|An Assassin at work.|
This politicization of an ethnic group's identity as a derogatory term reminds me of another commonly used word: "barbarian," which means savage or uncivilized. The term was coined by the Ancient "civilized" Greeks who were constantly beset by allegedly less sophisticated peoples. The Greeks would ridicule some of these neighbors by making fun of the way their languages sounded, "bar bar bar," in the same way a racially insensitive person today might say, "ching ching chong," to simulate a Chinese language.
Of course, the most offensive of these types of words today is so heinous most people will only refer to it as "the n-word," which is derived from the French word "negre" and Spanish word "negro," both of which simply mean "black." And although you'll find very few people with skin that is actually black in color, (for that matter, I would say that I am much closer to pink than white, but I digress), Europeans used this term generally to refer to people from Sub-Saharan African as well as other places where skin tones were darker than their own. Once the transatlantic slave trade was started, the reference became increasingly derogatory, and by the mid-20th century, when racial intolerance was no longer the accepted norm, most people of African descent protested against its use. Even the use of the words "negro" and "black" are offensive to some, but these terms are still considered to be much milder than the infamous "n" word.
|Barack Obama and his mother.|
(And that, my friends, is why Ed is in charge of entertaining you and I am in charge of boring you...)