What do you call a police hat
Language: what do you call a black man?
“Black is beautiful” - you can't say anything against that. But what should you call those who are “black”? They were called Moors, Ethiopians, Hottentots, Kaffirs, and Negroes. This is what the exhibition “Black is beautiful” in Amsterdam's Nieuwe Kerk teaches us. Politically highly incorrect. “What can this Mohr do for the fact that he is not as white as you are?” Therefore asks the great Nikolas in “Struwwelpeter” pedagogically and rhetorically. In the 13th century, however, some believed that the Mohr could do something about it. Only unbelievers would have dark skin. As they were baptized, they gradually became white. At least later in heaven. On earth, however, they remained that “coal-pitch black moor”.
Although the word, as the Grimm dictionary reveals, originally had no negative connotation. "Mohr" is derived from the Moor, which in turn goes back to the Greek "mauros" (dark). “Aethiops” is still synonymous for the Grimms, because for a long time the Europeans only knew the Muslim Moors in “El Andalus” or individual North Africans who came to the courts as diplomats or pages / servants.
When you got to know other dark-skinned peoples in the Age of Discovery, Indians or Indians also naturalized for them. And in old travelogues about southern Africa, Hottentots (supposedly derived from the word for stutterers in Afrikaans) and kaffirs (probably after the Arabic kafir for infidels) are soon mentioned - with that condescending connotation that "nigger" has in American . And who today - like the Berlin Passage Panoptikum in 1915 - would proudly advertise the “50 wild Congo women” exhibition?
Meanwhile, the neutral negro - the Latin variant of "mauros" - is suspect. Not to mention the Moor, although he has now received many heraldic honors. “Mohrenköpf” as a confectioner's treat have long been a thing of the past. The “Sarotti-Mohre” has been trading as the “Sarotti-Magician of the Senses” since 2004. And those who want to turn to the "Ten Little Negroes" have to make do with antiquarian items. The directory of more available books knows neither the children's book nor - based on it - the translation of the same name of the famous crime novel by Agatha Christies (which is now called “And then there was no more”).
Instead, one should speak of colored people or of African-Americans. Because even “black” is considered disrespectful. Even in Bible translations. “Nigra sum sed formosa”, says Sulamith of himself in the Song of Songs in the Vulgate. Luther translated: "I am black, but very lovely". Goethe, who stuck to Luther, decided on “I am black, but beautiful” - although the “yes” reveals that the author only considers “black” and “beautiful” to be compatible to a limited extent.
This is also done by the authors of the Zurich Bible and the standard translation, who turn the “nigra” into a “brown”. One would like to scold “I am white. But wise? ”And simply add in English:“ Black is beautiful ”.
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