By any other name…

At a benefit fundraiser Saturday night, I ran into an older woman with a sneer in her voice.

"I have a rule in elections," she said. "I don't vote for anyone whose name I can't pronounce."

"Oh," I asked, "McCain is that hard to pronounce?"

"I'm not talking about McCain," she sneered again. "I'm talking about the one with the un-American name."

The un-American name. Wow. In a nation founded by immigrants, I had to wonder: What's an un-American name?

McCain is Gaelic -- Scotch-Irish. Palin is English. Her descendents landed in England after the Norman conquest. Biden is another Scot.

That leaves Obama, the one with the African surname, the one the woman said had the "un-American name."

She's just another honkie in the woodpile, spewing her racist venom: Don't want no colored folks in the White House unless they're mopping the floors and washing the dishes.

God. Such people make me want to vomit all over their lilly-while view of the world.

At a benefit fundraiser Saturday night, I ran into an older woman with a sneer in her voice.

"I have a rule in elections," she said. "I don’t vote for anyone whose name I can’t pronounce."

"Oh," I asked, "McCain is that hard to pronounce?"

"I’m not talking about McCain," she sneered again. "I’m talking about the one with the un-American name."

The un-American name. Wow. In a nation founded by immigrants, I had to wonder: What’s an un-American name?

McCain is Gaelic — Scotch-Irish. Palin is English. Her descendents landed in England after the Norman conquest. Biden is another Scot.

That leaves Obama, the one with the African surname, the one the woman said had the "un-American name."

She’s just another honkie in the woodpile, spewing her racist venom: Don’t want no colored folks in the White House unless they’re mopping the floors and washing the dishes.

God. Such people make me want to vomit all over their lilly-while view of the world.

© 2004-2022 Blue Ridge Muse

44 thoughts on “By any other name…”

  1. I have to say this last post of yours really had me LOL. Not in a bad way, but because well you are RIGHT. Ask my husband, I will argue till the cows come home and then keep on. I am not one to let things go too easily. It is one of my faults at times. If I believe strong enough in something I refuse to let it go until at least 1 person sees my point.

  2. Monica:
    ……Or maybe I feel your hubby’s pain?
    But seriously…Glad I could raise a smile, that’s really what I prefer…like you, I’m a good natured person who holds strong beliefs…when I read “BillR’s” post, it struck me as funny that he expected you to feel inferior as a result of our posts, perhaps he forgot to read them before commenting?

    Even funnier that he lumped you into some group other than the one that me “and all those like (me)” apparently belong to…then he sends me packin’ off to hell where they gotta special place for “intellectual and superior” so and so’s “and all those like (me)”…I guess we shouldn’t blame him for being a little intimidated by open discourse.

    In closing…Racism is a complicated issue, it ain’t as simple as black and white, in fact I think it’s one of the big challenges the human race will ever face and hopefully conquer….Dylan was writing about “BillR” “and all those like him” when he pointed out that some men are in holes and instead of letting us pull them up outta that hole they want to pull us back into the hole with them.

  3. Monica, You hit the nail on the head and the truth hurts them. Jim and all those like him who see themselves as the purist and holy than thou are so intent on showing and telling us how bad and racist we are that they are so blind to the fact of their racisms, and ignorance that they in their own mind are so far above us.To quote a particular person..”Such people make me want to vomit all over their lilly-white view of the world.” Monica you go girl, I have pity on the so called one’s who think their so intellectual and superior than us.They will answer to a Judge who is no respecter of persons one day.

  4. Zach………. right on, couldn’t said it better Myself. Many can talk the talk but few can walk the walk. The tip episode is a perfect example.Racism goes both ways but only one group can make comments and it is accepted, the other is frowned upon and spoke about as they are the scum of the earth, but they are the ones who keep the economy going, the ones who work and don’t have their hand out for freebies from the Govt.As the bible states, “Man is to live by the sweat of his brow”.Look what entitlement programs has gotten us, people who could be productive become lazy and thing they have a right to free handouts without earning it. I think the elderly and truly disabled deserve it. Look at Govt housing, what is there, top crime rates, drugs, gangs, that is what handouts do.Just as the old saying “tough love” concerning discipling your kids as it might be hard but is for their best I think it is time the same philosophy should be applied to entitlements, or if they are able they should be made to work 8 hrs a day for the town/city they get help from and it would help with their budgets. It would make the town/city more beautiful and they should take drug tests as a lot who pay taxes have to take. They should take test before money is paid to them. Double standard? You bet!!!

  5. Comparing the term honkie to the n-word is like comparing a back-rub to a lynching, such is the logic of today’s racist…(heck I can’t even say the word without grinnin’, I must be a happy honkie!)

    However, as outlined in a few prior posts, racism is only one of the negatives at play here. Alongside racism, we have ignorance, hysterics, and outright lying being used as rationalizations as to why Americans shouldn’t vote for Obama. Long-winded, self-righteous, and yet somehow unable to demonstrate how McCain’s policies are a better approach than those proposed by his opponent. It’s honkies like these that give true Conservatives a bad name.

    I could/would vote against McCain based on the fact that he’s a war-monger who see’s the world as a conquest. I could/would vote against McCain because he wants to continue, full-steam, down the track we are on as a nation. I could/would vote against McCain based on the fact that he has shamelessly embraced the neocon movement. That’s more than enough to vote against, thanks but no thanks.

    Thankfully, one of the candidates will stand and offer something to vote FOR. I’m voting for Obama because he recognizes that this country’s in a mess and has a real plan to correct our path. His ideas on healthcare and the economy bow to the needs of the people of this country, not those of insurance companies and corporate interests. And as a real bonus, I’m voting for Obama because he won’t call me (or you people!) a honkie.

  6. Just to throw out a little comparison to the two terms that seem to be a issue in this debate.

    These definitions are found at

    honky: n. pl. hon·kies also hon·keys Offensive Slang
    Used as a disparaging term for a white person.


    (slang) offensive names for a White man


    –noun 1. Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. a. a black person.
    b. a member of any dark-skinned people.

    2. Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. a person of any race or origin regarded as contemptible, inferior, ignorant, etc.
    3. a victim of prejudice similar to that suffered by blacks; a person who is economically, politically, or socially disenfranchised.

    n. Offensive Slang

    Used as a disparaging term for a Black person: “You can only be destroyed by believing that you really are what the white world calls a n*****” (James Baldwin).
    Used as a disparaging term for a member of any dark-skinned people.
    Used as a disparaging term for a member of any socially, economically, or politically deprived group of people: “Gun owners are the new n******* . . . of society” (John Aquilino).

    Now can we ALL see how the two DO in fact compare. Yes one is worse than the other, BUT they are BOTH offensive demeaning words to use against ANYONE.

  7. Bill R?:
    I didn’t mean to make you feel inferior, it’s hardly fair to pin that on me though.

    While I don’t really have high regard for anti-intellectuals and don’t normally bother responding to alias’ who communicate in grunts and squeals, I’m not accustomed to having eternal damnation dangled as my just desserts for goofing on racists….whew!

    At any rate, I feel that Monica has done what she can to make her point and I agree with her. Monica seems to be the type of person who would argue with a fencepost, then pull it up and bless out the hole for sure…but that doesn’t mean I have any feelings of superiority toward her think that her point was pointless.

    I think Monica’s demonstrated a good heart, strong will, and a degree of intelligence…she’s also not afraid to post her name.

  8. Zach- I love the story of the tip and the homeless man. I saw a cartoon yesterday that had three little kids trick or treating and the lady on the porch said “I am going to take some of the candy you kids earned because you have so much” …. “and I am going to give it to the kids that were to lazy to trick or treat tonight.”

  9. Monica:
    I’m not sure whether you’re still badgering Doug for making you look kinda silly with the sarcasm thing or if you’re lending some help in shoring up my point….whatever the case may be, we’ve seen you go from accusing Doug of being just as lowly as the racists he condemns to “pointing out” that honky is in fact less offensive than the n-word.

    While you started off on a bad note, it’s clear that you’ve learned that some words carry more power than others, and I commend you for taking the stance that name calling is bad no matter who’s doing it.
    While you might not have exactly won the argument you started, you seem to have grown as a result of it.

  10. Nah Jim, I am not trying to badger Doug at all. I just thought I would add the definitions of each to help back my reason for my posts. I don’t see at all where I started off on a bad note by pointing out that two wrongs don’t make a right. So therefore I stand very firm in my first post that Doug was just as wrong as the person he spoke about. I might have been harsh in calling him a racist for it, BUT it was just as racial a comment as what the lady he spoke about said.

  11. Invoking the authority of the dictionary is always an interesting adventure… especially if we look to the many resources available. As I’ve stated in other posts, I’m fascinated by the meanings of words and language in general.

    Getting back to the original post, I find the meanings of names interesting as well.

    John, for instance, is ultimately derived from the Hebrew meaning “YAHWEH is gracious”. Not particularly “american sounding” but not threatening by any means, even comforting. Sidney is thought to be from Old English meaning “wide island”; once again sort of comforting. Sarah also comes from Hebrew meaning “lady” or “princess”. Certain campaign staffers may have something to add to that. Louise is a French derivative of germanic words for “famous warrior”. I don’t think anyone will argue with that one either.

    Again from Hebrew, Joseph means “he will add”. That seems appropriately vice-presidential. His middle name, Robinette is a diminutive derived from “bright fame”. I’m sure that’s what he’s hoping for. And finally, the name that so many have made a major issue on the current political scene: Barak is from Arabic and means “blessing”. Hussein, also from Arabic, is a diminutive form of a word meaning “beautiful” or “good”. Hmm… “Beautiful Little Blessing”… doesn’t exactly seem to deserve the kind of ominous, threatening connotation some folks have been trying to assign to it.

    I guess it goes to show that ignorance is NOT bliss, it’s just a lack of knowledge that’s more likely to cause pain than bliss.

  12. Monica:
    The bad note WAS that you came out with the ridiculous assertion that he is a racist. I don’t blame you for wanting to backtrack on things, but painting yourself the hero “by pointing out that 2 wrongs don’t make a right” is laying it on a bit thick…sorry that dog just don’t hunt.

    Now, that said, I’m happy to let you carry on in your crusade to rid the world of the scourge of inverse racism.

  13. I wasn’t trying to back track anything. I admitted I was a bit harsh in what I originally said to Doug. I am not trying to make myself a “hero” either. I do agree with Doug that racism is something that shouldn’t be tolerated and YES people should take a stand against it. You can think what you want of me, I could careless. You don’t know what type of person I am or what my beliefs are, so paint yourself whatever type of picture you want of me.

  14. This letter deserves circulation. There are millions who feel the same way. Interesting and perhaps indisputable points. For some reason, liberals really detest this letter, and they see hate in the words rather than facts and opinions.

    Dear Mr. Obama:

    It is August 30, 2008. My name is Mark Gregg. I am a 50 something,
    conservative white male. I have followed your campaign closely,
    including the speeches you and others made at the democratic national
    convention. I am respectfully providing you with seven simple reasons
    why I could never vote for you. I believe that many people share my
    opinion. I do think that there needs to be an awakening to the fact
    that you are not a (the) messiah that the media and liberal Hollywood
    entertainers are trying to portray you as.

    1. I hear your mantra of change, change, and change. Yet, you picked a
    long term, liberal, Washington insider (Joe Biden) to be your running
    mate. This is NOT change. It is a move that hypocritically refutes the
    very thing you supposedly stand for. Your campaign then slammed John
    McCain for picking Sarah Palin, because she is NOT a Washington
    insider. She is a maverick who cleaned-up Alaska ‘s quagmire of
    political scandals. Which way is it, Barack? Is it okay for you to pick
    a 30-year Washington insider under the mantra of “change,” but not okay
    for John McCain to pick a smart, aggressive, reformer?

    2. You have the single most liberal voting record in the senate. This
    indicates to me and others like me that you may very well be an angry
    black man seeking to punish our country for sins of a different
    generation. I am not racist. I have some biases just like you and every
    other human alive. Unlike the democratic party who claims to be for the
    minority (but their record heavily refutes this), I will give any
    person who truly needs help, help. I married a “minority” girl 35 years
    ago (she is Hispanic) and have seen the evils of prejudice first hand.
    However, I have also seen my wife, children and others in her family
    throw off the veil of self-imposed prejudicial bondage and move ahead
    They love our country and do not view themselves any different than I
    view myself as a citizen of this country. Your lovely wife so
    disappointed people like me during this campaign when she stated it was
    the first time she had ever been proud of this country. She apparently
    never noticed the massive aid we give dozens of other countries. She
    apparently never noticed the sacrifice of literally millions of
    veterans who helped make this country a free nation and helped liberate
    other nations from brutal dictators such as Adolf Hitler. She
    apparently does not remember that she attended an Ivy League university
    with scholarship money that ultimately (at least some of it) was paid
    for by our taxes. This troubles me more than you know. She is an angry
    black woman who appears to not like her country very much. I don’t want
    her representing me to the rest of the world.

    3. You claim Christianity but apparently haven’t realized that the
    Bible teaches that he, who does not work, does not eat. The Bible does
    not say or even suggest that he, who CANNOT work, should not eat. Yet,
    your liberal policies reward people who are capable of working but
    choose not to do so. This bothers me. I know that if you are elected
    our taxes will spiral upwards. You should heed the words of Winston
    Churchill: “We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into
    prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift
    himself up by the handle.” If I like anything about you, it is your
    campaign promise to balance the federal budget. Unfortunately, we have
    heard this many times from different politicians and we realize that
    when you energize the liberals, Nancy Pelosi, Robert Byrd, Ted Kennedy,
    etc., etc., and the many other democrats like them, a balanced budget
    will never, ever happen on your watch.

    4. During your question and answer session with Rick Warren of
    Saddleback Church your answer concerning the question of where does
    life begin, stunned me: “Above your pay grade?” Does this mean when
    something bad happens as President of this nation that you are going to
    look at your salary to determine if you can respond? Is that what all
    the “present” votes in Chicago stood for “above your pay grade” and why
    you would not take a stand on the issues at hand? I am sorry, but this
    was the most serious gaffe I have seen you make. Frankly, it shows me
    that you are pandering in the most obvious manner. You will choose your
    words not from your heart, but from an agenda that I believe you hide
    from the American people.

    5. If anything stands out about you it is probably your appeasement
    mentality. In this era of rampant, radical Islamic extremism and with
    the latest stunt pulled by the reenergized Russian government, I am not
    sure appeasement is healthy. Do you remember Neville Chamberlain of
    Great Britain in the 1930’s prior to WW II? I again revert to the words
    of Winston Churchill: “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping
    it will eat him last.”

    6. You and your party tacitly believe that a 13 or 14 year old girl
    must have the parents’ approval to have the school nurse provide them
    with a Tylenol when they have a headache at school Yet, this same girl
    can become pregnant and the school can skirt her off to a clinic and
    abort the child in her body without the parents knowing or being
    notified. This scares the hell out of me. You have two little girls.
    Would you be upset if this happened to them and you were not informed?
    Then why do you stand for this? It makes no sense to me.

    7. My seventh and final point is your supporters. I have watched the
    Hollywood entertainers that support you, systematically embrace Hugo
    Chavez of Venezuela , Iranian Dictator Ahmadenijad and others like
    them. I see the continuous smut and garbage produced by Hollywood that
    dams America constantly, and the very people who promote you most
    vigorously. It is not a positive point to me and others like me to see
    these overpaid, bizarre, poor examples of human existence fawn over you
    and push you and your liberal agenda as hard as they do. The way that I
    see it; when the devil is for you, we should question whether or not we
    should be against you. In closing, I just want you to know that you
    scare me. I cannot vote for you. It is not because of your skin color.
    It is because these items and many others like them. Do not claim that
    my dislike for you is race based. It is because I do not feel you have
    the best interests of this nation and its people at heart.

    Respectfully, Mark A. Gregg

  15. I am not crazy about either presidential candidate and feel like neither has the spine to attack the exploding national debt, medicare, and social security funding which are the issues most important to me. The guy who wrote this letter obviously wouldn’t vote for any Democrat. The letter is long on innuendo and short on facts.

    1. Biden was chosen for his foreign policy expertise. Change will come from the top of the ticket, not from the VP. The maverick reformer who alledgly cleaned up Alaska is under fire for having the state of Alaska pay for unauthorized travel and lodging for her family and taking a per diem for lodging while staying at her own house.

    2. Angry black man? Are liberals who are white angry white men? This statement really undermines the “it isn’t your race” argument. How does being liberal relate to being angry? Also, the last time I checked it was Barack, not Michelle Obama, who is running for office.

    3. The Constitution states that there shall be no religious test to hold office, Even so, many Christians feel it is their duty to help those less fortunate than themselves. As for taxes, the choice is clear: Tax and spend democrats, or add to the debt and spend republicans. It is worth noting that the nation’s debt doubled with a republican president the last eight years (and with a republican congress for 6 of those years). The record shows that republicans spend just as recklessly as democrats.

    4. The answer Obama gave was typical for a politician, but what hidden agenda does this statement hint at?

    5. Who has Obama tried to appease? I assume this is referring to Obama being willing to meet leaders of rouge nations without preconditions. You know, like Nixon did with China, and Reagan did with Russia/Gorbachev. I guess they were appeasers too if this is the standard for appeasement.

    6. Show me where the Democratic Party platform states 13 or 14 year olds should have the right to abortions with no parental input. Show me where Obama said he believes this is OK. The democrats are obviously more liberal on abortion. If banning abortion is your most important issue you wouldn’t even consider Obama.

    7. Who in Hollywood has embraced Ahmadenijad? Chavez has some support from a handful of loonies in Hollywood, but I fail to see how that is Obama’s fault. McCain has some unsavory supporters as well and I don’t blame him for this.

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