a serious lean toward the African-American persuasion

AliBadass

Senior Member
persian
In the TV series Prison Break, seems that black and white inmates are going to fight with each other in the next few days. One inmate is talking to another saying:

''Few days on the inside, any God-fearing white man realizes the correctional system's got a serious lean toward the African-American persuasion.''

What does he mean by ''having a serious lean toward the African-American persuasion''?
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It has a disproportionate number of African-Americans. 'Persuasion' is used in a somewhat jokey way. It used to be a kind of euphemism for religion: if someone was of the Jewish or Roman Catholic persuasion, it suggested they hadn't really chosen it themself, but someone had 'persuaded' them, so they couldn't help being that way. Now it's used more widely.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    It ['persuasion'] used to be a kind of euphemism for religion: if someone was of the Jewish or Roman Catholic persuasion, it suggested they hadn't really chosen it themself, but someone had 'persuaded' them, so they couldn't help being that way.
    Is that the case? I thought that if someone was 'persuaded', they were convinced (as in 'For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life ... shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord' [Romans 8:38-39]). Therefore, persuasion​ relates to conviction or belief.

    I agree that it's used in a jokey fashion in this instance.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    I to see ''... the correctional system's got a serious lean toward the African-American persuasion.'' = ''In prison, 'African-Americans are heavily over-represented'
     
    Last edited:

    AliBadass

    Senior Member
    persian
    Thank you all. But I'm afraid I still can't figure out what he means.

    ''Few days on the inside, any God-fearing white man realizes the correctional system's got a serious lean toward (is inclined to )the African-American persuasion.''

    I don't get it. I can't make anything out of it.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    ... any God-fearing white man realises the correction system [= prisons] has got a serious lean towards [=contains a strong representation of] the African-American persuasion [=African-Americans].

    'Persuasion' is used jokingly and you can leave it out without the meaning being changed.
     

    Seabright

    New Member
    US Midwest English
    Hello, AliBadass!

    In plainer English, this sentence would be: "After a few days in prison, any white man realizes that the correctional system has more black prisoners than white prisoners." entangledbank has it right, it is a jokey reference to race as though it were something that a person could choose.

    But there is another dimension to this usage. It suggests that the speaker is a racist. Since the 1960's, racist white people have needed to curb their languange. This is a clever way for a white person to avoid saying "black". I would consider this expression too clever by half.

    "God-fearing white man" is also a tip-off that the speaker might be a reactionary religious fundamentalist.
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    I agree with Seabright's rephrasing but not with the rest of the interpretation. For one thing, African-American obviously means black and so it's not a 'clever way' to avoid saying 'black." And I don't think 'God-fearing' is a tip off that the speaker is some kind of fundamentalist. It's just an expression more in tone with the rest of the sentence.
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    The term "of the _____ persuasion" used to be used as a kind of euphemism. Someone might say "He's a gentleman of the Jewish persuasion" because it sounded more polite than "He's a Jew."

    "A person of the African-American persuasion" wouldn't make any sense. People do not choose to be born with dark skin. Whether they like it or not, they have no choice in the matter. The speaker is using it to make a mild joke.
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    It's not a euphemism at all. Go Google. Two minutes research and I could find "Young ladies of the Confederate persuasion" (in the Civil War) and "Gentlemen of the Union persuasion" (on the Union side in the Civil War" and 'mechanics of the union persuasion" (no, not the Union side of the Civil War, but members of labor unions,).
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top