Words have power , can you really take it away ?

Charlie - posted on 01/06/2011 ( 23 moms have responded )

11,203

111

401

Often in debate whether it is about swearing in general or the more heated topic of racism people say " I say the word to take away it's power " or something to that affect but does it really ?
Will using the word ever take away it's power or is this just an excuse to say things such as fuck or bullshit or call people slut , nigga , chink , cracker , bitch .

Is it an excuse or do you really believe using these terms will take away their power , does it make a difference to who or how it is used ?

Is it different for names with historical meaning and heartach attached ?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Krista - posted on 01/06/2011

12,562

16

842

I've heard that too, Loureen. And I don't think that it takes away the word's power, because a word's power often depends on a word's CONTEXT.

Let's use the word "fag" as an example. I know some gay people will use it to tease each other. A gay friend of mine got really upset one day about a parking ticket, and ruefully confessed to me afterwards that he "fagged out" and got all shrieky about it. So you'd think that considering how often gay people use that word, it'd have no more power, right?

Yeah, tell that to a gay kid being faced with someone saying, "You fag," while looking at him with hatred in his eyes, and loathing in his voice.

Context is everything. And no matter how often an epithet is used ironically, it is still VERY easy for it to go back to its original, hateful meaning, if uttered with a hateful intent.

Krista - posted on 01/06/2011

12,562

16

842

No, that does make sense, Kati. But the fact of that matter is that certain words ARE epithets, and continue to be used as such.

I don't know what makes a word eventually lose its power. I think it's more likely that a word just sort of falls out of vogue as time goes on and other words become more popular.

Personally, I think that words like "fag" and "nigger" will only lose their power when hatred against those targeted groups no longer exists. We can't do it bass-ackwards. For the hate to be removed from the word, the hatred has to be removed from the intent. And for the hatred to be removed from the intent, the hatred has to be removed from society.

And we've still got a long ways to go on that score.

Rosie - posted on 01/06/2011

8,657

30

315

no, but thats just them being an ass. they can take ANY word, and use it in a hateful way. someone can say "well aren't you a little ray of sunshine" and mean it in a wonderful way, or say it in a sarcastic, mean way. it's not the word, it's the person behind the word. words wouldn't have power if people there weren't jackasses behind them in the first place. does that makes sense? i'm not the best at describing what i feel sometimes. :)

Rosie - posted on 01/06/2011

8,657

30

315

i completely feel you can take the power out of ANY word, even nigger. in fact i LOVE that people are taking the power out of some words, and making them in to something completely different. i completely agree that context and intent have EVERYTHING to do with the power of a word, and also how someone reacts to that word as well.

i have many gay friends, i myself am bisexual, i will call things gay at the drop of a hat,because to ME it doesn't have anything to do with homosexuals anymore, it's completely different.

i wouldn't exactly call myself a feminist, but i obviously support women, but i will call all of you a bunch of classless bitches or my hoes as a COMPLIMENT. there is NO degrading going on there at all.

as for some black people using "nigga", i'm glad they took the word, made it into something that they deem positive. i would like to have all races be able to use that without a shitstorm, but that's a whole other debate.

Katherine - posted on 01/06/2011

65,420

232

4894

I've never heard of that......but that's one of the moronic things I've ever heard.....
In counseling you say how you feel and how angry someone makes you to take away the power, but you don't swear or say derogatory remarks.

This conversation has been closed to further comments

23 Comments

View replies by

Bonnie - posted on 01/06/2011

4,813

22

257

Thanks Loureen. Phew, sigh of relief :-) If it ended up not making sense I would have been okay with it. It's just been a long couple of weeks and have a lot on my mind. So glad it did.

Krista - posted on 01/06/2011

12,562

16

842

i wouldn't exactly call myself a feminist, but i obviously support women, but i will call all of you a bunch of classless bitches or my hoes as a COMPLIMENT. there is NO degrading going on there at all.

Of course not, because you mean it with love.

However, if someone who absolutely fucking hated your guts and hated everything you were, looked at you with loathing and called you a bitch in a tone that was just SOAKED with rage...would the word be powerless then?

Bonnie - posted on 01/06/2011

4,813

22

257

Loureen, I honestly don't feel I have much of a reasoning for why I think that way. It's just how some people come across, it makes it seem like they are more in control when they use that language (hence making them feel like they have the power) . For example, if someone is mad it's not just their tone or raising their voice that shows it, it is also the language they are using, especially when they have a strong opinion on a topic. I'm not sure if this makes sense at all. I hope it does though lol.

Kate CP - posted on 01/06/2011

8,942

36

754

I think using it as a form of empowerment is stupid. It's like saying mentally challenged people should go up to each other and say "What's up, my 'tard?" to make it hurt less when they hear it other times. Doesn't make sense.

[deleted account]

Not sure what to think but this should be interesting! I'll be back once I can organize the many thoughts running through my head.

[deleted account]

umm...gangsters and rappers use these words all the time as an empowerment. Really you never heard a rap song where an african referred to themselves as this word??

Bonnie - posted on 01/06/2011

4,813

22

257

I've never heard it either Katherine. No. I don't think using those words takes away it's power. For me, if anything, I think using them shows more power.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 01/06/2011

18,914

9

3002

I have heard of taking away the power by not letting it effect you, or ignoring it. Words are an interesting thing. They can be beautiful, and spiritually uplifting. They may mean nothing coming from the ignorant, or from the mouths of a split tongue can be so forceful and damaging. We learn as children "sticks and stones may break your bones, but words may never hurt you", but we learn so quickly it is just a lie we chant to "try" and make those hurtful words lose power.

Kate CP - posted on 01/06/2011

8,942

36

754

I think that idea really only works for little kids and for swear words that aren't that big of a deal. For example, if my daughter ever used the N word we would have a very VERY long talk about why that's a bad word and we don't use it EVER. But when she says things like "Damn it" or "Shit" I just tell her that's a grown up word and it hurts people's feelings to hear little kids say it. She stops and it's not a problem. If you make TOO big a deal out of it it becomes a fun new button to push. If you don't deal with it at all then it becomes okay.

But using the word to take away it's power I think is a crock, personally. *shrug*

Charlie - posted on 01/06/2011

11,203

111

401

Really ? I hear it all the time .



"we are taking it back for ourselves "

"we are taking away it's power by using it "

Desiree - posted on 01/06/2011

910

17

12

No it doesn't take away the power ever. That's just an excuse to get away with things again. Amazing how people find an excuse to explain their short comings in life.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms