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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 a�?racista�� and a�?bigoteda��, it is better to know what not to say to whom. Here is a quick primer 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, I wouldna��t walk into a multiracial store and order 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 too. Any normal Tamilian would think SPIC is a fertilizer 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 quite 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 539 as it corresponds to J-E-W on a phone. Lastly, if you encounter someone from Musharraf-land in Britain, never say a�?Pac Mana�� unless you wish to cool your heels in prison.

    Anantha Narayan

    Spotted any ingenious racial slur? Hurl it at A�anantha@albertdali.com.

    Illustration A�: Tapas Ranjan


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