Newfie — own it

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As a 31-year-old born and raised Newfoundlander I find it weird when people say that “Newfie” is offensive. Never entered my mind until I heard someone else complain about it. I just don’t get it.

The argument of “Well, Newfie jokes are derogatory!” is baseless.

In any Newfie joke the “Newf” can be replaced with someone from any culture or, at times, career. I’ve heard the same joke told and it’s a pope, or Irishmen, or here sometimes we use mainlander. It all stems to me from not having a sense of humour. I’ve known from an early age that if someone makes fun of you and you “own” that ridicule it then becomes funny and usually can either turn it back on the one who ridiculed you or they respect you more for being able to laugh at yourself. Too much do I hear of arguments starting because someone is offended by someone else’s humour. Do I think there are lines that can be crossed ... sure. But those lines are things I would not mention in this article, in public or certainly not put on a street sign.

Newfie is not one of them.

I “own” that name. I just recently returned from a trip in Italy, Greece and Turkey and any time, be it a fellow traveller or local person, would call me Newfie I was damn proud!

I told them everything about N.L., and how they should go, and how they would be welcomed with open arms. So to those people they associate a Newfie as kind, welcoming and having an excellent sense of humour!

What offends me is when someone else tries to tell me I should be offended by the term. And I say “No, it’s a term of admiration and you disputing that only derogates the term and people it stands for.”

However, I am fully aware not everyone feels the same way I do, and that’s more than OK.

We’re all different people, but I just wish the same way I respect how they feel about the term they can respect that some of us like it, admire it and are proud to be called Newfie. Because brass tax it stands for Newfoundlanders and I am more than proud to call myself that.

Tim Barnes

St. John’s

Geographic location: Italy, Greece, Turkey

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  • Ed Power
    September 24, 2013 - 06:29

    "No, it's a term of admiration and you disputing that only derogates the term and the people it stands for." Yes, as admirable a term of endearment as Wop, Gook, Jap, Paki, Paddy, Frog, Boxhead, Wog.....and the hundreds (thousands) of names that one group of people - usually those people with the money, the power and the concomitant arrogance - use to denigrate and dehumanize another. Yes, by all means, be proud when someone calls you a "Newfie", and forget just how and why that charming term came into use.