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  1. #41
    defying your expectations SoraMayhem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dala View Post
    As to power, that is a funny thing. A person or group can have or lack power regardless of institutional injustices. A while kid walking through a 'black' neighbourhood can easily be just as powerless as a black kid walking through a 'white' neighbourhood, and the consequences can be just as dire for either one if they're targeted for violence.
    But individual violence and circumstances don't apply in this case, since I'm using the sociological definition of power, which is institutionalized, not individualized.

    I'll get off the soapbox now.
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  2. #42
    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dala View Post
    People are already using it in the manner you describe. Ideally, words with such hateful connotations would simply stop being used entirely out of basic respect for human decency. Barring that fantasy, I see allowing all people to use the word (in a positive way) as a superior solution when compared to allowing a specific racial group to use it.
    When you say it regardless of the intent it can remind someone of many painful moments. It's like throwing a punch at somebody's face and expecting them not to react. Oh, did I startle you? I'm sorry, my intent was to bring a little fun into your day! It's like pointing a toy gun at a stranger. "Omg, it's just a toy!" Is not a good excuse.
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  3. #43
    defying your expectations SoraMayhem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGuffin View Post
    How does one know a negative word is used in a positive way? When the intent is clear. If one is a member of the group against which the word is applied, it is easier to tell that person is not using that word in the historical negative context. If one is a member of another group that has historically used the word in a negative manner, then intention becomes very muddled.

    No one should use racial slurs at all, but if they are used, it is far easier to discern intent when used by a member of the afflicted racial group. Other racial groups don't get the same pass because the slur is not about their group and they are often the reason why that word is a slur in the first place.

    Oppresive racial groups don't suddenly get to ignore history and social context when they created that very history and social context. It takes time to erase that.
    QFT. Wish I had more to add, but you pretty much covered it for me.
    4w5-1w2-5w4 -- RLUAI -- Chaotic Good/Neutral

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  4. #44
    defying your expectations SoraMayhem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    Wrong. My father was a poor white kid growing up in an all-black area of Detroit and I assure it can go both ways.
    I was a poor white kid in an all-black area of Memphis. Your father almost certainly experienced prejudice and discrimination, but I'm using the sociological definition of racism which is institutionalized power + prejudice. White people hold a privileged position in the western world and as such can not experience racism.
    4w5-1w2-5w4 -- RLUAI -- Chaotic Good/Neutral

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  5. #45
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    Default Please excuse the wall of text, but we're on page 5 and I had a lot to respond to. :P

    Oooh, what a big juicy discussion. :rubs hands together eagerly:

    I actually started writing this big response when I saw Iwakar's OP but I think my Ipad erased it. I am shocked, freaking SHOCKED, that @MacGuffin said some stuff I agree with. OMG. The world is ending. But, back to the topic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    The groups don't even agree.

    I had a spirited conversation with some LGB's the other week here at work over the terms "queer" and "tranny" -- same topic. The consensus here was more just to avoid them rather than trying to reclaim them, because they seem tainted beyond all repair. In-group, members will use them; but don't publicize them or try to reclaim them. Once a label gets tainted, it's like nuclear fall-out; it takes a long time for the half-life to settle.
    Even if you are 'in-group' and belong to the umbrella GLBTQQA (go acronyms! ) group how you feel about terms and what you want to claim for yourself and either others "in your group" depends mostly on politics and generation - since different words will resonate with a different personal significance for you. Generally older biowomen prefer to terms 'gay and lesbian' and it's a younger and more politcally radically group of female born women who prefer terms like queer or more colorfully 'genderfuck' to describe where they're at on the gender and sexuality spectrum. Generally older women still remember how derogatory 'queer' was but I think if you're in at the tail end of Gen X and definitely Gen Y the word is was leeched of most of the hurtful aura by the time you heard it.

    There is A LOT that goes into a word, particularly the ones you choose. Queer is probably the most successfully 'reclaimed' word in America. Then again, most homophobes still prefer "fag" and "dyke bitch" to queer when they spew hate. That probably helps. For a younger generation, queer isn't even an insult and no one even uses it really to say "that's strange".

    Quote Originally Posted by dala View Post
    Words don't lose negative connotations by being forbidden, but they may lose them by being used differently. Allowing it for a single group while disallowing it to others actively enhances any us-versus-them mentality that already existed, in this case effectively encouraging racism. I would argue that the best way for this (and any) word to be reclaimed is to accept it in any form that is not deliberately offensive, regardless of speaker or audience.
    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Particularly if the thing allowed/disallowed is an ubiquitous cultural phenomenon within one group while being disallowed for another group-it casually separates people into ingroups and outgroups and discourages cross-assimilation.
    That assumes there is no "us-versus-them mentality" already in place and that people are not already separated. Basically that no racism exists. If there were no racism and no racist history, there would be no such words for us to be debating about to being with.

    Quote Originally Posted by dala View Post
    Of course they are, unless you're using a different definition of discrimination than I am. To clarify, I am using the following definition:

    discrimination: to make a distinction in favor of or against a person or thing on the basis of the group, class, or category to which the person or thing belongs rather than according to actual merit

    Basically, my assertion is that you can't discourage racism by actively allowing/disallowing things based on race.
    Time for an affirmative action thread!!

    Kidding. As for your definition of discrimination, I think what's more salient is the concept of oppression and specifically the institutionalized kind. If all of a sudden you decide you hate people where blue shirts and aren't going to serve them at your store, that's discrimination. But socially is this significant? But, if you a target a historically marginalized group you're just perpetuating that BS and it will be just 1 instance of many throughout their lifetime.

    Quote Originally Posted by 5231311252 View Post
    I personally think it's a waste for anyone to be offended by any word or any symbol when these things can easily be twisted to mean something else.
    'Kay, end sum, it doesn't matter if you think that. What matters is what the person on the receiving end of the word thinks. Especially if you personally have a totally different relationship to the word and no personal conception of the impact that word can have.

    Same goes for dyke, faggot, tranny, wetback and etc etc. Have you even tried asking the people who say it why they use it?
    I think Jennifer and Randomnity and the Rain Lynne touched on that but I also answered that above.

    Quote Originally Posted by UniqueMixture View Post
    I gotta disagree with you Mac, perhaps I can get away with certain things because I can read peoole really well and know how to apologize
    I highly doubt this.

    But on the larger level there is distinct difference between "being okay" in a private conversation and when something is offensive or racist period. If we're just talking about "how to say offensive things without offending people" it's a no brainer, it's literally as simple as MacGuffin said (<--gawd, I can't believe I'm saying that!!!) then "it depends on your audience".

    From a social boundaries and legal perspective you can be as disgusting, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, etc. in the privacy of your home or with your Klansmen meet-up. However, you can't do this at work and even if you are a homophobic SOB you can't OPENLY fire or refuse to serve someone for being gay. You have to get clever with it.

    In certain company where everyone says "I'm okay with this" you can say whatever you want.

    At the end of the day, even if those individuals say it's ok does than mean the words you use lose any of the hateful historical significance or are not problematic? I think that was the bigger question @iwakar was asking.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wind-Up Rex View Post
    I think for those who advocate reclaiming the word, the issue is history. It carries with it the pain of being dehumanized, but it is nonetheless part of the story of our community. The past cannot be "discarded, so we tried to integrate it on our terms. There's ambivalence about relinquishing ownership. How could someone else possibly understand what they haven't lived? In a perfect world, relinquishing "nigger" would symbolize a sort of final integration, that at last our narrative is a part of some greater whole. But it would be a culmination, rather than a start.
    OMG, thank you so much for saying all that.
    “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” ― Oscar Wilde

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  6. #46
    defying your expectations SoraMayhem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CzeCze View Post
    .....
    [{this is good}]

    Thanks for being more eloquent than I, and for addressing some posts which I had meant to, but neglected.
    4w5-1w2-5w4 -- RLUAI -- Chaotic Good/Neutral

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  7. #47
    XES 5231311252's Avatar
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    'Kay, end sum, it doesn't matter if you think that. What matters is what the person on the receiving end of the word thinks. Especially if you personally have a totally different relationship to the word and no personal conception of the impact that word can have.
    This thread is for us to express our opinion(s) and it may not matter to you, but apparently it matters to someone.
    “'Fuck', I think. What a beautiful word. If I could say only one thing for the rest of my life, that would be it.”

  8. #48
    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    @CzeCze quote my next post in this thread too please 9_9
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  9. #49
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5231311252 View Post
    This thread is for us to express our opinion(s) and it may not matter to you, but apparently it matters to someone.
    To clarify, I wasn't discounting your personal opinion. It is your personal opinion and we all have them and need to express them for productive discussion.

    However as far as the larger conversation goes (what I meant by "end sum") about reclaiming words and their significance, it doesn't matter if you or another individual or even an entire group of people thinks no one should be offended by a word that does not apply to them. And even if you are an individual who thinks that a word that does apply to you isn't offensive, that will have little bearing on one what another person from the same group thinks. Hence why there is division even amongst groups about the use of 'naming words'. There is no "live and let live" when it comes to hate speech or words that were once notorious with hate speech. Though, that is a reason - "people shouldn't give power to things by being upset/who cares" - that many people who purposely use slurs give in order to absolve themselves of responsibility.

    I was pointing out that sentiment "nothing should be offensive/everyone should say what they want" etc. does not change the actual historical significance or gut impact of the words. And as long as there are "large numbers" of people from certain groups (for people who like to use facts and figures to bolster their arguments ) who will still find certain words offensive, that word is offensive. Period. Only the person who the term applies to gets to decide if something is personally offensive to them. And even then the issue is more complicated because other people can say "even if personally you are not offended, I am offended FOR you and on behalf of everyone who belongs to XYZ group because of the principle".

    The significance of hate speech and the process of groups 'reclaiming' words has much more to do with just intent or even the immediate audience or lack of malice or awareness. You may hold the ideals that no one should offended by anything, but those intentions have no significant impact on the person receiving the word, except maybe tick them off even more.

    Now, if EVERYONE in the world though that nothing was offensive, we wouldn't be having this conversation. But, that's not the case.

    I hope that was clear.
    “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” ― Oscar Wilde

    "I'm outtie 5000" ― Romulux

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  10. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by raine_lynn View Post
    I was a poor white kid in an all-black area of Memphis. Your father almost certainly experienced prejudice and discrimination, but I'm using the sociological definition of racism which is institutionalized power + prejudice. White people hold a privileged position in the western world and as such can not experience racism.
    Power is situational because context is always relevant. Just because it's less common doesn't mean it doesn't apply. You can always revise your own definitions, just not everyone else's.

    Quote Originally Posted by CzeCze View Post
    That assumes there is no "us-versus-them mentality" already in place and that people are not already separated.
    That does not assume that. It reinforces rather than dissipates preexisting divides. In this context, why deliberately encourage them?
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

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