While celebrities like Nas and Kelis are unabashedly unashamed of the N-word and all of its negative connotations, ironically some in the South are taking to using code words in its place, namely: Canadian.
In 2003, a Houston junior prosecutor successfully won a case in which a man was convicted of manslaughter, resulting from his driving while intoxicated. Resultantly, the prosecutor received a congratulatory email from his boss, assistant district attorney Mike Trent, including the following statement: “He overcame a subversively good defence by Matt Hennessey that had some Canadians on the jury feeling sorry for the defendant and forced them to do the right thing.”While occurring over 5 years ago, the e-mail only came to light last month during another un-related investigation.
Last August it was also reported that a black woman from the Southeast revealed that she too was being referred to as a Canadian. The woman worked at a shop and overheard customers complaining about the fact that they were always waited on by a Canadian. At the time the woman admitted that she had no clue as to whom or what they were referring to until she confided in a co-worker who told her that Canadian was the new N-word.
In another incident last year a Kansas City linguist reported that her friend, whom was a waitress informed her that her co-workers referred to “inner-city” families that did not leave a tip as Canadians, i.e. “Hey we have a table of Canadians…They’re all yours.”
Why the term Canadian? It’s been theorized that because Canadians are viewed as “outsiders” they were an acceptable replacement for a “no longer tolerated label”. (Yeah, I know that’s a bunch of crap.)
By some accounts there is nothing new about this “masked” racism, some date it back to over 20 years, but I must admit that I live in the South and had never heard of it. I’m of course offended and I’m sure most Canadians are too. This is yet another example of how the disease of racism spreads to not just the intended victims but to all involved.