"Getting It"
Snow and Rain

Learning New Things

Carnival of the Etymologies at Done With Mirrors. I really got a kick out of the last sentence.

In late 2001 or early 2002, I was in the TV room at my Canadian dorm with three other people. We were viewing some news regarding Pakistan. I said something like, "It's sad that so many Pakis think that way." The guys in the room froze.

One of them said, "Dude, that is derogatory."

I was confused. "How is opining about what these Pakis think derogatory?"

He replied, "Don't say Paki!"

"What's wrong with that? It's just a short form."

"It's just a bad term like using the N word."

"Oh, I didn't know that...and I'm a Pakistani."

I had used such short forms many times. For example, in 1992, the Pakis beat the Brits in the Cricket World Cup final or in 1999, the Aussies vanquished the Pakis to become the cricket world champions. It's odd, and often unclear, to see some harmless word become off-limits.


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