Michelle Obama is being accused by some commentators of using a racial slur at the White House Summit on Working Families on Monday, and getting away with it!
But it’s one of those comments which could be taken either way.
It’s certainly not overtly racist, and probably wouldn’t even be seen as offensive by most people. Then again, public figures, especially those like the First Lady, need to be extremely careful with their exact choice of words.
Michelle Obama told ABC‘s Robin Roberts at the White House Summit:
“The first thing I tried to do, which was a mistake, was that I tried the part-time thing… I realized I was getting gypped on that front. What happened was I got a part-time salary but worked full time.”
Did you even spot the offensive, apparently racist slur? Of course, it’s the term “gypped” which is a derogatory term derived from the word “Gypsy,” which is considered offensive to the Roma people.
Whereas, perhaps Michelle Obama should have used the milder, more accepted terms “slighted” or “cut short” to express the fact that she was defrauded or taken advantage of by her employers, she didn’t.
But in terms of inference, the subtle nuance in the word “gypped” is stronger than being “slighted” or “cut short,” and the First Lady probably didn’t intend to offend anyone.
Other offensive terms that spring to mind in this context would be “Jewed down,” or referring to someone as an “Indian Giver,” but those two, as examples, are way stronger and more offensive than the casual use of “gypped,” at least linguistically speaking.
But, of course, it is not fitting for the First Lady, Michelle Obama, to use such callous terms which are indeed offensive to some.
Anyway, she can blame her husband, Barack Obama, because in 2009, at a town hall meeting in Allentown, Penn., he used the very same word when talking about the need to regulate health inspection companies.
But that doesn’t make it right for Michelle Obama to use such a term, off-the-cuff, in the way she did, without getting at least some flak from the ever-eager media for a story of this type. The writer of this article says “no comment” on this one; always better that way.
[Image Credit: Misguidedchildren.com]