American History Expletives

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As we move between social trends and societal norms, so do our taboo subjects and their labels. In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer peppers his prose with four letter words referring to anatomy without consequence. Had he chosen the emphatic and very British ‘bloody’, it is likely that he would have been decried as a blasphemer and made to face whatever red hot and pointy consequences there were in the 14th century for such an act. How things changed by the time the new second longest ruling English monarch came along. During Victorian times,  it seems that all forms of profanity were inadmissible, except for derogatory terms about ethnicity. A sensitive man could not tolerate the sight of a salacious piano leg, but could be found administering beatings to slave workers.
Fortunately, in the 21st century racism has become socially unacceptable and it’s language defines the taboos of our time. Notwithstanding, historian Michael Todd Landis at Tarleton State University has called for an end to euphemism in describing the history of the United States during slavery and the US Civil War. If we are to learn from history, we need to recognise the ugly truths and label them accordingly.