Power defines the validity of words, not vice versa

“Some dictionaries do label squaw as offensive, but that reflects its derogatory usage, not its derivation. In fact, linguists agree that the etymological meaning of the word, a borrowing from the Massachusett language, is simply ‘woman,’ with no insulting implications. The link to genitalia was promulgated, with no evidence, in a 1973 polemic, and circulated broadly after being mentioned in a 1992 episode of Oprah.”

Posted March 6, 2001

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