ONTD Political

How did ‘Monday’ become a racist slur?

11:41 am - 08/27/2012


When news emerged earlier this month that Boston Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford said he’d been called a racial epithet by an off-duty Leominster police officer before a minor league game in New Hampshire, reaction was swift. After an internal investigation, which turned up additional racist comments, the Leominster mayor fired the officer on Thursday.

But the epithet itself still has sports fans and commentators scratching their heads. Allegedly, the officer called Crawford, who is black, “Monday.” Monday? The day of the week? Is this really an insult, and one that has anything to do with race?

It turns out that the answer is yes—and that it is hardly the only secret ethnic or racial slur in English. Mild-mannered language has long provided cover for vitriolic speech, with everyday words pressed into service to lend a kind of plausible deniability. Such code words require shared recognition among the in-group, while, in principle, leaving the targets of the slurs unaware of the game. In fact, it’s only because the officer was breaking those implicit rules, and allegedly using a “secret” offensive term to address a sports celebrity, that he ended up in trouble—and that the coded use of “Monday” is suddenly out in the open.

After the “Monday” incident came to light in a postgame press conference with Crawford on July 5, local reporters scrambled to figure out the word’s hidden significance. “I can understand how it could become a put-down,” said Michael Holley, co-host of “The Big Show” on the Boston sports radio station WEEI. (Holley, who is black, has lived in Boston for 15 years.) “How did it become a racial slur?”

That remains mysterious. Certainly, the police officer didn’t invent this usage himself: On the Urban Dictionary website, which aggregates user-generated definitions of slang, one entry defines “Monday” as “Another way of saying [the N-word] without getting caught.” Another person even claims it “originated in Boston,” though other online commenters peg it to the East Coast more generally. Finally, a third definition offers an explanation of “Monday” as an insult, though no hint of why it would be connected to race: “Everybody hates Mondays,” the contributor writes.

Full story at the Boston Globe
85redberries 27th-Aug-2012 06:10 pm (UTC)
Why are white people so obsessed with using hidden racist words? It's like a game for them I'm sure. "I'll call them Canadian or Monday and they won't ever know!" *sheepish smile* "...But I'm not racist."
wrongheaded 27th-Aug-2012 07:36 pm (UTC)
I don't know; despite being white no one has ever taught me any racist code (like 'Monday'). Made conspiratorial racist remarks, sure, but no one gave me the Secret Bigoted Asshole Guidebook. I almost wish they had, I would have scanned it and posted it online so everyone could see...

I wonder if this coded language is just because everyone has gotten the meme that it's not OK to be racist in public. Although people do like feeling special (I think that might be one of the main causes of bigotry tbh), so getting to have a secret club with code words and handshakes is probably enticing.

Actually this reminds me of that great Daily Show bit where Larry Wilmore had to explain to Jon Stewart that he was basically saying 'fuck you' with his eyes all the time. I fail to remember whatever racist bullshit was said about Obama that spurred the sketch, because my brain doesn't have enough storage space for all that fuckery.
mirhanda 27th-Aug-2012 08:12 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I never heard of anyone doing this either. Monday? How? IDGI
85redberries 27th-Aug-2012 09:31 pm (UTC)
I agree that there is an enticing element when everyone doesn't know exactly what is being said.

There was a gawker post, maybe a year or two ago, that was about the code words white people use for black people. The comments indicated the region where people had heard the terms or words. If I remember correctly, there were a lot of codes in more liberal areas. I think the offending parties felt better for not being confused with a common, toothless, movie type racist while saying the same things. And they believed they were amusing and clever by hiding in plain sight by using everyday words. They could put black people down without ever being called out or embarrassed for it or they could say "that's not what I meant!" and be done with it. Pretty depressing stuff.


Edited at 2012-08-27 09:31 pm (UTC)
hourglasscreate 27th-Aug-2012 07:53 pm (UTC)
Why are any people so obsessed with it?

It's not limited to white people, it's limited to assholes who know their attitudes are socially unacceptable but feel they have a right to them anyway. To be fair, that's usually white people, but doesn't have to be.
skellington1 27th-Aug-2012 08:08 pm (UTC)
It's not limited to white people, it's limited to assholes who know their attitudes are socially unacceptable but feel they have a right to them anyway. To be fair, that's usually white people, but doesn't have to be.

Makes sense, because "I have a right to my unenlightened dickery" is a pretty sure sign (or symptom?) of privilege -- so it's more likely going to be white people on race issues, guys on gender issues, etc.

Obviously it doesn't mean all white people -- I'm another white person who was never given the secret jerk-ass handbook -- but if someone's gonna do it, it's gonna be the people who're used to being on top who think it's sooo unfair to have to check themselves.

The people on the bottom just get to take it until they snap, and then get lectured for painting 'all x people' with the same brush. :|
85redberries 27th-Aug-2012 09:06 pm (UTC)
I am aware that this isn't limited to white people. No where is something other than that indicated in my comment. But this is an article about white people being racist towards black people, so I kind of don't care what other people are doing. Please don't try and school me on how there are bad people in other races.
hourglasscreate 27th-Aug-2012 09:25 pm (UTC)
I almost got upset with you about this and called you on being over defensive. And then I thought about how often I have been dog piled for saying something which other people decided to interpret so they could be offended and understood why you got defensive.

I wasn't being critical of your statement, just pointing out that assholes come in all flavors.
85redberries 27th-Aug-2012 09:46 pm (UTC)
I almost got upset with you about this and called you on being over defensive.
...Which other people decided to interpret so they could be offended.

Aaaand you just passive-aggressively called me out.

I both knew what you were doing with your original comment and I thought it unnecessary because it was derailing. Does that make more sense?

Edited at 2012-08-27 09:47 pm (UTC)
hourglasscreate 28th-Aug-2012 05:02 pm (UTC)
If I wanted to call you out, I wouldn't be passive aggressive. I'd tell you to eat shit and die. I don't do passive aggressive. I do straight on confrontation.

So, just to prove my point:

Eat shit and die.
85redberries 28th-Aug-2012 05:31 pm (UTC)
You were being passive-aggressive before. That was smack dab in the middle of passive-aggressive.

And now what exactly are you trying to prove with this comment? Because I wanted to focus on how fucked up white people can be in an article about how fucked up white people can be I am over defensive and should eat shit and die? Oh. Okay. No argument that it wasn't derailing just rah rah about you telling me you wanted to tell me off and then telling me off for not truly understanding the importance of your breakthrough statement that POC can be just as bad as white people. We're all just people, amirite? I find you amusing.

On a related note, I hope http://www.derailingfordummies.com/ comes back soon so you can read it.

Edited at 2012-08-28 05:40 pm (UTC)
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