A Spotswood, Virginia, listener came across the phrase “steppin’ and fetchin'” used in a positive way to describe a speedy race run by the great horse Secretariat. But the phrase has an ugly past. To step and fetch is how many people once described the job of a slave or handyman, and Stepin Fetchit was a famous actor who often played the stereotype of the lazy black man. The documentary Ethnic Notions covers some of the history of this racially charged imagery. This is part of a complete episode.
- Spur of the Moment 10/17/2016: A caller with a 25-year-old parrot wonders: How much language do birds really understand? Plus, Knock-knock. Who's there? Boo. Well… you can guess the rest.... [more]
- Hell for Leather 10/10/2016: Victorian slang and a modern controversy over language and gender. In the early 1900's, a door-knocker wasn't just what visitors used to announce their arrival,... [more]
- Scat Cat 09/17/2016: The dilemma continues over how to spell dilemma! Grant and Martha try to suss out the backstory of why some people spell that word with... [more]
- We have the results! 09/13/2016: Help support A Way with Words broadcasts and podcasts by making a donation now. Dear friends, Last week we sent out a simple survey to tens of... [more]
- Pop Stand 07/29/2016: When it comes to learning new things, what's on your bucket list? A retired book editor decided to try to learn Latin, and ended up... [more]