Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Editor's Pic

Slur against Appalachians stirs furor
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR SPOKE OF 'INBREEDING'


PIKEVILLE -- Blame it on Don Imus, probably.

In the wake of insults to Rutgers University women that cost the CBS Radio talk-show host his job, sensitivity to political correctness reached a point where a well-regarded Columbia University linguist was apologizing for a quote about "Appalachian inbreeding" in The New Yorker magazine.

Interviewed by writer John Colapinto for an article titled The Interpreter, Columbia assistant professor Peter Gordon defended the intelligence of an Amazonian tribe he had been studying: "Besides ... if there is some kind of Appalachian inbreeding or retardation going on, you'd see it in hairlines, facial features, motor ability. It bleeds all over. They [the Piraha] don't show any of that."

The quote splattered against academic computer screens in Appalachia this week like a large cud of chewing tobacco.

Read the full article here.

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