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Offline KevShmev

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The n-word and its use
« on: August 02, 2013, 12:48:39 PM »
I saw a lot of talk about how appropriate it is for blacks to be using the n-word when the whole Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case was hot, and now with the Riley Cooper controversy in Philadelphia, there is a lot of talk again about how appropriate it is for blacks to be using the word.  The argument by many is that, if it is so offensive (which it most certainly IS), then why do blacks call each other that?  I have never quite gotten that.  And I don't think changing the end of the word from -er to -a makes much of a difference either. 

I am not saying it is right, but I think a lot of people have been desensitized to the word, thinking it is okay because the word is commonplace in rap music, certain types of movies, etc.  But you ask me, I don't think anyone should be saying the word, even Samuel Jackson, who seems to be the one guy who can make saying it sound funny (see: Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown).  It is a vile word, used to dehumanize blacks, regardless of who says it.

Thoughts?

Offline rumborak

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2013, 01:04:45 PM »
I would say that I totally understand why they chose to call each other that. It's a tried-and-true way of emboldening a subdued group by taking away one of the main weapons of their opponents, and by using it yourself, neutralizing it. Happened the same with the "queers" who started using the term that was formerly used by gay haters.

That said, I think the use of the n-word has run its course and at this point harms them more than it helps them. It actively sets them apart from the rest of the population, thus hindering integration. If you look at other immigrant cultures (e.g. Chinese), they have sailed straight past black people in terms of status at this point. Obviously those cultures are hard to compare to each other because they had different histories, but I can't help but think that the black community holds itself back to a good amount.
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Offline sueño

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2013, 01:08:49 PM »
It is a vile word, used to dehumanize blacks, regardless of who says it.

Thoughts?

^^^This.

I've not yet heard a compelling reason why it's "okay" to EVER say.  It is profanity, as far as I'm concerned.
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Offline kirksnosehair

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2013, 01:59:07 PM »
Some pretty good thoughts on this topic from this guy who is someone that one of my clients interviewed for one of his books:
http://www.tolerance.org/magazine/number-40-fall-2011/feature/straight-talk-about-n-word


My mom is from the Cape Verde islands (e.g. she's African American) and we've talked about this before.  Her generation has a very strong dislike of the word and she hates that a lot of younger generation blacks use it among themselves. 

Offline bosk1

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2013, 02:35:45 PM »
I would say that I totally understand why they chose to call each other that. It's a tried-and-true way of emboldening a subdued group by taking away one of the main weapons of their opponents, and by using it yourself, neutralizing it. Happened the same with the "queers" who started using the term that was formerly used by gay haters.

That said, I think the use of the n-word has run its course and at this point harms them more than it helps them. It actively sets them apart from the rest of the population, thus hindering integration. If you look at other immigrant cultures (e.g. Chinese), they have sailed straight past black people in terms of status at this point. Obviously those cultures are hard to compare to each other because they had different histories, but I can't help but think that the black community holds itself back to a good amount.

Great post.

That being said, I'm somewhat with Kev about the inconstency.  I get why things are the way they are.  But as you pointed out, rumborak, it creates other problems. 

At the same time, I think that now, in this day and age, it's use is way overblown.  I mean, the problem with the word is its historical context, right?  It was an intentionally-bastardized version of negro to eventually be used as an insult and a slur.  In that context, of course it is a vile term that shouldn't be used.  But by the same token, I feel that we overreact to it.  For example:  We pretty much have to have a forum rule that prevents use of it at all, and Kev wisely chose to follow that rule in his thread title and instead substitute the euphemism "the n-word" in his thread title.  I weep for a society that we so overreact that we can't use common sense.  If Kev had actually used the term in the thread title rather than "the n-word," that should not be a problem.  It should be obvious that he is not approving of the term or that he is not using it to disparage anybody or any race of people.  But yet, we must bow to the paranoia and be paranoid ourselves lest someone be offended.  Sorry, but I just feel that is dumb.  Again, I'm not advocating for its use, and I'm not saying it isn't a "big deal."  It is.  And I acknowledge that as someone who is not of African descent, I will never really understand what it is to have that term used on the same level as someone with that background.  I get it.  It's just the paranoia that bothers me. 
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Offline GuineaPig

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2013, 03:09:42 PM »
Context is everything.  Words are not inherent degrading or spiteful or cruel.  The way they are used and the intent behind them is what matters.

It's honestly a little baffling to see that people cannot differentiate "nigger" between how it is used among friends and as it is used as a slur.
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Offline sueño

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2013, 04:03:12 PM »
I don't think it's baffling at all.  I am older than you, though.  :jingleboy:

One thing's for sure -- it should not be the purview of anyone other than the hearer to determine what is hurtful to him/her or not.

Just coz someone "doesn't *mean*" a slur doesn't mean it won't be taken as such.  There isn't a whole lot of reason to call anyone anything other than their name, in my opinion.  Even amongst friends.  Then, I don't have any friends that would use some sort of slur in reference to me, nor I to them.

 
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Offline orcus116

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2013, 04:32:56 PM »
Context is everything.  Words are not inherent degrading or spiteful or cruel.  The way they are used and the intent behind them is what matters.

It's honestly a little baffling to see that people cannot differentiate "nigger" between how it is used among friends and as it is used as a slur.

Pretty much this. I get more amusement out of how it is used in culture than anything.

Offline sueño

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2013, 05:12:21 PM »
I think it's because quite a few people don't find the word amusing at all.    :yeahright
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Offline AngelBack

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2013, 07:23:54 PM »
This may come off as insensitive or uninformed, but it occurs to me that people or groups that elevate the importance or severity of such language are in effect empowering those that would use it to insult them.  I am white and could not care less what racial slurs or stereotypes might be used against me.  Granted my history and that of my ancestors does not include a time when we were discriminated against purely on race.  However, I have 4 kids and they come to me from time to time when someone has said something ugly to them.  I ask them, "Is it true?  If not, why let it bother you?  You know who you are".  I think if everyone ignored language like this, or let it roll off their back, it would do a lot more to eliminate it than the current atmosphere where if you call someone the N-word, they feel justified in ANY level of retaliation and political correctness and "hate crime" legislation has only served to give tacit approval to such an attitude. 

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« Last Edit: August 02, 2013, 07:29:01 PM by AngelBack »
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Offline sueño

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2013, 07:42:59 PM »
This may come off as insensitive or uninformed, but it occurs to me that people or groups that elevate the importance or severity of such language are in effect empowering those that would use it to insult them.  I am white and could not care less what racial slurs or stereotypes might be used against me.  Granted my history and that of my ancestors does not include a time when we were discriminated against purely on race.  However, I have 4 kids and they come to me from time to time when someone has said something ugly to them.  I ask them, "Is it true?  If not, why let it bother you?  You know who you are".  I think if everyone ignored language like this, or let it roll off their back, it would do a lot more to eliminate it than the current atmosphere where if you call someone the N-word, they feel justified in ANY level of retaliation and political correctness and "hate crime" legislation has only served to give tacit approval to such an attitude. 

Now I will go hide.....

I feel much the same.  However,  as words are the main things we use for communication, I believe it is disingenuous to claim they have little meaning.  Or can't be used to hurt others.  The very fact that your kids took issue at ugly words rather proves the point.

Now we do teach about "sticks & stones" and names not hurting but if we're honest, we know that it does hurt.  That's why we're encouraged to get over it.  And why there is such a thing as verbal abuse.

I'm pretty good at letting things roll off me, coz I had parents like you that instilled positive self worth and knowing who I am.  But I'd be lying if I said it wouldn't bother or hurt me to be cussed out.  Or called a racial slur.  And let's not forget that there is often ill intent behind ugly words.

There is no need for such language, IMO.  Since people *know* it can hurt, why use it?  To me, it's not so much being politicalky correct as being respectful of others.  God knows there is precious little respect out there...
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Offline Frank

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2013, 07:58:57 AM »
If Kev had actually used the term in the thread title rather than "the n-word," that should not be a problem.  It should be obvious that he is not approving of the term or that he is not using it to disparage anybody or any race of people.  But yet, we must bow to the paranoia and be paranoid ourselves lest someone be offended.  Sorry, but I just feel that is dumb.  Again, I'm not advocating for its use, and I'm not saying it isn't a "big deal." . . . It's just the paranoia that bothers me.

I absolutely agree and I understand your standpoint as the administrator of a forum like this and the actions you must take regarding this issue (if you find issue with the fact that I'm going to be using these words in my post I understand that too, ha ha!). The "context matters" argument is also of critical importance to me, in the same vein as George Carlin talking about it or the Louis C.K. episode where he dissects the word "faggot". I'm a student of linguistics, although I study subfields completely different than this (neurolinguistics and linguistic anthropology) so in this particular discussion I don't have much insight to add. It does mean that I find issues like this particularly fascinating/concerning.

I remember when I was in high school, not a particularly long time ago, when some of my classmates were throwing around this term "nigg-nogg" derived from "nigger". It was all white kids doing this, and my school was roughly fifty-fifty between white people and black people. At the same time, certain black people called each other "nigger" and I have no doubt that if any of the white people used it some of them would have gotten their asses kicked. So they turned to that strange derivation. I remember just feeling that it was a bizarre situation. They also used "nigglet" now that I think about it. Paranoia and complex social situations created that environment. I remember feeling disgusted with the word derivations by the white people and disgusted by the use of the actual word by the black people. It wasn't necessarily the words that disgusted me - words are just words - but the social meaning and context they were used in. And in that front I don't have any solution to offer.

What I do think is that we need to stop feeling paranoid and stop giving words so much power. I detest PC language - let me give an example. I'm deaf in one ear and have a severe impairment in the other. All my life I grew up calling myself "hearing impaired". I never had a problem with it. It accurately describes my condition. But suddenly in the last few years this new movement, especially online, has sprung up - suddenly people think words like "hearing impaired" and "disabled" are discriminatory and we have to use words like "differently abled" instead. To me, that's just trying to hide and the term "differently abled" is actually unconscionable as it ignores the actual struggles of disabled people like me. Movements like this spring up because of the paranoia people hold toward words, and when they result in things like this it creates a less honest environment where it's harder to discern what the actual problems are and how to address them. It becomes an unhealthy and unproductive distraction.
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Offline rumborak

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2013, 08:45:51 AM »
"Differently abled" is a ludicrous term, honestly. The X-Men are differently abled.
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Offline BlobVanDam

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2013, 08:55:44 AM »
"Differently abled" is a ludicrous term, honestly. The X-Men are differently abled.

We're only one step away from "handi-capable" being the officially accepted term. How hyper-sensitive must society be for "hearing impaired" to offend anyone? As you said Frank, it accurately describes the condition, and it's perfectly neutral.
"Differently abled" offends me more. :lol
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Offline Zook

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2013, 09:05:00 AM »
Back in my senior year of high school, during my English class one day we had a substitute, and this white kid who was kind of weird just yells out really loud "nigger nigger nigger!", and the substitute, who was also white busted out laughing. The end.



Offline antigoon

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2013, 06:43:39 PM »
Context is everything.  Words are not inherent degrading or spiteful or cruel.  The way they are used and the intent behind them is what matters.

It's honestly a little baffling to see that people cannot differentiate "nigger" between how it is used among friends and as it is used as a slur.

I agree with this. Additionally, I don't think it's really my business whether black people use the word. I only wish that "the n-word" ceased to be a thing among adults.

Offline Ben_Jamin

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2013, 08:52:09 AM »
It is pretty weird that the saying "sticks and stones" has completely been ignored.

It is funny that they use the word, but then they did actually reverse the meaning to cancel out the derogatory term. I dont mind what people call me, I'm Native American and people think we are extinct still.  I ain't got time to worry about a word.

Words never hurt, unless you take it to heart...I actually have a good sense of humor, and if I were a little person I would love to be called midget or better yet,  if I was irish, leprachaun.
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Offline sueño

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2013, 10:05:05 AM »
It's bad if those "names" open the way for abuse.  If there is an automatic bad thought in the minds of the users/hearers that may lead to evil actions.

That is where care must be taken.  Since one can never tell what's on the mind of a speaker or a hearer, IMO it's best to stick to the given name of an individual or if that's not known, "Excuse me, sir/ma'am".  Avoids offense.     :|
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Offline kirksnosehair

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2013, 12:45:32 PM »
Quote from: bosk1
But by the same token, I feel that we overreact to it.  For example:  We pretty much have to have a forum rule that prevents use of it at all, and Kev wisely chose to follow that rule in his thread title and instead substitute the euphemism "the n-word" in his thread title.  I weep for a society that we so overreact that we can't use common sense.  If Kev had actually used the term in the thread title rather than "the n-word," that should not be a problem.  It should be obvious that he is not approving of the term or that he is not using it to disparage anybody or any race of people.  But yet, we must bow to the paranoia and be paranoid ourselves lest someone be offended.  Sorry, but I just feel that is dumb.

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Offline sueño

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2013, 12:49:01 PM »
I, for one, would feel sad if the entire word were spelled out in the title.

It's a disgusting racial slur and just because it doesn't hurt you doesn't mean it doesn't hurt others.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2013, 01:19:47 PM »
I never even considered spelling out the word in the threat title.  When you say, "n-word," people know what you mean, and that was good enough for me.

Offline sueño

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2013, 01:20:51 PM »
I never even considered spelling out the word in the threat title.  When you say, "n-word," people know what you mean, and that was good enough for me.


 :tup
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Offline orcus116

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2013, 06:55:16 PM »
I never even considered spelling out the word in the threat title.  When you say, "n-word," people know what you mean, and that was good enough for me.

I dunno, I think Louis CK put it best:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnKLxDlFS5c

NSFW, although I've never seen a workplace that allows Youtube.

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2013, 07:28:19 PM »
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline sueño

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2013, 10:02:46 PM »
I never even considered spelling out the word in the threat title.  When you say, "n-word," people know what you mean, and that was good enough for me.

I dunno, I think Louis CK put it best:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnKLxDlFS5c

NSFW, although I've never seen a workplace that allows Youtube.

Every place I've ever worked allows YouTube.    :biggrin:

Although seriously,  I don't see a reason to use "the n word" or the spelled out/pronounced version.   It is nothing but bad, nasty and offensive sounding.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2013, 10:08:26 PM by sueño »
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Offline Frank

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #25 on: August 06, 2013, 10:04:43 AM »
I understand and respect your opinion and where it comes from, but I respectfully disagree with you. It's just a word. It's not even an onomatopoeia of some sort where the word is trying to imitate something in real life. It's absolutely arbitrary. We don't call a bag a bag because something about it makes us think of the sounds that make up the word. It's mochila in Spanish and 鞄 (kaban) in Japanese and different words in all other languages (excluding borrowing and other things that make language a hell of a lot messier than many think).

The arbitrariness is just one factor in how I feel. Like I've iterated before, being afraid of words is, in my opinion, only going to cloud the solutions to the situations rather than help anybody. You know what's REALLY nasty and offensive? Racism. And while I don't see the problem of racism ever truly being solved, I can damn near guarantee you that within 500 to 1000 years the word "nigger" will either be completely antiquated or its meaning will change entirely, because that's just how language works.

Also, I know I just used the word "nigger" to illustrate an intellectual point. Are you against that, as well? If you are, then I'm sad to say that I would absolutely disagree with you, because that contributes to an atmosphere of fear that doesn't even allow us to easily TALK about the problem, much less try to find a solution to the more sinister underlying problems in society that sometimes emerge with the use of the word. Also, if I had used "n-word" in the previous paragraph, as Louis C.K. mentioned, it's just, in my opinion, a fairly silly way of trying to get around the "problem". I see no reason why I can't say "nigger" in contexts like this. I speak English, and I want to embrace this awesome language - and I will not have my language restricted when I know my intentions are clean.
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Offline sueño

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #26 on: August 06, 2013, 10:20:56 AM »
I find it curious how using this one, derogatory, never-positive, definitely NOT "awesome" word seems to be the only way people can "embrace" the language and throw off restrictions.  How not using it somehow makes a person "afraid of words".   :|

Why is someone's life experience lessened because people would prefer not to have derogatory speech uttered around them?  Or used to refer to them?  Are people so excited to use other ethnic slurs?  For some reason, "nigger" is the only word people want to say.   :tdwn

You may know your intentions are clean.  However, the persons you are referring to or who may be within earshot may *not* know that.  You use the word "respect" in your post but you are showing little respect to others if you don't seem to care how your words may affect them.  Such words are very useful in expressing racist thoughts and attitudes...or ignorance; no two ways about it.  That is what is perceived when the word "nigger" is used.

Now.  I am speaking from a place of never having that word used against me, personally.  However, I do know that it offends others (people whom I love dearly) and the connotations are anything but respectful -- I don't care who uses it or "owns" it.  Out of respect for others, and indeed myself, I would easily refrain from using such a word or any other words that I realize are designed to hurt or denigrate other people.

Obviously, some here do not see it that way.  That's cool.  I'm just here to let you know that there are many people out here who may not appreciate your way of embracing the language.  Try a Word-A-Day Calendar if you want to expand your vocabulary.    :\
« Last Edit: August 06, 2013, 10:40:09 AM by sueño »
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Offline Frank

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #27 on: August 06, 2013, 10:47:54 AM »
In regard to your first sentence, the Louis C.K. joke in the video about the coffee barista is a perfect example of how to use the word in a funny context. I disagree on the word being "never-positive". Of course many racist pricks use the word in an awful, disgusting context. But Louis C.K. used the word and turned it into a joke. Whether or not it's funny is more subjective, but it can't reasonably be argued that Louis C.K. was trying to use the word in a negative way. Hell, he's a comedian; his livelihood depends on using words in positive ways to make people laugh.

By the way, the word I just used, "hell", in that context is HORRIBLY offensive to many people. For these people, "hell" should either never be said at all or should be restricted to talking only about the place in religious connotations, and even then with appropriate hints of fear and hatred. But I refuse to allow those people to control how I use the word hell, because it's a colorful, useful word to expand on my points (more accurately, to give my posts a tinge of a personality I want to portray myself as) and it hurts nobody in the context of my value system. Of course that value system changes depending on who you are, but both you and I, I'm sure, ignore other value systems in almost all of our day to day life. I shave my face because I like doing it and I think I look better that way. But many people find the shaving of facial hair an abomination and they are seriously offended. This may sound harsh, but I'm not hurting anybody and it's my body, and I don't care if they're offended or not. I'm sorry, I just don't. It's their problem, not mine. It's the same reason why I'm disgusted with homophobes who want people to live their lives exactly as THEY want to prescribe them. To again cite Louis C.K.:

Quote from: Louis
It doesn't have any effect on your life. What do you care?! People try to talk about it like it's a social issue. Like when you see someone stand up on a talk show and say, "How am I supposed to explain to my children that two men are getting married? . . .  I dunno. It's your shitty kid. You fuckin' tell 'em. Why is that anyone else's problem? Two guys are in LOVE and they can't get married because you don't want to talk to your ugly child for five fuckin' minutes?

Keep in mind, I almost never use the damn word to begin with ("damn", another one that WILL piss people off and I'll still use it). It has almost no utility except in a joke context or to talk about it in a serious fashion like we're doing now. You're right about other people who may not know my intentions are clean, which is another reason I'm less inclined to use it because I don't feel like pissing people off for no good reason and many times it's not worth it to take a gamble on whether somebody will be offended or not. But sometimes I do so only out of practical utility in my life and not because I legitimately respect (or to put it better, agree with) other people's views on the subject.

Going on that thought, it's not that I'm not showing respect to other PEOPLE, it's that I'm not showing respect to (or again to put it better, agree with) the VIEWPOINTS and VALUES of other people. Many people have a problem separating those two. I like to believe that I really don't. I have an ideal that I would like to live in a harmonious world where people with different value systems get along, and I strive for that in compromising my own values temporarily in a context in which if I do so greater harmony will result, but the reality is that people will always be offended at something. That's not to say we should give up, but it's just a reality we need to recognize if we want to address the problems of our world and societies.

I love English. I think it's a really, really cool language with a fascinating history. Again, I study linguistics (although I do think Japanese is a little bit cooler :lol). A word-a-day calender will never give me the word "nigger", and there are contexts, like in this discussion and the Louis C.K. joke in the video, where the word can be use in a "positive" context to make communication clearer. And just to be clear, appreciating a language is not synonymous with expanding one's lexicon just for the sake of doing so. I have absolutely no interest in that.

I want to again reiterate I completely understand where you're coming from and I agree with the feelings that inspire your opinions. And I'm sorry if my continued use of the word offends you - I truly am. But we're having the discussion about the word, and not saying it potentially makes things murkier which is never appreciated. And I don't want to say "n-word" because it makes it sound like I'm scared or the word or hiding from it. I'm not. It's just a word.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2013, 10:53:20 AM by Frank »
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Offline sueño

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #28 on: August 06, 2013, 11:14:13 AM »
So basically you're saying that because you don't see where someone should be offended by your "just words", they should get over it rather than you stepping back and choosing other words to express yourself.   :|

Personally, I don't use swear words at all.  I don't think using those words add anything to my personality that would be attractive.  I have many other words that allow me to express myself just fine.  And I don't find profanity inherently "funny".  But I certainly don't campaign against it; people will speak how they will (and I am permitted to draw my own conclusions about their character...  :P ).  But we're talking about a particular profanity in this thread so that's why I'm on this particular kick.

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it's not that I'm not showing respect to other PEOPLE, it's that I'm not showing respect to (or again to put it better, agree with) the VIEWPOINTS and VALUES of other people.

I honestly don't understand this bit.  How can you claim to be showing respect to people but having no respect to their viewpoints or values?  You don't care what may offend or hurt another person?  There is no way to have this "harmonious" living experience if you don't respect others' viewpoints.

Of course, you will do what you want because your rights and freedoms trump others' more delicate sensibilities.  All I'm doing is letting you know that everyone is not amused.  Maybe that's just my problem -- and I'm fine with that; I've never required consensus to justify how I feel about something.  I do know that it is possible to get thru life without ever referring to someone with a derogatory profanity and anyone who says differently, I believe is severely limited.




And I still don't see where people are clamoring for permission to use the beauty and expressiveness of other ethnic slurs in the English language.   :|
« Last Edit: August 06, 2013, 12:30:24 PM by sueño »
"We spend most of our lives convinced we’re the protagonist of the story, but we rarely realize that we’re just supporting characters in everybody else’s story. Nobody thinks about you as much as you do."

Offline Frank

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #29 on: August 06, 2013, 01:12:40 PM »
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So basically you're saying that because you don't see where someone should be offended by your "just words", they should get over it rather than you stepping back and choosing other words to express yourself.  :|

Yes and no.

The "no" part: If you recall, I said that I occasionally "compromis[e] my own values temporarily in a context in which if I do so greater harmony will result". I don't like doing it, but I do it when I think the situation calls for it. Trust me, I understand that people hold different value systems that differ from me, and if I feel like it will prevent a problem I will step back. And this doesn't just apply for swearing or offensive words, by the way. This applies to every aspect of my interaction with people.

The "yes" part: That being said, I gave the examples of "hell", "damn", and shaving body hair to effectively say, yes, there are situations where you and I both (if you don't shave just substitute in something else - like I said it WILL offend SOMEBODY or SOME group) violate the very seriously held principles of other people because there comes a point where we don't consider it worth it to adjust our lifestyles or habits to appease value systems that we just don't take part in.

It's admittedly a judging game, and I'm not always going to be perfect. My basic heuristic for the judgment call:

Does my avoiding a particular action prevent an unnecessary and damaging, inter-personally as well as intra-personally, emotional reaction from a person?
Is this person a "good person"? (A whole different discussion, but to simplify things let's just say if I were in front of, I don't know, Hitler, and I was physically safe, I wouldn't any problem offending him)
Is this an issue I'm willing to compromise on?

Among other less conscious questions, if the answer to all of those question is "yes", then I will refrain myself. I understand that we could have a debate about each of these questions, and I welcome that. :)

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Personally, I don't use swear words at all.  I don't think using those words add anything to my personality that would be attractive.

Sure, I understand that. Whatever floats your boat. I don't think swear words are intolerantly funny either, and I don't use them to try to be funny. I use them to reflect the speaking style I feel most comfortable with and the speaking style that I feel like I express both my points and my personality the best.

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How can you claim to be showing respect to people but having no respect to their viewpoints or values?

Let me put it this way: I don't like organized religion, as is probably evident from my previous posts on this forum. But this doesn't mean I don't like people who adhere to organized religions. One of my best friends is Catholic, and I especially have problems with the Catholic Church (if only because I'm more familiar with it). I still love her and I am very loyal to her, and I indeed respect her tremendously, but I have no respect for some of her Catholic values. It has absolutely nothing to do with HER - I disagree with those values no matter who holds them. In this specific regard it's very impersonal. You might think this sounds harsh, but I'm wording this in the most up-front and honest way possible. I'm not sugarcoating this at all. To me, it just seems inherent that we can respect people while, at the same time, disagreeing with (and/or disrespecting) certain opinions and values they hold. Many people on this forum are Catholic or Christian, and I hold no disrespect toward them because they subscribe to a religion and I don't. If I did judge people solely on that, THAT in and of itself would be worthy of disrespect, in my opinion. People are multi-faceted. I can disagree with and disrespect the origins of one opinion of somebody while respecting a different opinion of that same person while respect some aspect of their personality while disagreeing with some other aspect of their personality. The way that last sentence is a bit convoluted reflects my point that this is a complicated topic of how we (or I) judge and respect other people. It's never an all-or-one thing.

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You don't care what may offend or hurt another person?  There is no way to have this "harmonious" living experience if you don't respect others' viewpoints. Of course, you will do what you want because your rights and freedoms trump others' more delicate sensibilities.

See my response to the first quote above. Of course I care and I try to avoid offending or hurting people when possible.

And by the way, because of the value system I explained in my response to the third quote, there ABSOLUTELY can be a harmonious living experience even without respecting others' viewpoints. The key is instead to respect the RIGHT of people to hold different viewpoints.

...again, if we want to blow this up to all of society it becomes more nuanced, and ultimately societies need to decide on certain axioms by which to conduct themselves, but I digress.

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I've never required consensus to justify how I feel about something.

You and I both. :tup The very opinions I'm expressing in this post aren't particularly popular with many people.
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Offline sueño

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #30 on: August 06, 2013, 01:16:55 PM »
Third time, though:

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And I still don't see where people are clamoring for permission to use the beauty and expressiveness of other ethnic slurs in the English language.

Anyone???
"We spend most of our lives convinced we’re the protagonist of the story, but we rarely realize that we’re just supporting characters in everybody else’s story. Nobody thinks about you as much as you do."

Offline Frank

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #31 on: August 06, 2013, 01:24:08 PM »
I didn't respond to that part because I didn't see it come up before and it didn't strike me as particularly relevant. Nobody in this thread, as far as I'm aware, has claimed that ethnic slurs are beautiful and/or expressive. I certainly haven't. All I'm really arguing is for my right to use such words in a non-racist context (everything else in my posts has to do with side-issues of respect and understanding that arise from it). That's all.
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Offline sueño

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #32 on: August 06, 2013, 01:46:51 PM »
I didn't respond to that part because I didn't see it come up before and it didn't strike me as particularly relevant. Nobody in this thread, as far as I'm aware, has claimed that ethnic slurs are beautiful and/or expressive. I certainly haven't.

I guess I inferred that from this statement below of yours, using the word helps you embrace awesomeness:

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I see no reason why I can't say "nigger" in contexts like this. I speak English, and I want to embrace this awesome language - and I will not have my language restricted when I know my intentions are clean.


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All I'm really arguing is for my right to use such words in a non-racist context (everything else in my posts has to do with side-issues of respect and understanding that arise from it). That's all.

I suppose I don't see how on earth that is possible (from anyone), but I'm old-fashioned that way.  :(

I do stand by my observation that absolutely no one seems to be clamoring for the "right" to use any other ethnic slur or mean name to refer to someone, though.  Only black people should just "take" it -- from other blacks and everyone else.  :(  It is truly sad.
"We spend most of our lives convinced we’re the protagonist of the story, but we rarely realize that we’re just supporting characters in everybody else’s story. Nobody thinks about you as much as you do."

Offline Frank

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #33 on: August 06, 2013, 02:00:17 PM »
Ha ha, I get excited about language and defensive about language, because it IS awesome. My apologies if it seemed like I was saying something else. I'm very emotional and excited when it comes to things I love and am fascinated with.

We'll just have to disagree on the racist context part. Language is dynamic and constantly shifting - I can promise you that. Language is NEVER set on stone. It's a crucial element of what makes language what it is in the first place. "Faggot" used to refer to a bundle of sticks, "gay" used to mean happy, etc. And their meanings can and probably will change again - just give it enough time. Not to mention I gave the example of Louis C.K. in that video earlier telling a joke where the word "nigger" is the punchline and yet it has essentially nothing to do with a black person (admittedly part of the humor comes precisely from that last point, f you want to be very specific about it).

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I do stand by my observation that absolutely no one seems to be clamoring for the "right" to use any other ethnic slur or mean name to refer to someone, though.

I assume you live in the USA like me. Consider the time period we're living in and our recent history in the last fifty years or so. Consider the population living here. In other societies and in other times this would be different. I know it's different in Japan and east Asia where the word "racism" is moreso applied to the cycle between Chinese, Korean, and Japanese people. And again, it WILL be different. I essentially guarantee you this. People will be having the same basic debate we're having, just with something else that would sound meaningless to us, like "terrank" or something. That's not a word to us. But it might be to people 200 years from now in a society where, I don't, Icelandic people are dominant and Asian people are the victims of racism with "terrank" being as awful as "nigger" can be in a brutal racist context. Despite the different circumstances, the same basic points behind the debate will be the same.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that talking about specific words isn't necessarily the main point at hand. It just HAPPENS to be "nigger", and my two main points are that 1) I should have the right to say it in a non-racist context and 2) avoiding the word may actually obscure potential solutions to a more sinister problem. 2) is far more importantly socially speaking than 1) is, so I'm agree I agree with 2) as well otherwise I would sound very selfish, if I don't already! But I would argue I should be able to use "Jap" if I'm talking about racism in America in a WWII context, I should be able to use the word "gook" if I'm talking about racism against Hmong people in the context of a movie like "Grant Torino", etc.
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Offline sueño

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Re: The n-word and its use
« Reply #34 on: August 06, 2013, 02:13:44 PM »
Trust me, I know ALL about this country's history regarding people the majority consider "other" (Natives, Blacks, Japanese - heck, Irish, Italian, Jewish)...it is inexcusable.  My parents were born in 1936 and 1940 respectively...in The South.  I KNOW the ugliness they experienced and can attest to, first hand.

I don't see how avoiding the use of ethnic slurs would "obscure potential solutions" to racism/prejudice (seems like a valid first step, to me), but...

Okay.   :|

Use any word when/however you see fit; you seem to be "down" like that.  It will not matter about its disgusting, vile history or how it sickens others just to see it in print, let alone hear it.  Others will eventually evolve to your state of enlightenment.

It's a pity you cannot find other words to describe people, even in historical context.  I can only fathom referencing such slurs prefaced with: "Yes, ignorant, hateful people used *slur* to describe and oppress  *ethnic group* back in the day, but fortunately, we are past using such hurtful, divisive language today." 

Aside from that, IMO there is *no* place in comedy, conversation, entertainment or amongst "friends" where it is appropriate.  At least not in my presence or the presence of anyone I love.
"We spend most of our lives convinced we’re the protagonist of the story, but we rarely realize that we’re just supporting characters in everybody else’s story. Nobody thinks about you as much as you do."