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  1. #181
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    Um, why?

    Bitch and slut are two negative words that are invariably connected to women, yet removing the negative use of these words would not be achieved by divorcing them from their implicitly held female-connotations, but rather can be achieved by one limiting their use of these words in inappropriate contexts where the use of them would inevitably offend or hurt someone's feelings.
    I agree that in reality that is probably the only thing to be done. However that tactic doesn't ever completely remove the negative uses of the words...it just limits them to a certain extent, or hushes them up. If there were any way to actually detach the utterance from its meaning, then I would imagine it to be more effective. In any case, I have heard quite a few people say that women should stop using those terms towards each other.
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  2. #182
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    By N word, do you mean iNtuition and the anti-S bias?

    Okay, okay, I know which one you meant. The one with two g's that you're not supposed to say.

    I don't use the word in public, although I admit that it has slipped out when I'm very angry with a person of that race (although never to their face, usually when complaining about them to another friend I know isn't sensitive to the language). Basically, I know I shouldn't say it because it's wrong, but when I'm complaining to someone who I know doesn't mind hearing it and no one who could get offended is around, it slips. I think it's an unfortunate habit I acquired from growing up in the South. I'm pretty ashamed of the fact that my conditioning to hearing the word once in a while results in me using it when I'm mad and complaining, honestly, because it really doesn't reflect my opinion of that race. It's been a few years since I last used it, actually.

    I imagine it's pretty much the same for people of that race who use the word in a non-derogatory way. They know they probably shouldn't say it on some level, but they're used to using it, and they know no one is getting offended, so it kind of slips.

    Ideally, we should all stop using it, because I think the word will always carry some of that original negative connotation... even when it's jokingly used. But it's not reasonable to expect this to happen, since it's too ingrained in people's habits.

    So, I'd say in terms of strict propriety, no one should say it, especially since it's a slang word anyway. In casual terms, people of that race can use it, but others can't.

  3. #183
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    I hold George Carlin's position on the "N" word. If you do not know that position, go find out, lol.

  4. #184
    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    I agree that in reality that is probably the only thing to be done. However that tactic doesn't ever completely remove the negative uses of the words...it just limits them to a certain extent, or hushes them up. If there were any way to actually detach the utterance from its meaning, then I would imagine it to be more effective. In any case, I have heard quite a few people say that women should stop using those terms towards each other.
    "If there were any way to actually detach the utterance from its meaning, then I would imagine it to be more effective"

    I'm sorry, but I don't know what you mean by that.

    In essence, most words gain their true meaning solely by the context in which they happen to be spoken/stated which includes: who the speaker/writer is, to whom the speaker is addressing along with the audience who happens to receive it, the reason and intent behind they're stating it, and the tone in which they're stated.


    And on a slightly random side-note:

    I happen to *hate* the word slut and cringe whenever I hear/read someone using it because a.) I do not think that *any* woman is, can be, or can act like a "slut", and b.) because I find the word to have immense misogynistic roots and undertones.

    Obviously, when people use the word entirely jokingly with *zero* undertones of backhanded malice, I have no problem with it, but that is rare.

    On the flip side, I absolutely the word bitch, though!!!

    Whenever a guy calls me a bitch, I take it as a compliment because that means they *subconsciously* fear me because I happen to be assertive and intelligent and lacking of a Y chromosome.
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  5. #185
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    I'm sorry, but I don't know what you mean by that.

    In essence, most words gain their true meaning solely by the context in which they happen to be spoken/stated which includes: who the speaker/writer is, to whom the speaker is addressing along with the audience who happens to receive it, the reason and intent behind they're stating it, and the tone in which they're stated.
    The utterance of the "N-word" currently signifies black people regardless of context. If it didn't then it would no longer be offensive. Do you see? It's sort of paradoxical because the only reason that the word is "wrong" is because it refers to black people, yet to restrict it so that only black people can use it keeps the connection between the word and the racial group alive and fresh. Edit: And I should add (for the sake of clarity) that in doing so, the connection is made to be legitimate, and the one factor that makes the word offensive (namely, its connection to a specific racial group) is maintained.

    If the meaning of the word is determined solely by the context in which it is uttered, then why is it "wrong" for a white person to use the term under any circumstances? Its wrongness in that case would have to be determined by the context.
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  6. #186
    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    The utterance of the "N-word" currently signifies black people regardless of context. If it didn't then it would no longer be offensive. Do you see? It's sort of paradoxical because the only reason that the word is "wrong" is because it refers to black people, yet to restrict it so that only black people can use it keeps the connection between the word and the racial group alive and fresh.
    No, the word is "wrong" because of how it's been used, in a historical context, by certain white people as a means to insult, degrade, and berate black people as being that of less than human.

    It is "wrong" in that it can be used in a derogatory way.

    However, despite the fact that in the United States the word "nigger" happens to primarily be known and regarded as a derogatory term used to refer to a black person, colloquially, amongst certain subgroups of the black population, it is and has become a word whose many usages and meanings have evolved to signify and convey several things distinct from its initial derogatory roots.

    What is so wrong about keeping the word alive and fresh?

    Would it be better if we were to never hear it?

    If the meaning of the word is determined solely by the context in which it is uttered, then why is it "wrong" for a white person to use the term under any circumstances? Its wrongness in that case would have to be determined by the context.
    I never said it was "wrong" for a white person to use the term under any circumstances. I can think of quite a few circumstances where using the word nigger is okay, <------ that being one of them, i.e. in a purely journalistic or academic context, or I can also see how an author or an artist or poet might use the word as a satirical or symbolic tool in their work.
    `
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  7. #187
    Wonderer Samuel De Mazarin's Avatar
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    All this talk about the word 'nigger' is inherently 'wrong' is irrelevant.

    Living language is an entity that is not absolute but relative... it is a resultant of the language-use of a vast multiplicity of speakers... thus, if we're even having to debate its use, its probably going to remain taboo.

    language changes... psychiatrists stopped using terms like 'manic-depressive' and 'moron', even though their original denotations were value-neutral, because the terms accrued bad vibes over their history of use... now, using 'manic-depressive' or 'moron' in a clinical context could get you sued or fired or both...

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    Also, from the "I'm voting Republican..." thread... do any of you find use of the term 'mulatto' offensive? (I don't think this is a major tangent because it relates very closely to the use of the term 'nigger')
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  8. #188
    Wonderer Samuel De Mazarin's Avatar
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    Here's what happened so far in the "I'm voting Republican..." thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Samuel De Mazarin
    I'd just like to say that I find the term "mulatto" very offensive, along with [related terms] "octoroon" and "quadroon"[,etc.]... this is the legacy of 'white' slaveowners and colonialists characterizing Africans as breeds, which we don't do with people from other backgrounds.
    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy
    mulatto is a legitimate term.
    Quote Originally Posted by Samuel De Mazarin
    Legitimate? What's your standard for legitimacy?

    You do know that the term 'mulatto' derives from the Spanish for 'mule', right? And mules are generally infertile progeny of horses and donkeys?

    The U.S. census officially stopped using the term 'mulatto' back before the Civil Rights movement...

    Whatever... I'm sure you'll justify it by referring to how many people use it... I don't think it makes it kosher...

    Beyond all this... why do we have such a word for half-black/half-whites and not for other racial mixtures? Doesn't this make you wonder about the origin of the word?
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  9. #189
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    No, the word is "wrong" because of how it's been used, in a historical context, by certain white people as a means to insult, degrade, and berate black people as being that of less than human.

    It is "wrong" in that it can be used in a derogatory way.

    However, despite the fact that in the United States the word "nigger" happens to primarily be known and regarded as a derogatory term used to refer to a black person, colloquially, amongst certain subgroups of the black population, it is and has become a word whose many usages and meanings have evolved to signify and convey several things distinct from its initial derogatory roots.

    What is so wrong about keeping the word alive and fresh?

    Would it be better if we were to never hear it?
    No, it would be better if we could all hear it without having to conjure up its derogatory meaning. I'm not agreeing with Elisabeth from the clip, who presumably wants the word outlawed for everyone. I'm just saying that the word should be allowed to evolve generally, and not just among "certain subgroups of the black population".

    In fact, I would say that the very reason that the word has gained new meaning among certain black populations is because they have successfully divorced it from its original derogatory meaning. This seems obvious, as it hardly makes sense for a black person to cast aspersions on another black person for being black. It is a different story for a "white" person who wants to use the word in different ways, though. It's almost as if they are not allowed to move past the derogatory meaning because they have to pay some sort of penance or atone for its use in the past. They are not allowed to "play" with the word because that would be tantamount to denying that its use was ever derogatory in the first place. I only mean to say that I think, at some point, we all have to move on.

    And don't get me wrong...it's not that I personally have any burning desire to use the word at all. I'm just talking about the issue in principle.


    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    I never said it was "wrong" for a white person to use the term under any circumstances. I can think of quite a few circumstances where using the word nigger is okay, <------ that being one of them, i.e. in a purely journalistic or academic context, or I can also see how an author or an artist or poet might use the word as a satirical or symbolic tool in their work.
    Yes, but like I said, it always has to refer to the derogatory use, even if we're just talking about it in a general way. To move beyond that, for a member of the "white" population, is still socially unacceptable. Now I know a lot of this depends on the situation and the persons involved, but in general, I think it's safe to assume that "nigger" is not a term that you use playfully if you are white, even if you are with a black person whom you deem to be a close friend.

    Edit: And to answer Samuel de Mazarin's question, I do find that I wince at the use of the term "mulatto". I think that it's archaic and that the name sort of objectifies the people to whom it refers, not unlike referring to a hybrid breed of dog or cat. But unlike the word 'nigger', I don't hear many people who could be considered 'mulatto' calling themselves by the name. I think that makes a big difference because the word no longer has a reality.
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  10. #190
    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    There will forever be racial epithets and derogatory words found amongst and used within the English language , always.

    And what are you referring to when you say that "we all have to move on", move on from what?
    `
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