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  1. #11
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    It's a strange thing.

    I think it's only the meaning of the word that is really important (not to say that some phrases or word choices aren't inherently racist/hating). That's why I never understood why people can make any real arguments against profanity on moral grounds (without using religion). If I change the letters but the meaning is exactly the same, then nothing has really changed.

    With that said, everyone doesn't think about these things and are overly zealous/righteous so a reasonable person is forced to make some concessions and regulate their word use.
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

    Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office
    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

  2. #12
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    I agree. I know you're Canadian and I think Canada is particularly guilty of this. I mean, taking it to such an extreme that it becomes laughable. I am from the West Coast and probably went to the most PC university in the world. "Ombudsperson", "non-gender-specific language" and "craftspersonlike", anyone??
    I'm pretty damn PC overall, I would say. I don't like the awkward names, but I do agree with changing job titles to be non-gender specific, like fireman-->firefighter, policeman-->police officer, stewardess-->flight attendant, etc. Gender discrimination is bad enough without having it implicit in the job title! But sure, it can go overboard.
    Personally, I think terms such as "Indian giver" are best avoided because they imply that native Americans/Canadians are dishonest...etc. But then, in Canada at least you're not supposed to use "Indian" at all - it's "First Nations", which again I think is a bit OTT. What is wrong with respectfully saying "native Canadian" or something similar? Otherwise you get stuck with something pretentious like "an individual of First Nations origin." !!
    I think native canadian is (or should be) fine, but Indian is objectionable since from my understanding it's only because the landmass was originally misidentified as India. So it's both confusing and maybe a little insulting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    I don't think it does any harm to be made aware of the origins of words and how/when/why they are offensive, or at least to be made aware of the fact that they could be offensive. At worst it encourages a fleeting kind of empathy for one's interlocutors, and at best it provides a motivation for critical inspection of one's privilege and how it affects people who don't have that privilege.

    The problem is that language policing (which, mind you, is different than being critical of language and raising awareness) can easily become a vehicle for some people's out of control self-righteousness, and at that point it's no longer about educating or changing prejudicial attitudes; rather, it turns into an ego and a power issue, and everybody who can sense it rankles at the idea of somebody setting themselves up on a moral high ground just to sneer down at them from above and justify controlling behavior.
    I agree with all of this.

    I also think context is relevant. Calling a person with a mental handicap "retarded" is highly, highly offensive (mostly due to history from what I understand, since the literal meaning is "slower" which doesn't seem that bad to me?). Calling a situation or idea retarded is no different from calling it dumb/lame/crazy/etc. Which is generally accepted, with the exception of a few very sensitive individuals.

    I am curious whether the situation might appear differently to someone who is handicapped, or mentally ill, or whatever. I'm sure that each of those subpopulations has its share of oversensitive vs. tactless individuals too, but I'm curious whether the majority of (let's say) schizophrenic people would be insulted by people saying "crazy" or "hearing things" or whatever.
    -end of thread-

  3. #13
    royal member Rasofy's Avatar
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    -----------------

    A man builds. A parasite asks 'Where is my share?'
    A man creates. A parasite says, 'What will the neighbors think?'
    A man invents. A parasite says, 'Watch out, or you might tread on the toes of God... '


    -----------------

  4. #14
    Senior Member Viridian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CzeCze View Post
    Also,the question starts to differ when you're talking about referring to things generally or referring to someone face to face. Or does it? Also I think part of the pushback from questions like the OP is that there's often a gut reaction of irritation at being told "you can't do that". It doesn't matter if youre being told not to smoke indoors (because it exposes others to unhealthy etc) or not to wear miniskirts (because it's indecent and immodest) or not to swear in front of kids, etc. if its something you are use to doing and enjoy doing, you automatically want to rail against the entity telling you "no you can't do that"

    Some people might say this is linked to a sense of entitlement and privilege but if you want to take those notions out of the picture you could also say its a matter of expectation and habit. If you are very used to saying something one way you will be resitant to change.
    Part of the problem, I think, is that there isn't a list or "code" that spells out what is or isn't acceptable. You have no way of knowing for sure what's offensive or not without the damage being done first. I never thought "look before you leap" was offensive, but, since I do not belong to the group of people who that phrase is offensive to, I simply nod and say, "okey dokey!".

    To answer your question Viridian, you could always say:

    That's wack!

    also, don't you know Portuguese? Isn't there a nice word you can subsitute?
    Well, Portuguese is another matter. I was talking mostly about English. Although "retarded" is often used as an insult here, FWIW.

    Also, isn't "wack" (or "wacko") an insult originally aimed at those with mental illnesses?

    (I'll miss "lunatic", though - such a funny word!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    I am curious whether the situation might appear differently to someone who is handicapped, or mentally ill, or whatever. I'm sure that each of those subpopulations has its share of oversensitive vs. tactless individuals too, but I'm curious whether the majority of (let's say) schizophrenic people would be insulted by people saying "crazy" or "hearing things" or whatever.
    Yeah, I wonder how many of those offended are actual people with disabilities vs. people on the internet who want to feel morally superior to others. ("You know I'm so much purer than / the common, vulgar, weak, licentious crowd!")
    Tentative typing: ISFJ 6w5 or 9w1 (Sp/S[?]).

  5. #15
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Propagandists seek to substitute pejorative words for positive words in describing their enemies.

    And the same propagandists seek to substitute postive words for pejorative words in describing their friends.

    And so we know who the friends of the propagandists are by their use of ableist words in describing them.

    And so the propagandists enable their friends and disable their enemies.

  6. #16
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    Language is expression and voice and reason and laughter and swirling points of soul light. Why would I want to sully the waters with thoughts designed to protect those who have so much time on their hands (OMG WHAT IF THEY HAVE NO HANDS) that they will find offense where none is being given.

    My brain is a free range brain and I take the chance of both adoring and offending people with what flutters and flits outside; or perhaps creeps and slithers and dies.

    To sum up:

    This:


    This:


    Done.

  7. #17
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Viridian View Post
    I've browsed Tumblr in the recent past and found quite a lot of stuff on Social Justice subjects. One topic that seems to pop up from time to time is prejudiced language - not just racial slurs, but also gender-specific words and phrases like "bitch", "emasculate", "shrill", "slutty", "like a man", etc. It's a pretty interesting topic, and it made me try not to use these words anymore.

    Ableist language is another big issue, especially concerning mental conditions. Insults like "dumb", "lame", "retarded", "psycho", "spazz", "crazy", "insane" and others are variably considered offensive by people who have disabilities. Even phrases like "putting your best foot forward" and "look before you leap" are being condemned by those who believe this kind of language implies that "walking > rolling".

    Still, it raises the question: are there any words or phrases that culd be used in place of those, but without the ableist connotations/implications? I'm still struggling to find something with the same "flavor" as "lame"...
    I'm undecided about this sort of thing, it features in Ursula Le Guin's anarchist planet in The Dispossessed as a success but that is an ambivalent utopia and towards its conclusion demonstrates how entropy resulted in it simply becoming political correctness or being corrupted.

    Wittgenstein wrote some good stuff about words and meaning too, suggesting that their meaning can be more relative or ambiguous than people imagine and require some definition. For instance games, how do you define games? Fun? Well competition may not always be fun, it could be challenging. Winners and losers? Well some games dont have winners or losers but are still games.

    There is a lot of that language, like "spazz" etc. which I would never use, I never use the word "gay" in a prejorative sense and correct people when I hear that too, I never use political labels or definitions in prejorative senses when I'm not angry and can avoid it, so "liberal", "socialist", "libertarian" and "conservative" are neutral until something is tagged on like "scumbag" but I appreciate for some other people those words mean "scumbag" as they are. I dont talk that way because I want to be the change I want to see in the world or others. Which involves less hostility, less aggression, less deriving self-esteem from "othering" processes and put downs.

  8. #18
    Honor Thy Inferior Such Irony's Avatar
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    I think no matter what term you use, someone will be offended by it. There isn't a way around it. You can use a more politically correct term but even some of the politically correct terms someone could find offensive and then what are you going to replace it with?
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  9. #19
    I'm not Trunks
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    I don't know how to speak well with other people, but I do keep learning and have a bit improvement for the past few years. I didn't like to talk much, I think before I talk, but sometimes it just went wrong. Maybe I'm too blunt..I think the best way is learn to keep my mouth shut, and only talk when necessary.

  10. #20
    Senior Member FunnyDigestion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saturned View Post
    Language is expression and voice and reason and laughter and swirling points of soul light. Why would I want to sully the waters with thoughts designed to protect those who have so much time on their hands (OMG WHAT IF THEY HAVE NO HANDS) that they will find offense where none is being given.
    Well, if you're standing around some people who are mentally retarded, you wouldn't want to joke around with the word "retard" or something. With unsullied crystalline waters of calling your friends retards without knowing that retardation was an actual condition for people, you wouldn't know better. People would cry, they would beat you with swords.

    Thinking about the complexity of language doesn't sully it in my opinion, it thickens it. Makes it dense & rich like black soil.

    connotations!!
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