"I’ve changed my mind. I’ve decided that you can prove a negative, and that Stacy must now prove he is free of racism. Can’t they do that with an MRI these days?"
-- Little Miss Attila
What a zany cut-up, that one. More madcap misadventures in miscegenation!
True fact: One day in the newroom of the Rome (Ga.) News-Tribune, I was making fun of something -- I forget what -- and with an expression of mock horror used the word "miscegenation."
One of our reporters, Marla Edwards (who subsequently went to work at CNN's Web site) looked at me and said, "Wow, I've never heard anybody say that word out loud before."
The word has an interesting etymology, evidently having been coined (from Latin roots) in 1864 as the title of a pamphlet distributed by New York Democrats, who accused the Republican Party of promoting miscegenation. True fact.
And here's another true fact: "Racism" is of 20th-century French origin. (Unlike "collaboration," which the French did not invent, but merely perfected.)
One of the basic assumptions made when somebody goes to accuse a Southerner of racism is that the accused is an ignoramus, to whom the accuser is so intellectually superior that the ensuing argument is going to be a slam-dunk victory for the accuser.
Like I ain't been around this track a time or two, y'see? If anyone ever wants to schedule a panel discussion about stereotypes, just give me a holler. I've been stereotyped from birth.
Since we're dabbling in a bit of linguistics, semantics and other elements of forensic rhetoric here, y'all go take a gander at what Jeff Goldstein has to say in this matter.
(And don't let Attila fool you, boys. You know who she'd rather have beers with.)