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Oh, those niggardly yard-apes

You remember that time (I think it was in Georgia) where some politico used the word niggardly to describe a budget and some folks were offended that a politico used a racial term (even though the correct term would have been racist)? And then that time where people thought that Bush was delaying the response to Katrina because Bush wanted to kill black people? Remember how fucking stupid that was? I mean, if you’re going to hurl accusations of racism, you should probably know what you’re talking about*.

Well, via Kevin, it has happened again:

The associate vice president of student services at Greenville Technical College referred to New Orleans evacuees in Greenville as “yard apes” in a staff meeting last week, said school President Tom Barton on Tuesday.

The college will decide by noon today what action it can take, Barton said. At least one local minority leader said she should be fired.


“We’re going to rectify the situation and make it very much known that we won’t ever tolerate that kind of situation — ever,” Barton said, describing his reaction as “shocked” that someone with years at the school could make such an “asinine” statement.

The problem with this situation is that it assumes that all evacuees are black (the majority probably are). And that a ‘yard ape’ is a derogatory term for black folks. Yard ape is, actually, a derogatory term for children. This person called evacuees children. Yard ape is also a character in a children’s book. Nothing to see here, keep moving.

Update: *Speaking of knowing what you’re talking about, I did some more Googling and found a racist terms glossary (seriously, some one maintains one). So, maybe there’s something to it. I have never heard it used that way and have always heard it in reference to children. So, like the Confederate Flag, I guess it can be racist depending on the usage.

12 Responses to “Oh, those niggardly yard-apes”

  1. Steve K. Says:

    You remember that time (I think it was in Georgia) where some politico used the word niggardly

    It was an over-educated asisstant to Mayor Bowtie in DC. And he was (and I guess still is) gay, which made it all the more hilarous, or pathetic, or something.

  2. countertop Says:

    It was in DC about 3 years ago.

  3. kevin Says:

    No, sorry — yard ape has more than just that meaning, Uncle. I have lived all over the country, and in a lot of places its only used to describe black kids. The DC thing was stupid – -this was legite.

  4. Thibodeaux Says:

    Let’s call a spade a spade: this kind of behavior is a chink in our nation’s armor, and we need to nip it in the bud. We should clean up our act—get it spic and span.

  5. Jay G Says:

    Hey, I was told that the phrase “looked like a monkey f**king a football” was racist. (I was using it to describe my 6′ tall, 250 lb. self riding a Ninja 250 motorcycle).

  6. cube Says:

    As a side note, a principle got fired from my school in the south because he called everyone a bunch of “yard apes”.

    My mom said it refered to black people. He must have been from the same part of the country that you are…stump jumper (that is my personal favorite which does not appear on tha list). It means inbreed redneck (think family tree with not branches type of comment)

  7. _Jon Says:

    A few points:
    – A great thing about this country is when someone says something stupid, they get fired. In some other countries it is labeled “hate speech” and they go to jail. Big difference.
    – Calling a person by a derogatory name and treating them that way are not the same.
    – Has any other nation actually outlawed slavery?

  8. Rusticus Says:

    I nominate Thibodeaux for “Having The Most Racial Comment”!

  9. Guav Says:

    “Yard Ape” is basically the same thing as “Porch Monkey,” I never heard it used in any other context other than a derogatory term for black people.

  10. Aunt S Says:

    The Greenville Tech official who used the term “yard apes” to refer to children, ALL children, happens to be a very dear friend of mine. I can assure you that she does not have a malicious, racist, or hurtful bone in her body. She had no idea that the term could be misconstrued as a racial slur or attached to a derogatory meaning. See Beverly Cleary is an award-winning children’s author who has a character named Yard Ape. They call him Yard Ape because he runs around on the playground acting like an animal. She has used this term for years to refer to children…friends, family. To her it is a term of endearment for children, like pookies, rugrats, crumbcatchers, etc. Even her own parents called her a yard ape. The media attention to this subject has been so unfounded and ridiculous. My friend was the sacrificial lamb for a college president with a bad track record for his hiring practices. I can assure you that the truth will be known and she will be exonerated.

  11. SayUncle » Almost Niggardly Says:

    […] But there is a bit of overeagerness in labeling things racist, which is what I think MTA has done here. For example, there was that time a public official was almost fired for using the word niggardly, which turned out to really be a sign that a lot of folks needed to buy a damn thesaurus. Then there was the time when a Tennessee school official used the phrase yard-apes, which I’ve always heard as being a derogatory term for children, not black folks. Some folks are just overly sensitive. […]

  12. SayUncle » Pesky language Says:

    […] It’s almost comical now. In the beginning, some DC politico got into trouble for using the word niggardly. Turns out, some ignorant twits just needed to buy a damn dictionary as it’s merely a synonym for stingy. Then, there was the time where some school official used the term yard-apes, and everyone called her a racist. Yard-ape, they said, was a derogatory term for black people. Well, it’s also a derogatory term used for children. Then I recall the time when someone asked if the phrase That’s Mighty White of You is racist. turns out, one definition of white is Honourable; square-dealing. […]

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