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 Definition An acronym widely used in the U.S. and Canada and referring to White Anglo Saxon Protestants, particularly those who are upper class, wealthy and politically influential. [d] [e]
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Hi Richard--your opening just isn't right, not in New York City at any rate. In all the years I lived there I often heard WASPs use the term WASP self-referentially, and I never heard it used or taken as a particular insult--maybe once or twice in that slightly disdainful "reverse discriminatory" manner minority groups can sometimes affect--I went to university with a lot of Jews and I'm thinking maybe used in that manner by some of them on the odd occasion. But, I promise you, any and all of my friends and acquaintances who were in any way "entitled" to describe themselves as "white", "Anglo-saxon" and "protestant", did. I once heard a particularly elegant Episcopalian lady of my acquaintance state that she was not a "WASP", she was actually a "WASAC"--White Anglo-Saxon Anglo-Catholic, and that's the only time I have ever heard the word rejected and it wasn't rejected for any perjorative quality in the user's mind, but simply for the sake of accuracy!

Further, my dictionary (Webster's Collegiate) which I consulted because your words surprised me so, says "sometimes used disparagingly".

I also think your definition of "Yankee" is misleading. No-one outside of the US restricts its use to American New Englanders, it simply means "American". Also, US southerners use it to refer to northerners, period.

Aleta Curry 20:36, 27 November 2007 (CST)

I have to agree with Aleta; I have never heard WASP used in a derrogatory sense.--Robert W King 21:33, 27 November 2007 (CST)
Not that it really adds a whole lot to the conversation, but I've usually (but not always) heard "WASP" used in a slightly negative way. And as a midwesterner, "Yankee" definitely refers to New Englanders. All this really means is that the terms' usages vary depending on context, so I would change "usually" to "often" or "sometimes" but wouldn't spend a ton of time reworking the opening too much. --Joe Quick 22:35, 27 November 2007 (CST)
I tried to incorporate the comments--thanks! well I went to Notre Dame, an Irish Catholic school where WASPS ("Anglo Saxons") were disliked, and then to the WASP bastion of Yale. Quite a change! The references and dictionaries often point out the disparaging usage of WASP.
  1. British encyclopedia: "Common (frequently derogatory) term to describe the white elite in US society, specifically those educated at Ivy League universities and belonging to the Episcopalian Church."[1]
  2. Canadian press guide: "While the Concise Oxford Dictionary refers to the term WASP as derogatory, Webster's omits any reference to a pejorative meaning and Funk & Wagnalls says it is only sometimes used contemptuously. Given the lack of unanimity in dictionary definitions, the Council suggests that WASP, if used at all, be employed with care and precision in reference to White Anglo-Saxon Protestants, and not as a catch-all term for the so-called elite."[2]
  3. Book on Jews: "When Jews perceive themselves as vulnerable they compare themselves to the dominant cultural community (that is WASPs), who have excluded them and discriminated against them."[3] Richard Jensen 05:39, 28 November 2007 (CST)

That's all very interesting, thanks, guys! Fascinating how one can get a completely different impression living in different areas.... Aleta Curry 14:41, 28 November 2007 (CST)