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In the clear.

September 4, 2008, 1:29 pm

It’s not code anymore*:

Georgia Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland used the racially-tinged term “uppity” to describe Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama Thursday.

Westmoreland was discussing vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s speech with reporters outside the House chamber and was asked to compare her with Michelle Obama.

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

Asked to clarify that he used the word “uppity,” Westmoreland said, “Uppity, yeah.”

*Which is to say, you remember it used to be:

(Thanks, Ben).

Also, from the OED:

1880 J. C. HARRIS Uncle Remus 86 Hit wuz wunner deze yer uppity little Jack Sparrers, I speck. 1933 Times Lit. Suppl. 9 Nov. 776/2 Grammy is living contentedly enough with an ‘uppity’ young creature named Penny. 1952 F. L. ALLEN Big Change II. viii. 130 The effect of the automobile revolution was especially noticeable in the South, where one began to hear whites complaining about ‘uppity niggers’ on the highways, where there was no Jim Crow.

I believe all three of these usages associated with African-Americanness; I think the TLS review is of Roark Bradford’s Kingdom Coming.

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