Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term? http://blogs.chron.com/sciguy/archives/2008/07/is_black_hole_a.html July 09, 2008 Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term? Apparently to some. From the City Hall Blog at the Dallas Morning News: A special meeting about Dallas County traffic tickets turned tense and bizarre this afternoon. County commissioners were discussing problems with the central collections office that is used to process traffic ticket payments and handle other paperwork normally done by the JP Courts. Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield, who is white, said it seemed that central collections "has become a black hole" because paperwork reportedly has become lost in the office. Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is black, interrupted him with a loud "Excuse me!" He then corrected his colleague, saying the office has become a "white hole." That prompted Judge Thomas Jones, who is black, to demand an apology from Mayfield for his racially insensitive analogy. Mayfield shot back that it was a figure of speech and a science term. Judge Jones should be very glad that the central collections office has not become a white hole, a theoretical object that ejects matter from beyond its event horizon, rather than sucking it in. It wouldn't be fun for Dallas to find itself so near a quasar. Anyone wanting to know a good deal about black holes should read the excellent new book, The Black Hole War, by Leonard Susskind, which has just been released. I'm in the middle of it, and the book's a fascinating tour of modern physics written for the layman. It's just been marvelous so far.