Axis of Right

Three Native Rhode Islanders Commenting From the Right on Politics and Anything Else

Romney’s Big Dig

Posted by Ryan on July 31, 2006

I picked this story up on Drudge today, and personally think something’s fishy. Over the weekend, Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts referred to the Big Dig as a “tar baby” that he didn’t want to go near. His meaning of “tar baby” was a sticky mess he didn’t want to go near. Apparently, “tar baby” is also a derogatory term for blacks that was first (and to my knowledge only) used in the mid 19th Century.

I have never heard the phrase before. I teach American History, work is a very ethnically diverse school, grew up in a part of town that used racial remarks all the time about everyone, and never had I heard of “tar baby.” Granted, I have never read Uncle Remus stories about Brier Rabbit, either. Have I been living under a rock, or is this a way to try to undermine a potentially strong Republican candidate for 2008 in the black community before campaign season even gets rolling? Seems like a stretch to me.

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2 Responses to “Romney’s Big Dig”

  1. rightonoz said

    Even down here in Oz we’ve heard the use of the term both ways. It definitely was initially a racial slur, though was used also to describe a sticky situation.

    Given the racial side it dropped from use probably 30 years ago.

    I would imagine anyone younger than say mid 30’s to 40 would potentially not know the background. Anyone older I would expect to have some idea.

    Sounds like one of those unfortunate not intended to mean anything statements that get potentially strong candidates hung out to dry.

    I remember one candidate down here saying ït’s not over ’till the fat lady sings and getting crucified by the lefties for insulting all overweight people. I know he didn’t mean any insult, just made a comment on the spur of the moment in response to a reporter’s question.

    Just about need a degree in political correctness to survive in politics these days.

    As we say down here, I long for a return to the days when a man was able to call a spade a F…..g Digging Implement. Don’t know if you guys know that one, an Aussie/Kiwi play on the ‘call a spade a spade'(in other words a blunt/straight talker)

  2. Ryan said

    Thanks for the clarity on this one. I was really unaware! I agree with you that he just said something he probably should not have spontaneously intending it to mean something else. Romney is the Governor of Massachusetts– I think you need to take a few courses in political correctness just to be dog catcher in ol’ “Taxachusetts.”

    And, yes, we have the “spade” comment here and the Fat Lady holds notes in the US as well.

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