In the Sun Journal edition of Monday, March 9, “Dear Abby” advice columnist Jeanne Phillips responded to “Holding my nose in New Hampshire” by advising a woman who was inquiring as to how she might “… delicately encourage … [her] … European boyfriend to wear deodorant …” to explain to “Jacques” the standards of personal hygiene prevalent within the United States.

The writer had diplomatically refrained from more-specifically identifying her boyfriend’s ethnicity or nationality; conversely, in her response, Phillips seemingly elected to default to the “Dirty Frenchman” delusion.

An ethnic slur directed against those of French or French-Canadian origin (which comprises a substantial component of the Sun Journal readership within the Lewiston-Auburn community) is unacceptable (although likely less severe or consequential), just as would be a slur whose object-victim is of some other demographic, and it is incumbent upon an advice columnist — whose influence is both widespread and influential — to recognize the obvious and to refrain from such an apparent, fictitious presumption.

Elaine Thibodeau, Lewiston


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