Remember your Geography books when you learned about the North Pole and Eskimos?
Turns out the word Eskimo is a racist term. Surprised? We were too. Then we hunted for words that we basically use every day that have very dark and racist past. Take a look.
Hooligan is actually a racial slur to describe a dirty and drunk Irish man.
Vandals is actually a racial term to describe filthy Germans. Vandals were the Germanic tribe that sacked Rome, and that’s where the word is rooted from.
You may be horrified, but Eskimo is a racist term. It is sourced from the word “ashkimeq”, which means eaters of raw meat.
The correct word to describe them is Inuit.
4. Eenie meenie miney mo
These words were from the poem –
“Eenie, meenie, miney, moe
“Catch a tiger by the toe
“If it squeals, let it go
“Eenie, meenie, miney, moe…”
But in the 1800s, Americans frequently replaced the word tiger with “nigg*r“. The next time you use the words to choose, remind yourself of the racist history behind this phrase.
5. Hip hip hooray!
The first part – “hip hip” was used by Germans to control a herd of sheep. They used the same words when they went Jew hunting in Germany too.
6. Rule of thumb
This phrase originated in England where men used canes no thicker than their thumbs to beat up their women. Hence the term – “rule of the thumb”
Feel better now?
7. Long Time, No See
We all know it is the shortened version of “I haven’t seen you in a long time!”
But the term was actually used to mock people who couldn’t use good English and by saying “Long time, no see”
Not so hip anymore, is it?
People use Gyp to describe a person who cheats. But the word Gypsy is used by the Europeans to describe the Romani tribe that travels by selling things across the continent. Even the word Gypsy is racist.
In the olden times, the word barbarian was used by the Greek to refer to anyone who was non-Greek. In that sense all of us non-greeks are barbarians. But it was used as a racist word.
Bugger is actually an abbreviation for “Bulgarian homosexual”. The Dutch used this word to mock the Bulgarian refugees and migrants.
Ghetto is sourced from the Italian word “ghet” or “waste”. It was used in Italy to refer to the residences of low-class people.
This word is extremely racist because Americans in the 1800s used the word “spook” to refer to dark-skinned African American people who would “blend” in the dark night sky and “spook” them.
Jock is actually a racial slur used by the English to insult the Scots. But it can be used as a term to venerate the Scottish royalty too.
14. Mumbo Jumbo
Mumbo jumbo is a word you use when something said to you doesn’t make sense at all. Actually, mumbo jumbo was the beating African tribes gave to their women.
Mumbo jumbo is literally beating a woman.
The cannibals were an indigenous tribe in the West Indies that did NOT partake in eating each other. But they were accused of this cannibalism by an Italian colonist. And hence, just like the Vandals, the name got stuck for a very bad thing.
As they say, English is a funny language, albeit racist too, I guess.