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  • Racist cop speak
  • Spin
    Free Member

    I’m currently reading The Trees by Percival Everett which is set in Mississippi in the near past. So far it’s ok as a book.

    I have one question though. Throughout it police officers and others professionals like coroners refer to black people as n******. Is this still a thing in parts of the US? Are the police and coroners really still using that sort of language in the workplace on a day to day basis?

    I appreciate that it’s a work of fiction but much of the plot revolves around racism and I was curious to know if things were still as depicted.

    funkmasterp
    Full Member

    I read it a while ago. Great book that uses comedy to tackle a series subject. Some of the  character names are great. I’ve never spent any time in the US but it wouldn’t surprise me if that language was still prevalent in some southern states. It’s also a novel dealing with racism and its generational impacts. Perhaps the author uses the language as a tool to help hammer some points home?

    Spin
    Free Member

    Oh and no spoilers please!

    funkmasterp
    Full Member

    Sorry! Don’t think I’ve spoiled anything there. At least I hope not

    Spin
    Free Member

    No, not at all, just thought I’d head it off at the pass!

    ThePinkster
    Full Member

    I’ve no idea whether language like that is still commonplace in the southern states (although I wouldn’t be surprised) but if it helps the son of a friend of mine quit his job last week after just 4 days because the guy he had to work with regularly used similar and worse language. His boss’s reaction was ‘yeah, and…’

    This is in the northwest of England.

    Spin
    Free Member

    This is in the northwest of England

    Depressing.

    jamesoz
    Full Member

    Spent a short while in a small city in Tennessee (not holiday) Can’t comment on the discrimination being a white blond male.
    But people were largely people and some were a bit God bothering. I actually got away (just) making my feelings known about religion, with a few beers in me.
    One elderly lady Felt the need to apologise for Trump.

    It’s not all Banjos, Hogroasts and moonshine. Although actually that’s good fun.

    politecameraaction
    Free Member

    Everett is a Black man from the US South, so presumably he has a better idea about race relations there than most of us. To be fair, it may be that the book contains more discriminatory language than an average “real life” encounter because the characters in question are particularly awful (eg because they’re institutionalised into a particularly racist institution) or because the author is making a point about language (he’s a very literary author, isn’t he?). I don’t know, I haven’t read the book!

    But it doesn’t sound wildly unrealistic. Look at Sam Dobbins: “[Officer] Head described incidents in which fellow Black law enforcement officers in the county would complain that Dobbins would refer to them as “boy” and “n***r.””

    https://www.aclu-ms.org/en/press-releases/new-complaint-against-lexington-pd

    https://www.mississippicir.org/news/fired-lexington-police-chief-exposed-in-racist-recording-had-a-checkered-past-in-law-enforcement

    Meanwhile there is a long detailed profile pf Everett in the New Yorker mag a couple of weeks ago: https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&opi=89978449&url=https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2024/03/18/percival-everett-profile&ved=2ahUKEwirv7PCu6SFAxU_hv0HHUUxApoQFnoECBsQAQ&usg=AOvVaw26P4UariCRtTsi7k_qawtq

    Cougar
    Full Member

    This is in the northwest of England

    That doesn’t surprise me either.

    Growing up in East Lancashire racism was rampant, both casual and overt, and it wasn’t exclusively the domain of white faces.  It’s got a lot better over the years, or at least it appeared to, but the referendum and its subsequent fallout seems to have emboldened those whose opinions never really changed.

    Spent a short while in a small city in Tennessee (not holiday) Can’t comment on the discrimination being a white blond male.
    But people were largely people and some were a bit God bothering. I actually got away (just) making my feelings known about religion, with a few beers in me.

    I’ve spent some time in that area also.  Being used to our watered-down implementation of what impotently passes for Christianity in England it’s something of a shock to the system to find three-foot high statues of the virgin Mary in people’s front gardens.  You have to be just a little bit careful when you’re in a place where people hold a more fundamental / extreme belief in god than you’re used to and also have ready access to firearms.

    I’ve never been to the deep Deep South (unless you count Georgia).  I’m not wholly certain that I’m in any hurry to change that.

    nickc
    Full Member

    I think Everett overdoes it on purpose in the book. I read it a while back and didn’t realise at first that it’s meant to be read as parody. Weirdly, I’d just seen American Fiction at the cinema as well. The comedy is good when you realise what it is you’re reading. I think these days even the hickest of backwater boys understand that word is off limits to everyone unless they’re just in the company of their like-minded friends. The Alt-right conspiracy nut-bars like to use cover words these days; Globalist, The Elite, New World Order…they mean Jews. and so on.

    convert
    Full Member

    “didn’t realise at first that it’s meant to be read as parody”

    Was going to say this. And I think you need to see the language used in that context – a magnification of reality.

    mogrim
    Full Member

    I’ve never been to the deep Deep South (unless you count Georgia). I’m not wholly certain that I’m in any hurry to change that.

    I’d love to visit the Deep South, though again I am a white male, which I’m sure makes it a lot easier. I’d definitely be watching what I said, and avoiding any forthright views on atheism or politics. But then I’d probably avoid those anyway.

    duckman
    Full Member

    I did a postgrad in Georgia 20 years ago, there was still a lot of use of the N word back then. “No,not that Steve, N Steve from the politics course.”  And that was in Savannah, pretty liberal town. Oh; and don’t slag God…it won’t end well.

    jamesoz
    Full Member

    “I’d definitely be watching what I said, and avoiding any forthright views on atheism or politics. But then I’d probably avoid those anyway”
    I’m fairly certain I only got away with it being a novelty Englishman in a small community and being under the wing or a well respected local Family.

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