Remember this from 1999?
We must all use vigor with escessive rigour to eliminate words that trigger any type of snigger or other offensive reaction. Let's all be bigger than that, people.
D.C. mayor's aide quits after word is taken as racial slur
January 27, 1999
Web posted at: 3:46 a.m. EST (0846 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An aide to the District of Columbia's mayor resigned Tuesday citing pressure from controversy over his use of the word "niggardly," which some deemed a racial slur.
But even as he stepped down, David Howard, who is white, said the word does not have any racial connotation.
"Mr. Howard's resignation was prompted by reports that he made an inappropriate racial comment," newly-elected Mayor Anthony Williams, who is black, said in a statement Tuesday night.
Niggardly: "grudgingly mean about spending or granting"
Webster's Tenth Edition definition
In a separate statement, Howard identified the word he used as "niggardly" in a staff meeting and said he was referring to a fund he administers. Howard said it means "miserly."
Webster's Tenth Edition concurs, defining it as "grudgingly mean about spending or granting." The dictionary dates its use to the late 16th century.
Williams told reporters Tuesday that holding a senior public office required good judgment, adding, "I don't think that the use of this term showed the kind of judgment that I like to see in our top management."
Because the word sounds like a racial epithet, Howard said, he realized other members of the mayor's staff present when he made the remark were offended. He said he quickly apologized.
But he said that since he made the remark on January 15, he has received many angry phone calls from people who thought he made a racist remark. About two-thirds of the capital city's half million population is black.
"I would never think of making a racist remark," said Howard, whose job was to hear the concerns of district residents and bring them to the attention of the mayor and his staff.
"I realize that this rumor has severely compromised my effectiveness as the district's public advocate and, in the best interest of my office, I resigned," he said.
In accepting Howard's resignation, Williams said he is "committed to representing all of the people of our city and making sure my administration truly reflects the city's diversity."
Williams said the issue reflects a "hurt" and "great divide" within the city and that race relations must be talked about openly in the nation's capital.
CNN - D.C. mayor's aide quits after word is taken as racial slur - January 27, 1999
Mayor now says he acted 'too hastily'
February 4, 1999
Web posted at: 9:06 p.m. EST (0206 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A white aide to Washington Mayor Anthony Williams who resigned after using the word "niggardly" in a conversation will be returning to city government, ending a flap over what critics derided as political correctness run amok.
On Thursday, saying he acted "too hastily" in accepting David Howard's resignation, Williams offered Howard his job back as director of the Office of the Public Advocate. Howard agreed to come back to city government, but he has asked the mayor to find him a different job.
"While it is important for a mayor, or any leader, to act decisively, make bold decisions and create a sense of urgency, it is not always necessary to act hastily," said Williams, who was elected mayor in November.
On January 15, Howard used the word "niggardly" -- a synonym for "stingy" -- in a conversation with two aides. Eleven days later, he resigned as rumors were spreading that he had used a racial epithet.
Howard now says he was too quick to resign.
niggardly - adj. 1. stingy; miserly; 2. small, few, or scanty; - adv. 1. stingily.
-- Webster's New World College Dictionary, Third Edition
"At the time, I thought it was the best thing for the city and the administration," he said.
But columnists and commentators pounced on the incident as yet another example of the ludicrous state of politics and race relations in Washington.
Williams, who is black, had promised to bring a new era of respectability after decades of excess under his controversial predecessor, Marion Barry. But Howard's resignation led to accusations that the new mayor was kowtowing to remnants of the Barry regime.
Both aides who heard Howard use the word "niggardly" were holdovers from the Barry administration, and one was a candidate for the job Howard was given.
"The recently completed review of the incident confirmed for me that Mr. Howard did use the word 'niggardly' but did not use a racial epithet," Williams said, adding that the employee who complained misunderstood Howard to have use a racial slur.
As for Howard, he says that in the future, he'll use the word "parsimonious" instead.
CNN - D.C. aide in 'niggardly' flap will return to City Hall - February 4, 1999