Being Uppity — Not me, Obama

My friend Jaylon Williams came across this story a few days ago and sent this to me. Topics of race and politics are inevitable — Obama or not. I have been called a number of things, but never uppity.

Republican Congressman Lynn Westmoreland has come under fire for referring to Senator Obama and his wife Michelle as “uppity.”  When asked to compare Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin (Did I miss the news? Are they running for the same office?), Westmoreland said:

 “Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr. Obama, Senator Obama, they’re a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they’re uppity.” 

 When asked to clarify his words, Westmoreland repeated, “Uppity, yeah.” As an Atlanta Journal Constitution article explained, “uppity” was “a word applied to African-Americans who tried to rise above servile positions.”  Westmoreland stands by his comment, but contends that he did not know that the word “uppity” was racially charged when he said it.  He claimed:

 “I’ve never heard that term used in a racially derogatory sense.  It is important to note the dictionary definition of ‘uppity’ is ‘affecting an air of inflated self-esteem-snobbish.’  That’s what we meant by uppity when we used it in the mill village where I grew up.”

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13 thoughts on “Being Uppity — Not me, Obama

  1. I learned (what I thought was) the meaning of the word through context, and in all honesty, I didn’t know it was racially charged either. I knew it could be, but I didn’t know it was the *definition*. I just used it to describe people of any race (and occasionally cats) who thought they were better than everyone else. Now I know.

  2. I’ll agree with the above comment. I’ve heard that word all my life and until, a few days earlier, reading the same article as you, I had no idea there were such racist connotations.

    I guess I can strike that from my vocab, if I even regularly use it.

  3. Some words can change meaning. Sure, not all of them but “uppity”….I have been using that to describe arrogant people (such as Obama) for a long time. I thought it might have used to be a derogatory term for blacks but not for a long time.

    I think this is another example of some people being the arbiter of who can say what and when. I’m tired of it.

  4. If people aren’t the arbiter, then who is? Is language not of and from the people?

    On a non divisive note, I agree with the notion that language changes and each example must be taken individually.

  5. Mrschili:

    I’d like to say that I am suddenly and unabashedly in love with your blog. My coworkers and I are laughing ourselves silly over here! I have a couple of pictures I can send you, if you’re interested.

    And yeah, assuming the definition given, I think you’re right. I just never feel I have the right to use language that might offend someone who’s gone through things I can’t even imagine. Liberal guilt, maybe?

  6. I would think that certain words and phrases have different meaning or nuances depending on the part of the country you hail from. In the deep south, where I am, “uppity” is definitely used as a derogatory term but is usually followed by a worse derogatory term. There are other phrases that I found out belatedly have racist connotations. The best example I can think of was the “Eenie meenie minie moe” flap a while ago. I had absolutely no clue that was considered racist.

  7. I believe that this is just another attempt to nit-pick at the republican party in any way they can. It is actually quite sad that the media would take something completely out of context just to create distrust of the GOP. I would not strike the word from my vocabulary because, honestly, the only people who would turn it around on me would be people trying to hurt me in some way, and the people who decided to use that against Mr. Westmoreland are showing a great lack of maturity in my opinion. Mr. Carson I’m glad you put this story on your page and I hope you don’t agree with the people who created it. Which I don’t think you do.

  8. “This guy Joe Wurzelbacher gets it, and he correctly labels Obama and his policies as “Socialist”.

    Obama tells him, “It’s not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody that is behind you, that they have a chance for success too.”

    Obama claims that the 98% of small businesses make less than $250,000 a year, which of course is a flat out lie. And one of Barack Obama’s most potent campaign claims is that he’ll cut taxes for no less than 95% of working families. He’s even promising to cut taxes enough that the governments tax share of GDP will be no more than 18.2% — which is lower than it is today.

    Its a clever pitch, because it lets him pose as a middle-class tax cutter while disguising that hes also proposing one of the largest tax increases ever on the other 5%. But how does he conjure this miracle, especially since more than a third of all Americans already pay no income taxes at all? There are several sleights of hand, but the most creative is to redefine the meaning of tax cut. For the Obama Democrats, a tax cut is no longer letting you keep more of what you earn. In their lexicon, a tax cut includes tens of billions of dollars in government handouts that are disguised by the phrase tax credit. Barack Obama is proposing to create or expand no fewer than seven such credits for individuals.

    If Barack Obamas goal as President is to spread the wealth around, perhaps his unconditional meetings with Hugo Chavez, Raul Castro, and Kim Jong-Il arent so crazy — if nothing else they can advise an Obama administration on economic policy.

    Why is Barack Obama being dishonest to the American people? And why does the mainstream media always cover for his lies?

    The answer: Because Obama is nothing more than a tax and spend Liberal who wants to turn America into The United Socialist States of America– he’s a Marxist. And the Obama-Media knows he would never win the election if they actually reported the truth.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAYWAoSgS0w – Link about the TRUTH that Obama is a Marxist.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=angbZB2WeMQ – Link about the failure of socialism/Communism and of a very interesting experiment regarding the effects of socialism.

    Do not respond at all to these comments they will not be met with any reply.

    If they are erased by the curator of this blog they will be reposted.

    Those for freedom will not be silenced!

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