Racial terms.

Jocelyn - posted on 12/14/2009 ( 19 moms have responded )

5,165

42

275

What got me thinking on the subject was I was reading an article on the subject of racial terms: They were talking about the use of the word "Indian" to describe Native Americans. One woman always called herself an indian and didn't like the term native, and another guy they interviewed hated the term indian, and would only call himself a native.

What do you think? Does is matter what the word is, or only the context that it is used in? Is it the actual word that is offensive?

I think that it is entirely how the word is used that makes it offensive (but then again I'm like the whitest person I know, and the worst I'll ever get called is a cracker lol)

What do you think when you hear certain titles to describe ppl? For instance, if someone mentions "indian" to me, I think east indian, but if someone mentions "drunken indian" i think native. Which is horrible, but to me it shows that it is how the word is used that makes it offensive or not. I wouldn't get offended if someone called me a cracker in general conversation, but I would get offended if someone was hostile about it calling me a fucking cracker. I had a good friend whose boyfriend would call her his "little spic" and it was a term of endearment for them!

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

?? - posted on 01/15/2010

4,974

0

172

Regardless of whether the word has power or not, every word has a meaning. And as long as people are using those words, with that meaning, that means there are still people out there that are uneducated, inconsiderate and really, just plain mean.

We can " rise above it " everytime someone uses that word but the fact remains that person will continue to use that word and that word will continue to have that same meaning.

We need to be educating the people who use these racial slurs as a way to hurt. Not ignoring the hurt feelings caused by people using the words. Ignoring the hurt feelings only leads to more resentment, continued inequality and really it leaves the door open for those words and those meanings to have the power that we don't want them to have.

Jaime - posted on 01/15/2010

4,427

24

197

Nah, a word doesn't have power unless you give it power and I think that's really the trick to abolishing the threat of a word or action...even if it's just a threat of ego. For instance back when Kanye stole the show away from Taylor Swift and everyone was up in arms about what he had done to her...well, how about we just ignore Kanye and his ploy for attention will become insignificant. His stunt got top news coverage, making his tantrum into more than it was...he was ego-tripping and we fell right into his hands. With that being said, the same goes for words...they have no power and become insignificant when they are no longer called upon to be the scapegoats for all of the social-inadequacies of various nations. We can't cope, so we take an easy out and make fun of someone or call them a name...but if the person we are attacking rises above it and exercises some emotional self-discipline, then our attack becomes a pathetic attempt to mask our insecurities...sticks and stones I say, sticks and stones!

[deleted account]

Quoting Laura

"Exactly! Call me any name you want because it doesn't change who I am as a person. Unless it directly effects my employment, my salary, or my family's safety then it doesn't matter."

And I think that is the problem. Being from a place where the effects or racism are ever present, the word compounds the problem. Its not necessarily the word in and of itself, but when there is history of hurt and poverty and being denied basic human rights and then called "n-word" on top of that, I think anyone would be offended. We (and by we, I mean society along with the minority) have worked so hard for equality and made incredible progress but the word just brings up so many old wounds. Racial slurs are not and never will be acceptable words to use.

La - posted on 01/14/2010

0

0

63

The whole idea of political correctness is pointless to me. Some one is always going to take whatever you say offensively so instead of making up these intricate unofficial rules about who can say what how about we all just develop thicker skin and say fuck it. I don't care what you refer to me as if you are someone that doesn't matter to me. I think the main problem is that people in general are way too sensitive nowadays.

[deleted account]

Some blacks prefer to be called black, or african american, as with native american/indians, or any other race... If you are at all concerned about it then you should ask the person to whom you wish to befriend and ask what they prefer to be called. Some don't feel native or from their continent of origin as they did not personally originate from there. I personally don't like to be called white as I feel pretty peachy, but I won't make people refer to me as caucasian? It all just depends on the person and their preference!

As far as describing people...if you are not saying that you are in a crowd of 2 white guys and a black chick or however your situation is then you shouldn't refer to it at all...really what is the point of describing her as black? I mean unless you were describing people for a police line up really what does it matter?

19 Comments

View replies by

[deleted account]

Thanks Jaime-Leigh. And you are right that change often starts on the individual level. I just think we have a long, long way to go.

Jaime - posted on 01/15/2010

4,427

24

197

I can absolutely see your perspective Sara and I agree with you. I guess I was just thinking that if we start small, with ourselves, then when it hits the global spectrum it won't seem so powerful. I think it's great that you are involved so passionately in educating and lobbying for rights and freedoms on a grander scale because our world isn't without need of it. It's disheartening to witness (even on the news) the persecutorial actions of one person to another, and I often become emotionally overwhelmed at the thought of mental, emotional or physical harm being forced onto someone simply because of their skin colour, their mental state or their sexual preference. So I think that's why I started to wonder about the individual responsibility that each person has to themself, to NOT let the words and actions of others affect their lives and manifest in a way that will create a greater, social out-cry of injustice and inequality.



I don't think you got carried away Sara...just passionate about this subject, so no worries.

[deleted account]

Jaime-Leigh, I see where you are coming from. And I see that we are talking about two different issues. I agree that person to person racial slurs can be ignored and more power to the person who choses to walk away. I guess I got carried away thinking of all the social injustices I've witnessed in my community in my lifetime when Civil Rights were supposed to have been won 40 years ago. And because of these acts of racism, under the guise of "protection" or "equality" (believe it or not) it hurts deep down when I hear a racial slur. I was teaching in an inner city mission when my uncle told me, "I don't know why you waste your time teaching those n's, I would never let my daughter teach there." I said, "I'm glad I'm not your daughter" and walked away. I get along with my uncle and his family but his words hurt deeply because they represent an attitude that many people hold, whether or not they verbalize them. The attitude is still there. My senior year at LSU, there was actually a huge issue over students waving the Confederate flag in the school colors of purple and gold. I'm sure it was one or two people's idea and other's with the "attitude" (that they normally wouldn't have verbalized) jumped on board. Well the Black Student Union was going to have an alumni party at their on campus center. The Confederate flag radicals decided they wanted to fight for their rights to free speech that same weekend (coincidence?). The SCHOOL decided to shut down the Black Student Union's party as a way to "protect" them from the demonstrators. One brave ignorate person, rilled up other ignorant people and the school took their side. Sorry, I got carried away again, but can you see why I get upset over racial slurs?

Jaime - posted on 01/15/2010

4,427

24

197

Sara, I don't agree with persecution of any kind toward anyone...no matter their race, age, sexual preference, what have you. My example of Kanye was simply to show how quickly society can mountainize a mole hill. I am not suggesting that we ignore the problem of discrimination, hate crimes, prejudice and such...I'm talking about how it affects each individual--personally--not globally. Our world is never going to be equal because freedom exists, there are always going to be people that abuse the freedoms of others. We can't stop someone from calling someone else a nigger...but yes, we can educate in the hopes of making people aware of the social backlash caused by the use of derrogatory words. And furthermore, we can help those affected by words, to become more personally responsible for how these words manifest themselves. And I honestly believe that if these words remain powerless, there will be less of a temptation to use them. A long shot maybe, but it's a start.

Jaime - posted on 01/15/2010

4,427

24

197

I'm not suggesting that we (society) ignore hurt feelings. It's not about letting the people that abuse these words off easy...it's about not letting the words and actions affect our lives in such a way that will prolong the already-daunting social persecution that some people experience daily. When I say that words and actions don't have power unless they are allowed to have power, what I mean is that every person is responsible for how their environment affects their life. I realize that children are not capable of reasoning at the level of an adult and there are adults with mental incapacities as well, and I agree that there needs to be a protection from immature, verbal onslaughts that only plunge us deeper and deeper into social outcries of 'racism, ageism, prejudice, etc'...but there has to be individual responsibility to choose how words and actions will manifest in a person's life. I agree that education is key...but unfortunately it doesn't stop a person from saying a word or performing an action that is less favourable to social equality.

[deleted account]

Sorry but what Kanye did is not applicable here. When a group of people continues to be beaten down and beaten down and beaten down, what are they going to do? "Rise up" and ignore it or fight back for what they deserve?

La - posted on 01/14/2010

0

0

63

Exactly! Call me any name you want because it doesn't change who I am as a person. Unless it directly effects my employment, my salary, or my family's safety then it doesn't matter.

Jaime - posted on 01/14/2010

4,427

24

197

Laura, you said exactly what I was thinking...I don't think it's the word or the context of a word that makes it offensive...I think it's our entirely-too-sensitive world that has pushed political correctness to the point of ridiculousness. They are merely words---they have no power until you decide they do.

[deleted account]

Being from the South, I hear the "n-word" from the older generation (70+) pretty often. It stings everytime I hear it. Not trying to defend, but it was what people said when they were young. Over time, whatever term people are using (black, colored, etc.) would come to have negative connotations and become "racist".

I don't know many truly racist people, but the effects of racism are so very evident in the culture in which I live. The school system I grew up in was under a 60 year old desegration law suit. Kids and teachers would be transfered and bused to different schools almost yearly to make the black/white ratio more equal in each school. Anyone that could, moved out of the system or went private leaving the lower socioeconomic class to be the only ones left in the system. Another example: in my high school we had a "white homecoming queen" and a "black homecoming queen" a "white class president" and a "black class president". Totally not making that up. It was such a joke that Latino and Asian students would run in both categories. Thankfully, they got a new principal with sense and that was dropped.

So, I went off topic a little but the use of the word and social impact goes hand in hand.

Rosie - posted on 01/13/2010

8,657

30

321

i have conflicting view on this one. some african american people use the word "nigger" as a term of endearment, which i don't think is right in any situation. if a white person were to use that same term as a term of endearment to a black person it probably wouldn't be looked upon so greatly.

yet at the same time, i'm all for taking away the power from that word and turning it into something without power, and using it for good. yet i would never ever dream of using that word in any context.

as for terms such as black, or african american, or indian or native american it all depends on what that person wants to be called. i've heard recently that the washington redskins (football team) are having problems with their name. i personally don't see anything wrong with it since it wasn't created in a derogatory way and still isn't, but i can understand how some people could find it offensive. either way all this politically correctness confuses me, and i don't know how to react.

Krista - posted on 12/15/2009

12,562

16

847

Yeah, that's when it gets confusing is when different people from the same ethnic group prefer different terminologies. I hate the thought of inadvertently offending someone and coming across as prejudiced, when in fact I'm just stumbling for the right words. I tend to err on the side of using the most polite terminology.

I usually don't run into the problem often, though, unless I'm referring to someone in the third person and describing their physical appearance. I really can't think of any situations where I've had to refer to a person's ethnicity or race while in conversation with them, unless we're directly talking ABOUT ethnicity and race, in which case I'd just follow the conversation and ask what terminology they prefer.

Kelsey - posted on 12/15/2009

842

36

30

It is a word that sounds ignorant. The reason they called them Indians in the first place was because they thought they were in India when they first came to this country. I dont think its offensive, but I make it a point to say it correctly because I can see how being called something you arent would be irritating.

Jocelyn - posted on 12/14/2009

5,165

42

275

Quoting Jo:

Something that has always bugged me is the use of the word rape. I think it kind of goes along with this topic too -- video gamers constantly say "I totally raped that dude." And that pisses me off to no end. There are many other words that would equally if not better describe your badass "rapage" of that "newb" and I've even slapped someone who has used the word - I said, "I would appreciate it if you used another word other than rape." and he turned around and said "Leave it alone or I'll rape you too." he thought he was funny, I showed him that he was not.


That really bugs me too.  My sister was raped and I just want to throttle ppl when I hear them say shit like "I totallly got ass raped by my boss today at work".  I think that sometimes people are just too lazy to try and find the right word to describe something... arg.

?? - posted on 12/14/2009

4,974

0

172

I think the context makes the meaning. The tone of voice, the overall attitude and body language used while saying a word can turn it from a simple word into a derogatory insult meant to make someone feel bad about who they are.



I also don't excuse racial terms either way - racism is racism and I think there are some words / terms that shouldn't be used - whether it's as an endearment or not. It makes light of a term that has brought pain to many people and I personally can't condone it's usage. If other people say it - people I know I'll tell em to knock it off, if it's people I don't know - it depends on who they are as to whether I will say anything.



Something that has always bugged me is the use of the word rape. I think it kind of goes along with this topic too -- video gamers constantly say "I totally raped that dude." And that pisses me off to no end. There are many other words that would equally if not better describe your badass "rapage" of that "newb" and I've even slapped someone who has used the word - I said, "I would appreciate it if you used another word other than rape." and he turned around and said "Leave it alone or I'll rape you too." he thought he was funny, I showed him that he was not.

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