Slurs

For the serious discussion of weighty matters and worldly issues. No off-topic posts allowed.

Moderators: Azrael, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
wisnij
Posts: 427
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2006 5:03 pm UTC
Location: a planet called Erp
Contact:

Re: Slurs

Postby wisnij » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:38 pm UTC

Indon wrote:Wait, so now the thread is arguing about if the word 'bitch' qualifies as a slur?

A word which, in its' absolute, literal meaning, refers to a female dog, generally used in the context of running breeding programs?

A word which furthermore is used to refer to an individual being forced into a submissive or subservient position (such as in the case of rape in prisons) relative to another?

A word which, in its' non-insulting applications, pretty much sums up all the most hateful mysogynism in western civilization (that women are not really human, should be subservient to men, and are only useful for breeding)?

You mean "in its insulting applications", don't you? It wouldn't be a slur if used by a dog breeder to refer to a literal female canine, any more than "chink" would be a slur if used to discuss gaps in a piece of armor. (I know the analogy is not a perfect isomorphism, but the general point is that context matters.)
I burn the cheese. It does not burn me.

User avatar
Azrael
CATS. CATS ARE NICE.
Posts: 6491
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2007 1:16 am UTC
Location: Boston

Re: Slurs

Postby Azrael » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:56 pm UTC

Circular thread is circular. Wisnij, at least read the previous page fully before commenting.

natraj wrote:
Telchar wrote:But something may be queer (strange or odd from a conventional viewpoint; unusually different; singular) without any connotation.


...Yes, and 'gay' can also mean 'happy', and 'faggot' can also mean 'bundle of sticks'. All perfectly legitimate uses for those words. But it's generally pretty easy to discern whether someone is using the words in those senses or their derogatory ones, and it's somewhat disingenuous to act like nobody can tell the difference.

User avatar
Indon
Posts: 4433
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 5:21 pm UTC
Location: Alabama :(
Contact:

Re: Slurs

Postby Indon » Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:09 pm UTC

wisnij wrote:You mean "in its insulting applications", don't you? It wouldn't be a slur if used by a dog breeder to refer to a literal female canine, any more than "chink" would be a slur if used to discuss gaps in a piece of armor. (I know the analogy is not a perfect isomorphism, but the general point is that context matters.)


Not quite, though I guess I should have clarified that.

If you use a word to insult it can really mean (to you) whatever you want it to mean. However, the word will unavoidably draw implications from its' other uses, and in the case of bitch, most of them aren't necessarily used as insults.
So, I like talking. So if you want to talk about something with me, feel free to send me a PM.

My blog, now rarely updated.

Image

User avatar
PhantomReality
Posts: 329
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 1:16 pm UTC
Location: The Chapel Thrill, NC
Contact:

Re: Slurs

Postby PhantomReality » Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:23 am UTC

Here are my thoughts on the issue of racial slurs, or just slurs in general:

If we take the example of "gay" we are talking about a 3 letter word that signifies homosexuality. When I lose at a video game due to what I see to be an unjust reason, or I'm just pissed suddenly... "man that was fucking gay!" I'm not calling the TV homosexual obviously, but if a gay person was in the room would they be offended? Or rather SHOULD they be offended? By reassigning a new meaning (with gay it's usually "unfair" "not optimal" or just a general sense of frustration) we have made a word that was initially just a signifier for somebodies homosexuality and made it negative. The word has been appropriated and there is a new meaning.

Now should a gay person be offended by this? Well on one level no, they can't be because I'm not referring to them. At least not directly. I'm appropriated a word that used to signify them, and using it to signify something else that happens to be negative. So no, I have no ill will towards them certainly, and thus they should have no qualm with my use of the word.

Unfortunately this is not how language works.

I am assigning "gay" a new, and negative meaning. This has implications on "gay" as a word. Hypothetically if a room full of people hears me say "that's fucking gay" referring to a negative thing (particularly with a negative tonal inflection), and then I turn to my friend immediately afterwords and say "dude aren't you gay?" it becomes very clear that some of that negative energy is transferred, it is palpable and very real. Thusly I do my best to not use "gay" in such a context but I'll be damned if single syllabic three letter words (that happen to be very gutturally satisfying to say) aren't convenient to use and difficult not use if their habitually ingrained on your brain.

What implication does this have on racial slurs? Well words that were invented to have a negative meaning are different I think. If my black/serbian friend Killa Mike (yea that's right killa mike) is yelling, intoxicated, at Obama during inauguration "That's my n**ga! That's my n**ga! Fuck yea!" he is assigning it a new jubilant meaning. Now as a white kid I know the rules, black people can say it, we can't. Obviously this is a reaction to, and there is implied, a history of violence, oppression and slavery that we as a people and a world are still trying to escape. Does my choice to not use the word make this history go away? No. When my friend Killa uses the word to refer to ME, a white person, but with a positive connotation does that reverse the words meaning? No. By the same token as the "gay argument", the original meaning, so long as somebody who hears it is aware that it was once a negative word (as I would imagine 99.9% of the planet is) then that meaning is still implied somewhere in their subconscious.

This is my reason for not using racial slurs, or any slur that might be offensive. HOWEVER if you are offended by true curse words then just GTFO. "Fuck" is one of the most versatile words in the English language. Use it well.


KK that's my wall of text for the day. Tata.

Edit: just can't see the N word actually typed out had to change it.
DROP ACID NOT BOMBS.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26833
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Slurs

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:31 am UTC

PhantomReality wrote:Unfortunately this is not how language works.

A pretty good account of how it *does* work with regard to swearing can be found in one chapter of Steven Pinker's The Stuff of Thought.
Pinker wrote:Also calling for reflection is whether a linguistic taboo is always a bad thing. Why are we offended--why should we be offended--when an outsider refers to an African American as a nigger, or a woman as a cunt, or a Jewish person as a fucking Jew? The terms have no real meaning, so the offense cannot come from their perpetuating a stereotype or endorsing oppression. Nor is it a reaction to learning that the speaker harbors an abominable attitude. These days someone who displayed the same attitude by simply saying "I hate African Americans, women, and Jews" would be stigmatizing himself far more than his targets, and would quickly be written of as a loathsome kook. I suspect that our sense of offense comes from the nature of speech recognition and from what it means to understand the connotation of a word. If you're an English speaker, you can't hear the words nigger or cunt or fucking without calling to mind what they mean to an implicit community of speakers, including the emotions that cling to them. To hear nigger is to try on, however briefly, the thought that there is something contemptible about African Americans, and thus to be complicit in a community that standardized that judgment by putting it into a word. The same thing happens with other taboo imprecations: just hearing the words feels morally corrosive, so we consider them not just unpleasant to think but not to be thought at all--that is, taboo. None of this means that the words should be banned, only that their effects on listeners should be understood and anticipated.
(Bolding is mine, and more is quoted here.)

In other words, whatever implications a speaker consciously and purposefully puts into her choice of words, there are certain other thoughts that are brought up completely unbidden in anyone who hears her. A listener cannot turn off his ability to understand the meaning (including emotional connotations) of a word he hears, and some words have nasty conventional meanings, whether we like it or not, and whether we ourselves are intending to pack those meanings into a word or not.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
Gelsamel
Lame and emo
Posts: 8237
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 10:49 am UTC
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Re: Slurs

Postby Gelsamel » Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:07 am UTC

Unless you're not offended by the usage. In which case you either share the sentiment which is brought up when you hear it, or don't experience the sentiment which is brought up.
"Give up here?"
- > No
"Do you accept defeat?"
- > No
"Do you think games are silly little things?"
- > No
"Is it all pointless?"
- > No
"Do you admit there is no meaning to this world?"
- > No

User avatar
PhantomReality
Posts: 329
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 1:16 pm UTC
Location: The Chapel Thrill, NC
Contact:

Re: Slurs

Postby PhantomReality » Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:20 am UTC

[snip]
I feel like if the whole world just stopped for a minute and THOUGHT about this kind of stuff, instead of just accepting it, we could move forward as a people.


... I wonder if you could apply that same line of reasoning to your post? Perhaps if you *thought* about where you were posting, you'd be able to move forward as a contributory participant?

-Az
DROP ACID NOT BOMBS.

User avatar
LaserGuy
Posts: 4585
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:33 pm UTC

Re: Slurs

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:36 pm UTC

natraj wrote:
Telchar wrote:But something may be queer (strange or odd from a conventional viewpoint; unusually different; singular) without any connotation.


...Yes, and 'gay' can also mean 'happy', and 'faggot' can also mean 'bundle of sticks'. All perfectly legitimate uses for those words. But it's generally pretty easy to discern whether someone is using the words in those senses or their derogatory ones, and it's somewhat disingenuous to act like nobody can tell the difference.


Natraj, here's the problem... others on this thread have argued that using a slur even when the intent is innocent and the context is appropriate is still a slur. The legitimate uses of those words are lost because it is impossible to separate the legitimate ones from the illegitimate ones. If the usage is all that matters, then there shouldn't be any problem with someone saying "That exam was really gay" because it is abundantly clear from the context that the word is not referring to homosexuals and is using a well-understood definition of the word, namely the one that means something that is unpleasant. That's the whole of the argument: whether or not it is appropriate to use words that can be a slur in one context, but have other, well-defined meanings in others.

User avatar
Azrael
CATS. CATS ARE NICE.
Posts: 6491
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2007 1:16 am UTC
Location: Boston

Re: Slurs

Postby Azrael » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:39 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Natraj, here's the problem... others on this thread have argued that using a slur even when the intent is innocent and the context is appropriate is still a slur.

Really? Who?

There has been plenty of discussion that intent doesn't matter -- that calling someone a cunt, even if you don't *mean* it to be insulting to women, is still degrading regardless of your intent.

But has anyone actually claimed that using gay in an appropriate context, meaning:

1. having or showing a merry, lively mood: gay spirits; gay music.
2. bright or showy: gay colors; gay ornaments.
3. given to or abounding in social or other pleasures: a gay social season.

is a problem?

However, you're trying to justify using 'gay' as a pejorative. In a way that is outside of it's defined meaning. That's the problem.

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Slurs

Postby Belial » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:47 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote: If the usage is all that matters, then there shouldn't be any problem with someone saying "That exam was really gay" because it is abundantly clear from the context that the word is not referring to homosexuals and is using a well-understood definition of the word, namely the one that means something that is unpleasant.


You mean the one that depends upon linking the despised thing to homosexuality?

It's much like saying "You jewed me out of 15 bucks". Yes, it means "swindled", and not a term for jewish people, but it depends upon the conception that jewish people are selfish and avaricious.

Not quite the same as using an unrelated homonym to mean something entirely value neutral.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

MarshyMarsh
Posts: 140
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2007 7:43 pm UTC
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Slurs

Postby MarshyMarsh » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:57 pm UTC

I would also argue as many others that it entirely comes down to context. The terms have adopted many reasons even if they are not written down in the Dictionary. Fuck is a brilliant example of a word that can be applied to virtually any fucking phrase of sentence to make fucking it the best sentence in the world.

I am not implying fucking the world would make the best sentence, I am simply using it in a hyperbolic manner. I think that all these slurs have Hyperbolic tendancies to over exaggerate a situation by removing the word from its logical context.

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Slurs

Postby Belial » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:59 pm UTC

The difference is that fuck is not a slur, at least not as we're discussing them. It's a general epithet.

No one is saying "Oh me yarm, it is so bad to say "fuck"." I say it 30 times before breakfast.

Epithets that target minority groups, however, are a different ball of wax.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

MarshyMarsh
Posts: 140
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2007 7:43 pm UTC
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Slurs

Postby MarshyMarsh » Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:03 pm UTC

The slur however is usually proceeded with the word fuck or a derivitive of fuck. To me saying "That is so fucking gay" is Hyperbolic, by reason " That is so gay" is still hyperbolic, more so than to say "That is bad"

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Slurs

Postby Belial » Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:08 pm UTC

Which...doesn't change anything. Yes, we're aware you don't think your tv actually has sex with other tvs of the same gender. All previous arguments about the connections you're making stand.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26833
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Slurs

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:27 pm UTC

Yeah, again, we're talking about (ethnic, class, sexual, etc.) slurs, not the word "fuck". (Which, by the way, is only so versatile in English because it took the place of both hell and (God)damn in so many English epithets after religious cursing started becoming less taboo than bodily-function cursing. If it were restricted to cases where the sexual meaning actually makes sense, we'd have few f-word-containing epithets outside of "motherfucker" and "go fuck yourself".)

Pinker wrote: If you're an English speaker, you can't hear the words nigger or cunt or fucking [Jew] without calling to mind what they mean to an implicit community of speakers, including the emotions that cling to them. To hear nigger is to try on, however briefly, the thought that there is something contemptible about African Americans, and thus to be complicit in a community that standardized that judgment by putting it into a word.

Quoting this again because people seem to have missed the point the first time, if subsequent responses are any indication. I don't like to hear white people say "nigger" because I don't like being forced to call to mind the racist connotations it bears. I don't want to be forced to try on the thought that African Americans are somehow contemptible. And the same goes for "fag", "slut", and any number of other slurs.

Using 'gay' as a pejorative does exactly the same thing, by the way. Using it to mean "happy", or to simply mean "homosexual", is fine. Any usage of that word automatically calls to mind homosexuality in the vast majority of hearers. And so any usage of "gay" to mean "bad" automatically calls to my mind *both* "homosexuality", from the word meaning itself, and "bad", from the obvious negative context.

And so I would kindly ask you to fucking quit doing that shit.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

MarshyMarsh
Posts: 140
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2007 7:43 pm UTC
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Slurs

Postby MarshyMarsh » Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:36 pm UTC

I think I may have worded my point wrong. Forget the whole 'fuck' issue. I am just making the connection of these slur words becoming more hyperbolic rarther than actually having any grammatical meaning. Similar to onomatapia sounds such as "booo" or "hiss" they are just expressions to exaggerate the point, the words are constantly bombarded at us from all directions everyday, so for them to be stored in same part of the brain as swear words (single syllables for use in extreme distress), they simply come out without co-hersive meaning.

The Mighty Thesaurus
In your library, eating your students
Posts: 4399
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 7:47 am UTC
Location: The Daily Bugle

Re: Slurs

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:40 pm UTC

This may be the case to you, but it still has hateful connotations for a lot of people.
LE4dGOLEM wrote:your ability to tell things from things remains one of your skills.
Weeks wrote:Not only can you tell things from things, you can recognize when a thing is a thing

Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam

User avatar
Azrael
CATS. CATS ARE NICE.
Posts: 6491
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2007 1:16 am UTC
Location: Boston

Re: Slurs

Postby Azrael » Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:49 pm UTC

MarshyMarsh wrote:I am just making the connection of these slur words becoming more hyperbolic rarther than actually having any grammatical meaning. Similar to onomatapia sounds such as "booo" or "hiss" they are just expressions to exaggerate the point, the words are constantly bombarded at us from all directions everyday, so for them to be stored in same part of the brain as swear words (single syllables for use in extreme distress), they simply come out without co-hersive meaning.

Except ... all those words, including the rest of the common swears, lack one very critical component that differentiates them completely: They don't, nor have they ever, been applied derogatorily to a minority group.

I could care less if calling something 'gay' has become ingrained in your language, much the way fuck may have. Using it as a pejorative is still a slur. You are equating a negative connotation with being part of a discriminated minority.

Tell you what, replace 'gay' in your usage with 'nigger' or 'Chinese'. Use it all the time. Then try to convince everyone that you've erased the negative racial connotations of the word and ... well, replaced them with non-racial negative connotations.

User avatar
Turambar
Posts: 234
Joined: Sat May 10, 2008 9:43 pm UTC

Re: Slurs

Postby Turambar » Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:48 pm UTC

Belial wrote:The difference is that fuck is not a slur, at least not as we're discussing them. It's a general epithet.

No one is saying "Oh me yarm, it is so bad to say "fuck"." I say it 30 times before breakfast.

Epithets that target minority groups, however, are a different ball of wax.

What about phrases like "getting off Scot free"? I've never in my life heard anybody seriously object to that term, even though it clearly targets a minority group and makes derogatory implications about them. And the Scots have certainly been plenty oppressed for hundreds and hundreds of years. Dare I suggest that we are not as sensitive to minority groups of white European origin? (Before anybody asks, no, I'm not a white supremacist, and I don't approve of other racial epithets either. I'm just pointing out a double standard)
"Physics is like sex. Sure, it may give some practical results, but that's not why we do it."
--Richard Feynman

User avatar
natraj
Posts: 1895
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:13 pm UTC
Location: away from Omelas

Re: Slurs

Postby natraj » Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:53 pm UTC

Turambar wrote:What about phrases like "getting off Scot free"? I've never in my life heard anybody seriously object to that term, even though it clearly targets a minority group and makes derogatory implications about them. And the Scots have certainly been plenty oppressed for hundreds and hundreds of years. Dare I suggest that we are not as sensitive to minority groups of white European origin? (Before anybody asks, no, I'm not a white supremacist, and I don't approve of other racial epithets either. I'm just pointing out a double standard)


Dare I suggest a ten-second google search that explains the (completely unrelated to Scottish people) origins of that term?

Incorrect examples aside, the reason for such a double standard is the power imbalance in our society. There is a difference between using a slur against a group that has historically been and still continues to be oppressed/subjugated, and between using a slur against one that currently holds the power/historically did the oppressing. White people are not a minority. Using slurs against them is still a dickish thing to do and still insulting and rude, but it doesn't wield any historical/societally backed-up power to keep them down.

(Like, if someone is calling a queer person 'faggot' or 'dyke' there's a huge amount of threat implicit in the word, considering how discriminated against/subjected to violence queer people are in society. Queer people using the generally derogatory term 'breeder' to refer to straight people is still, you know, derogatory, but it doesn't carry the weight of putting them in their place as second-class citizens along with it, cuz straight people aren't treated as such by society.)
You want to know the future, love? Then wait:
I'll answer your impatient questions. Still --
They'll call it chance, or luck, or call it Fate,
The cards and stars that tumble as they will.

pronouns: they or he

User avatar
Jessica
Jessica, you're a ...
Posts: 8337
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:57 pm UTC
Location: Soviet Canuckistan

Re: Slurs

Postby Jessica » Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:05 pm UTC

A better one is gyp.
doogly wrote:On a scale of Mr Rogers to Fascism, how mean do you think we're being?
Belial wrote:My goal is to be the best brain infection any of you have ever had.

User avatar
natraj
Posts: 1895
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:13 pm UTC
Location: away from Omelas

Re: Slurs

Postby natraj » Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:10 pm UTC

Jessica wrote:A better one is gyp.


That's definitely an ethnic slur (and against a very much typically discriminated against minority), but I don't think the Romani people are white Europeans, so I don't know if it proves their point.
You want to know the future, love? Then wait:
I'll answer your impatient questions. Still --
They'll call it chance, or luck, or call it Fate,
The cards and stars that tumble as they will.

pronouns: they or he

User avatar
Jessica
Jessica, you're a ...
Posts: 8337
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:57 pm UTC
Location: Soviet Canuckistan

Re: Slurs

Postby Jessica » Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:13 pm UTC

oops, sorry I thought he was looking for slurs which people use without thinking, not slurs against whites.
doogly wrote:On a scale of Mr Rogers to Fascism, how mean do you think we're being?
Belial wrote:My goal is to be the best brain infection any of you have ever had.

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Slurs

Postby Belial » Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:16 pm UTC

natraj wrote:
Jessica wrote:A better one is gyp.


That's definitely an ethnic slur (and against a very much typically discriminated against minority), but I don't think the Romani people are white Europeans, so I don't know if it proves their point.


It's also indicative of how these things are still bullshit even if no one is offended. Because 49 times out of 50, there isn't a rom around to get upset, but you're still perpetuating a certain attitude about them...

Also, for the record and to no one in particular, "Gypsy" is also a slur.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

User avatar
Gunfingers
Posts: 2401
Joined: Wed May 30, 2007 7:15 pm UTC

Re: Slurs

Postby Gunfingers » Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:22 pm UTC

To be fair, i don't think most people know they're perpetuating an attitude, or even know that there is anyone to perpetuate an attitude about. I know i didn't find out Romani was a distinct culture/ethnicity until a few years ago. Just figured "Gypsy" was another name for carnies or something.

apeman5291
Posts: 634
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2007 12:19 am UTC
Location: Columbia, SC, USA
Contact:

Re: Slurs

Postby apeman5291 » Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:45 pm UTC

I'm sorry if this is off topic, but what about slurs used in a historical/intellectual discussion. Like in this thread, nobody's going to get mad when someone uses the word "nigger" because they're using it to either discuss the word itself or discuss its uses. The reason I bring this up is that 99% of the time I hear the word "gypsy" is when someone is talking about the holocaust. "Hitler didn't just hate the Jews, he put gypsies in concentration camps as well" and sentences similar to that one. At the same time, you wouldn't hear a sentence using a word with a stronger connotation, like "Hitler hated niggers," which is completely true by definition.

In other news, I agree with natraj: while rude, a slur against a majority group doesn't have the effect as one against a minority group. Speaking personally, the word "cracker" means absolutely nothing to me.
What you don't understand, you can make mean anything.

Laviak
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:15 am UTC

Re: Slurs

Postby Laviak » Sat Jan 31, 2009 4:37 am UTC

In my opinion, calling someone a dick is just as bad as calling something gay. Both perpetuate associations that I don't really want to promote.

Sure dick isn't exactly a slur against a minority group, but it promotes an association between men and insensitivity/selfishness, and that's not something I particularly want to do.


As far as racial slurs relating to whites go, how about "Pom" (or 'pohm') - it's pretty widely used in Australia, usually referring to the stereotypical "whinging pom".

User avatar
Number Eight
Posts: 102
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 2:35 pm UTC
Location: Europe

Re: Slurs

Postby Number Eight » Sat Jan 31, 2009 2:04 pm UTC

apeman5291 wrote:I'm sorry if this is off topic, but what about slurs used in a historical/intellectual discussion. Like in this thread, nobody's going to get mad when someone uses the word "nigger" because they're using it to either discuss the word itself or discuss its uses. The reason I bring this up is that 99% of the time I hear the word "gypsy" is when someone is talking about the holocaust. "Hitler didn't just hate the Jews, he put gypsies in concentration camps as well" and sentences similar to that one. At the same time, you wouldn't hear a sentence using a word with a stronger connotation, like "Hitler hated niggers," which is completely true by definition.


It's not - if you use these slurs in that context, you'd be taking (historical) sides - what's more, of these sides, you'd take the murderer's/oppressor's perspective. Scientific historical discussion talks about Jews, Roma, homosexuals, communists (...) being murdered.
Belial wrote:So if we switch to a soccer based economy, everything will be cool forever

User avatar
TheGrammarBolshevik
Posts: 4878
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:12 am UTC
Location: Going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.

Re: Slurs

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sat Jan 31, 2009 6:50 pm UTC

apeman5291 wrote:I'm sorry if this is off topic, but what about slurs used in a historical/intellectual discussion. Like in this thread, nobody's going to get mad when someone uses the word "nigger" because they're using it to either discuss the word itself or discuss its uses. The reason I bring this up is that 99% of the time I hear the word "gypsy" is when someone is talking about the holocaust. "Hitler didn't just hate the Jews, he put gypsies in concentration camps as well" and sentences similar to that one. At the same time, you wouldn't hear a sentence using a word with a stronger connotation, like "Hitler hated niggers," which is completely true by definition.

In other news, I agree with natraj: while rude, a slur against a majority group doesn't have the effect as one against a minority group. Speaking personally, the word "cracker" means absolutely nothing to me.


There is a vast difference between uttering the word "nigger" while discussing its usage and uttering the word "Gypsy" while discussing persecution of the Romani people. The last usage is not technical in any sense; it only happens because it is repeated uncritically by people unfamiliar with the problem of antiziganism¹ (and, of course, by open bigots). Your example is essentially tautological; slurs usually have accurate denotations, but they are harmful for their connotations. "Nigger" only seems like a stronger slur because Roms usually aren't around to challenge prejudiced language where you and I live, and because less progress has been made against open hatred of the Romani people.

Also, the Roma are definitely not a group.

¹ As if to prove my point, Firefox spellcheck does not recognize "antiziganism" as a word. Also note how I keep using different words to refer to the Romani; people like me, who are isolated from that particular "flavor" of racism, don't have any reason to learn the proper terms.
Nothing rhymes with orange,
Not even sporange.

apeman5291
Posts: 634
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2007 12:19 am UTC
Location: Columbia, SC, USA
Contact:

Re: Slurs

Postby apeman5291 » Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:15 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Roms usually aren't around to challenge prejudiced language where you and I live

This is what I was looking for, thank you for clearing that up.

Also, "by definition" meant according to a word's denotation. What makes a slur bad is its connotation. A slur is equivalent to less offensive terms for the same people in denotation, but the emotional association brings up all sorts of negative thoughts:
gmalivuk wrote:I don't like to hear white people say "nigger" because I don't like being forced to call to mind the racist connotations it bears. I don't want to be forced to try on the thought that African Americans are somehow contemptible. And the same goes for "fag", "slut", and any number of other slurs.
What you don't understand, you can make mean anything.

User avatar
Alder
Posts: 738
Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2008 11:20 am UTC
Location: Scotland

Re: Slurs

Postby Alder » Sun Feb 01, 2009 12:02 pm UTC

apeman5291 wrote:In other news, I agree with natraj: while rude, a slur against a majority group doesn't have the effect as one against a minority group. Speaking personally, the word "cracker" means absolutely nothing to me.

I've previously horrifed a chatroom of Americans by saying someone was 'an absolute cracker'...that being Scots slang for amazing/great/gorgeous. Two nations separated by a common language, or something.

Um...racial slurs in common use 400 years on: Dutch courage, Dutch uncle, double Dutch, to go Dutch. (There's a bunch of others that it was used in, but they've largely died out. These date back to the 17th century when the Dutch and the English were both military and trading rivals. As a result 'Dutch' came to be used as a general insult - "My chickens are the finest in London, sir, or I'm a Dutchman!" Double Dutch, meaning gibberish, that couldn't be understood by an Englishman. Also "...to go Dutch means a gentleman expects his lady guest to pay for herself. Fair enough these days, but not the behaviour of an English gentleman 400 years ago, the inference being that it was normal behaviour for a Dutchman." (Summarised/quoted from 'Red Herrings and White Elephants'.)

I'm not entirely sure what my point is. Except that I'm fairly sure that, except during the World Cup, most English folk harbour no animosity towards the Dutch now.
Plasma Man wrote:I might have to get rid of some of my breadbins.

Kulantan wrote:I feel a great disturbance in the Fora, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and then kinda trailed off to a grumble.

gibberishtwist
Posts: 306
Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2008 9:19 am UTC

Re: Slurs

Postby gibberishtwist » Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:10 pm UTC

.
"We have reached the limits of what rectal probing can teach us."Image


Return to “Serious Business”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: ivnja, jewish_scientist and 12 guests