Slurs

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sabriel1206
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Postby sabriel1206 » Sat Sep 27, 2008 8:03 am UTC

A point to consider: some people believe that there would be no homophobia if there was no sexism
another point: even though the urban environment is predominantly liberal, many people still use "gay," "faggot," etc. to describe something bad. this is so ingrained in our society that i really think it increases homophobia everywhere.

Also, I know at least 3 or 4 gay couples with children... they can EASILY find an egg/sperm donor, child carrier, adoptive child etc

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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Falmarri » Sat Sep 27, 2008 8:05 am UTC

sabriel1206 wrote:another point: even though the urban environment is predominantly liberal, many people still use "gay," "faggot," etc. to describe something bad. this is so ingrained in our society that i really think it increases homophobia everywhere.


I entirely disagree. Making those words "off limits" increases homophobia.

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Postby sabriel1206 » Sat Sep 27, 2008 8:20 am UTC

I don't necessarily mean "off-limits," per se, but just as we are taught not to use words such as "nigger" and "jap," I don't think we should use any derogatory terms (such as "faggot," etc in this case). Its crude and unecessary.

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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Princess Marzipan » Sat Sep 27, 2008 8:37 am UTC

The use of gay and faggot as pejoratives doesn't really have anything to do with homosexual marriage.
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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Falmarri » Sun Sep 28, 2008 1:46 am UTC

sabriel1206 wrote:I don't necessarily mean "off-limits," per se, but just as we are taught not to use words such as "nigger" and "jap," I don't think we should use any derogatory terms (such as "faggot," etc in this case). Its crude and unecessary.


Exactly, just like nigger is off limits (not so much jap anymore). And you think there's no racism? By making nigger off limits, you're giving it so much power. If everyone said it, no one would care anymore and it wouldn't have any power anymore.

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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Noc » Sun Sep 28, 2008 5:27 am UTC

Falmarri wrote:
sabriel1206 wrote:
Spoiler:
I don't necessarily mean "off-limits," per se, but just as we are taught not to use words such as "nigger" and "jap," I don't think we should use any derogatory terms (such as "faggot," etc in this case). Its crude and unecessary.


Exactly, just like nigger is off limits (not so much jap anymore). And you think there's no racism? By making nigger off limits, you're giving it so much power. If everyone said it, no one would care anymore and it wouldn't have any power anymore.


This is not true at all. For instance: in the US, the word "retard" isn't as culturally charged a word as it is overseas. On the other hand, calling someone a retard is still a slur upon their intelligence. A culturally accepted racial slur is still a racial slur, and the fact that the culture accepts its use is indicative of it's acceptance of the object in question being slur-worthy.
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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Falmarri » Sun Sep 28, 2008 8:49 am UTC

Noc wrote:
Falmarri wrote:
sabriel1206 wrote:
Spoiler:
I don't necessarily mean "off-limits," per se, but just as we are taught not to use words such as "nigger" and "jap," I don't think we should use any derogatory terms (such as "faggot," etc in this case). Its crude and unecessary.


Exactly, just like nigger is off limits (not so much jap anymore). And you think there's no racism? By making nigger off limits, you're giving it so much power. If everyone said it, no one would care anymore and it wouldn't have any power anymore.


This is not true at all. For instance: in the US, the word "retard" isn't as culturally charged a word as it is overseas. On the other hand, calling someone a retard is still a slur upon their intelligence. A culturally accepted racial slur is still a racial slur, and the fact that the culture accepts its use is indicative of it's acceptance of the object in question being slur-worthy.


The fact that it's slur-worthy isn't the fault of the slur. The one taking offense to the slur is the one giving it power, not the inherent power of the word. So essentially if people stop taking offense to the word, it loses its power. Nigger doesn't inherently have any power until you're no longer allowed to say it, and saying it gets people riffled up. If people didn't get riffled up over, there would be no reason to say it and thus would lose all its power.

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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Noc » Sun Sep 28, 2008 8:58 am UTC

Whether it's a weak slur or a strong slur, though, it's still a slur. That's why I used "retard" as an example; it's a weak one in the US, but a strong one in the UK. (Or I might be thinking of "Spaz." I can't quite remember.)

So whether it's a weak slur or a strong one, if I say "Dude, you're a retard," I'm saying "You are inferior, due to a lack of intelligence." If I call you a "nigger," I'm saying "You are inferior for being black." If it's widely used it will become a less powerful slur, but it will still be a racial slur.
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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Falmarri » Sun Sep 28, 2008 9:05 am UTC

Noc wrote:Whether it's a weak slur or a strong slur, though, it's still a slur. That's why I used "retard" as an example; it's a weak one in the US, but a strong one in the UK. (Or I might be thinking of "Spaz." I can't quite remember.)

So whether it's a weak slur or a strong one, if I say "Dude, you're a retard," I'm saying "You are inferior, due to a lack of intelligence." If I call you a "nigger," I'm saying "You are inferior for being black." If it's widely used it will become a less powerful slur, but it will still be a racial slur.


Yes, but it's never going away, period. By making a big deal about it, you're simply making it worse is my point. If you say EVERYBODY. EVERYBODY. WE NEED TO STOP SAYING FAGGOT BECAUSE THE GAYS DON'T LIKE IT. What do you think that will do? That will make everything worse.

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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Noc » Sun Sep 28, 2008 9:28 am UTC

Falmarri wrote:
Noc wrote:
Spoiler:
Whether it's a weak slur or a strong slur, though, it's still a slur. That's why I used "retard" as an example; it's a weak one in the US, but a strong one in the UK. (Or I might be thinking of "Spaz." I can't quite remember.)

So whether it's a weak slur or a strong one, if I say "Dude, you're a retard," I'm saying "You are inferior, due to a lack of intelligence." If I call you a "nigger," I'm saying "You are inferior for being black." If it's widely used it will become a less powerful slur, but it will still be a racial slur.


Yes, but it's never going away, period. By making a big deal about it, you're simply making it worse is my point. If you say EVERYBODY. EVERYBODY. WE NEED TO STOP SAYING FAGGOT BECAUSE THE GAYS DON'T LIKE IT. What do you think that will do? That will make everything worse.


No. It will not. Let me try and explain this as simply as I can.

A Slur is a word or phrase that refers to a quality in an unambiguously inferior light.

Using a Slur involves using this quality as a reason for someone's inferiority. "You're inferior because you are black/stupid/homosexual/etc." Still with me? Right.

If we do not socially censure something, and we allow it to happen, we are condoning it. And saying that it's alright.

So right now, social censure is directed at people who are racist. It is not okay to say that people are inferior because of their race. So, racial slurs are taboo.

Back in the day when we did NOT do this, racial slurs were not taboo . . . but the society as a whole also condoned racism.

(As I spent time explaining to you in the OTHER thread, there is a thing called "History." It includes many things that happened that you are not aware of! Becoming aware of these things will make you less likely to shoot your mouth off. I spent time doing the research for you in the last thread, and provided you with links to several historically significant cases where the National Guard was involved in riot control, when you said that that was not something the military had ever done. I am not going to do your work for you this time, so you will have to do without.)

Anyways, back in the day, we condoned racism. (This is true! You can look it up.) So saying racial slurs was okay! Now, we condemn it. Did this make the problem go away? Not entirely. Did this imbue more punch into the slurs themselves? Arguably. Was socially condemning racism ineffective? Well, think about that the next time you drink from a water fountain.

So what we've got now is a society which is really on the fence about homophobia. We'd like society to be less homophobic. On the other hand, we condone the use of homophobic slurs. So, condemning the use of these slurs would . . . oh, very good! It would help direct social censure against homophobia.

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Postby Malice » Sun Sep 28, 2008 1:38 pm UTC

Falmarri wrote:The fact that it's slur-worthy isn't the fault of the slur. The one taking offense to the slur is the one giving it power, not the inherent power of the word. So essentially if people stop taking offense to the word, it loses its power. Nigger doesn't inherently have any power until you're no longer allowed to say it, and saying it gets people riffled up. If people didn't get riffled up over, there would be no reason to say it and thus would lose all its power.


Except that a word is not just a collection of letters which represents a collection of sounds. They, in turn, represent a collection of thoughts, namely, "You are horrible and hated for things you can never change". It might be possible to pretend that a certain collection of letters and sounds does not represent anything; it is, however, not possible to pretend that somebody's thoughts are different than they are. If people could no longer express their hatred succinctly, they will use several words to do it (for example, "nigger" might be replaced by "inferior piece of monkey trash" [ugh]).

So telling the minority, "The word has no inherent power" is absurd. Of course it doesn't; it's merely a commonly agreed-upon method of conveying meaning, in this case hate and derision, and hate and derision will always have inherent power to wound.

To put it a different way: there used to be a time when the use of the word "nigger" was common and unquestioned. I doubt it hurt less then.
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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Buttons » Sun Sep 28, 2008 3:48 pm UTC

This whole idea that those who are offended by slurs are somehow responsible for the bigotry is absurd, and it smacks of victim-blaming. If I see someone holding a sign reading "God hates fags," it's somehow my fault if I get offended? As if without my taking offense, this sign would have been completely well-intentioned and harmless?

Come on. When people use slurs hatefully, they are the ones being hateful. The suggestion that we can fix this hate by shrugging it off is ridiculous.

That said, it's also ridiculous to think that we can fix hate through censorship. Slurs are neither the cause nor the cure for bigotry. They are merely a symptom. Our job when we hear such speech isn't to object to the words, but to confront the speaker and find out why they're being such dicks.

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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Malice » Sun Sep 28, 2008 6:13 pm UTC

Buttons wrote:That said, it's also ridiculous to think that we can fix hate through censorship. Slurs are neither the cause nor the cure for bigotry. They are merely a symptom.


Yes, but curing the symptom can drive the disease underground. If the language of hate is socially unacceptable, you're going to have trouble practicing hatred in public. How would people argue against gay marriage if we prevented them from using hateful, emotionally charged language like "Homosexuals are a threat to the American people"?

The fact is, it shouldn't be okay to be needlessly hateful towards somebody. Nobody's talking about censorship, which is mandated by the government; they're talking about society stepping up and saying, "This isn't okay. We won't tolerate it. Don't do it."\

On a very real level, hatred spreads through communication--a child who grows up hearing his father curse "fags" is going to do the same when he's an adult. If the father is discouraged from doing that, maybe he won't be able to pass on his views to his kid. The same applies to any time the signal that bigotry is awesome is being passed between two people. Shut off the communication and you might be able to shut off the spread of the disease.
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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Varsil » Sun Sep 28, 2008 6:33 pm UTC

Censuring slurs might actually encourage them, though.

People use slurs for a variety of reasons. Some examples:
1) They may actually be bigoted against whatever group.
2) They may be using the word because they know it'll piss off the person it's addressed to.
3) They may be using the word for pure shock value.
Etc.

Barring the word might help make the actual bigots less likely to show themselves publicly, and less confident about it. But, it may also encourage people to use the word for other reasons. Further, what tends to happen when a slur is banned towards a group that there is still a lot of distaste for (notably seen among the mentally challenged) is that people stop using the 'banned' word, but elevate a new insult to the same level in short order, which is why a lot of the slurs relating to being mentally challenged were originally medical terms (idiot), or intended to be 'nice' ways of describing the state (retarded).

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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Falmarri » Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:22 pm UTC

Varsil wrote:Censuring slurs might actually encourage them, though.


This was my point. Don't lecture me about history. You're in essence arguing that how nigger is accepted socially is a direct cause of how racist people are or how racist society is. Please. If you called someone a Wop or Paddy, people would look at you like you're an idiot, not get enraged and threaten to beat your ass, which is precisely the reason to used a slur. People who are going to hate black people are going to hate black people regardless of if nigger is OK to say or not. And if it is OK to say, then that's just 1 more word that those people can't use for the purpose of riffling people up.

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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Lucrece » Mon Sep 29, 2008 12:03 am UTC

I don't know about you, but my mental sanity might not have taken such a beating during my Florida high school years were the litany of "that's gay", "faggot", or "maricon" that I was subjected to every 5 seconds or so nonexistent.

This talk about de-stinging words is the invention of sheltered individuals who don't have to deal with such verbal abuse and its physical counterpart on a daily basis, i.e. college students in San Francisco/New York/Boston.

Excuse me if I take offense at the use of the word "queer", "faggot", etc. because they are a palpable representation of abuse faced by my people. :roll:
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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Falmarri » Mon Sep 29, 2008 12:29 am UTC

And you think something would change if there was more of a stigma of saying that's gay or faggot? You think that would make those people any less bigoted or would change their opinion of homosexuals because the use of the word was slightly different?

Lucrece wrote:This talk about de-stinging words is the invention of sheltered individuals who don't have to deal with such verbal abuse and its physical counterpart on a daily basis, i.e. college students in San Francisco/New York/Boston.


No, it's the invention of people who know that speech codes do absolutely nothing to help the underlying problem.

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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Kachi » Mon Sep 29, 2008 1:21 am UTC

People who are going to hate black people are going to hate black people regardless of if nigger is OK to say or not.

No, it's the invention of people who know that speech codes do absolutely nothing to help the underlying problem.


Precisely. If it does anything, it makes it harder to identify which people do have biases that warrant some method of correction or perspective. It's not as if the social acceptability of any particular word in any way limits a person's ability to express a particular sentiment. It's one thing to make pariahs of sentiment. To automatically affirm that a particular word expresses a particular sentiment without exception is ignorant. The reason-- it often doesn't-- anymore than assuming that all gay people are the same, it's ignorant to assume that all uses of a word harbor the same or similar context.

People still say the words behind closed doors and in hushed voices. Social acceptability, or lack thereof, does not deter or reinforce these perceptions. It's simple appeasement. Like a lady who shops at your store regularly that complains that you wear blue. You may stop wearing blue to appease her, but you don't appreciate her reasons or sentiments. To you, she's just a crazy lady.

Enforcing societal rules that people don't understand or appreciate breeds resentment and mistrust while hindering an open, transparent effort to help people understand and appreciate the reasoning behind them. If people are only complying because they feel forced to (in regards to intellectual freedoms), nothing meaningful is accomplished.

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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Malice » Mon Sep 29, 2008 3:16 am UTC

Falmarri wrote:And you think something would change if there was more of a stigma of saying that's gay or faggot? You think that would make those people any less bigoted or would change their opinion of homosexuals because the use of the word was slightly different?


In the short term, no. But it would stop people from shouting it at you while you were walking down the street. Nothing's going to eliminate racism, certainly not instantly; but forcing it underground really does help the daily lives of oppressed minorities.

I really like the disease metaphor. Taking a pill to cure sneezing isn't going to get rid of your cold; but sneezing still really sucks.

Kachi wrote:
People who are going to hate black people are going to hate black people regardless of if nigger is OK to say or not.

No, it's the invention of people who know that speech codes do absolutely nothing to help the underlying problem.


Precisely. If it does anything, it makes it harder to identify which people do have biases that warrant some method of correction or perspective.


Good! Great! I don't WANT to know that the people on my street hate homosexuals, because if I find out, it's by them screaming "Fuck off, fag" at me when I walk down the block. I'd much rather they whisper to each other behind closed doors, so that I can go through my day without thinking about the groups of people who would gladly see me thrown in jail or lynched on the nearest tree.

Again, racism, like a cold, is bad in theory, but in actuality what matters to me is how it manifests negative consequences in my life. Hiding it is nearly as good as getting rid of it entirely.

It's not as if the social acceptability of any particular word in any way limits a person's ability to express a particular sentiment. It's one thing to make pariahs of sentiment. To automatically affirm that a particular word expresses a particular sentiment without exception is ignorant. The reason-- it often doesn't-- anymore than assuming that all gay people are the same, it's ignorant to assume that all uses of a word harbor the same or similar context.


Can you successfully make pariahs of sentiment without disparaging the words they use to express that sentiment? By all means, look down upon the guy who says "I hate black people"; but you must also look down upon the guy who says "I saw a nigger the other day," because the word itself is an expression of racist sentiments. Is it always? No, not necessarily; using the word in this thread isn't an expression of racism, it's a discussion of racism. But I don't know if anyone here is advocating something so strict as to be blind to intention. It's usually not hard to tell the difference between somebody using the word in order to hurt, or in ignorance, and somebody using the word in a non-racist way. I wouldn't suggest punishing the latter.

People still say the words behind closed doors and in hushed voices. Social acceptability, or lack thereof, does not deter or reinforce these perceptions. It's simple appeasement. Like a lady who shops at your store regularly that complains that you wear blue. You may stop wearing blue to appease her, but you don't appreciate her reasons or sentiments. To you, she's just a crazy lady.


Your example seems reversed. The situation here is telling the lady, "I don't care if you like my blue shirt or not; but you can't come in my store and complain about it any more." She appeases YOU by refraining from comment; everybody is suitably polite, and I can continue wearing my blue shirt happily.

Enforcing societal rules that people don't understand or appreciate breeds resentment and mistrust while hindering an open, transparent effort to help people understand and appreciate the reasoning behind them. If people are only complying because they feel forced to (in regards to intellectual freedoms), nothing meaningful is accomplished.


Sure it is. They can say whatever they want in the privacy of their own homes, and when I'm in public, I don't have to face a constant stream of verbal bigotry. That's a meaningful accomplishment to me.

You're assuming that one can actually convince most bigots that they're wrong simply by making the argument; I sincerely doubt that this is true. I think you fight racism and hate on a generational basis, and the more you cleanse the outside world of hatred and the language that carries it, the more you get each new group of kids growing up taking tolerance for granted. Look at the progress we've made in the past fifty years. How many children today are dead-set against interracial marriage? We should continue that work, not abandon it. Part of the way you fight racism is by fighting the way it is expressed. In this, and other battles, it is the role of the more tolerant in society to force their more hateful brethren to toe the line.
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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Rinsaikeru » Mon Sep 29, 2008 3:32 am UTC

There isn't a way to stop bigotry, but making it unacceptable in public is a long way from a time in the not very distant past where it was commonplace.

I'm of two minds in terms of language. I'm not sure whether taking 'ownership' of a derogatory term actually works. The meaning of words change as they are used, so it is possible for words to become positive --but I don't think that happens very often. In most cases it seems they just become so absolutely mundane through repetition that we get bored of them and someone comes up with a new one.
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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Lucrece » Mon Sep 29, 2008 3:41 am UTC

My response is basically diluted through these recent posts. It boils down to making my daily life better.

I'm well aware the attitudes may not change; but my take here is that I will no longer have to deal with such encounters. It will be THEIR problem to whisper about.
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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Kachi » Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:18 am UTC

You wouldn't have to "deal" with it either way, really.

If two people are talking to each other in public, they are likely not to say it just to avoid YOU (or someone else) interfering in their conversation, or life. Were they to say it to each other, no one would have any obligation to intervene or chime in. They might, and with good reason. It's not likely to happen purely because if the wrong person were to overhear, the consequences could be drastic.

If they're speaking to you directly, it breaks down to this.

Ambiguous intent:
Are you a homosexual/ Are you a fag?

Hostile intent:
I hate homosexuals/ I hate fags.

The particular word used doesn't necessarily indicate a substantive variable of intent, nor does it really change your situation. Aside from you causing it to.

I'm pressed for realistic examples that demonstrate your point.

Good! Great! I don't WANT to know that the people on my street hate homosexuals,


Ignorance is bliss, I guess. It might be a good idea to know which people to stay away from, just the same.

It's usually not hard to tell the difference between somebody using the word in order to hurt, or in ignorance, and somebody using the word in a non-racist way.


With homosexuality it's VERY hard. I frequently make jokes about black people, making use of the word "nigger" in conversation with my brothers. It's understood between us that it is purely in jest. We don't do it in public purely to avoid serious ramification from people who readily assume the worst, or disagree with our senses of humor.

Your example seems reversed. The situation here is telling the lady, "I don't care if you like my blue shirt or not; but you can't come in my store and complain about it any more." She appeases YOU by refraining from comment; everybody is suitably polite, and I can continue wearing my blue shirt happily.


I suppose it is reversed if you destroy the analogy by changing the fundamental relationship between the two parties. The point is that people may silently appease those who would complain or impose consequences, but if they don't understand what's wrong with the behavior, they're just going to resent you and think you're being unreasonable.

You're assuming that one can actually convince most bigots that they're wrong simply by making the argument;


You're incorrectly assuming that I'm assuming this. I'll also disagree with your idea of generational progress. Yes, generations are making progress by leaps and bounds, and on the whole it is the older generation that has trouble adjusting. Individuals do change their views by a number of processes though. Arguing the point is merely one of them. One of the most frequently successful is through positive personal interaction with the target group.

Anyway, rule number one of emotional health: Don't give other people any more power over your emotions than you have to.

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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Thanatos » Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:53 am UTC

If I had it my way there would be civil unions legally available to "Any combination of sex, of consenting lifeforms, in any number", but would we not inevitably create a specific phrase for "The civil union of the requisite bodies required to create offspring" or specifically "those with sperm and those with egg"? If so, don't we already have a term that fits?

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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby 22/7 » Mon Sep 29, 2008 12:46 pm UTC

TheAmazingRando wrote:If they aren't a Christian, it doesn't matter whether or not they sin, because by Christian doctrine we're all sinners in need of grace, not good people that drive ourselves out of it. Making a non-Christian act a little bit more like a Christian isn't doing them any favors, from a Christian perspective.
The average person didn't really have any say in legislation when the Bible was written, did they?
TheAmazingRando wrote:Adultery
I think this is your strongest argument for anti-gay marriage = homophobia, not religiosity.
TheAmazingRando wrote:their personal choice of protesting it far more than any other sin, and basically making it out to be the ultimate possible sin
Something will be protested more if it's an issue. If they were trying to make murder not illegal, my money would be on there being more protests against that than gay marriage. And the "basically making it out to be the ultimate possible sin" bit is inflammatory, inaccurate, and unfalsifiable.
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Mountainhawk wrote:For many, many people, it's not homophobia at all. It is that they truly believe homosexual sex will result in a grave/mortal sin that, left unconfessed, will result in the soul's permanent separation from God/damnation in hell.
Just curious, but what is it that makes these two particular sources of opposition to gay marriage have different levels of legitimacy?
The only real difference is intent. Legally, intent matters, but I agree and don't think it's particularly important when discussing the legitimacy of the argument.
Mountainhawk wrote:That's not a violation of church and state, and in fact, may enhance the separation by the two not having church marriages binding on the state as they are now.
I think this is a great idea. Go to the courthouse and get your certificate (which means you're legally a union) and then go get married in a church if you want.

@btilly: Thank you for that post. It was enlightening, as usual.
Lucrece wrote:Why should we have to give up the word "marriage", which has the universal meaning of being united, to religious institutions?
Quite.
EmptySet wrote:It can also be argued that the current law is discriminatory on the basis of gender rather than sexuality. Men have a right which women don't - the right to marry a woman.
That is easily the most concise statement of the problem I've seen so far, and I'm having a lot of trouble coming up with any kind of logical argument against that. Thank you.
Kachi wrote:YIf they're speaking to you directly, it breaks down to this.
Ambiguous intent:
Are you a homosexual/ Are you a fag?
Hostile intent:
I hate homosexuals/ I hate fags.
The particular word used doesn't necessarily indicate a substantive variable of intent, nor does it really change your situation. Aside from you causing it to.
Yes, it does. If I ask you, online for instance, whether you are black, or if you're a nigger, those are two very different questions. The first one inquires as to your skin color, whereas the second inquires as to your skin color while simultaneously denouncing people of that skin color. Regardless of how much you might want nigger or fag or whatever to not have cultural connotations, they do, and ignoring that they do is ignoring that things like racism or homophobia exist which is probably just as harmful and ignorant (if not moreso) than the use of the words (in a harmful way) to begin with.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Malice » Mon Sep 29, 2008 5:12 pm UTC

Kachi wrote:Ambiguous intent:
Are you a homosexual/ Are you a fag?

Hostile intent:
I hate homosexuals/ I hate fags.

The particular word used doesn't necessarily indicate a substantive variable of intent, nor does it really change your situation. Aside from you causing it to.


22/7 kinda already covered this, but: yes, it does. "Are you a fag?" is a question loaded with emotional subtext. It is neither neutral, nor ambiguous. The word is hurtful and derogatory; and everyone involved knows this. To say it, in almost all situations, is to pass on those sentiments.

Good! Great! I don't WANT to know that the people on my street hate homosexuals,


Ignorance is bliss, I guess. It might be a good idea to know which people to stay away from, just the same.


The people likely to become physically violent are not likely to clean up their language; but there is a wide group of people who would never go that far whose attitudes I don't need to hear throughout my day.

It's usually not hard to tell the difference between somebody using the word in order to hurt, or in ignorance, and somebody using the word in a non-racist way.


With homosexuality it's VERY hard. I frequently make jokes about black people, making use of the word "nigger" in conversation with my brothers. It's understood between us that it is purely in jest. We don't do it in public purely to avoid serious ramification from people who readily assume the worst, or disagree with our senses of humor.


Or, perhaps, so that nobody gets their feelings hurt? I LIKE that attitude. I want that to happen with homosexuality. Joke between friends, by all means, but understand what you're doing with it and what the consequences might be.

I suppose it is reversed if you destroy the analogy by changing the fundamental relationship between the two parties.


Sorry, I didn't quite understand it.

The point is that people may silently appease those who would complain or impose consequences, but if they don't understand what's wrong with the behavior, they're just going to resent you and think you're being unreasonable.


By no means do I think we should simply say "This word is off-limits!" We should say, "This word is off-limits, because it expresses hateful and hurtful sentiments!" and so forth. But ultimately I'm comfortable not caring about the resentment of bigots. Re-reading your analogy, I don't really need or want to understand an irrational hatred. Yes, it might be beneficial to do so; but I'm not going to let them practice hate while I attempt to understand it. I'd prefer them to stop hating, rather than simply appease me by ceasing to do it openly; but I'd much rather have appeasement than nothing.

Anyway, rule number one of emotional health: Don't give other people any more power over your emotions than you have to.


Oh, sure. I mean, there's nothing wrong with drinking out of that other water fountain, right? It's just water. No need to get all bent out of shape.

No, actually, it's not a matter of wanting other people to be super-extra-special nice because if they don't, I might cry. It's a matter of wanting people to treat me like a person and not single me out as something grotesque and contemptible. Stop blaming the victim. It's not my responsibility to accommodate somebody else's bigotry.
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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Lucrece » Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:36 pm UTC

Kachi wrote:You wouldn't have to "deal" with it either way, really.

If two people are talking to each other in public, they are likely not to say it just to avoid YOU (or someone else) interfering in their conversation, or life. Were they to say it to each other, no one would have any obligation to intervene or chime in. They might, and with good reason. It's not likely to happen purely because if the wrong person were to overhear, the consequences could be drastic.

If they're speaking to you directly, it breaks down to this.

Ambiguous intent:
Are you a homosexual/ Are you a fag?

Hostile intent:
I hate homosexuals/ I hate fags.

The particular word used doesn't necessarily indicate a substantive variable of intent, nor does it really change your situation. Aside from you causing it to.

I'm pressed for realistic examples that demonstrate your point.


Clearly, you live in a less confrontational environment. Where I live, they won't give a damn about your intervention; rather, they await the intervention with glee, for it might just give them the excuse to further aggravate you verbally or assault you.

What are the drastic consequences? Unlike the black community, where toughness is highly emphasized in the form of violent reprisal, the gay community in general is one of the least violent demographics. Check the rates of violent encounters in gay bars as opposed to straight ones. Gay people in general are not prone to walk up to the person and beat his face in; the majority are not socialized that way. They grow used to being insulted, and just trying to shrug it off.

"Are you a fag?" is not ambiguous by any stretch. It's clearly provocative, if not hostile in nature. When somebody asks you "Are you a x" when referring to a cultural group, it is often assumed to be hostile. It's alienating.
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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:51 pm UTC

Kachi wrote:If they're speaking to you directly, it breaks down to this.

Ambiguous intent:
Are you a homosexual/ Are you a fag?

Hostile intent:
I hate homosexuals/ I hate fags.

The particular word used doesn't necessarily indicate a substantive variable of intent, nor does it really change your situation. Aside from you causing it to.

I'm pressed for realistic examples that demonstrate your point.


Not meaning to keep beating on this point, but eh...

I think as a general rule, trying to qualitatively assess someone using "a/an" before a trait is generally derogatory. Compare, for example -

"Are you a Jew?"/"Are you Jewish?"

The former is generally preceived as a callous way as tossing someone into a group, putting them into the metagroup of Jews; one categorized a human as a noun, the other applies an adjective to a human. Using "Jewish" gives them an additional quality which doesn't necessitate anything else, whereas using a noun implies a categorization of a human instead of categorizing a quality. The former is, according to linguistic convention, stereotyping; the latter is not. This holds true for many words that are not per se offensive according to their stictest definition, whether it be fag, nigger, jap, etc.

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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Varsil » Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:00 pm UTC

Well, let's also be more specific here:

Are we talking about considering a guy who uses the word "nigger" or "fag" or whatever to be an asshole? Sure, I'm on board with that.

Are we talking about some sort of official sanctions for a guy who uses a word we dislike? If so, count me out.

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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Jessica » Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:26 pm UTC

Varsil wrote:Are we talking about some sort of official sanctions for a guy who uses a word we dislike? If so, count me out.

We're not talking about official sanctions. The government will have nothing to do with this.
We're talking about society encouraging people to not say fag, gay or nigger.
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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Buttons » Mon Sep 29, 2008 9:15 pm UTC

Um, I don't think "gay" should be off-limits.

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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Lucrece » Mon Sep 29, 2008 9:17 pm UTC

Buttons wrote:Um, I don't think "gay" should be off-limits.


Used as an insult? Why not? Depends how you define off-limit, though. Making it a crime? No. Making it socially unpalatable? Yeah.
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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Buttons » Mon Sep 29, 2008 9:24 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:Used as an insult? Why not? Depends how you define off-limit, though. Making it a crime? No. Making it socially unpalatable? Yeah.

If we're talking about using words as insults, then obviously it would be preferable if all pejorative references to gender, race, or sexuality were socially unpalatable. Is anyone disagreeing with that?

I thought the discussion was rather about whether slurs should be socially unpalatable as words themselves in any context. And in that sense, I think it's ridiculous to lump "gay" together with "fag."

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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Lucrece » Tue Sep 30, 2008 12:05 am UTC

Buttons wrote:
Lucrece wrote:Used as an insult? Why not? Depends how you define off-limit, though. Making it a crime? No. Making it socially unpalatable? Yeah.

If we're talking about using words as insults, then obviously it would be preferable if all pejorative references to gender, race, or sexuality were socially unpalatable. Is anyone disagreeing with that?

I thought the discussion was rather about whether slurs should be socially unpalatable as words themselves in any context. And in that sense, I think it's ridiculous to lump "gay" together with "fag."


Why? Should gay get to the same degree as "fag", which it pretty much does among homophobic straight men, there would be no difference. Assuming it is used as an insult; it's that action that's reprehensible. Of course, no one's advocating social repercussions for usage of the word gay to refer to sexual orientation in a neutral tone.
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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Kachi » Tue Sep 30, 2008 1:00 am UTC

I don't really need or want to understand an irrational hatred. Yes, it might be beneficial to do so; but I'm not going to let them practice hate while I attempt to understand it.


I wasn't suggesting that you were the one that lacked understanding. Quite the other way.

I think as a general rule, trying to qualitatively assess someone using "a/an" before a trait is generally derogatory.

"Are you a fag?" is a question loaded with emotional subtext. It is neither neutral, nor ambiguous.


Unless you're doing this. I really can't condone judging someone for using what they may not have intended to be derogatory when it is often nothing more than a red flag of ignorance.

Anyway, I tired of this discussion years ago. I'll reiterate that allowing the speech or intellectual crimes of others to negatively influence one's emotions is unwise. Allow people to be who they really are, and if you don't like it, either ignore the ignorance or attempt to enlighten it. I leave my part of this at that.

Besides, Heroes is coming on.

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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Lucrece » Tue Sep 30, 2008 2:16 am UTC

It's not really judging. There's no such thing as ignorance concerning the word "fag"; everybody knows it's an insulting label.

And, yeah, stick and stones blabber. Usually, those words indicate that stick and stones are on the way.
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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Falmarri » Tue Sep 30, 2008 5:40 am UTC

Lucrece wrote:And, yeah, stick and stones blabber. Usually, those words indicate that stick and stones are on the way.


You say that so definitely. I think that's absurd. Where the hell do you live? I look at it this way. If you're being assaulted, that's absolutely not OK. But if you're being called a fag? Suck it up. I don't get upset when someone calls me a nerd, a bitch, stupid, a fag, a nigger, a jew, or any other insult they may say because what the hell do I care what they say to me? Why should I let them have the power to get me upset over whatever they may want to think is an insult. If I get upset and make a big deal about any one of those words, they just know which one upsets me the most.

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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby Belial » Tue Sep 30, 2008 7:06 am UTC

Do you think the existence of a culture in which it is socially acceptable to slur someone on the basis of being part of those groups, and the acts of violence against those selfsame groups (which do occur) are unrelated phenomena?

Also, how is this on topic?

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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby 22/7 » Tue Sep 30, 2008 1:07 pm UTC

Falmarri wrote:
Lucrece wrote:And, yeah, stick and stones blabber. Usually, those words indicate that stick and stones are on the way.


You say that so definitely. I think that's absurd. Where the hell do you live? I look at it this way. If you're being assaulted, that's absolutely not OK. But if you're being called a fag? Suck it up. I don't get upset when someone calls me a nerd, a bitch, stupid, a fag, a nigger, a jew, or any other insult they may say because what the hell do I care what they say to me? Why should I let them have the power to get me upset over whatever they may want to think is an insult. If I get upset and make a big deal about any one of those words, they just know which one upsets me the most.
I live in a country where people have (and to a lesser extent, continue to get) yelled at, spit on, discriminated against, beat up, raped and killed because they're either stupid, a fag, a nigger or a jew. To you (who may be any or all or none of these and so might not see it as pertaining to you) that might not be an issue. But to me (someone who cannot accurately be described by any of those words), that's an issue. I don't care that there isn't a black/gay/jew hanging from the tree outside my house if there's one next door, or the next street over, or the next town over or the next state over or on the other side of the country. I don't care that it's better than it used to be if it's still broken.
Belial wrote:Also, how is this on topic?

I'll split it in the morning. Sleep now.
Quite true, but I didn't see a split yet, so I'm posting this here.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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bigglesworth wrote:If your economic reality is a choice, then why are you not as rich as Bill Gates?
Don't want to be.
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Re: Homosexual Marriage?

Postby segmentation fault » Tue Sep 30, 2008 3:37 pm UTC

Falmarri wrote:If everyone said it, no one would care anymore and it wouldn't have any power anymore.


i actually think this is the reason that black people use the word to address each other. or at least it should be the reason.
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Re: Slurs

Postby Gunfingers » Tue Sep 30, 2008 3:40 pm UTC

Given that it only seems to be prevalent in certain subcultures associated with black people i'm inclined to doubt it.


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