“There has always been a tendency to try and rehab a word that has been used as an epithet for you. It’s a way of claiming something that hurt you, hoping that you can say, ‘now this word won’t hurt me anymore.’ It’s part of the attempted healing.”
Yvonne Seon, Historian and mother of Dave Chappell, from If He Hollers Let Him Go by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah in the Believer
When I read this last night it really resonated with me. Growing up in New Orleans, I always saw WOP salad listed on menus and knew it meant Italian salad. I didn’t realize until years later that WOP was pejorative term and was claimed and turned by the Italian population of the city. You don’t see it as much anymore, but I took family to a seafood restaurant out by the airport in April and there it was.
This is why you read…to expand your mind.