Strange Charmed Life Reaction

liril at liril at
Tue Apr 10 09:30:15 EDT 2001

> Perhaps you could confirm, Bettina, that in German "Neger" is not an
> offensive term, but is more like "black" in America: no longer the
> most politically-correct term (I think that's "African-American"
> here), but still basically acceptable,

Not any more! For the time you're talking about (17 years ago) it was correct. I am
not certain whether this change has to do with higthened sensitivy (and the arrival
of political correctness in Europe :-) or with the fact that so much more English
is spoken / read and the similar sounding English word thus comes to mind more
easily. Anyhow, you don't use this word anymore, as it has now offending overtones
(older people still do, without actually meaning something bad (mostly), but it
makes me flinch...)

I even saw a library book in which someone had crossed the word out because he/she
found the it offending. (BTW, it was *not* Tom Saywer (sp?), but I think something
by T.C. Boyle, but the word belonged in the context. (a character used it...)

You can also see this change (oh no - oh yes! FOOD!) reflected in the name of a
sweet. It's a thin waffle, topped with a very sweet cream (eggwhite, sugar, air,
agar-agar to stabilise) coated in dark chocolate. They are very sweet, but children
love them. When I was a kid, they were called Negerküsse (Küsse=kisses). Nowadays,
none of the different manufacturers calls them that anymore. Now the "official"
term is Schokoküsse (chocolate kisses).

thinking of the time she had a holiday job at a sweets' manufacturer. Haven't had
many chocolate kisses since then...

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a
little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Benjamin Franklin

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