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Thursday, August 2, 2012

How ‘Monday’ Became A Racial Slur

An off-duty police officer recently called a Major League Baseball player a “Monday” and as a result, lost his job.

It happened at a minor league game earlier this summer: Officer John A. Perreault of Leominster, Massachusetts taunted Boston Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford, an African-American who last season was seen by fans as a symbol of his team’s collapse.

Monday And The N-Word

The story brought to light the fact that the word “Monday” has become a slur that is slang for the n-word.

Boston Globe language columnist Ben Zimmer traced the usage of “Monday,” in the online Urban Dictionary and found that it started popping up in 2006, many say on the East Coast.

It was the popular comedian Russell Peters, a Canadian of Indian descent, who put “Monday” on the map. In a January 2008 standup routine for Def Comedy Jam (widely circulated on YouTube), Peters tells of a Bostonian referring to blacks as “Mondays” and giving the same bigoted clarification that “nobody likes Mondays.” “White people are getting real…clever with their racism,” Peters jokes ruefully.

Guest:

  • Ben Zimmer, language columnist for The Boston Globe

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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