I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
I watched the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer this evening. Robert Kiddle, the editorial page editor of The San Diego Union-Tribune, explained why his editorial staff endorsed John McCain.
During the interview, Kiddle gave Obama credit, saying he was “articulate.”
Yup. He really said it.
So what’s the problem with the word “articulate?” I’ll let Lynette Clemetson explain:
It is amazing that this still requires clarification, but here it is. Black people get a little testy when white people call them “articulate.”
Anna Perez, the former communications counselor for Ms. Rice when she was national security adviser, said, “You just stand and wonder, ‘When will this foolishness end?’ ”
That is the core of the issue. When whites use the word in reference to blacks, it often carries a subtext of amazement, even bewilderment. It is similar to praising a female executive or politician by calling her “tough” or “a rational decision-maker.”
“When people say it, what they are really saying is that someone is articulate … for a black person,” Ms. Perez said.
Make sure you click over and read Clemetson’s entire article, Mr. Kiddle. As an editor of such a prestigious newspaper, you should be more mindful of the nuances of language.
Unless, of course, you already are.
Listen to Kiddle here at the Jim Lehrer NewsHour.