I've decided I'm going to make every effort to stop using the word "Indians" to denote the descendants of the first inhabitants of North America. The word "Indians" doesn't offend nearly enough white people.
An ideal cultural term is one that bows to social convention, yet pisses all over it at the same time. Sort of like the "not that there's anything wrong with that" line from Seinfeld. The characters were being deferential. The writers were being sarcastic.
I'm thinking that there must be a potential here for both insult and injury. Kind of like breaking some guy's arm, then signing something vulgar onto his cast. Not only does he lose the function of an arm, the dumb bastard has to walk around for weeks with "clumsy asshole" etched to his fucking forearm. Now that's annoying.
"Native Americans" is another term that's out of the question. A recent article about the first inhabitants of North America confirms it: there is no such thing as "native Americans". Unless, of course, you're describing anyone who was born within America, in which case, you'd probably opt for the term "Ugly American". (The term preferred by three out of four French women with hairy armpits.) "Asian Americans" might be more appropriate. Unfortunately, this term refers to people whose ancestors haven't been in North America for 14,000 years. Therefore, from now on, I'm calling the people in question "Siberian Americans".
Siberia is where these people originated from, not America. If the trend is to change names that designate people's race to names that describe the geographical origin of their ancestors, then "native American" clearly isn't accurate.
Personally, I like names for races that describe people physically. Race refers to physical differences, so why not mention them? Names like "native Americans" or "African Americans" are attempts to erase race. Their absurdity is obvious when you try to describe an American formerly from Jamaica, or when you start talking about the native Americans who used to live in Siberia. There's something about the phrase "those native Americans from Siberia" that doesn't ring true.
I realize that Siberia isn't where these people originated from, originally, but Siberia seems to be the last place they were before they were here. These guys might have come from Mars for all I know, but I'll be damned if I start using the phase "Martian Americans". From now on, it's "Siberian Americans".
Right about now, I could go for a good Siberian vodka. I hear it goes great with buffalo.
(See Nature for the layman's version or the original scientific paper in PLoS Biology.)
Why don't we all agree that the next time we hear anyone use the phrase "you really hit that one out of the park", and they're not talking about baseball, that we smash them over the head five times with a baseball bat?
I don't care if the 14-year-old with the double-D breasts figured out how to cry for the first time in front of a camera. She didn't hit it out the park. She acted, for fuck's sake. Until baseball announcers start asking "what was his motivation?" while analyzing a close play at third, I say we keep our goddamn jargon clearly segregated. The only thing more tedious than a baseball game is a baseball metaphor.
"Hit it out of the park" is one of those phrases uttered by Hollywood celebrity types (and ex-celebrity, center-seated American Idol judges), in cases when "your performance was excellent" would be more transparently full of shit. I guess phrases like "hit it out of the park" catch on when people get bored of repeating other phrases. Once one phrase is worn into the ground, it's time to move on and kill again.
In the case of "you really hit it out of the park", I guess the old phrase was: "In public, I'm saying you were great. I'll wait until you're not around before I start ripping you a new asshole."
A phrase like that sure as hell would send somebody to the dugout.