“On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.”
Senator Obama, from his speech on race (emphasis mine).
Wow, I really thought the Senator would be above this. He used the D-word.
I try not to do the job of the P.C. police, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. In this case, it’s because I can’t stand that phreaking word. Most people who use the word ‘denigrate’ know what it means in a general sense … or if not specifically, they know what it connotes. If nothing else, they know that if you’re doing it you’re speaking bad about someone or something.
Let me set the record straight, once and for all:
Merriam Webster defines the word as the following:
- Main Entry:
- transitive verb
- Inflected Form(s):
- den·i·grat·ed; den·i·grat·ing
- Latin denigratus, past participle of denigrare, from de- + nigrare to blacken, from nigr-, niger black
- 1 : to attack the reputation of : defame <denigrate one’s opponents>
- 2 : to deny the importance or validity of : belittle <denigrate their achievements>
Now, go back up to the etymology part. It’s roots are Latin, right? And what does it mean, literally?
It’s like saying,
“Hey buddy, I got into law school fair and square just like everyone else… don’t blacken my degree just because my professors are African-American.”
The implication here is an age-old idea that Malcolm X first came to resent in his autobiography — that anything white is pure and virtuous and anything black is dangerous, corrupt and evil.
I can understand if White people (or ignorant Black people) use the term out of ignorance. But for someone like Senator Obama, who clearly chooses his words very carefully, to use it… ?
[end of rant]