Archive for the ‘race’ category

It’s a hard-knock life

February 25, 2013

Apparently an Associated Press reporter told actress Quvenzhané Wallis: “I’m calling you Annie now.” Quvenzhané’s response is all over the blogosphere: people are talking about how assertive she is, what a smart comeback it was, to remind the reporter of her real name.

Within a few hours of this, The Onion “hilariously” called this award-winning child actress a c***, in a tweet which has since been deleted.

I hope nobody doubts that names have a serious role to play when we’re thrashing out power differentials.

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Bacon, grilling

July 4, 2006

W: What’s your name, boy?

B: Dr Poussaint. I’m a physician.

W: What’s your first name, boy?

B: Alvin.

[This is, of course, an exchange between a white policeman and a black man, on an American street.]

Source: Ervin-Tripp, S. (1972) “Sociolinguistic rules of address”, quoted in An Introduction to Language and Society, Martin Montgomery. (1986).