25.1.08

Is the term "Canadian" a new racial slur?

Wow, I can't tell you how shocked and disturbed I was to read about how supposedly, "Canadian" has become a code word for blacks among some American racists. I've never heard of anything like this before but would be interested to find out if there is any truth to these allegations. I mean, wtf?

From The National Post:

Last August, a blogger in Cincinnati going by the name CincyBlurg reported that a black friend from the southeastern U.S. had recently discovered that she was being called a Canadian. "She told me a story of when she was working in a shop in the South and she overheard some of her customers complaining that they were always waited on by a Canadian at that place. She didn't understand what they were talking about and assumed they must be talking about someone else," the blogger wrote.

"After this happened several times with different patrons, she mentioned it to one of her co-workers. He told her that ‘Canadian' was the new derogatory term that racist Southerners were using to describe persons they would have previously referred to [with the N-word.]"

A similar case in Kansas City was reported last year on a Listserv, or electronic mailing list, used by linguistics experts. A University of Kansas linguist said that a waitress friend reported that "fellow workers used to use a name for inner-city families that were known to not leave a tip: Canadians. ‘Hey, we have a table of Canadians.... They're all yours.' "

More here.

4 comments:

Chris said...

Are you sure this is true? Because I'm pretty sure I heard Artie Lange do this as a riff on the Howard Stern show. Also, a very similar bit is heard on Raw Dog in some comedian's routine.

Greg Santos said...

Chris,

No clue if it's true or not but the story sure raised my eyebrows.

Anonymous said...

I live in the south and have heard that used many many times while working in resturants. I never used it but it has been code for that for years down here

Anonymous said...

I have heard this term a lot. I heard it first from a waiter in a restaurant. He told me it was a very old restaurant term and the theory behind it is "what's the difference between a canadian and a canoe? A canoe tips!