Calling a Spade a Spade


Ever wonder about the etymology of “calling a spade a spade”?  Some have suggested, this NPR piece for example, that the phrase has become so racialized as to warrant retiring it.

I’d be fine with that, but not with the notion of shelving discussions about a unique situation regarding a flux of immigrants to our country comprised of a subset who are radicalized in ways this country has not seen since its inception.  Donald Trump has his flaws to be sure, but he has opened a dialogue of sorts about the agenda of radicalized Islam.

Think about it:  In the waves of immigrants who have historically come to our shores, there have been Irish, Poles, Jews, Latinos, Asians, Hindus among others – none to my knowledge having a subset radicalized with the specific intent of disrupting “Western values” and the “American way of life”.  The spirit of immigration has been to celebrate one’s culture while at the same time figuring out how to peacefully co-exist if not thrive within, and in some cases assimilate into American culture.  But to whatever extent the immigrant populace maintained a separate identity or culture, radicalization hell-bent on hell-raising was never integral to the agenda.

When Jay Black, born David Blatt, originally sang about America as the Land of Opportunity, he didn’t have blowing up the host in mind.  When I was growing up there was a band of vigilantes called the Jewish Defense League.  Their form of “radicalization” was to take means to protect Jews who were being discriminated against for no other reason that being Jewish.  Radical Judaism had no intent of subverting the host culture because of idealogical differences.  Hindus have built temples and the observant among them dress in a way that is foreign to many fellow Americans.  But to my understanding, if there is a “radical” form of Hinduism, it’s raison d’être isn’t to destabilize American civics or eradicate “infidels”.

There have been calls for those in the Muslim culture to repudiate their radicalized brethren.  These calls have either gone unheeded or have been largely ineffective.  So America finds itself in a position it hasn’t been in since “radicalized British immigrants” upended native American Indians to create our country in the 18th century.  So is this merely karma of some sort – that in the 21st century Westernized Americans will now be overtaken by agents and agencies who actively seeks to displace if not replace the dominant culture?  Some would say so, but calling a spade a spade means not just that disruptors have the freedom and right to be disruptive.  It also means that disruptees have the freedom and right to hold them accountable.


About Leonard J. Press, O.D., FAAO, FCOVD

Developmental Optometry is my passion as well as occupation. Blogging allows me to share thoughts in a unique visual style.
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2 Responses to Calling a Spade a Spade

  1. doctuhdon says:

    Well said.

    I appreciate the J&A music video.

  2. Thanks, Dan. J & A — another evolutionary musical marvel.

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