Racial Slur on Sofa Set Stuns Family

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pookie
Racial Slur on Sofa Set Stuns Family

 

pookie

[url=http://www.thestar.com/News/article/200265]From the Toronto Star:[/url]

quote:

When the new chocolate-coloured sofa set was delivered to her Brampton home, Doris Moore was stunned to see packing labels describing the shade as "Nigger-brown."

...

Moore, 30, who describes herself as an African-American born and raised in New York, said it was her 7-year-old daughter who pointed out the label just after delivery men from the Mississauga furniture store left.

"She's very curious and she started reading the labels," Moore explained. "She said, `Mommy, what is nig ... ger brown?' I went over and just couldn't believe my eyes."


Note that this was an actual [i]label[/i], not something handwritten. Dealer and manufacturer then point the finger at China.

Unfuckingbelievable!

clandestiny

tis the new normal. lookit the contempt dripping from harper's face

ohara

The racist label disgusts me. Clearly the furniture store needs to understand PR. Im not sure they would have seen the label necessarily but there actions afterwards were simply put, stupid.

Agent 204 Agent 204's picture

quote:


Originally posted by pookie:
[b]Note that this was an actual [i]label[/i], not something handwritten. Dealer and manufacturer then point the finger at China.

Unfuckingbelievable![/b]


Not really unbelievable at all, actually. If it was manufactured in China, the label might have been translated by someone who didn't know the connotations of the word. Hopefully something will be done about it.

Legless-Marine

quote:


Originally posted by pookie:
[b][url=http://www.thestar.com/News/article/200265]From the Toronto Star:[/url]

Note that this was an actual [i]label[/i], not something handwritten. Dealer and manufacturer then point the finger at China.

Unfuckingbelievable![/b]


Could have been worse - At least it wasn't accompanied by any of those Bhuddist good luck symbols.

remind remind's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Legless-Marine:
[b]Could have been worse - At least it wasn't accompanied by any of those Bhuddist good luck symbols.[/b]

Giving this comment the benefit of doubt, is not possible.

bohajal

Never mind what I wrote before. I erased it.

I will just sit back and watch how some people are keen on finding justifications for racism.

[ 06 April 2007: Message edited by: bohajal ]

Agent 204 Agent 204's picture

quote:


Originally posted by bohajal:
[b]I will just sit back and watch how some people are keen on finding justifications for racism.[/b]

"Justifications"? If you were referring to my post, I don't think it can be called an attempt to "justify" anything, merely to explain it.

I do agree, though, that the importer could have been more apologetic.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

quote:


Originally posted by remind:
[b]

Giving this comment the benefit of doubt, is not possible.[/b]


Especially since he didn't even try to spell [b]Buddhist[/b] right.

The other question is, will the Legless One deign to explain to the rest of us why he seems to think this is a big deal over nothing, or will he once again make us drag it out of him?

[ 06 April 2007: Message edited by: Ken Burch ]

remind remind's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Agent 204:
[b]the importer could have been more apologetic.[/b]

First off, the importer and the store should've instantly, told the family to return the furniture, and given them an upgrade, plus more.

Then they should both, take an ad out in the Newspaper, notifying the public of their sincere apologies and regrets, accompanied by the statement they will no longer user said furniture manufacturer.

If something of this type is not done, there should be open picketing of the store and importer.

This is unacceptable, underany circumstance, and I call BS on not knowing what the tage said.

N.R.KISSED

quote:


Giving this comment the benefit of doubt, is not possible.

I believe the reference is toward the "adolf hitler cats", small figurines with raised paws and curious looking whiskers, that were found inside some christmas crackers.These were also made in china.

[ 06 April 2007: Message edited by: N.R.KISSED ]

Agent 204 Agent 204's picture

quote:


Originally posted by remind:
[b]This is unacceptable, under any circumstance, and I call BS on not knowing what the tag said.[/b]

Certainly one would think that they'd have found it if it were anywhere visible, but one would also think that they wouldn't have sold it if they'd found such an offensive tag, simply because to do so would be really stupid to do so. I imagine that once you've handled a few hundred sofas you're less inclined to look at the label on each one, so it would be easy to miss something like this.

But I do agree with you on how they should have handled it afterwards.

[ 06 April 2007: Message edited by: Agent 204 ]

oldgoat

quote:


Originally posted by remind:
[b]

Giving this comment the benefit of doubt, is not possible.[/b]


That's my feeling, although if he's referring to what N.R.KISSED said maybe he can elaborate.

Again to quote remind:

quote:

First off, the importer and the store should've instantly, told the family to return the furniture, and given them an upgrade, plus more.

Then they should both, take an ad out in the Newspaper, notifying the public of their sincere apologies and regrets, accompanied by the statement they will no longer user said furniture manufacturer.

If something of this type is not done, there should be open picketing of the store and importer.

This is unacceptable, underany circumstance, and I call BS on not knowing what the tage said.


Precisely!

If North American mercchants and distributers are going to pay overseas workers pennies an hour to make their stuff, they can take greater rsponsibility for the oversight of what is produced.

chilled

How about those plant stores selling Zebrina Pendula's? I find THIS even MORE offensive!!

remind remind's picture

quote:


Originally posted by chilled:
[b]How about those plant stores selling Zebrina Pendula's? I find THIS even MORE offensive!![/b]

Well, if they are calling them Zebrina Pendula's there is hardly a problem in labelling correctly then is there. However, if they were using that slang name, then there would be a problem.

Now, back to the whole Hitler analogy thing, that legless could be, or could not be, referring to. I am sorry, I do not know the story and I suspect, there are many viewers that would not get it either. And there is no reference to it above legless's post to signify anything, as such, I feel it is in appropriate no matter what reference.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

The good-luck cats are NOTHING to do with Hitler, ffs. They are an ancient thing and, in any case, China was never aligned with Germany at any point in its history. "There's no there there" as Gertrude Stein would say.

N.R.KISSED

quote:


The good-luck cats are NOTHING to do with Hitler, ffs. They are an ancient thing and, in any case, China was never aligned with Germany at any point in its history. "There's no there there" as Gertrude Stein would say.

Relax yourself ffs.nobody is claiming the cats have to do with hitler. THere was a thread on babble about these cats. When? one year ago two? how long have I been here? why am I still here?

ohara

quote:


Originally posted by Legless-Marine:
[b]

Could have been worse - At least it wasn't accompanied by any of those Bhuddist good luck symbols.[/b]


I believe he is referring to the Buddhist swastika which was stolen and bastadized by rhe Nazis.

Steppenwolf Allende

quote:


Note that this was an actual label, not something handwritten. Dealer and manufacturer then point the finger at China.

Of course! I expect the finger-pointing and blame-gaming will go on ad nauseum until the story fades--and of course no one will ever accept responsibility for anything.

All I know is that if I was one of those delivery workers, and happened to notice that label (which I admit would be unlikely, since I would just want to get the thing there undamaged, get it signed and move on to the next job), I would refuse to deliver it.

The fact is some corporate hack somewhere in the production/distribution chain ordered that label to be drawn up, mass produced and sewn into that couch. It's not at all impossible to trace back to find where it originated and who's behind it.

Then again, it's obvious none of the bosses, both here or in China, want to do this.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Gee maybe the Chinese didn't get that this was a nasty racist slur you know similar to calling Asians "slant eyes." But in relation to Asian's some of the Babble elite had to point out that in Quebec it wasn't a racist term so why the up roar. Fortunately in relation to other POC I don't think that will be allowed.

I agree that this company should be vilified and hopefully the bad press will bankrupt them.

Maysie Maysie's picture

quote:


Originally posted by kropotkin1951:
[b]Gee maybe the Chinese didn't get that this was a nasty racist slur you know similar to calling Asians "slant eyes." But in relation to Asian's some of the Babble elite had to point out that in Quebec it wasn't a racist term so why the up roar. Fortunately in relation to other POC I don't think that will be allowed.[/b]

kropotkin1951:
1. Don't bring issues from other threads into this one.

2. Don't repeat racist terms when making your "point".

3. If you have a babble-related issue, post in rabble reactions.

Dana Larsen

Reading this post lead me to Wikipedia, where there's a fascinating entry on the history of the word Nigger.

[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigger]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigger[...

An excerpt:

quote:

The Spanish word negro originates from the Latin word niger, meaning black. In English, negro or neger became negar and finally nigger, most likely under influence of French nиgre (also derived from the Latin niger).

In Colonial America, Neger (sometimes spelled "neggar") prevailed in northern New York under the Dutch and also in Philadelphia, in its Moravian and Pennsylvania Dutch communities. For example, the African Burial Ground in New York City was originally known as "Begraaf Plaats van de Neger."

In the United States, the word nigger was not always considered derogatory, but was instead used by some as merely denotative of black, as it was in other parts of the English-speaking world. In nineteenth-century literature, there are many uses of the word nigger with no intended negative connotation. Charles Dickens, and Joseph Conrad (who published The Nigger of the 'Narcissus' in 1897) used the word without racist intent.


I doubt that the Chinese manufacturer meant to use this word as some sort of insult. It is probably a poor translation of "dark" or something like that.

I wonder how many of these poorly-labelled couches are out there?

Maysie Maysie's picture

quote:


Originally posted by bohajal:
[b]I will just sit back and watch how some people are keen on finding justifications for racism.
[/b]

Well, unlike bohajal I have to moderate this forum. [img]tongue.gif" border="0[/img]

Dana, as absolutely lovely as the history and etymology of the word "nigger" is, and from Wikipedia of all places! A source of excellent accurate information! (Note: sarcasm alert) Your post serves only to minimize the impact of a racist label that is offensive, and not just to Black people.

Never mind that neither the retailer, manufacturer nor the distributor have made any gesture or communication to indicate that they get what's wrong with this.

marzo

That label was obviously deliberate mischief. The person who wrote that English-language label would be aware that the offending word was an insult in English speaking cultures.
How could anyone not know?
They could have made the label read,'Chestnut Brown' or 'Cocoa Brown' and avoided offending their customers.

Southlander

quote:


Originally posted by marzo:
[b]That label was obviously deliberate mischief. The person who wrote that English-language label would be aware that the offending word was an insult in English speaking cultures.
How could anyone not know?
They could have made the label read,'Chestnut Brown' or 'Cocoa Brown' and avoided offending their customers.[/b]

Perhaps the sofa was also for sale in a non english speaking country? eg the spanish word for black is negro.
Or perhaps the person who wrote the tag was not an "english as first language" person? To them chestnut might mean tasty food, and cocoa means a drink. these words are not colours if english is your second language.

jas

...

However, in this case, somewhere along the line of distribution between manufacturer and customer some one or many must have noticed this, and could have done something to correct it.

[ 10 April 2007: Message edited by: jas ]

Maysie Maysie's picture

Okay!

Let's not continue the drift on the topic of how English may or may not be translated by people who don't speak English as a first language. This is veering into actual racism believe it or not.

Regarding the original thread topic, this is all speculation anyways as to the motives (or not) of whoever approved the label for mass-production.

jas, please don't reference that racist site.

Any further referencing to racist sites such as the one jas mentioned will be requested to cease. This has been discussed on babble before, to not much progress.

[ 09 April 2007: Message edited by: bigcitygal ]

writer writer's picture

There also seems to be confusion about the label. It was not a little tag sown into a seam under one of the cusions. It was an 8 1/2 X 11 piece of paper stuck to the covering that protected the couch and chairs for shipping.

Doris Moore is holding the paper in the [url=http://www.thestar.com/images/assets/210259_3.JPG]Star photo[/url].

[ 09 April 2007: Message edited by: writer ]

jas

Apologies.

Steppenwolf Allende

I think, with due respect, the point here is being somewhat sidelined.

Yes, I agree with Dana Larsen's post about the history of the word "nigger" and how it wasn't always considered a slur. The fact is the use and applications and meanings and interpretation of many words do change over time.

And, yep, I know about some more recent efforts among some sectors of African communities, especially among some gangsta rap musicians, for whatever that's worth, reclaiming the term.

And, yep, it's possible the word was used accidentally due to some miscommunication or bad translation from Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, etc.) to English.

But I think Big City Gal has the real gist of it. The fact is, despite its history and its casual use among some African communities, the word is still very much overwhelmingly considered an insult by most people, and not appropriate to use in any other context.

That alone should be enough reason to motivate those in charge of the retail or distribution chains, manufacturing firm, etc. to look into it and see where and why it originated and to fix the problem and see it doesn't happen again.

The fact no one seems ready to take the responsibility to do this is where I see the real focus of the problem.

Maybe they might get a bit more motivated to do this if they learned that large numbers of people might be thinking of no longer buying that brand of product or shopping at that retail chain because of this incident.

Southlander

agree totally

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

quote:


Originally posted by bigcitygal:
[b]

kropotkin1951:
1. Don't bring issues from other threads into this one.

2. Don't repeat racist terms when making your "point".

3. If you have a babble-related issue, post in rabble reactions.[/b]


BCG Quote

quote:

Okay. Well. I can't believe I have to say this.
Referring to Asians as people with "slanted eyes" is racist.


LOL Thanks for reiterating my point. Good for you and some other posters getting to say what you want in any thread including repeating "racist slurs" but not everyone has those same forum privilages. I don't see a difference in your use of the term and in mine except who the poster is and that was my point.

Stargazer

Ummm....K, BCG is the moderator of this forum. You did notice that right?

Doug

quote:


Originally posted by marzo:
[b]That label was obviously deliberate mischief. The person who wrote that English-language label would be aware that the offending word was an insult in English speaking cultures.
[/b]

Not necessarily. There's an good bit of poor translation being used in China today - mostly a result of people using computer translations without strong enough knowledge of English to be able to correct them. The results are usually more perplexing rather than insulting, however.

[url=http://www.rahoi.com/2006/03/may-i-take-your-order.php]A good example of this sort of thing on a restaurant menu[/url]

In any case, it definitely would have been a good idea for this store to have acted to get the problem corrected at the manufacturer's end - or at least to make sure none of their customers ever saw that paper.

Erik Redburn

They do have English speaking managers at these outsourced plants in China, to deal with their USian contacts, which makes me doubt it's an accident, but why they'd do so is a minor mystery.

And can I humbly make a small moderater request myself, and please ask that this Always ugly, hateful and degrading word (to the speaker as well as intended targets) be edited with at Least a couple dashes in between? If only for the sake of any kiddies who maybe visiting? And is there really any need to point out the long established Latin etymology of this dried turd of a word when the living history is so well known by pretty much Everyone now. Even the 'gangstas' who use it as friendly banter in Quinton Tarantino movies. I mean, what's next, a Babble thread talking about the original link between 'N*ps' and the proper name for Japan or the quaint historical derivitives of Chinese gentlemen?? I'm afraid that there are a few words with such deep and abiding associations that they can't be easily 'reclaimed' or treated as relative to 'context'.

[ 16 April 2007: Message edited by: EriKtheHalfaRed ]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

This particular racial slur is not a new one. It has a long history, as a recent [url=http://www.thestar.com/article/203096]Toronto Star article[/url] pointed out:

quote:

Message boards and blogs are rife with debate about it, this ghost of an expression, which once was common usage – most commonly, it would seem, in Britain where schoolchildren were instructed as late as the 1950s to buy "nigger-brown" cloth for their school uniforms.
....

The audience of [i]Lady's Pictorial[/i] magazine in London, circa 1914, would have wondered what all the fuss was about. Ads for soft taffeta hats in nigger-black were common then. A 1915 edition of the [i]British Home Chat[/i] magazine described cloth as "nigger-brown." Writers D. H. Lawrence and John Dos Passos wrote about nigger-grey and nigger-pink. And as late as 1973 The Times wrote of autumnal colours in a shade that "used to be nigger brown."

The couch bearing the offensive label landed in Brampton last week by way of [b]China, where things like paint and shoes for men are still being sold today with the description.[/b]

"Nigger-brown" pigment is available for purchase from the Wenzhou Kunwei Pearly-Lustre Pigment Co., Ltd. Men's shoes from the Nanhai De Xing Leather Shoes Habiliment Co., Ltd., are described this way on its website: "this product is leisure & fashion, Comfortable, beautiful outside Size 39#-46# Color French rose, `nigger-brown.'"

[b]"If it was used with impunity in the first half of the 20th Century in England, it is possible that it survived in the manufacturing byways of Hong Kong as a kind of imperial excrescence, as a kind of colonial marker,"[/b] says Jack Chambers, a professor in the University of Toronto department of linguistics.
....

Colours have caused controversy before. Crayola has revised its original colour palette numerous times since launching the popular crayon in 1903, changing "flesh" to "peach," in 1962, and "Indian Red" to "chestnut" in 1999. The name "flesh," was dropped partly in response to the civil rights movement. The company says Indian red was not meant to represent the skin colour of Native Americans, but referred to a reddish-brown pigment found near India.

Prussian Blue was changed to "midnight blue" in 1958, at the request of teachers, according to Crayola's website.
....

David Pilgrim, curator of the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., remembers bidding online two years ago for a carton of children's crayon sticks, one of them called "nigger-brown," although he cannot recall the name of the manufacturer.

The museum in fact, has several objects advertised as "nigger brown," mostly from England and Australia.

"What it shows you is how deeply ingrained that word was, and the sort of lack of racial consciousness that people had. I'm certain that nobody really meant something horrible by it," says Pilgrim. The exception, he said, is white supremacists who use the expression today to refer to people of mixed race.

Museum director John Thorpe says using "nigger" as a way of identifying colour was acceptable up until the civil rights movement. "That vocabulary has not died out completely in some segments and part of the country even today. It might not get published in the newspaper anymore, but it would be referred to in ordinary conversation."


jas

quote:


Originally posted by M. Spector:
[b]popular crayon in 1903, changing "flesh" to "peach," in 1962... [/b]

Hmm, I would guess a little later than this, as I distinctly recall using the "flesh" colour Crayola through my childhood, never questioning that descriptor until probably my teens.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture
jas

I can only shrug. Maybe it took a long time for the old stock to get off the shelves. Or that same 'flesh' crayon never got used enough to be replaced!

Coyote

Yeah, I'm sure I remember a "flesh" or "skin colour" crayon. Huh.

Michelle

Yup. I was a kid during the 70's, and I'm pretty sure I was using "flesh" coloured crayola crayons and Laurentian pencil crayons.

P.S. It amazes me that "Indian Red" lasted until 1999!

[ 16 April 2007: Message edited by: Michelle ]

jas

quote:


Originally posted by Michelle:
[b]Yup... and Laurentian pencil crayons.
[/b]

Yes, Laurentian pencil crayons! I think they too used that descriptor.

Erik Redburn

Well, there we go, I remember 'flesh' tone crayons too, I guess M.Spector gets the prize. Now we just have to wonder why a term that was phased out before even our time, is still current in a furniture company exporting from China. Maybe someone can also find out whether they're contracted out via an Western company that should know better or whether they've responded to complaints yet.

[ 17 April 2007: Message edited by: EriKtheHalfaRed ]

Maysie Maysie's picture

Well, M.Spector, you have sufficiently made your point. That's more replications of the N word as adjective thant I ever hoped to imagine would appear on babble, [b]in the fucking AR forum[/b]. I'm both amazed and disgusted. Are you 8 years old?

kropotkin, I agree with you that there shouldn't be separate rules for mods as for everyone else re. repeating racist language. I think M.Spector has made the above gross and rather offensive post in support of your position.

I will say that if you read the wording of your post, rather sarcastic and snarky, as well as insulting to babblers and moderators, and compare it to mine, very clearly distancing myself with the quotes, there is a huge difference in tone and intent.

I welcome all to join me in a thread in rabble reactions to discuss this.

Albireo

I was going to make a quick response here (about bcg's reaction), but I guess I'll do it in [url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic&f=15&t=001100]that other Rabble reactions thread[/url].

jrose

There is a picture of it on [url=http://www.blogto.com]BlogTO[/url] if anybody is interested in seeing just how offensive this was, though I'm sure the mental picture is bad enough.

Le T Le T's picture

quote:


P.S. It amazes me that "Indian Red" lasted until 1999!

Does it really?

How about the Cleavland Indians? Or the Atlanta Braves? Eskimo Bars? Or Disney's Pocahontas?

North Americans are pretty content to continue using the most racist images of Indigenous people to advertise their ice cream bars and sports teams and to use to entertain their children.

Michelle

Yes, this is true. You're right.

remind remind's picture

Too bad this labelling was not sent to a POC who is prominent like Oprah. It could've gained much prominence, as Oprah is having a 2 day show on the use of such terms, and others that denigrate women, POC and that glorify violence against. This is focused though on 'gansta' rappers and other prominent persons within the African American community. These shows were spurrred by the Imus comments and his subsequent firing.

First part aired yesterday, 2nd airs today. Yesterday had the "women of Spelman Collage", India Arie, Rev Al Sharpton and other prominent POC, discussing Imus's comments along with the rap crap music that is misogynistic and utlizies what they, the rappers/commedians say is a taking back of "the word".

What they are putting forth is that in the African American community 0 tolerance is a must for any language/word use that is denigrating of others, may it be along gender or racial lines. They are calling on Snoop Dog's Nelly's and other rappers contracts to be nulified as well.

Yesterday's show was excellent, and those on there really called this is wrong on the taking back of "the word", amongst other salient and negative issues being "normalized" by rap music.

[url=http://www2.oprah.com/tows/pastshows/200704/tows_past_20070416.jhtml]After Imus[/url]

Today's show is a response by the rapper community.

[ 17 April 2007: Message edited by: remind ]

Maysie Maysie's picture

I didn't read M.Spector's post as supporting the use of racist language, nor the linked article. I maintain that the content of his post was over-the-top and unnecessary, however, so was my response to him.

I would like to apologize for my over-reaction and snarky tone to M.Spector yesterday.

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