Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Niggerhead: It's Not Uncommon

Presidential candidate Rick Perry is getting a lot of heat for having had a ranch (inherited from his father, name changed decades ago) called "Niggerhead".

Simple fact is, "Niggerhead" used to be thrown around quite a bit. Andrew Sullivan's readers wrote in regarding all the different examples of "Niggerhead" that they knew of from the past:

  • It used to refer to the flower more commonly known as a black-eyed Susan (hence the name of Perry's ranch).
  • There was a shrimp brand by that name.
  • Types of coral and various rock formations were called that as well.
  • It was the name of a pond in Vermont and still is the name of a hill in Alaska.
So:  In summary, much ado about nothing.  Rick Perry's father bought Niggerhead Ranch back in the 1980s, and first thing he did was paint over the sign that named it so.  Yes, obviously the word comes from people who were specifically thinking about black people when they said it, and it is obviously no longer an appropriate appellation in any use... except historically, as in this instance.  But Rick Perry had nothing to do with the name given to the ranch before he (or his father) owned it, and his father had enough common sense (or, better yet: the knowledge that racism is wrong) to change the name.  That's all he could do, and I consider the matter settled.

1 comment:

Issarat said...

Growing up; a large Brazilian nut was refereed to as a "niger toe".