I’ve had similar experiences with the “Jew down” expression, Doug. I learned as a child not to use it, mainly because one of my father’s best friends and role models was Jewish. So, as a family we were sensitive to antisemitism.

However, I continued using “to gyp” for “to cheat” well into my adulthood, having no clue that it was a slur against Romany gypsies.

It is funny how strongly people get invested in their traditional vocabularies. I have also experienced people being very emotional and resisting change even when the word origins are pointed out to them.

Jim

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Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot. jamesfinnwrites@gmail.com

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