jaywalking

Discussion in 'English Only' started by mrghd, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. mrghd Junior Member

    Hungarian
    (source: Sapphire's Afteword for Iceberg Slim's novel Pimp, The Story of my life)

    The problematic sentence:

    "The rules of his Game may even have made sense in a chaotic social order where a police officer could put a gun to a black man's head and say a spasm of his finger caused him to assassinate an innocent man, where hitch-hiking and jay-walking were crimes but were segregation was legal and the possession of a marijuana seed could land a person in prison for years."

    Background:

    Sapphire (aka. Ramona Lofton, an Afro-American female poet) says in her afterword for the novel that the rules of the pimp game were in some sense means of survival for people like Iceberg Slim in the quite hostile and racist society of the 30s-50s in the USA

    So, what does Jay-walking mean here?
     
  2. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    Jaywalking, crossing a street in the wrong place or against a traffic signal, is used as an example of a minor violation. The author is making a point that laws are not always fair.
     
  3. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    Texas
    English - US
    If put "jay-walking" into the dictionary search box at the top of the page, you get:
    which takes you to:
    Remember to try the dictionary first. :)
     
  4. mrghd Junior Member

    Hungarian
    Really? My first thought was that jay-walking means smoking weed while walking since 'jay' is also a slang for marijuana ('joint')...
     
  5. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    It's not that. The parallel construction places it as similar to hitch-hiking, another thing that most people do but which is technically a violation of the law.
     
  6. George French Senior Member

    English - UK
    If you don't know, do not assume anything. Look it up.... My first hit was http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaywalking, not surprising.
    "Jaywalking is a term commonly used in Anglo America to refer to illegal or reckless pedestrian crossing of a roadway. Examples include a pedestrian crossing between intersections without yielding to drivers and starting to....."

    GF..
     

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