Skip to comments.Cajuns ragin' over use of term 'Cajun Taliban'
Posted on 05/08/2002 8:10:39 PM PDT by jonatron
NEW ORLEANS -- Cajuns have long learned to cope with being stereotyped as backward swamp dwellers, but phrases coined by national news media this week got their, as the caricature would have it, Tabasco-laden blood boiling.
The words "Cajun Taliban" and "Ragin' Cajun" were used by ABC Radio and Time magazine in reference to Yasser Esam Hamdi, the second alleged U.S.-born Taliban. Hamdi was born in Baton Rouge to Saudi Arabian parents.
"This guy is not a Cajun simply by virtue of being born in Louisiana," said Shane Bernard, a historian and archivist for the McIlhenny Company, which makes Tabasco sauce.
"Cajuns are a federally recognized ethnic group. The federal courts have declared us an ethnic group. The U.S. Census Bureau counts us as an ethnic group," Bernard said.
The phrases also irked Barry Ancelet, an expert on Cajun culture and head of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's modern languages department.
"It offends my sensibilities as a human being because it represents a remarkably uninformed, ignorant journalist," he said. "What people outside the state don't know about us could fill a book."
Peter Salinger, ABC Radio's director of news coverage, said ABC dropped the use of the term after a compliant. "We got a call from one of our affiliates in Louisiana and they made some very valid points and we immediately stopped using it," he said.
As for "Ragin' Cajun," the university holds a trademark on the name, and university spokeswoman Julie Simon-Dronet said Thursday that the school had contacted Time and requested it no longer use it.
A spokeswoman for Time said she would have to research the issue before commenting.
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