Unkind Words: Ethnic Labeling from Redskin to WASP

Synopsis

In this extensive study of ethnic labeling in the United States' popular speech and usage, the author explores the major traditional themes behind the development of ethnic slurs. Viewing U.S. slang as a reflection of social diversity, rapid change, and the complexity of U.S. society, Allen gives a special insight into the social workings of U.S. culture, both past and present. The book offers an overview of the major traditional themes used in the making of ethnic slurs as well as the most recent fads of covert and devious slurring with codewords and various kinds of sly word games. Unkind Words delivers its message with unusual clarity, that too often shoddy language shapes our thinking about the politics of ethnicity.