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  1. #1

    Default The trouble with a culture trying to "own" a slur...

    ...is that you can't. Right? Am I wrong? What do you think?

    Gwyneth Paltrow in trouble for tweet

    Gwyneth Paltrow is involved in a Twitter-related controversy that I will now explain to you because that’s my job. First, the facts: On June 1, Gwynnie tweeted, “[N-words] in paris for real [@Terius Nash] (the dream) tyty, beehigh” with a picture of three people at a Kanye West and Jay-Z “Watch the Throne” performance.
    (Nash is the songwriter better known as The-Dream. “Tyty” is Jay-Z’s friend, “Beehigh” is the rapper’s cousin.)

    Some Twitter users became upset with Paltrow for her use of the N-word (which she had composed with letters and stars), to which she responded, “Hold up. It’s the title of the song!” The-Dream came to her defense, first trying to take credit for the tweet then saying there’s too much power given to the word. It’s too bad that’s there not a GOOP guide to Twitter Paltrow could have used.
    Why is it that of all the minority groups, there remains a persistent segment of the black community that is determined to own the pejorative once directed at them rather than just discard it? Why try to repurpose and reclaim it, then criticize non-blacks for following the lead? The reason the word won't die is because they won't let it. I don't run around calling my white family members honkies and crackers or my Mexican relations spicks and wetbacks. Seems like common sense to me. I know there are plenty of black folks that feel the same way as I do (my black relations for starters), but some people didn't get the memo.

    So, what gives?
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  2. #2
    Senior Member Viridian's Avatar
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    We should have an official it's-in-the-lyrics-but-I'm-white word. Any takers?
    Tentative typing: ISFJ 6w5 or 9w1 (Sp/S[?]).

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    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Viridian View Post
    We should have an official it's-in-the-lyrics-but-I'm-white word. Any takers?
    Mayonnaise
    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.

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    /MJ eatiing popcorn gif.

  5. #5
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    Default The N Word

    First off I'm going write the word "nigger", so if seeing that word offends you, you have been warned.

    Before I start my analysis, I think Ms. Paltrow was wrong to tweet what she did, and I'll explain why towards the end.

    I have no problem with people trying to reclaim a slur, like when women use the word "bitch" to describe themselves. Whether they are smart to do this, rather than just letting the word die is another matter.

    If a group tries to reclaim a slur, a problem arises when those outside the group believe this then allows them to use the slur in a casual or even pejorative manner. NO.

    As a white person, you do not get to call your black friend "my nigga" without express consent beforehand. You do not get to recite rap lyrics strolling down the street. Perhaps some day the word will lose it's insulting meaning, but that probably will not happen within your lifetime. If you do not fit the profile of who the slur would apply to, you do not get to use it so casually. Allowing that gives people who do mean the pejorative meaning of the word cover to insult and belittle while claiming they don't actually mean it. We all know or have seen on the internet racist/sexist/whateverist people use that exact argument.

    Where one can write/say the word is when discussing the word and its meaning itself (like this post). I find it absurd to use convoluted phrases like "the N-word" or even Ms. Paltrow's "ni**as" when talking about the word "nigger". I'm not using the word casually or as an insult. One has to be able to freely discuss a word without resorting to linguistic gymnastics. People already know what word it is, dancing around actually using the word just makes it worse. Louis CK has a great bit on this, I don't feel like finding the youtube video, just google it.

    Not allowing the word to be discussed freely in any context imbues the word with an even greater power than before. Saying non-black people can never say/write the word elevates it to a mythic level. When it is used as an insult, it is more shocking than ever. The word will never be reclaimed, and will be forever over the heads of black people as the ultimate insult/slur.

    So why was Ms. Paltrow wrong with her tweet?

    Because as I discussed above it's all about context.

    She tweeted the following: "Ni**as in paris for real @mrteriusnash (the dream) tyty, beehigh". The three names are, as the OP stated: Nash is the songwriter better known as The-Dream. “Tyty” is Jay-Z’s friend, “Beehigh” is the rapper’s cousin.

    The problem wasn't using the title, in fact if she had written "Niggas" instead of "Ni**as" I wouldn't have a problem with that. It's the title of the song.

    The problem was the words "for real" which could imply that there were two black rappers performing "Niggas in Paris" in Paris, and the two black rappers were in fact, niggas.

    I don't think that's what she meant, which is why I don't really think much of it. It was poorly worded, a mistake, rather than an insult.

    A better worded tweet would be: "Niggas in Paris actually IN PARIS". Making clear the fact the song referencing Paris was being performed in Paris, and not that Jay-Z and Kanye are "niggas". This is what I believe Ms. Paltrow's actual intent was.

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    Reigning Bologna Princess Rajah's Avatar
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    She didn't even write the damned tweet. Rapper The Dream took her phone and tweeted.


    http://observer.com/2012/06/gwyneth-...ut-not-really/


    I... suppose. Yeah!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rajah View Post
    She didn't even write the damned tweet. Rapper The Dream took her phone and tweeted.


    http://observer.com/2012/06/gwyneth-...ut-not-really/
    I saw that, but I don't know whether I believe it or not. For argument's sake I assume she did.

  8. #8
    defying your expectations SoraMayhem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGuffin View Post
    ...
    I've recently been thinking a lot about the meaning of language, especially 'offensive' language, and would really like to hear your opinion of 'reclaiming slurs'. I do absolutely agree with you that the issue of one marginalized group using a slur about themselves in a self-referential way gives no right to a privileged person to use the word(s) in question, but that still leaves the original issue murky.
    4w5-1w2-5w4 -- RLUAI -- Chaotic Good/Neutral

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    Ask me about my crippling social dysfunction!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Chaotic Harmony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGuffin View Post
    I saw that, but I don't know whether I believe it or not. For argument's sake I assume she did.
    I'm glad I'm not the only one that questioned whether it was true or not.... I just have a hard time believing he would "spell" it that way....


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by raine_lynn View Post
    I've recently been thinking a lot about the meaning of language, especially 'offensive' language, and would really like to hear your opinion of 'reclaiming slurs'. I do absolutely agree with you that the issue of one marginalized group using a slur about themselves in a self-referential way gives no right to a privileged person to use the word(s) in question, but that still leaves the original issue murky.
    I don't think it's a good idea. They're certainly allowed to do it, but I think it inadvertently gives the slur more power - like the freakout with Ms. Paltrow's tweet.

    "We can use this word, but YOU can't!" Great. Now you've made the slur even more potent as an insult.

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