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    Thread: Political Correctness

    1. #1
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      Political Correctness



      I have a question for you guys about political correctness. I think it's hogwash. I think minority groups are trying to have it both ways, not only controlling what they're called but also how words are used that used to relate to that minority group. I think if it's offensive to called a mentally handicapped person retarded, then it shouldn't be offensive to use the word retard as you please. The same goes for any other offensive word mentioned above. Thoughts?

      (Please don't delete this thread or ban me, I'm doing my best to follow community guidelines but this topic is important to me)

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      In a lot of cases, the "political correctness movement" consists of lazy self-victimizers. They're no different than fat people who blame the world for the "obesity epidemic" but never get off their asses and walk around the block.

      It's been said time and time again, that it's not the word itself that's racist/bigoted/etc but the racist/bigoted asshole who's using it in that context. If it were really just the word, black people wouldn't be calling each other "nigger" all the time, and gays wouldn't call one another "fags" all the time.

      People need to realize: Other people don't offend you - they only give you an easy opportunity to offend yourself.

      edit to add one thing I forgot: I think using the term "african american" as a euphemism for black is even more rude. You wouldn't call the white guy from south africa "african american" but you MIGHT slip up and call a black british guy "african american" so... yeah, the term is kind of idiotic, imo.
      Last edited by Replicon; 10-12-2011 at 06:58 PM.
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      Exactly. It comes down to the person identifying with the offensive remark when there's no reason to identify with it. It's a form of fundamentalism to me, trying to control how other people live or speak. When it comes down to it, everyone has a choice whether or not to be effected by someone else's words. If they're a bigot that's actually verbally attacking the person, that's different. If they're using it in a different context and not insulting you personally, then go find a Whaaambulence.
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      What I find particularly comical is how many of these politically incorrect terms are etymologically sound. For instance, "retarded" just means slow. "The boy's development is retarded". That's a hell of a lot more polite than "idiot" or "stupid". Negro is Spanish for black, "nigger" comes from niger which is Latin for black. A black person is black, how is that offensive?

      Over time, normal words become less and less politically correct as they are used to describe a group of people, until everybody has to find a new word . When negro became offensive, people would say coloured; when that became unacceptable, they'd say black, then african-american, etc.
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      Terminally Out of Phase Descensus's Avatar
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      I think a lot of political correctness comes from a desire to run away from actual problems. "Oh it's not that severe. I'm not retarded, I'm mentally challenged." "Oh it's not that severe. I wasn't traumatized by the horrors of war, I was merely stressed by it."
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      This is what happens when words have different meanings and the intended meaning is inferred based on who said it. Bitch, nigger and fag are probably the three main examples.

      They're all used as terms of endearment by the same people that are the target when they're used as slurs. It's asking for trouble and confusion and that's what you get. Overly ambiguous communication in the presence (imagined or otherwise) of underlaying fear and hostility will inevitably lead to stupid behavior.
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      I think it's cultural therapy for black people to take the power back from the word. I think the people who are trying to tell black kids to stop using it are in the wrong, trying to just leave the word in the history books as though no bigot will ever use it again. The only way to stop an offensive word is by becoming invulnerable to it.
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      Obligatory video:


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      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei View Post
      (Please don't delete this thread or ban me, I'm doing my best to follow community guidelines but this topic is important to me)
      This says it all.

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      I said that because I made this thread before and it got deleted.

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      I understand, I'm just saying is this what it has come to? I almost got banned once for making a topic about gay marriage. Even if free speech is protected under the law (and that's only in the US as far as i'm aware) there are growing pressures against it. In the UK there is even a group called UAF (Unite Against Facism), which is supported by the prime minister, that openly opposes free speech. Along with increasing 'hate speech' laws it seems as if Freedom of Expression is diminishing day by day. It's shocking how people just don't care about this authoritarian tide sweeping across the western world.
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      I have to agree, I hate PC with a passion. Ive noticed a very common cultural trend that as people like to take less and less responsibility for themselves, they similarly like to blame others for their reactions to situations. I am of the opinion that you are allowed to have whatever emotions you want, but it is your responsibility to control them and act like an adult. This includes even if someone offends you, it doesnt automatically give you the right to make the situation even worse by escalating the conflict. Sadly most people seem to think that being upset gives them a free pass to act however they want.
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      Unfortunately, fascism seems to be the only consistant, reliable way to handle stupid, hairy, overpopulated monkeys that we know of. Of course we could decide to quit being like that and develop ourselves as a species using tools like education, technology and certain subsets of both new and existing religious beliefs but that's sort of hard to do when you're not even willing to admit that there's a problem.
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    14. #14
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      Allow me to be an (and maybe only) opposing voice, here. Bear in mind that I've come to accept the whole 'get over it' concept as just a way the world works, but I've had to come up dealing with at least one of these issues, so I see both sides and might be able to offer some persepctive. Though I'm pretty moderate on the whole thing (now), I'll present more of an argument against it, from my own experience:

      You lot are arguing for the right to be able to use certain words, without people being offended; as if, just because the word has evolved to be more acceptable, in certain circles, it means that everyone should just 'deal with it'. But, how many of these words are insults that you guys actually had to deal with, growing up? I don't know your personal lives, but I would think that, if it were any, you might be (at the very least) a little more sympathetic. Growing up with a stigma about something that you've been bullied or ridiculed about is not something that you just 'get over'. It usually takes a certain type of person to reach that level of self-confidence, in the face of such adversity - for so long - and I sincerely (not just playing Devil's advocate, here) commend anyone who's able to do so. Again, it's not something that bothers me as much anymore, but it took a long time to mature into my acceptance of it, when it comes to the word 'nigger'.

      In regards to fat people: You are well aware that there are physical and physiological defects that can cause people to be obese, right? Despite popular opinion, 'fatties' aren't always just people who 'refuse to get up and walk around the block a few times.' There are some fat people who struggle all their lives with their weight, because losing it is multiple times harder for them to lose weight, than 'normal' people who have just eaten one two many twinkies, unappologetically. Sure, it's fun to make fun of them, because they are odd and round and largely unattractive (no pun intended), physically, but the fact is that many people can do very little to help their weight, and by the time they have matured to a level where they know that all of the health issues that have been passed on to (or fed to) them by their parents might actually be something they need to monitor, it's too late, and these people often have to work harder than any of us have ever worked at anything, to get the weight off.

      As far as taking back words like 'nigger' and 'fag', I can only speak to the former, because that's the only one I've actually had to deal with a lot, growing up. It's true, that the 'taking back' of a word is done by those who are looking to rise above the word, itself, and lessen the word's power, overall. That's all fine and good. When that kind of satire is an integral part of your culture, then it's going to be understandable that you are kind of 'allowed' to use the word in that context (but of course it matters who you say it to, as not everyone agrees on this). What raises tention is when these middle/upper-class kids - that know nothing about the culture - start trying to emulate what they see in hip-hop and other mainstream media, and take to saying the word(s) just because they like it, and think it's edgy and cool (which, admit it or not, is how the popularization of the 'evolved' word came about). As was said earlier (and I've used the analogy before), it's a lot like the word 'bitch'. If I walk up to my group of friends, or fraternity brothers, etc, and I say "what's up, you bitches?" I will probably get a laugh from the group. But would I be stupid enough to walk up to some roughneck's group of friends, whom I don't know, and say "what's up, bitches?" Of course not. And there is a reason for that distinction.

      When it comes to how people react to those types of words, you all are viewing the issue from the perspective of your own apathy. Of course it doesn't mean anything to you. Of course you're going want to 'speak how you want to speak', and feel the entitlement that everyone else should just stfu and deal with it, or vacate your personal space. But I really don't think you should try to rationalize how people should react to something you have likely never been exposed to. Of course you're going to have every one-sided reason, as to why you think people are just overly-sensetive about stuff that 'doesn't matter', but for a lot of people, what 'doesn't matter' to you has 'mattered' to them, all their lives, in ways that you cannot possibly relate to.

      Personally, I very rarely ever use the word 'nigger/nigga' (outside of when I'm rhyming, or just completely messing around). It's not some sort of moral code, really. It's just a matter of personal preference. There is a very real (and well-founded) stigma behind the word (and words like it), though, so when someone's idea of 'humor' is to use words that they know carry heavy, heavy negative connotations, that person is basically giving a big "fuck you," to anyone around them with whom the word might carry some serious baggage. The fact is that the perceived default position, when people outside of the culture use such words, is that they are using them in a derogatory sense. Don't blame the 'victims'' inability to 'get with the times.' Blame the etymology of the word that you're using, in the first place. Besides, every one of you that uses that type of language constantly knows just what weight the words carry, and that everyone you offend with it isn't going to stop you first and say "pardon me, but may I have your life story, so I can find out what context you truly use that word in?"

      Now, with all that being said, I've grown to be much more tolerant of people who say 'nigger', colloquially - white or black. I've come to understand that it's a word that is said by different cultures, for different reasons. I've had plenty of awkward moments, where someone say call someone a nigger (meaning a 'stupid, ignorant person', regardless of color), before realizing that I was in the room. Then they would turn to me and spend the next 10 minutes apologizing and telling me that they aren't racist, even though I didn't make to big a deal of it. However, I've also had 'friends' smile in my face for years, and then talk about me behind my back, calling me 'nigger', to people who didn't think would relay the message to me. So, whenever someone says the word 'nigger', who obviously isn't part of the 'nigga' culture (and no, that doesn't just mean 'black', and anyone who doesn't understand that doesn't need to be saying the word in the first place), even when I can laugh it off, an assume they are just speaking colloquially, I admit that there is a bit of teeth-grating that goes on, within me; if for no other reason than wishing people had a hire class of humor. With 'nigga', it always makes me facepalm, when people who (again) are obviously not a part of the culture go around saying 'wssup my nigga' to black people, just because they think it's cool, or that they should just be 'allowed' to say the word, because it's just a word.

      Sure, it's just a word, but words can be weapons, and if you make it a point to deal in edgy, ambiguous language, you can't get mad at people for misinterpreting.
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      Words have power, and I'm not claiming they don't. I'm suggesting that the only way to overcome that power is through self-resolve, it cannot come by changing the way society works and demonizing anyone for showing a different opinion, apathetic or not.

      Honestly, your point would hold much more validity to me if you made it in my first thread about political correctness. Unfortunately you can't because it was deleted. Now that I've risked being banned in order to get this point across I have a hard time seeing this issue as apathetic people not worrying about who they offend. I see it as a free speech issue. I think society needs to desensitize itself and remove these stigmas as much as possible, and fight the real issue. Banning the word fag does not stop kids from going out and beating gays to death. The real issue we should be fighting is harassment.

      I don't think someone's life story is required to understand their context, the tone of voice is enough. To me, the only wrong way to use a word is against someone else (whether to their face or behind their backs). When you use you word to hurt people, it's pretty obvious. I'm sure the girl in the video was a part of it because she was called retard and harassed herself. I'm sure many of the people behind the R word campaign or relatives of mentally disabled and have the same opinion as you, people don't understand the hurt they're causing because they're not in the right shoes. This is true. But the villain is not ignorant use of a word, it's ignorance of other people's feelings in general. Using a word in proper context only offends the people that, as other posters have said, are addicted to the victim game.
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      I think though that there is a difference though between nigger/fag whatever and disabled. Political correctness also extendeds far beyond terminology. It's an errosion of free speech in debate. It's about when certain topics are out of bounds incase they offend anyone. Immigration used to be one although finally thats almost back to something which is OK to talk about. To even say the words black and crime in the same sentance will get someone labelled as a 'racist' and possibly removed from public office. I think Enoch Powells rivers of blood speech, and his removal from the shadow cabinet was one of the most famous early incidents.

    17. #17
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      Quote Originally Posted by Spartiate View Post
      What I find particularly comical is how many of these politically incorrect terms are etymologically sound. For instance, "retarded" just means slow. "The boy's development is retarded". That's a hell of a lot more polite than "idiot" or "stupid". Negro is Spanish for black, "nigger" comes from niger which is Latin for black. A black person is black, how is that offensive?
      That's the problem. People don't even think of these words as having their actual meaning. Retarded means stopped, or slowed down.
      Nigger is a bit different, at least afaik, coz it was originally used as an offensive term for black people. No one called black people niggers to say they were black, I mean.

      I understand how it could become offensive if people just always referred to you as "retard".
      Like "Have you seen -name- today?"
      "Who!?"
      "You know, the retard".

      That could get offensive for sure. Because you're basically being constantly defined by one aspect of yourself.

      It would be slightly better to say "You know, the retarded guy".

      But it is unacceptable, to me, to cease using the word retarded to describe someone who is mentally.... retarded.
      There is nothing wrong with that.
      For example if you were describing a class of kids' mental abilities. It would be fine to say "This kid is highly intelligent, this kid excels, this kids is about average, this kid is retarded".

      The only reason it seems odd to say it is that people used it as a slang to call people stupid. And it lost it's original, academic meaning.

    18. #18
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      Language is a constantly evolving thing, and words that originally had harmless meanings take on a new life as harsh and unacceptable terms.

      People in the American south, who can't talk right, have always said "Nigra" instead of Negro, in the same way "How do you do" got shortened into Howdy do and just Howdy. And then those who were too lazy or uneducated to even say Nigra dropped even the final vowel sound.

      So even though technically a word like retarded is only a clinical term for slow, it's grown and evolved into something else and everyone knows it.

      I must say though, I never understood how it could be helpful for people to use the slang terms they deny others the use of though, like for instance ghetto youth and black comedians constantly calling each other the N word (yep, I don't like to say it) - until Omnis explained it above. Now I get it.

      Some political correctness is just - well - retarded. But I do understand why certain words should stop being used in their original sense after becoming weapons against certain people.

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      Oneironaut, I thank you for your detailed reply and account here.

      Just a couple of small points:

      You lot are arguing for the right to be able to use certain words, without people being offended; as if, just because the word has evolved to be more acceptable, in certain circles, it means that everyone should just 'deal with it'.
      Not really. I've argued that getting offended is a choice that falls into the court of the person hearing said words, and any "right" should not be coupled with potential offendedness to the word.

      Just to be really clear, I'm very mindful of the "nigger" thing, and I never really use it in public. Partly because I know it has power to some people, and partly because I don't have the time or the desire to have this very conversation with every person I run into haha, but mainly because there's just no practical reason to, so I never got started. But I say "retarded" sometimes... I say, "man, this rule is retarded!" or whatever, and if someone who has a friend who is "differently-abled" (or whatever the euphemism du jour is) overhears me, it's their responsibility to get over the fact that words have more than one meaning and more than one use. Like if I say "shit!" as an angry reaction to something, it's different than when I say "this shit's good!" when I enjoy good food. Of course, they don't HAVE to get over it. They can choose to feel miserable for no good reason. Just don't blame me for the bad emotions you've created for yourself, ya know?

      You are well aware that there are physical and physiological defects that can cause people to be obese, right? Despite popular opinion, 'fatties' aren't always just people who 'refuse to get up and walk around the block a few times.'
      Indeed, I am aware. But there ARE fatties - LOTS of them - who fall into the other category (I'd say it's pretty likely to be _most_ of them - I don't think the "fat disorder" you refer to favours Mississippi, cause it has friends in the area). I was just making an analogy to the lazy ones specifically, and I was hoping that would have been clearer. But just in case, here it is, spelled out.

      As was said earlier (and I've used the analogy before), it's a lot like the word 'bitch'. If I walk up to my group of friends, or fraternity brothers, etc, and I say "what's up, you bitches?" I will probably get a laugh from the group. But would I be stupid enough to walk up to some roughneck's group of friends, whom I don't know, and say "what's up, bitches?" Of course not. And there is a reason for that distinction.
      Exactly my point - the power does NOT rest in the word, as much as the context it is uttered in.

      You know, semantics aside, I think you and I are really more on the same page here than it seems. There's really two sub-themes going on in this thread. One is the deliberate use of words that have, over history, picked up connotations that are very easy for some people to drag in, and so when they hear the word, it's an anchor that affects their emotional states in some way (and while I don't mean to cheapen the past, those anchors aren't that difficult to nuke).

      And the other theme is the more euphemistic side of things, which also comes into the picture when dealing with political correctness.

      I'd actually really like to hear your take on the whole "african american" vs. "black" thing, since it's a bit more relevant to language in the present time (really, with "nigger/nigga" I think the Chris Rock explanation is pretty universally-understood).

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      *Warning: Massive Wall of Text Ahead*

      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei
      Words have power, and I'm not claiming they don't. I'm suggesting that the only way to overcome that power is through self-resolve, it cannot come by changing the way society works and demonizing anyone for showing a different opinion, apathetic or not.
      I do agree with you, on that, to a point, but as I said, there is a bit of responsibility placed on the person who decides to use such insulting words and concepts. Word associations are very real things, and whether or not you have your 'own' meanings for certain words (and as I said, these 'evolved' meanings aren't universally spread to everyone at once), you can't be completely ignorant of where these words came from. In the end, you are still saying "I don't care what kind of battles you've had with this word, in the past, I'm still going to use it to describe [X], so get over it."

      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei
      Honestly, your point would hold much more validity to me if you made it in my first thread about political correctness. Unfortunately you can't because it was deleted. Now that I've risked being banned in order to get this point across I have a hard time seeing this issue as apathetic people not worrying about who they offend. I see it as a free speech issue. I think society needs to desensitize itself and remove these stigmas as much as possible, and fight the real issue. Banning the word fag does not stop kids from going out and beating gays to death. The real issue we should be fighting is harassment.
      Well, I'm not sure how the change from being in your last thread, to being in this one, can change one's logic as such. You either see the argument for its merit, or you don't, IMHO. But, I can see where you're coming from. You are fighting against oppression of free speech (and most people do), but you have to understand that running adjacent to 'Free Speech' is a little something called 'common respect'. You're looking at the issue of PC as an offensive force that is actively stifling your freedom to say whatever you want, but there is another side to it. You also have a humanistic responsibility to assess the full weight of the words you use, and how they affect people. You know that stigmas don't just go away with the acceptance of a word. How many black people, who call themselves 'niggas', even now, are going to let you call them a nigger? How many fat people are going to just 'be ok' with you telling a volley of fat-jokes to a classroom of their peers, even if you expressly state that you aren't talking about them?

      Stigmas are both born (and die out) with the perception of how society, at large treat the issue. Going back to the 'nigger' thing: In my experience, most people that want to throw around the word, and rant about how blacks are overly-sensitive about issues of race, seem completely oblivious to the level of racism that still exists in this country. It's like they feel that it was something that was stamped out with segregation. Usually, they seem completely out of touch with reality, and want to induct a very powerful word into their vocabulary, simply because 'it's a free country, and people should just 'get over' the 'past' issue of racism/prejudice.' As long as people can walk down the street and get called 'fatty', or 'blob' or 'faggot' or 'fucking homo' or whatever - with malice - then they aren't going to just be easy-breezy, when they walk into the store, and you're telling indirect fat jokes, or saying that your friend, who's being an idiot, is being 'fucking gay', or when your friend hugs you and you say 'get off of me you fucking homo,' even in jest.

      You know this. You know that it is a sore issue with many people. That's why the words have become popular buzzwords, it is exactly because of the weight that they carry. With freedom of speech comes the responsibility to monitor what you say, yourself, or not whine about the consequences, even if you feel that they were excessive. You can walk up to some grown man and passively tell him about the dirty things you would like to do with his daughter. It's a free country, right? But no one is going to have sympathy for you, when you get punched in the face.

      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei
      I don't think someone's life story is required to understand their context, the tone of voice is enough. To me, the only wrong way to use a word is against someone else (whether to their face or behind their backs). When you use you word to hurt people, it's pretty obvious. I'm sure the girl in the video was a part of it because she was called retard and harassed herself. I'm sure many of the people behind the R word campaign or relatives of mentally disabled and have the same opinion as you, people don't understand the hurt they're causing because they're not in the right shoes. This is true. But the villain is not ignorant use of a word, it's ignorance of other people's feelings in general.
      Let me skip forward and throw one of Replicon's posts in here, to kind of make a point:

      Quote Originally Posted by Replicon
      Just to be really clear, I'm very mindful of the "nigger" thing, and I never really use it in public. Partly because I know it has power to some people, and partly because I don't have the time or the desire to have this very conversation with every person I run into haha, but mainly because there's just no practical reason to, so I never got started.
      Here, Replicon acknowledges that - even though he doesn't agree with there being a reason for it - he understands that there is often some level of further communication needed, for people to truly understand the context of a word that has been said. Not to put words in Replicon's mouth, but I don't think tone of voice is always sufficient, in the same way that sarcasm isn't always detectable.

      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei
      Using a word in proper context only offends the people that, as other posters have said, are addicted to the victim game.
      Again, I don't believe this to be true, and I think it's a pretty cold indifference toward people whom have legitimate aversions to those words. You are completely downplaying the role of psychology, in how people react to things, and looking at it from a purely 'logical' (though apathetic), outsider's perspective. If someone grows up in a house where they watch their mother get brutally beaten by their father, on a constant basis, how do you think they will react, once they've grown into young adulthood, and come into a new job or something, where the type of humor tossed around the office are pics Like This One?

      Do you think that person should just 'stfu and get over' the fact that their co-wokers are making jokes of something that had literally crippled their child-hood, because it's now an acceptable meme in society? Do you think that person's getting upset about memories of that lifestyle being driven to the surface, by people who obviously couldn't be more indifferent to the issue, is a case of that person just being 'addicted to the victim game'? I'm sorry, but I think that's a pretty heartless assessment of a very real problem that plagues many, many people.

      Quote Originally Posted by Thatperson
      I think though that there is a difference though between nigger/fag whatever and disabled. Political correctness also extendeds far beyond terminology. It's an errosion of free speech in debate. It's about when certain topics are out of bounds incase they offend anyone. Immigration used to be one although finally thats almost back to something which is OK to talk about. To even say the words black and crime in the same sentance will get someone labelled as a 'racist' and possibly removed from public office. I think Enoch Powells rivers of blood speech, and his removal from the shadow cabinet was one of the most famous early incidents.
      This is where PC proves itself to be completely arbitrary, which is where most people have their problems with PC, and I agree. There are some levels of it that are a bit ridiculous, even by my standards (as someone who believes very highly in respect). I know that [I think it's Replicon] addresses the whole 'black vs. african american' thing, so I'll touch on that, when I get down to it.

      Quote Originally Posted by tommo
      That's the problem. People don't even think of these words as having their actual meaning. Retarded means stopped, or slowed down.
      Nigger is a bit different, at least afaik, coz it was originally used as an offensive term for black people. No one called black people niggers to say they were black, I mean.

      I understand how it could become offensive if people just always referred to you as "retard".
      Like "Have you seen -name- today?"
      "Who!?"
      "You know, the retard".

      That could get offensive for sure. Because you're basically being constantly defined by one aspect of yourself.

      It would be slightly better to say "You know, the retarded guy".
      This is exactly how I feel about the 'retarded' issue (and, yes, 'nigger' is definitely different, for the reason you stated). Again, it's much more in how it's said, than the word itself, though this is not always clearly conveyed from the person saying it, nor perceived by the person listening. When you call someone 'that retard', you are not just 'not being PC'. You are basically reducing that person's identity to a label of practical invalidity - as if he is less than human (which, as I believe Darkmatters stated, is different from just using the word 'retarded', in a clinical context). Again, it goes back to understanding the power behind the words, and actually taking care in how you use it - which, some people (let's face it) are just completely unwilling to do. In such cases, yes, ignorant use of the word is the villain.

      Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatters
      I must say though, I never understood how it could be helpful for people to use the slang terms they deny others the use of though, like for instance ghetto youth and black comedians constantly calling each other the N word (yep, I don't like to say it) - until Omnis explained it above. Now I get it.
      Omnis, or me?

      Quote Originally Posted by Replicon
      Not really. I've argued that getting offended is a choice that falls into the court of the person hearing said words, and any "right" should not be coupled with potential offendedness to the word.
      And I argue that getting offended is not usually a choice. It is a knee-jerk reaction to a perceived threat, implied disapproval of oneself or alienation. Does a cat choose for its hair to stand on end, when it perceives a dangerous or hostile environment? Does a martial artist wait to get punched in the face, before choosing to prepare attack a perceived threat? No. It is automatic. That is how 'offense' works. The thought process of someone who has to deal with these 'ambiguously offensive' words (from my own experience) is usually: "So this is that person's level of humor? I wonder how deep it goes? Do they really think of [X] as a negative? Is that why they are using it in such a derogatory way? What do they really think about [X]?" I do not choose for all of these questions and assessments of my environment to come into my head. It just happens. It is a defense mechanism, and it is one that has helped prepare my wits, in case some prejudicial conflict does come my way.

      And it's even worse, when you are the only [X] in the area. When you walk into a place and people are making under-handed jokes about 'your kind', even when they're assigning the word to something unrelated to you, the 'alarm' will go off, inside you. That is not a 'choice'. The reason for it is because, many times when you hear those types of jokes/labels/etc, they are by people who generally do not like (or couldn't care less for) the type of people whose 'labels' they are using. (Fags/niggers/jews/fatties/'white boys'/etc.)

      That is not to say that everyone who uses such biting language feels that way, but the truth of the matter is that people who often hear the words have to deal with people who do think like that, with a frequency that others couldn't even comprehend, so when they encounter the few who use the words with no malice intended, you can't just expect for them to not be bothered with it. That is simply a selfish and unrealistic expectation.

      Quote Originally Posted by Replicon
      Like if I say "shit!" as an angry reaction to something, it's different than when I say "this shit's good!" when I enjoy good food. Of course, they don't HAVE to get over it. They can choose to feel miserable for no good reason. Just don't blame me for the bad emotions you've created for yourself, ya know?
      Not the same, I'm afraid. Saying "this shit's good" is an overt compliment. It says it right there, in the statement. It's "good." Now when a gay man walks down the street and two buddies are goofing around with each other saying "get off of me, you fucking fag", even if they don't know the man walking passed them is gay, the connotation is that there is something wrong with being a 'fag.' There is no redeeming compliment, there. There is no positive spin. It's an insult, plain and simple.

      Quote Originally Posted by Replicon
      Indeed, I am aware. But there ARE fatties - LOTS of them - who fall into the other category (I'd say it's pretty likely to be _most_ of them - I don't think the "fat disorder" you refer to favours Mississippi, cause it has friends in the area). I was just making an analogy to the lazy ones specifically, and I was hoping that would have been clearer. But just in case, here it is, spelled out.
      Ok. Understood. My point is that people don't usually make a distinction between the two, when they are tossing the derogatory terms around, and I stand by that point. And someone in the room who suffers from said affliction is - by nature - likely to become offended without further context.

      Quote Originally Posted by Replicon
      You know, semantics aside, I think you and I are really more on the same page here than it seems. There's really two sub-themes going on in this thread. One is the deliberate use of words that have, over history, picked up connotations that are very easy for some people to drag in, and so when they hear the word, it's an anchor that affects their emotional states in some way (and while I don't mean to cheapen the past, those anchors aren't that difficult to nuke).
      I agree with some of what you said, however, where we lose each other is when you use words like 'anchors' and 'past', as if peoples' aversions to these words rest solely in the past. It goes back to what I just said about people being oblivious to the fact that these words are still used - in their most sadistic forms - often. I could see your point, if using 'nigger/fag/jew/retard/etc' as insults was a dead language, and people were just holding onto remnants of a past era, but that is not the case, whatsoever.

      Quote Originally Posted by Replicon
      I'd actually really like to hear your take on the whole "african american" vs. "black" thing, since it's a bit more relevant to language in the present time (really, with "nigger/nigga" I think the Chris Rock explanation is pretty universally-understood).
      It may be understood (and hilarious), but definitely not universal (in the sense that everyone pretty much follows it), and the 'unwritten rule' that Chris talks about (I love that bit, btw) is actually a matter of contention with many white people who - maybe unlike those of you in this thread - feel that they should be able to say the 'N' word, in any of its forms.

      About the 'black / African American' thing: To me, this is one of those PC issues that falls into the category of 'who the fuck cares?' I've never opted to be called African American. It makes as little sense to me as calling someone a European American. At this point, it's simply unnecessary, and usually just plain incorrect.

      HOWEVER, at a time, it was completely understandable. Blacks weren't seen as Americans. They were barely seen as humans. So as a matter of civil rights, and changing the perception of the black race in America, the term African American was impossed as a reminder to people of the time that "Hey, we are American Citizens, just like you." While I feel that blacks have come a long way in establishing our place as Americans, there are still plenty of injustices perceived by the 'We are African American' generation, and so they hang on to the term as a moniker of validation. Personally, I don't blame them. It's not something that I ascribe to, because I wasn't born in that era. And if the inequalities that still exist within the system (and they are still there, whether people decide to acknowledge them or not) were completely and totally dissolved, I'm sure the need to hold onto that label would fade away.

      Although, even though people may not understand or agree with the preference that some people have to be labeled as 'African American', instead of the often-derogatory label of 'black', I don't think it's right to criticize them for it. However, I do believe that many blacks take the issue overboard, by indicating people who don't call them "AA" are 'racist.' But, really, how many people of our generation (or even the older generation) do you actually see/hear doing this?

      Not many, really. It's more prominent in hearsay, than it is in practice, I think.
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    21. #21
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      Quote Originally Posted by Oneironaut View Post
      Omnis, or me?
      Well, Omnis said it first here:

      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei View Post
      I think it's cultural therapy for black people to take the power back from the word. I think the people who are trying to tell black kids to stop using it are in the wrong, trying to just leave the word in the history books as though no bigot will ever use it again. The only way to stop an offensive word is by becoming invulnerable to it.

      I'm not saying I agree with the point he seems to be making, which is that political correctness is BS and people should just be able to use the words anyway. But I never understood the whole cultural therapy thing until he pointed it out - I only saw it as a way for the ghetto kids or whoever to rub it in everyone else's faces like "Hey, look - you can't say it but we can!"

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      I'm not saying it's completely BS, but O did help me reconsider my stance about how intentions are not always obvious and usually politically incorrect jokes are only funny to people who have some distance from the subject. I understand how experience can alter your perspective on things and people who stand at a distance don't have any right to assume they know what's it's like to deal with these issues and claim they aren't serious.

      It's the authoritarian use of political correctness and this mentality that they can solve the problem by fixing the symptoms that I have a problem with.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei View Post
      It's the authoritarian use of political correctness and this mentality that they can solve the problem by fixing the symptoms that I have a problem with.
      Yes. ^ This.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatters
      Well, Omnis said it first, here:
      Oh, yeah. Forgot about that. Hehe.

      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei View Post
      I'm not saying it's completely BS, but O did help me reconsider my stance about how intentions are not always obvious and usually politically incorrect jokes are only funny to people who have some distance from the subject. I understand how experience can alter your perspective on things and people who stand at a distance don't have any right to assume they know what's it's like to deal with these issues and claim they aren't serious.
      Glad I could offer a little insight.

      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei
      It's the authoritarian use of political correctness and this mentality that they can solve the problem by fixing the symptoms that I have a problem with.
      Now were on the same page. I completely agree with this.
      Darkmatters likes this.
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      I learned a couple years ago that it's no longer "PC" to say mentally challenged, it's developmentally disabled. Every time one term sounds too harsh, it gets softened.

      I don't have a problem with people calling eachother "offensive" things as long as 1) it's in good humor (friendship/friendly banter) and 2) that person isn't part of the "group" that it offends.

      My friends call eachother retarded all of the time. I'm not offended by it. I just don't think mentally challenged people should be called "retards" because it has developed a negative connotation.

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