1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Did you know uppity is a racist word?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Corvuscorax, Nov 25, 2019.

  1. moscowbore

    moscowbore Lead commenter

    Many SLT have told me to teach programming a certain way when they know literally nothing about it. I go to some length to establish clearly that their knowledge is nil and they usually leave me alone after that.
    Kandahar and Corvuscorax like this.
  2. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    I have had a member of SMT dislike the place I had positioned the liver in a model of the body, as positioning it elsewhere would have made it easier to see the organs behind it.....

    I would certainly class her has most uppity!
  3. Kandahar

    Kandahar Lead commenter

    Yes indeed. It is only a pity that they don't understand that the statistics they engage in when collecting and interpreting school date is hogwash - and that they leave it alone too.
    needabreak and Corvuscorax like this.
  4. T34

    T34 Established commenter

    Of course she wasn't being racist. She was being "rankist", i.e. was "pulling rank".

    "Uppity" seems to have its origin as a 19th century southern states dialect word used to describe an African-American who was not showing the requisite degree of subservience.

    From comments on this thread, it seems now to be used to describe anyone who is not showing the required degree of subservience in any hierarchical situation. and its murky origins are unknown to many.

    Holmes used the word simply as a synonym for "arrogant" which suggests a further dilution of its meaning is in progress. Thus does the language degrade over time.

    Holmes' crime is ignorance, not racism. He does not seem to be aware of the original association of the word with white dominance.
    But he is highly paid to know such things.
    needabreak and Jamvic like this.
  5. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter

    Spot on!
  6. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    It amazes me that school leaders are not required to obtain some form of qualification in statistics before they are allowed to batter us around the ears with statistics

    They can literally break a teacher, destroy their career, ruin their health, using statistics as a weapon, when they are totally statistically illiterate.

    I agree this is the very essence of uppityness
    smoothnewt and Kandahar like this.
  7. Kandahar

    Kandahar Lead commenter

    And yet might well have been used by free African American slave masters against their slaves too.
  8. T34

    T34 Established commenter

    Yes, African Americans would use the word too (see the Uncle Remus quotation in an earlier post). It may even have originated with them.
    But it would have the same implications, whoever used it, i.e. a description of an African American who did not behave in a subservient manner.

    Getting back to Holmes - could it be that he actually had a mind to say that Megan was "up herself", but at the last moment decided that was unwise, and hurriedly substituted the first alternative he could think of that started with "up"?
    Kandahar likes this.
  9. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    I expect he was just using a normal English word in normal English usage in its normal way
  10. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    no one is paid to know the obscure, distant, foreign possible interpretations of every single normal word that might come out of your mouth.

    You don't know what you don't know.

    He used a completely normal word. He was told that in some places in the world, that particular word has a specific meaning which differs from the common one he is used to. He apologised and won't use the word again. That's ll there is to it
  11. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    A lot of posters on here have used the word "slave" in the past - it is considered a deeply offensive word by some americans, Never the less, it is an English word with a specific meaning we continue to use, regardless.
  12. Oscillatingass

    Oscillatingass Star commenter

    Actually, I don't think language "degrades" over time, it "develops". The meaning of many words have evolved over the years.
    Kandahar, lanokia and Corvuscorax like this.
  13. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter


    Who would use the words "artificial" or "awful" to mean "magnificent" these days?.That was their original meaning
    Kandahar and Oscillatingass like this.
  14. T34

    T34 Established commenter

    I wonder if the offensive, original meaning of the word is now "obscure" to many precisely because its offensiveness has caused people for a long time to not use it that way.

    Perhaps the "n" word will eventually disappear from the language altogether and be forgotten, because nobody now uses it?

    19th century authors who wrote about the South, and whose works might have shown examples of the common usage of the word at the time are not now fashionable because they are regarded as condoning slavery.
    Who reads the "Uncle Remus" stories or Huckleberry Finn now?

    So it may only be the older generation who store memories from before the great banning of books and the rewrite of History (warning - tongue is in cheek) of the late 20th century who would pick up the Holmes faux-pas.

    But if it wasn't already on the BBC list of banned words it probably is now!
  15. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    on my banned list too, I won't use it again outside this thread, now I know it upsets some people, doesn't mean that I agree they should be upset though, or that I'm not enjoying discussing it here
    T34 likes this.
  16. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    You could use the word uppish instead which predates uppity (and I guess may have evolved from)
  17. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

  18. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    That's as maybe but note this thread title.
  19. T34

    T34 Established commenter

    I chose "degrade" because in this case the word "uppity" seems to have started with a very specific meaning and to have lost this specificity, until I am now not at all sure what it means.

    I wonder about the actual process by which a word evolves. The evolution of a living creature is dependent on faulty copying of its genome. The "faulty" copy being more acceptable to the environment than the original.
    I wonder if faulty copying ever plays a part in the evolution of the meaning of a word. The original meaning of the word "uppity" certainly finds itself in a hostile environment nowadays.
  20. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    In this case stupid seems more appropriate.
    In my early teaching career, I remember being told off for using the term chromatography with SEN students because it was too long for them to spell. What amused me was that most of them could spell it, or pretty close. I am still waiting for the alternative suggestion.
    install and Corvuscorax like this.

Share This Page