Thursday, August 21, 2008

Politically correct 'history'

Caitlin Flanagan:
As Avery Island is to Tabasco sauce, so were 1970s Berkeley and San Francisco to white liberal guilt. When I was a fifth-grader in the Berkeley public schools (the first school system in the nation to integrate without a court order), I was taught -- as part of a two-year course in Black History -- that the word picnic had derived from the days of lynching parties, that it stood for "pick a n----" and for the basket lunches that white women would pack for their families to eat while they enjoyed the spectacle. I happened to mention this to one of my parents' academic friends, who sputtered in outrage -- the word had originated from the French verb piquer and had nothing to do with American lynching. But it would not have occurred to her, the mother of two children in the schools, to complain about it. Black History . . . was understood by those white parents who even knew about it . . . to be part of some larger enterprise, some settling of an old debt.
(Hat tip: Lead & Gold.) It is amazing that even etymology could be corrupted by Marxoid nonsense. Anyone could consult an unabridged dictionary to find the origins of "picnic" -- originally piquenique in French -- and yet, apparently, the people who were teaching history in Berkeley schools never thought to do so. To challenge those who were propagating such ignorance, however, would have contradicted the "larger enterprise," and might have incurred accusations of bad faith.

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