Home Columns Anantha Narayan Simply Slur-real

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    In 2012, a cop was fired in America for shouting out a racial slur at baseball star Carl Crawford. Believe it or not: he was sacked for using the word Monday. Innocuous as it may sound, apparently a�?Mondaya�� is a cryptic put-down used for blacks by white supremacists. Their logic being: nobody likes Mondays.

    In an ultra-touchy universe where the politically incorrect are hastily labelled as racist and bigoted, ita��s better to know what not to say to whom. Thata��s why Ia��ve put together a quick primer to get you clued into the secret world of ethnic insults.

    When in an Asian joint, never utter the word a�?Oreoa��. The famous cream cookie can get you crunched, licked and creamed as ita��s a snide way of saying a�?Orientala��. Never ask for a�?Pepsia�� aloud while in Quebec, as the fizzy drink is supposedly a vile taunt at French Canadians who are a�?empty from the neck upa��. Also, if I were you, I wouldna��t walk into a multi-racial store and order for a�?Heinza�� as the companya��s a��57 varietiesa�� slogan is manifestly a disdainful surrogate for people of the mixed race.

    Coded abbreviations are a favourite with racists. Any normal Tamilian would think SPIC is a fertiliser company from Chennai. But in the USA, ita��s a scornful acronym for Hispanics derived from Spanish, Indian and Coloured. UFO is far worse. Ita��s likely to alienate you from fellow Asians as it means a�?Ugly Frigging Orientala��. Likewise, MD is not the doctor you think. Ita��s a dig at the white man for being a�?Melanin Deficienta��.

    Even regular fruit names sometimes take the avatar of invectives. a�?Coconuta�� implies an Indian who is brown on the outside and white on the inside. a�?Applea�� is a dig at those Native Americans who seem red, but have a white core. a�?Bananaa�� applies the same analogy to the yellow skinned.
    a�?Cookiea�� (an allusion to the Chinese fortune cookie), a�?Burgera�� (the collective noun for Jewish names that end with a�?burga��), and a�?Bacardia�� (the rum that gets made in Puerto Rico) act as ethnic pejoratives as well.

    a�?Double Aa�� (African Americans), a�?Eight Balla�� (the colour of the 8-ball in pool), and a�?Novembera�� (the N-word in the phonetic alphabet) are Monday-like words best avoided in a ghetto.
    With Jews, steer clear of rhyming words and the number 539 as it corresponds to J-E-W on a phone. And lastly, if you encounter someone from Musharraf-land in Britain, never say a�?Pac Mana�� unless you wish to cool your heels in a prison.

    -Anantha Narayan


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