Going through my record collection the other day I ran across a 1982 album by Willie Nelson and the late, great Waylon Jennings titled "WWII." The first track on the LP is titled "Mr. Shuck and Jive."
"Well, I can't say that anymore," I thought to myself.
It turns out I'm not allowed to say "shuck and jive" because
I'm from one ethnic/racial background and the phrase apparently
originated with another. So if I say "shuck and jive" I am being politically incorrect.
This came up within the past few months because some politician accused the president of "shuckin' and jivin'." The president's critic was accused of racism.
I thought of the first time I heard the phrase.
"I just got the phrase from a Waylon and Willie song," I told The
Lady of the House. "It's so country and descriptive. I can just see a couple of guys sitting around shuckin' corn and shootin' the breeze. Shuckin' and jivin'."
Sitting in her recliner, The Lady of the House put down her paper and looked over the top of her glasses.
"Then say 'shootin' the breeze,'" she said. "But you can't say 'shuckin' and jivin'.'"
"How do you know this?" I asked.
"I just know," she said.
"So you got the memo about this? I didn't. Who decides these things? I need to get on the mailing list," I said.
It's like the time I used the word "Oriental" and I was quickly rebuked for not using the politically correct word "Asian."
Of course it could be the way we learn these things is by word of mouth. Don't take it personally if you learn you're using words and phrases that aren't politically correct.
But where is that place that decides what is politically correct and what is not?
Maybe it's located next door to the office that issues permits for parking in the striped zones at the big stores.
Grant McGee is a long-time broadcaster and former truck driver who rides bicycles and likes to talk about his many adventures on the road of life.
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