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  1. #221
    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    Are you suggesting that the historical wrongs perpetrated against other ethnic groups are not as important?
    No, but in the context of U.S. history, even though women and many ethnic minorities alike have been, at the very least and at one point in time, treated unfairly and given the shit-end of the political stick, I think it is safe to say that both Native Americans and black people have been, by far, treated with the most continuously cruel, lasting and detrimental abuse.

    I'm not proposing anything practical. Like I said, I do not personally want to use the word or stop black people from using the word. I'm just arguing the principle of it .
    Okay, then what do you think should ideally happen?

    To cease attributing a pejorative meaning to the "N-word" in popular usage would not cause anybody to forget what actually happened in history
    . Are you sure about that? The word stings because the historical wound is fresh.

    Why should we cease attributing a pejorative meaning to the "N-word" in the first place?

    And Nagasaki and Hiroshima are not analogous to what we are talking about because, wrong as I believe they were, they were not enacted as a means to purposefully destroy a specific ethnic group for ideological race-based reasons. It was not ethnic cleansing.
    The point that I was trying to make was that, due to the cyclical nature of History, time and time again, sadly repeating itself, taking the stance of "we should get over it" in regards to its/"our" tainted past is a potentially dangerous one to take. We should acknowledge the past, not disregard it.

    I do not think that, like Elisabeth on the show, the use of the word should be as taboo for black people as it is for white people. In fact, that's the opposite of what I'm saying. I think that the word should be allowed to evolve out of its derogatory meaning, similar to what you describe has happened to the word between black people, when used by anybody. I know that this is not realistic, but I am saying that, in theory, if we wanted to be totally rid of the word's negative meaning, we would have to relinquish its connection to any racial group. To make it taboo only suppresses its use but it doesn't allow us to transcend it.
    Again, why is it so important for it to no longer have a derogatory meaning amongst white folks?
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  2. #222
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    No, but in the context of U.S. history, even though women and many ethnic minorities alike have been, at the very least and at one point in time, treated unfairly and given the shit-end of the political stick, I think it is safe to say that both Native Americans and black people have been treated, by far, with the most continuously cruel, lasting and detrimental abuse.
    Granted, though I think it's pointless to figure out 'who suffered more'.

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    . Are you sure about that? The word stings because the historical wound is fresh.
    Or does it sting because we make it sting by continually investing it with that meaning?

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    The point that I was trying to make was that, due to the cyclical nature of History, time and time again, sadly repeating itself, taking the stance of "we should get over it" in regards to its tainted past is a potentially dangerous stance to take. We should acknowledge the past, not disregard it.
    I never said we should "get over" events of the past. I said that ideally we should be able to move beyond allocating the use of a word based on social standpoint.

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    Why should we cease attributing a pejorative meaning to the "N-word" in the first place?

    Again, why is it so important for it to no longer have a derogatory meaning amongst white folks?
    Simple. Then there would never be any circumstance under which the word could be used to denigrate blacks as a group. It would no longer have potency, and we wouldn't need to rely on taboo and other forms of coercion to stop people from using it.
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  3. #223
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    How so?
    When that whole moral relativism thread happened awhile back, I kept posting moral relativist debate points expecting you to argue them (I like arguing, btw). But instead you would be all "OMG totally!" while still maintaining that you were NOT one of those dirty stinking moral relativists. You don't like the way it sounds but you seem to actually hold most of the positions of a moral relativist.
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  4. #224
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    No, it would be better if we could all hear it without having to conjure up its derogatory meaning.
    Who said that 'the thing always references itself.' Was it Foucault? Jay Leno?

    In the realm of language, you can never completely divorce a word from it's original context and meaning. Even with years of misuse when the word get given a new meaning through the hoi polloi, it still is but part of a long legacy of the meaning and context of that word. It's a signifier. Or something.

    And because life is con/text [language] you can never fully divorce people from their and your origin and meaning.

    I'm just saying that the word should be allowed to evolve generally, and not just among "certain subgroups of the black population".
    It is evolving 'naturally'. Discussions like these and in the legal and [other] public realms are 'natural'. They are natural for humans to discuss and wrangle amongst ourselves about power relations and meaning and value etc. etc. etc. Human society and order involves A LOT of hands on work, conflict, 'meddling', etc. etc. etc. 'Natural' is a bit of a misnomer.

    I understand what you are referring to though - censorship - or quashing debate. I dont' think anyone here is trying to quash debate. I mean, the thread is 20 pages and counting!

    Anywhoo, I think people assume that 'natural' means 'unquestioningly'. As in it's 'unnatural' to question someone's perceived authority or call them out on something. Basically it's 'unnatural' to 'rock the boat'.
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  5. #225
    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    Granted, though I think it's pointless to figure out 'who suffered more'.
    I believe that there is a hierarchy of suffering, victim hood and culpability regarding all human affairs.


    Or does it sting because we make it sting by continually investing it with that meaning?
    Gah, that's the point, black people have taken it upon themselves to embrace the word and mold it to their liking partially in order to dispel the sting it has/had amongst themselves but the word necessarily holds a very different kind of sting and meaning if a white person uses it.

    Context, it is all about context.

    It is a potentially potent hateful word, therefore it should be used, or not used with the utmost caution.


    I never said we should "get over" events of the past. I said that ideally we should be able to move beyond allocating the use of a word based on social standpoint.
    Huh?

    That's impossible. Racial slurs are inherently created, divided and defined by various differing social standpoints.

    Simple. Then there would never be any circumstance under which the word could be used to denigrate blacks as a group. It would no longer have potency, and we wouldn't need to rely on taboo and other forms of coercion to stop people from using it.
    Um, then another derogatory word would be created and used in its stead.

    It really is not about the word itself, it's about what the word represents.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    When that whole moral relativism thread happened awhile back, I kept posting moral relativist debate points expecting you to argue them (I like arguing, btw). But instead you would be all "OMG totally!" while still maintaining that you were NOT one of those dirty stinking moral relativists. You don't like the way it sounds but you seem to actually hold most of the positions of a moral relativist.


    Hells-to-the-noes

    Define moral relativism.
    `
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    "A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it." - David Stevens

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  6. #226
    Oberon
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    Orangey, I think she's actually a moral absolutist... but she's her own final arbiter.


  7. #227
    Wonderer Samuel De Mazarin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    I would find it a little disrespectful to the millions of non-ignorant black people who were not there insulting Samuel, but they didn't hear it, obviously. I always like to keep my insults focused on the individual at hand.
    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    No, in my opinion that was the perfect response to give to such a comically ironic insult.
    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    I don't know. Based on what protean's been telling us, it may have been an expression of solidarity.

    Heh heh... i knew this would generate some well-thought out responses... I felt great at the time (this was in my freshman year at college), like I'd put him in his place... he was trying to be insulting but opened the door to me to respond in kind... weirdly enough, on the color spectrum, I'm sort of a ghost... meaning, I'm in between black and white, being brown (is this absurdly simplistic!??!), been oppressed by white folk (colonialism), but haven't quite had enslavement through-and-through in my history... also, there are a lot of racists on the Indian subcontinent... soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo....

    whatever... if it happened again, I'd probably go the pure_mercury route and call him a fucking asshole.

    As for solidarity... I don't feel any solidarity with any ethnic group really... I don't believe in ethnicity.... because people demand to know what conventional category I fit in, I'll tell 'em that I'm Indian... but that's inaccurate too... I come from a mixed marriage (a Rajput and a Bengali Kshatriya), which, if anyone cares, is about as big a difference as between, say, a Spanish Countess marrying an Italian Duke.... the geographical difference may even be greater, in fact... so, the point is, calling me Indian, even if one does buy into the value of ethnic background, is retarded, because being Indian is like being European: the category is only ever-so-vaguely informative. Now you can perhaps understand why I hate being called Asian, because I don't believe that I am Asian... or that the category is coherently applied or intelligently delineated.

    I hate generalizations... by calling me Indian, or worse, Asian, someone is basically stripping me of my diverse history and then grouping me with a big fat stereotype (in all likelihood).

    Why did I go into all of this? Because the "nigger" and "black American" thing strikes me as a far more serious variant on what I experience... this is why terms like "nigger" are terrible... and "black American" is, for me, a poor catch-all term... particularly for a non-(conventionally-speaking)-Black to use... you're not a part of the club, so you don't get to do the secret handshake... as it is, it's not one big club... I'd be surprised if people like Barack Obama (who considers himself multiethnic, but is comfortable identifying with blacks, from what I've read and heard) or Bill Cosby were to ever respond positively to someone, even of their own ilk, calling them "niggers".

    For a white or someone of any other race, for that matter, to call a black person a "nigger" is to, whether he likes it or not, give strength to a racist dialogue that's been carried on for hundreds of years.... he is re-enacting a part in which he's the bad guy and the black guy's being told he's inferior... in addition, the strength of the words will lead other people to believe that the guy saying "nigger" thinks the 'black' dude is just that, a "nigger", whatever that is.... he's stripping the person of all his individual traits and telling him he's something that's been historically connected to slavery and victimization!!! It's the worst form of reductionism.

    I'm rambling so I'll stop.
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  8. #228
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    Huh?

    That's impossible. Racial slurs are inherently created, divided and defined by various differing social standpoints.
    I said "allocation". No other racial slur inspires so much militancy with regards to who can and cannot utter it legitimately.

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    Um, then another derogatory word would be created and used in its stead.

    It really is not about the word itself, it's about what the word represents.
    Like I said before, this would all be based on the assumption that a power structure is in place that grants any given white person a social advantage over any given black person solely based on the color of their skin. Otherwise, the power implications would only exist in the word (its usage) itself, in which case allowing a change in its meaning would eliminate the problem. I'm not going to argue the power theory here, though, so I guess I'm done for now .

    Oh and...

    CzeCze: I didn't use the word 'natural'. The second sentence of mine that you quoted means (or was at least meant to mean) largely the same thing as the first sentence you quoted.

    Oberon: I wasn't the one who said she was a moral relativist, but based on this exchange I'd definitely say absolutist .
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  9. #229
    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    Orangey, I think she's actually a moral absolutist... but she's her own final arbiter.
    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    Oberon: I wasn't the one who said she was a moral relativist, but based on this exchange I'd definitely say absolutist .
    Actually, I consider myself to be more of a moral universalist!
    `
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    "That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is that it? It is."

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  10. #230
    Striving for balance Little Linguist's Avatar
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    Okay, folks, the word is there. It will be used. Deal with it.

    I don't use it, but some people do. Can I change it? No. There will always been some arrogant <beeeeeeeeeeeps> that will use it.

    So the point is, change yourselves. If everyone did that, we'd live in a better world. Don't try to change stupid people who won't change anyway.

    That never works.

    Period.
    If you are interested in language, words, linguistics, or foreign languages, check out my blog and read, post, and/or share.

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