Wednesday, August 15, 2018


Being a day later and more than a dollar short, I take note now that, as Christina Cauterucci points out

On Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump praised his chief of staff John Kelly for letting go of Omarosa Manigault Newman—or, in Trump’s words, “for quickly firing that dog!”...

Dog marks a new low in this war of words. Some people are calling it sexist. Some are saying it’s racist. Some people think it’s neither, and it could always be both! So, what is it?

Cauterucci argues

With evidence to support both racism and sexism in the use of the word dog, and taking into account Trump’s historical contempt for women and black people, it’s safe to say that the answer to the “sexist or racist?” quandary is “both.” The theory of intersectional oppression holds that both racism and sexism are multidimensional.

No definition of intersectionality was offered for those of us not on the cutting edge, still unaccustomed to ripping apart the English language for ideological benefit.  It does, however, allow writers or pundits to manipulate concepts like "racism" and "sexism" for purposes.

As if multidemensional intersectional oppression weren't sufficiently speculative, Cauterrucci concludes

Trump called upon a very specific kind of anti-black sexism that comprises both the American history of enslaved black women being treated as livestock-like “breeders” and contemporary pop culture depictions of black women as angry, emasculating “bitches.”

Trump's press secretary claims that he is an "equal-opportunity offender," a thug unafraid to ridicule or condemn anyone regardless of race or gender. Whether her characterization is overly generous, insufficiently generous, or accurate, the combination of black and woman does not appear to be particularly noxious to him.

Unlike Cauterrucci, I don't know much about black women being treated as livestock-like breeders. It's unlikely that a fan cheering on today's good works of one Frederic Douglass does, either.

No one ever knows for sure what is in Donald Trump's mind. However, his racism and sexism are often understandably attributed, by inference or directly, partly to age and gender.  So, too, should his phrase "for quickly firing that dog" be seen in the context of his age and gender.

In the greater New York City region in which Trump grew up, among white males the term "dog" generally was a synonym for "ugly woman." That would not be an apt description of Omarosa Manigault Newman. However, accuracy was not a high priority of boys coming of age in the late '50s and '60s in the NYC metropolitan area who wanted to insult a woman.

Alternatively, having referred to "firing that dog," Trump might have been using "dog" as synonym for "worthless employee," a synonym for "dog" in a certain context. That would imply, however, that Donald Trump is more concerned with a female employee's work product than her appearance.

We know that is unlikely because Donald Trump has a track record, and we don't have to understand the intricacies of socio-cultural jargon to recognize that.

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