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  1. #191
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    There will forever be racial epithets and derogatory words found amongst and used within the English language , always.
    Yes, but they don't all inspire an equal amount of outrage when used by those who don't belong to the racial group being referred to. I can use the word "dago", for instance, to refer to my Italian friend playfully. I don't think, given the current climate, that I'd use the word "nigger" to refer to my black friends, even though I would never dream of using it in a derogatory way. What is it that makes these situations different?

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    And what are you referring to when you say that "we all have to move on", move on from what?
    This relates directly to the reasons why the term "nigger" invokes more outrage than other racial slurs. My theory is that the historical wrongs that are associated with the word are still too fresh in the mind of the public to be gotten over. That is why it is viewed as so wrong for "white" people to use the term freely, or to reinvent the term for their own purposes. To do that, as a "white" person, would mean forgetting about or denying the importance of how the term was originally used. By saying that "we all have to move on", I meant that it is my opinion that restricting the use, and consequently the evolution of the word to only black people will have to eventually end if we are to be completely rid of it's derogatory meaning. As it is, we are actually preserving its derogatory meaning and maintaining its potency as a form of insult.
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  2. #192
    / booyalab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    If blacks want to use the word, that's fine by me, it still doesn't make sense that I can't use it. I do not deserve the burden of my forefathers.
    I agree with you in principle, but think about this: if you can be sure there's a very good chance that someone will be offended when you use a particular expression, what is the point in using it other than to offend them? It's like any other form of profanity, people may focus on the word itself but it's all about the attitude behind it.
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  3. #193
    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    Yes, but they don't all inspire an equal amount of outrage when used by those who don't belong to the racial group being referred to. I can use the word "dago", for instance, to refer to my Italian friend playfully. I don't think, given the current climate, that I'd use the word "nigger" to refer to my black friends, even though I would never dream of using it in a derogatory way. What is it that makes these situations different?
    Um, historical context and relevancy?

    Black Americans today happen to be direct ancestors of *slaves*. And in the relatively short time since this country's inception, from slavery to indentured servitude to anti-miscegenation laws to segregation, politically and civilly, as a country, "we" have done to this select group of people immeasurable wrongs.

    This relates directly to the reasons why the term "nigger" invokes more outrage than other racial slurs. My theory is that the historical wrongs that are associated with the word are still too fresh in the mind of the public to be gotten over. That is why it is viewed as so wrong for "white" people to use the term freely, or to reinvent the term for their own purposes. To do that, as a "white" person, would mean forgetting about or denying the importance of how the term was originally used. By saying that "we all have to move on", I meant that it is my opinion that restricting the use, and consequently the evolution of the word to only black people will have to eventually end if we are to be completely rid of it's derogatory meaning. As it is, we are actually preserving its derogatory meaning and maintaining its potency as a form of insult.
    So what do you propose we should do then, instead?

    And what is wrong with words that incite potent feelings and memories?

    Your "we all have to move on" attitude/stance, I must admit, I find to be a bit bewildering.

    Should we move on from the Holocaust?

    From Nagasaki and Hiroshima?

    From the Armenian and Rwandan Genocides?
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  4. #194
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    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.
    These words are starting to fall into the "faggot pile" (pardon the phrase) I mentioned before, though. Have you been around high-school and college-age males recently? "Slut" has fallen into near-disuse, and you're almost as likely to see it on a woman's shirt as you are to hear it coming from a misogynist's mouth. And "bitch" is probably used as much for an effeminate or weak-willed male as it is for an assertive or intelligent (or angry and mean, in perception) woman. It's practically the opposite meaning for the other gender. Obviously, some men use "bitches" as a generic term for women, but that is tied up with elements of urban culture that aren't uniform across racial and class lines.
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  5. #195
    Plumage and Moult proteanmix'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. 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.
    Orangey, have you read any history about of the word was used historically? You seem to not be grasping the fact that the word, when used by white people towards black people typically is used as a pejorative. The context has already been set. When you go to the doctor they ask you about your medical history. They ask if certain illnesses or diseases run in your family. They do this to know if there's a chance or likelihood of you acquiring some of the illnesses that historically have manifested themselves in your family. In the medical history of America, the word nigger has sent America to the emergency room many times. I think there is little debate to be had over the "proper context" white people should be able to use nigger. The only proper context I think it's appropriate is when quoting or when in a discussion (like this).

    You are assuming that all things are equal, that nigger is an equal opportunity word and that the people who use it are social equals. It is not. It's whole purpose is to unequalize and disenfranchise. It has acquired other meanings, but what was and is it's primary purpose when used by whites towards blacks?

    Now when it's used by blacks towards other blacks what is it's purpose? I've said repeatedly that the the word has a multiplicity of meanings when used amongst black people. What you're saying is that, no, it doesn't have that flexibility or it shouldn't have it. If you think it's stupid for black people to call other black people nigger, OK, that's fine. It seems to me that some white people see the usage of nigger between black people as an unfair double standard. If black people can say it to one another (which once again the meaning of the word and how it's to be interpreted is dependent) then why can't white people say it casually? Once again, I think you are wrongly assuming that things are equal and level between whites and blacks when they are clearly not.

    The clip I linked to earlier had a two scenarios in it. In the interaction between the white man and black man, the white man realized "hey, I'm white, I don't have to interact with you like this because I know my position relative to you black man." The two black men interacting were portrayed as being equal in status. Calling each other nigger was like volleying a tennis ball.

    This is sort of what I was getting at when I made my Thoughtcrime thread, asking people are there some thoughts too dangerous to be seriously considered. I gathered the from the opinions of forum the answer was no. But here I notice that people are saying that nigger is such a dangerous that it should be said by no one at all.

    A white person calling a black person nigger is like dropping a nuke. I think of this as we know the "technology" exists to destroy. It's not going away because the knowledge is already there. OK, so who do we entrust this knowledge to, who are the keepers. who will be able to wield this knowledge, or technology, or power without killing us all? To say just stop using the word is completely unrealistic. People could just stop doing a lot of things and this world would be a better place. I don't think it's about not doing these things, but knowing how and when/when not to. You've got to teach people what they hold in their hands so they'll have a healthy respect of what they're capable of doing to another person.

  6. #196
    Oberon
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    Um... prote... people aren't going to quit saying it because you tell 'em not to.

    I don't use the word, myself... but that's not because of who you are.

    It's because of who I am.

  7. #197
    Plumage and Moult proteanmix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    Um... prote... people aren't going to quit saying it because you tell 'em not to.

    I don't use the word, myself... but that's not because of who you are.

    It's because of who I am.
    Yeah, I know! Do you think that's what I think? That's my whole argument, that it's not going away so saying people should just stop saying it is pointless and overly simplistic.

  8. #198
    Striving for balance Little Linguist's Avatar
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    Look, I do not want to offend anyone, but I think political correctness has gone way too far. I was in high school in the 90s, where if you used the word "fat" or "short" or whatever, it was considered a weird thing. Sure, I do not want to use a word that people consider offensive just to piss people off, but where do you draw the line? People need to stop being so damned sensitive about everything.

    In my opinion, you just have to take these things with a grain of salt. If I wanted to, I could get pissed off at everything people tell me. But life is too short to be pissed off all the time. If some arrogant, stupid, ignorant jerk wants to call me something, let him. Pffft!

    You are never going to get to a point where we all love each other and where everyone hugs each other and tells each other how valuable we all are. Personally, I like being kind to people whenever possible, and I get fussy when necessary, and feisty just to avoid being boring. However, not everyone is like me (Thank GOD!) and no one can bring everyone to this point.

    There's an expression in German: "Niemals versuchen, andere Leute zu erziehen." Don't try to educate other people. It just produces the opposite results.

    And if we aren't allowed to say that, then we need to forbid THEM from saying insulting words. Then other groups will say, "Don't say this, and don't say that" to the point where we can't say anything for fear of pissing someone off.

    Just grow a thick skin and let that be the end of it.

    The reality is that saying a WORD isn't the problem. The problem is underlying resentment, anger, frustration, and misunderstanding. If you forbid a word, like people already mentioned, it will not solve this underlying problem.

    So then you have to ask yourself, what do these people really want?! Do they want to control speech? Sorry, but George Orwell's 1984 is not my idea of an idealistic society.

    Little by little, people need to NATURALLY develop RESPECT for one another. That's something no law or word can change or improve or hinder.
    If you are interested in language, words, linguistics, or foreign languages, check out my blog and read, post, and/or share.

  9. #199
    Wonderer Samuel De Mazarin's Avatar
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    Once a black guy called me a "sand nigger" so I called him a "nigger" back. Was that bad?

    (taking into account the fact that I never otherwise use the word and that I'm of Indian origin?)
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  10. #200
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Samuel De Mazarin View Post
    Once a black guy called me a "sand nigger" so I called him a "nigger" back. Was that bad?

    (taking into account the fact that I never otherwise use the word and that I'm of Indian origin?)
    Yes, on both of your parts. You should have called him a "fucking asshole."
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