General Question

Knotmyday's avatar

Is the term "Black Hole" a racist term?

Asked by Knotmyday (7488points) July 11th, 2008

The subject has been broached.

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34 Answers

eambos's avatar

You have to be kidding me… It is a scientific term and has no racial significance behind it. Only someone looking for a fight would even try to interpret it in that way.

kevbo's avatar

I gave up when “niggardly” was demonized.

stevenb's avatar

About as racist as black car, black dog, black shoes, or blacktop.

Knotmyday's avatar

I thought it was satire when I first came across it. Nope!

cheebdragon's avatar

Oh no, I have on a black shirt today, I should change before people think I’m racist too

flameboi's avatar

nope, please, a black hole is a black hole because its black!

robmandu's avatar

Columnist Steve Blow for the Dallas Morning News expands on this a bit

First, the obligatory background: In a discussion among county commissioners Monday, Kenneth Mayfield (white) said a county office seems to have become a “black hole” for paperwork.

That prompted an “Excuse me!” from John Wiley Price (black), who declared the term racially loaded and offered “white hole” as an alternative. Justice of the Peace Thomas G. Jones (black) then joined in, demanding an apology from Mr. Mayfield (still white).

Mr. Mayfield refused, saying later, “Anybody who’s offended by that statement needs serious psychiatric help.”

Correct me if I’m wrong. Mayfield perhaps, just perhaps, chose an unfortunate analogy for his statement. I don’t think so, but I wasn’t there, nor do I know the man.

However, Price’s response to use “white hole” instead most definitely smacks of a racist statement. It has no context or precedent as a colloquialism based on technical astronomy terminology. It was suggested for the sole purpose of injecting skin color into the argument, specifically to reference white as a pejorative.

That ain’t cool.

ccatron's avatar

the argument is usually that the word “black” has a negative connotation, and that’s why it is more PC to say African American. black holes are usually considered bad, but interesting…but is the fact that it is called “black” the reason that it is bad? NO, black only describes the understood and accepted color of space——the final frontier…..if i am not mistaken. maybe a better name would be Space Hole….no not really, that just sounds silly.

robmandu's avatar

I think some of those politicians are being spaceholes.

Les's avatar

@ccatron and robmandu: Space hole! What a great term. I think that deserves to be worked into my repertoire. Along with “Scooby douche”.

And by the way, this is a ridiculous case of people being ultra sensitive. Lets all chill out, people. Not everyone is out to get you!

rockstar's avatar

That is pathetic. What else are you going to call them? holes?

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

Black Hoe = Racist

Black Hole = Non-Racist

Back Hoe = Non-discriminatory if referring to a piece of equipment

Jackson Hole = Only offensive to people named Jackson

In-the-hole = in baseball;golf, non-racist

In-the-hoe = definitely racist and pornographic

cheebdragon's avatar

I hope he doesn’t have a white picket fence in his yard…...because I’m starting to feel “white picket fence” is a very racially loaded term…..let’s march!

syz's avatar

Oh good grief! Black, in this instance, refers to the lack of all visible light. Black.

cheebdragon's avatar

sueanne you forgot, on the hoe

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

Thanks Chee….

cheebdragon's avatar

Maybe he wants us to call it a glory hole?

dragonflyfaith's avatar

They also claimed that Angel Food Cake is racist against white people. sigh

tinyfaery's avatar

Some dictionaries (and I’m not going to look it up and quote) define black and white as being opposites of each other—black is evil, negative, lacking purity, white is pure, clean, untainted, etc. Some colloquialisms are so ingrained, that we don’t think of them as having any racist connotations.

Examples: heeby jeebys(sp) refers to Jews/to gyp (jip) someone refers to gypsies
Who knows, maybe white picket fence began a reference to where white people lived.

In this case, black is referring to a color, so no, not racist. But, that doesn’t mean that in another situation, were someone to refer to the color black in regards to someone’s personality, heritage, nationality it would not be racist.

Many people (mostly caucasians) do not understand the power words have to cut and demean, and oppress. The term white has never been used to describe something as negative, evil, or in some way faulty. I won’t even use the term ghetto because of the way it can refer to race.

robmandu's avatar


White people “do not understand the power words have to cut and demean”?

Bullshit. Craptacular bullshit.

tinyfaery's avatar

When was the last time you were oppressed for being white?

stevenb's avatar

The whole time I was in the Navy, when I was in Jamaica, when I was in New York. I have been treated like I am a bad person by a lot of people just because I am white. I am also American Indian. Talk to some of them if you want to see oppression. Most of the people in the navy that were racist to me were that way the second they saw me because I am white. Most of them never had relatives who were slaves, and most had only been in the us for four or five generations. My family on the white side has been here for three before me. Slavery was long gone before we got here.

tinyfaery's avatar

Racism exist within in a framework of power, who has it and who doesn’t. In America power belongs to the white, the male, and the rich. Despite strides in equality, this fact still exists. Therefore, one can be a member of this “triangle of power” (my own stupid term that I just made up right now) by belonging to one of these 3 groups, and in any combination. So in any situation where someone is either white, white and rich, male and white, and someone is the “other”, like female, native american, or even poor and white, if you are in the triangle you are in a position of power, no matter what the situation. Even if everyone hates you just because you are white, it is not racism. It is prejudice and stupidity, but it is not racism.

I also want to apologize for my use of you in my 2nd post. I didn’t really mean you personally. Bad choice of words. :(

stevenb's avatar

@tiny, no worries! Just conversing. I have to ask though. You said “Even if everyone hates you because you are white, its not racism.” Isnt that exactly what racism is? If you said you hated me because I was black, EVERYONE would say you were a racist. So why is is not racism if they hated me because I am white? I believe that is racism, and so did most of my black friends in the Navy. They would be like “That brother hates you cause your white. Fu**ing racist.” I heard that over and over. No matter what I did, there were people who simply hated me and thought I was an evil white slave keeper that owed them. When others pointed out that NONE of my family had ever been a slave holder or even been in the US then, they would say “Doesnt matter, he’s white.” That to me is racism plain and simple.

tinyfaery's avatar

@Steven. Read my definition of racism.

cheebdragon's avatar

The phrase “heebie-jeebies” was invented by Billy De Beck, a famous American comic strip artist of the 1920’s, in his popular “Barney Google” strip in 1923. De Beck, by the way, also invented “hotsy-totsy” (a term of approval) and the wonderful “horsefeathers” (meaning “utter nonsense”) in his strip. “Heebie-jeebies” must have caught the popular imagination immediately, since the dance of that name appeared a scant three years later, in 1926.

tinyfaery's avatar

still refers to jews

dragonflyfaith's avatar

So if I say “spiders give me the heebie-jeebies” I’m racist?

cheebdragon's avatar

@tiny- how do you figure??

Stocky's avatar

Give me a break, That is completely ridiculous! It a black hole because there is the absence of light within in it, I dont think the scientists were thinking that it was a good name because they hate black people. Its not racist to use a scientific term because its has the word “Black” in it. But just to be safe I will now refer to it as the “Colorless Hole”

scamp's avatar

This doesn’t seem jewish to me.

Knotmyday's avatar

It does, however, appear to be kosher.

atlantis's avatar

They should just give up and call it an ignorant hole, we don’t know so much about it anyways

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