All we can do is prove them wrong and set positive examples.

    By Blogger Hammer, at 8:53 PM  

  • Yvette, I feel ya. And I agree that context is everything. So I can assure you that each time it's happened that I did mind, the circumstance was one of those wow-you-speak-so-much-better-than-I-assumed-you-would deals.

    As for Biden, he did say "clean."

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 8:57 PM  

  • BC, I'm sorry I forgot to reply. I agree with you though - that question is a good litmus test for anyone about to compliment a stranger for something that we should expect of any studious person.

    Hammer, I also missed your comment while I was replying to Yvette.

    But I also feel your point. I swear I'm not trying to be Switzerland here. Don't mean to play both sides. But it really is an issue I'm torn over from time to time 'cause while it may be race-related I'm not sure it's always racist if that makes sense. Sometimes people say things 'cause they mean well and are making a concerted attempt to overshadow some dark attitude from the past. Other times people are equally clueless but don't mean well. Subconsciously they absolutely intend to condescend and let you know that they are pleasantly surprised that you're "as good" as them.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 9:01 PM  

  • Okay. I'm a middleaged white woman. I think Biden's comment was assinely stupid. I've heard the backtrack that "clean" was meant to be "clean background, no baggage". I call bulls.hit.
    I guarantee you if someone were to talk to me over the phone or meet me in person for the first time, they wouldn't think, "Gosh, she's clean and articulate." They may say she's got an interesting mouth on her and a weird take on things, but not "articulate", even though I think I am pretty much.
    Here's a question. Is Colin Powell a mainstream, clean, articulate black guy? Is Hillary Clinton a clean, articulate mainstream woman? Well, never mind that one.
    Articulate IS a ragged, stupid word. And I'm not perfect. Because I've used it after watching an interview with a football player and then another one and compared the two. Then I listened to another one who could have been one of the Deliverance guys and wanted to bash my head in.
    I hope you don't think I'm a total idiot.

    By Anonymous Kim, at 9:47 PM  

  • Kim, I'd never think you were an idiot. You always give me something to think about.

    Like I said, I think this debate is more about intent than anything else. I thought O'Reilly made some interesting points about how it would never occur to him that these compliments could be taken negatively.

    My wife also pointed out that sometimes it's probably an age thing - as in an older person being impressed with how sharp/good looking/well spoken a younger person is, regardless of race.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 9:54 PM  

  • I agree it's intent. But, regardless of age, and Biden's old enough to remember the last few decades or so, hello...one is capable of making reasoned statements and realizing what one says. I don't think age is an excuse.


    But, thanks for not thinking I'm a total idiot.

    By Anonymous Kim, at 9:58 PM  

  • Very interesting post! I have heard people use those words as compliments before. It is fascinating to me that no one has ever described me as articulate, clean, well spoken, etc (although this is in no way an admission that I am). ;-)
    I wonder where using that as a compliment originated?

    I heard that Al Franken is seriously considering a 2008 Senate run. I'll admit that, despite everything he has done in the last several years, there is a part of me who would like to see a Saturday Night Live alum elected to a national office.

    By Blogger Michael C, at 10:14 PM  

  • begs the question........

    i`m a white guy and y`know, anyone, no matter what colour, shape, size or sex who decides to get up early, shave and put on a suit and get it on in this world beats 80% of the field. of the other 20%, 80% get beaten by the prepared. the final 4% or so will stab thier own grandmother to get in front of you in the line......

    sooo.

    don`t be suprised by what goes on in the run-up to 2008.

    or offended.

    because there`s gonna be something for everyone.

    By Blogger dr.alistair, at 10:41 PM  

  • Interesting post - I'm teaching English to an an 18 year old Japanese actress who aspires to get work in English speaking lands - she brought the topic up of racism and I showed her the scene in "Dragon" where Bruce Lee takes his blonde haired blue eyes girlfriend to the cinema to see Breakfast In Tiffanys. One scene provoked Lee's ire - when the Chinese guy is portrayed as goofy and oddball and crazed. Times have changes I guess, thankfully, but did you hear about the racism/bullying event in the odious celebrity TV show in the UK - Big Brother? The TV company invited some inarticulate white Brits (who Jermaine Jackson dubbed "white trash" after they savaged Shilpa Shetty - a Bollywood Superstar) who have been elevated to statsu by vitue of their idiocy.

    Anyway, the foolish women ganged up and bullied her, a few racist words were allegedly said and broadcast live, and British politicians got involved to calm down protests in India...

    Happy ending was that the Bollywood actress won, and softly spoken, wise Jermaine Jackson came second. A Hindu and a Moslem came up top. The Britisg public when put to the test, showed their disdain for racism, whether subconscious (as your case seemed to be) or conscious..

    Cheers!

    By Blogger Danny Tagalog, at 11:37 PM  

  • hey, you should start learning a bunch of different accents and really throw people off.

    By Blogger Claudia, at 11:56 PM  

  • I love this post. Couldn't help but laugh out loud.

    By Blogger Winter, at 12:06 AM  

  • Samuel L Jackson said it best.

    "You know what happens when you make an assumption; you make an ass outta you.. and umption."

    I've quoted it before and damnit i'll quote it again.

    people need to stop assuming shit.

    and It's a matter of people not wanting to be condescended to. best flat out answer to the entire post. thats why they are up in arms just like if i told some white guy that he was surprisingly down to earth because i assume that all white people are yuppies. (heheh they are not :P)

    By Blogger Yasamin, at 12:23 AM  

  • Fascinating topic as usual. I apparently live under a rock since this is the first I have heard of the Biden thing. Then again, I pretty much ignore all politicians. I have long been of the opinion that we are ALL racist to some small degree or another. Maybe 'racist' is not quite the right word but certainly we hold some level of disdain, mistrust, ignorance or whatever towards people who are different than we are. Perhaps you look at a 400 pound woman and think 'fat people are just lazy'. Perhaps you look at the guy driving a pickup truck with a gun rack and think 'rednecks are so damned ignorant.' Maybe you look at a white cop and think 'racist' automatically or the blonde lady at work and think 'ditzy'. One of my biggest ones personally is politicians. My theory on them is there is no such thing as a good politician, just varying degrees of bad ones. Is this fair? Probably not. Does it display a certain amount of stereotyping on my part? Absolutely but it isn't without reason that I feel this way. I am sure there ARE good politicians out there but for the most part I stand by that theory while being open to being proven wrong.

    When I am in full blown 'relax mode' and out in public in a t-shirt, jeans,ball cap(with the bent just right bill) I probably come across as a redneck. ESPECIALLY when you throw in my accent. I have no doubt some people look at me and wonder where my trailer,Gunrack,spit cup, and REbel flag are at. I have none of those things, and it annoys me but I can see where they are coming from. When I go out to eat I can almost FEEL the 'great I got a redneck in my section and am not going to get a good tip' thoughts pouring out of the servers mind. Does it piss me off? You bet, but I can to some degree see where it comes from.

    I think EVERYONE has their own stereo types,to deal with. Some good and some bad. Most, while blown wayyyy out of purportion are not completely unjustified either.

    Like I said, I hadn't heard the Biden comments. However, just now reading what you wrote he said,,,,::::::he opined that fellow Dem Sen. Barack Obama is "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice looking guy.":::::

    The part of that which strikes me as particularly stupid and offensive is the word "FIRST". I can see where the rest of it could rub someone the wrong way, if they don't consider the intent but that part goes beyond 'rubbing the wrong way' into quite offensive in my book. Wow, sorry I got so long winded, but hey that is how we so called rednecks are. Great topic as usual.

    BD

    By Blogger briliantdonkey, at 12:31 AM  

  • Ohhh, snap!

    Ya know, James Burnett, I've accepted that I'm going to have my fair share of dumb thoughts, but part of being a good citizen is recognizing that those thoughts exist and immediately correcting them.

    That extra second or two to stop and rethink constantly saves me from the, "So, when is the baby due?" interjections.

    It's not often that you'll find me agreeing with Matty when it comes to racial topics, but he does raise a good point that, in contrast to the Revs. Jackson and Sharpton, and some of the other African American political leaders, I'd much, much, much rather snuggle up to Sen. Obama. Hell, compared to any of the Asian, white or Latino political leaders, I'd still rather snuggle up to him.

    Strike that. He's a smoker. I guess Jesse's mustache might be kind of nice.

    By Blogger 123Valerie, at 1:14 AM  

  • I don't have time to read the other comments so I don't know what all has been covered.

    1st) when I heard the clean comment I thought he was talking about his character - there was nothing in his background that could come back to be thrown in his face. I didn't study it in depth because there generally isn't alot of depth to Biden -- strange fellow.

    2nd) I always feel bad when I hear someone tell about being treated unfairly like you were.

    3rd) On behalf of all women out there will you please accept an apology from me for their behavior
    and for my behavior if I ever did anything like that (God willing, I hope I haven't)

    By Blogger Pamela, at 2:31 AM  

  • I think that when some people attempt to be PC, instead they become PI. This probably comes from lack of experience. To paraphrase my mother, "If you don't know how to say anything nice, it's better to say nothing at all."

    By Anonymous The Sarcasticynic, at 3:51 AM  

  • The first problem occurred when Biden opened his mouth.

    Everything else was just gravy.

    By Blogger SWF41, at 8:54 AM  

  • "He speaks well" "You're different than I thought" "You're not like those other people" "You carry yourself well" and my personal favorite "Oh, you're not a nigger; you're Black".

    All these phrases are examples of ignorant condescending people trying to give you what could be best described as a complimentary insult. My reaction is to simply look at the person who uttered any of these statements or its variant like they were completely insane. But don't say a word--don't apologize for them, don't accept an apology, and definitely let them know it's not cool and that they, by extension, are NOT COOL! (Which is what they were trying to be by making their ham- fisted "compliment" in the first place)

    Popular culture has a way of shaping a collective image. Unfortunately, the whyte people who control each and every major media outlet and nearly all small media outlets do not have any interaction with non-whytes as peers, only as underlings. As stated best by Umar Bin Hassan of the Last Poets, this "God" Complex held by whyte people places them in the throne of the almighty with all others as their perpetual servants. This presumed superiority translates into condescension towards those who are not whyte. The image that many whyte people who know no people other than whyte people have of people who are not whyte is formed by half-truths, misinformation and television sitcoms (I use the y in whyte because not all white people are so frickin' ignant).

    So next time a whyte person sez "Wow, you speak really well" remind him or her to add the last three words of the phrase.

    What last three words? they say

    "For a (insert your favorite racial epithet here)"

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 9:43 AM  

  • Great, thought-provoking post!

    I bet "W" would give his left nut to be called "articulate" or even say it properly for that matter.

    And I bet Bill Clinton wouldn't mind being called "clean" either.

    I understand the issues...it's like telling me I drive good (even though I'm Asian), but I'd hate to be in the place where I'm always looking to be offended.

    What we do know for sure is that Biden doesn't think before he speaks. That's a good thing to know about a presidential hopeful.

    In your anecdote, I can certainly see why you'd be frustrated but those lady's behavior speaks poorly of them, not of you. They showed their asses and they weren't pretty.

    By Blogger Lee, at 9:47 AM  

  • You know, James. It has to be said.

    You're very articulate.

    By Blogger Matt, at 9:55 AM  

  • I can't tell you how many times I've had clients come into my office, look right past me and ask to see Grizzbabe, as if my skin color would make it impossible to be the person they spoke with on the phone. I guess I'm articulate too.

    By Blogger GrizzBabe, at 10:24 AM  

  • Michael C., that would be kind of funny to have a Saturday Night Live alum in office. I can already see the movie...in my mind.

    Dr. Alistair, you're right. I definitely beliee as more of these politicians open their mouths leading up to '08 there will be something for everyone in terms of offense.

    Danny T., I read about the reactions to that British Big Brother. Crazy. And I remember reading (or watching in a documentary how upset Bruce Lee used to get). I was obsessed w/him when I was a kid. But either way, I feel your pain. Hey, you know I learned a few words of Tagalog when I was a kid. My best friend was Filipino, and his grandmother used to teach me a word here and there.

    Claudia, I like that idea. First up: Russian!

    Thanks Winter, I aim to please ;-)

    Yas, that was my favorite quote from that movie.

    Briliant, I agree with you in principle. I don't think though that we all have a little racist in us. I do think we all have a little all-purpose prejudice in us that sometimes touches on race (though not always) but also could be about how a stranger dresses or their weight or their accent or even their hair style. The list goes on. But it's probably semantics. We agree.

    123Valerie, from a woman's perspective I get what you're saying about the "snuggle" factor. But the Rev's mustache? Hmmm.

    Sarc, your mother was wise. That's a good policy.

    SWF41, I like that. Just gravy!

    BD, I can't argue with you at all on this one. I just don't know that I have the stones to approach it as directly as you.

    Lee, thanks for the words of support. You cracked me up with that driving thing. But I understand. That would piss me off too.

    Matt, I know you'd say that.

    Grizz, we're in the same club!

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 11:27 AM  

  • I have to tell you that this post did make me think and smile.

    Being in a multi-cultural marriage, I have experienced very little of the backhanded compliments that were detailed in you post and subsquent comments(I'm white, she is Filipina)

    However, I actually view the 'well-spoken' part of the phrase a compliment because my perspective is different. When my class was graduating high school in 1987, I remember being warned that we were not to act up on stage. I found out that many of my classmates were the 1st in their family to ever graduate high school.

    I was among the 2nd generation in my family to attend and graduate college.

    While I do not feel the phrase 'well-spoken' to be all that inflammatory, I understand your argument. The politicos should have been less focused on Obama's grasp and usage of the English language.

    By Blogger dennis, at 11:33 AM  

  • dammit, i had a really good point until i read the last part of this post. basically, i was going to say that anything anyone says can be taken the wrong way. if you look for prejudice, you will find it. it is all so tiresome to me. i just rise above all of it, and, keeping with one of my resolutions, i am not worrying so much about what people think or say about me. i take it all at face value. :-)

    By Blogger cucuclaire, at 12:24 PM  

  • Dennis and Claire, I swear to you I don't go around looking for prejudice. I don't have that much time. However, I still have to say I understand this particular, narrow gripe. It's unique. It's weird 'cause it's a gripe about something that reads complimentary. I don't know what to say. I understand it.

    Dennis, you present a unique situation where the people you went to high school with would be grateful for the complement. I'll play Devil's advocate and give you a different scenario that's not at all race-related. You (a hypothetical you) are from Cousin Kiss, West Virginia, and you move for whatever reason to the big city. And a new neighbor upon finding out where you're from tells you how well-spoken you are or how articulate or clean or whatever. Tell me that wouldn't annoy you. While it may be 100% true that you are all those things, the neighbor's surprise at it or their assumption that someone from Goat Rope couldn't be articulate would have to set you off.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 3:13 PM  

  • Asian driving cracks don't piss me off. In fact I try to propogate the stereotype. Then no one asks me to drive.

    What's the quickest way to blind an Asian?




    Put a windshield in front of 'em.

    By Blogger Lee, at 6:21 PM  

  • Well, being of unknown heritage, I'm probably the least racist person I know.

    I think Biden screwed up by touting Obama as the FIRST African-American with those qualities. Al Sharpton and Carol Moseley Braun are the ones who should have really been offended.

    I'm proud of you for being able to withstand ANY O'Reilly - he makes me ill!

    By Blogger Tiggerlane, at 10:27 PM  

  • I must confess James, until I read the NYT article today; I had no idea that the "articulate" part was offensive as well. I don't doubt it, and I see why. But could it be that Biden was using "articulate" for "eloquent", "expressive" or "well-spoken"? Those are all synonyms. I could have used the word in that context, with no racist connotations at all. I'm sure the offensiveness of the word was news for many people.

    I can't tell you how many people say to me: "your English is so good!" I could take offense and ask them to complete "for a spic". Or I can take it as a compliment. Even if it reflects a faulty view of Hispanics, the fact is that no one of us has a complete idea of what the other group is or feels.

    By Blogger Alex, at 11:58 PM  

  • I can't believe that investment advisor did that to you. Wow. Just... wow.

    By Blogger Queen of Dysfunction, at 9:28 AM  

  • Lee, you're killin' me.

    Tiggerlane, good point. Mosely Braun and Sharpton may not be as pretty as Obama, but they're both certainly articulate.

    Alex, I didn't say the word "articulate" itself was offensive. I said it was the manner in which some people used it, the intent. Either way, some good came of this. Maybe fewer people will be condecending to other folks who carry themselves well.

    Queen, believe it. That first in-person meeting was pretty awkward after that intro.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 10:17 AM  

  • Ha! Excellent way to end the post!

    By Blogger Kevin, at 10:35 AM  

  • The reaction of some of the people quoted in the NYT article seemed pretty much automatic, regardless of context. Anyway, all i'm saying is that a code word for some may be perfectly innocent to others.

    By Blogger Alex, at 11:12 AM  

  • Alex, again we're in agreement. I have no doubt some people's intent was/is innocent. That's why I attempted to explain what's at the root of the offense. Like I said in the original post, it's not a huge deal. It's not an outrage. It's an annoyance that can be easily understood if it becomes second nature to consider history, circumstances, context - our brains are computers; such considerations can be made in a split second - and ask ourselves why am I offering this complement, 'cause I'm genuinely impressed, nothing more, nothing less, or 'cause I'm surprised that this particular individual is good or smart or articulate or clean or whatever.

    Like I said, back in the day mass media portrayed some people - ethnic minorities, people of all races who lived in rural areas, etc. - as slack-jawed mouth breathers. So when someone with a tone of surprise - even if it's pleasant surprise, or especially if it's pleasant surprise - tells you how special you are, it's not unreasonable to ask yourself "Did you expect otherwise?"

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 4:39 PM  

  • This was a riveting post and so were the comments.

    I think Biden's comments were totally disrespectful and racist. The fact that he commented on Obama being "clean" reveals his real feelings about African Americans. I think there could be some question about intent if he had only used the word "articulate" because all politicians are expected to be articulate and it could totally be a compliment considering how inarticulate the current president is. But he used the word "clean" and I think there is no excusing such an odious comment.

    Commenting on anyone's cleanliness in public, nomatter their race, their gender, or their back ground, is always an insult. That Biden claims it was a compliment shows him to be either a backtracking racist, or unbelievably dull witted.

    By Blogger Angelina, at 4:45 PM  

  • interesting story. did you check out the nyt piece on race and being "articulate"? btw, i will be seeing you in miami soon, if you hadn't heard! :)

    By Blogger Jaweed, at 2:32 PM  

  • I don't really understand all the fuss about the 'articulate' comment. Surely 'articulate' means that a person can express themselves clearly, fluently & understandably. That's a compliment to anyone.

    I mean, have you heard your President speaking recently? From the TV & radio clips I've heard, I'd use 'inarticulate' to describe him, among other words.

    Mind you, our Prime Minister, giving speeches at least, always sounds as... if he's... dictating them to... a secretary!

    By Anonymous bronchitikat, at 6:56 AM  

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