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muckrakers and reformers need not apply



“Fellow workers, this is the Continental Congress of the working class.
We are here to confederate the workers of this country into a working class movement that shall have for its purpose the emancipation of the working class from the slave bondage of capitalism . . . .The aims and objects of this organization
should be to put the working class in possession of the economic power, the means of life, in control of production and distribution, without regard to capitalist masters.”
from a 1905 convention speech given by union leader Bill Haywood speech excerpt appears p. 86 in 'The Death of the Liberal Class' by Chris Hedges. (New York: Nation Books, 2010)


That went well.

I apologize for the use of word “gypped” in this clip. When I was putting the post together, I did quickly look “gypped” up in the dictionary for spelling, but I did not realize it had a derogatory, racist root. I considered removing the clip when I found out (a facebook friend sent me a message). But I learned something in the process of posting it, so I thought I would leave it . . . I felt quite horrible about it since I not only posted the word on facebook but also tweeted it. In the American Heritage dictionary, the etymology states that the term is “probably from gypsy,” and labels it slang, but not offensive, which it certainly is. The online “urban dictionary,” which can be extremely offensive itself, says “Used as a term to describe when one has received less than they paid for. Most people do not realize it’s a racist term that stems from nomadic ‘gypsies’ who are stereotyped as thieving criminals.”

Thank you to my friend who pointed out my “most peopleness.” Of course it’s not shocking at all to find Eddie Haskell saying something like this on Leave it to Beaver, circa 1958. Also not shocking that I heard the word used often enough in conversation when I was a kid. I grew up in a thorny political landscape, some of which I have disavowed, some of which continues to make me ornery and questioning. I go to shame quickly as a rule, and I was burning with it when I realized I had inadvertently thrown a racist term out on the internet. I did take it back. (DELETE) And it’s good to take it back. (DELETE) But it’s better not to put it out there in the first place. That’s a much deeper delete. And a much longer story.

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