The Pot calling the Kettle Black.

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Neserk, Mar 19, 2004.

  1. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #1
    Does anyone know the origin of this saying? And is it racist? I feel it is or could be taken that way/meant that way but not knowing the origin I wonder how it started out...
     
  2. numediaman macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    \\

    come on, give me a hard one: from Cervantes' Don Quixote.
     
  3. Neserk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #3

    something is missing :eek:
     
  4. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #4
    The pot and the kettle are cast iron, so they are both black. That's is all.
     
  5. Neserk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #5

    I understand what it means... but that doesn't answer my question.
     
  6. numediaman macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    I don't believe there is anything racist -- especially considering the phrases origins in literature. A good explanation is this:
    "The pot calling the kettle black" comes
    from Cervantes' Don Quixote. It means that
    one should not criticize another if (s)he is
    guilty of doing the same thing. A pot and a
    kettle both become black from cooking. The
    pot can only see the kettle is black, not that
    itself has also turned black​
     
  7. Neserk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #7

    But isn't considering something being black a criticism have ability to look like a racial slur against people who are black?

    I can see both arguments...
     
  8. Krizoitz macrumors 6502a

    Krizoitz

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    #8
    Its not that being black is the criticism, its that they are the same. Honestly the use of the word black as a color has been around long before it was used to describe a racial group. Do we stop using black crayons? How about black holes? Next someone is going to try and claim that being black and blue has something to do with police brutality against african-americans...honestly. Maybe if we didn't worry so much about finding a term to describe them it wouldn't be such a big deal. Hey, I'm white...so what? Call me pink, caucasian, anglo-saxon, whatever, I don't care. Its not who I am, its just part of what I look like.
     
  9. DavisBAnimal macrumors member

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    #9
    Well, in this country, so long as people make judgements in accordance to what you look like, what you look like plays a large role in determining who you are. It's a bit of a catch-22, but there's no avoiding the fact that people still act differently around people of different colors, and thus, that varried personal input will play a role in determining who you are.

    Davis
     
  10. Neserk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #10
    Calm down!

    Says the dominate white male...
     
  11. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #11
    How about the pot calling the kettle colourless?
    But really, this is very silly: black is the colour of the soot on both pot and kettle. How this could be construed as a racial slur is beyond me. Are "feeling blue", "seeing red", "white heat", "purple prose" and "brown study" also to be avoided as potentially insulting? Give us a break...
     
  12. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #12
    Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable says:

    "This is said of a person who accuses another of faults committed by himself. The French say, 'The shovel mocks the poker' (La pelle se moque du fourgon)"

    So it's been around for awhile. And has nothing to do with race.
     
  13. iGav macrumors G3

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    #13
    I'm with numediaman... there's nothing racially derogatory about this saying in my opinion, it's just another example of PC'ness going to the extreme.

    A similar phenomena is the saying "to call a spade a spade"... quite recently a worker was sacked after using the well known saying in a meeting, to which a present black colleague deemed to be a racist comment and complained even though it was not directed at any ethinc group.

    It's poor historical knowledge and understanding of it's original meaning and context that is the problem in these cases. Fair enough, not everyone may understand or be aware of the meaning, in which case it's dangerous to make the assumption that it's an offensive or racist comment without first knowing the meaning of that particular saying or proverb.

    http://alt-usage-english.org/excerpts/fxtocall.html
    http://www.quinion.com/words/topicalwords/tw-spa1.htm

    I always found it puzzling that the term 'nig*er' can be used by 2 black people talking to one another and or referring to another black person and is not deemed racist, yet if uttered by a 'non-black' person, it becomes racist. Just doesn't make sense to me at all. :confused:
     
  14. Krizoitz macrumors 6502a

    Krizoitz

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    #14

    And let me tell you I have lived such a life of privilege!!!! Oh wait...no...never mind...father a teacher, son of a minister, mother a nurse, daughter of a ship yard worker...working and loans to pay for college...

    I'm still waiting for the privilege boat to roll in. I mean I do realize that I'm not as likely to get pulled over, and racism obviously exists I don't debate that for a second, but as far as being dominant goes, I just don't see it. At my university whites are actually UNDER represented, but so what, i don't care what color a persons skin is anyway. I have friends of all shades and types. Doesn't mean I can't see this is just an abusrd over-reaction to a raceless phrase. If you start making everythign about race its going to be real hard to ever move towards equality. And while I don't think we should stop fighting injustice for one second, i feel that taking things to far hurts more than it helps.
     
  15. DavisBAnimal macrumors member

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    #15
    To be quite frank, the reason why is because no black body has ever been nailed to a tree and lit on fire by a black man or group of black men chanting "nig*er, nig*er, nig*er". Racism is not the word, it is it's useage, and when white people have used it in the past, it has meant bad, bad news.

    Davis
     
  16. DavisBAnimal macrumors member

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    #16
    It doesn't really matter who you are - when someone looks at you on the street they have no idea what your parents did/do, and it is even hard to tell your economic status. But when anyone sees you they can see right up front that you're a white male, and that status alone puts you at the top of the heap in this country.

    But your point is well taken - in my opinion, the backlash against the race card is much more dangerous than the race card itself, but anything that helps paint the charge of racism in a negative light (ie finding racism where few would agree - I don't know many black people who have been offended by this phrase) just hurts the cause even more.

    Davis
     
  17. numediaman macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    What does any of this have to do with a Spanish author and two cooking vessels?
     
  18. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #18
    I don't know the answer to the original question, but I will take both pseudo and numediaman's answers as important guides to the source. I wonder if there is an element of the old view of those who were charcoal workers or chimney sweeps, etc. In other words looking down on those who worked in professions that covered them with soot. Just a thought. I would bet that given the age of the saying it is more likely than a value put on skin color. I would also point out that the important part of it is how it is used today. I don't think there is a particular racial aspect to its modern usage.

    I have to agree with Krizoitz that the idea of privilege based on skin color is not a very helpful or accurate term. That is not to say that such societies haven't existed - antebellum US society in the slave states, South Africa under apartheid are examples of just such structures. The idea of "white privilege" doesn't describe, IMHO, what goes on in the US today. As someone who worked for years in the trade union movement it is easy to see the effects of racism on the day to day lives of people and the ability to make a decent wage. The division of people by race hurts everyone, to be sure it hurts some much more than others, but it does not help anyone who works for a living to live a life of privilege.
     
  19. DavisBAnimal macrumors member

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    #19
    I dunno, nothing really, I guess - I was responding to a post which was sparked by a conversation which resulted from the original question. Isn't that how it's usually done here? I didn't think my post was so off-target as to be not relevent to our conversation.

    :confused:


    I guess it has to do with the original phrase because I think finding racism within this phrase will only exasperate the issue of the racism backlash.

    Davis
     
  20. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #20
    Um, that's exacerbate... ;)
     
  21. DavisBAnimal macrumors member

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    #21
    Aren't they synonymous?
     
  22. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #22
    'Fraid not! Exasperate=drive to distraction
    Exacerbate=make worse, literally more bitter
     
  23. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #23
    according to me, exacerbate is more correct, but exasperate is acceptable.

    it's like that thing maureen dowd always does. where i would say, "i am skeptical," she always writes "i am dubious." dubious has a definition that means "skeptical," but imo skeptical is more precise, and therefore more correct.
     
  24. DavisBAnimal macrumors member

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    #24
    That's not what I'm getting over at Dictionary.com

    Exasperate:

    1. To make very angry or impatient; annoy greatly.

    2. To increase the gravity or intensity of: “a scene... that exasperates his rose fever and makes him sneeze” (Samuel Beckett).

    Possible synynoms: exacerbate, aggravate

    http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=exasperate

    Or for a list of synynoms to "Exacerbate"

    http://thesaurus.reference.com/search?r=2&q=Exacerbate

    I knew I had corret useage!

    Davis
     
  25. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #25
    Of course, over here it's "sceptical" :)
     

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