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OfflineBasidiocarp
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The Use of Epithets
    #3972976 - 03/26/05 05:14 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

I started to get into a discussion about why I think that using the word "gay" as an insult is at times inappropriate. You can read the entire thread here. Rather than highjack the thread, I thought that I might bring the debate here for some discussion. My beef isn't with the general content of the argument between the two guys (I actually side with srgtm1a on most of his points). But here we go:

Quote:

srgtm1a said:
it was nothing derogatory toward homosexuals just another way of calling him a tool.....hehe besides I call my homosexual friend a fag all the time....and the funny thing is he uses that word more than I do.




When homosexuals (or close friends thereof) call each other fags, they're not trading insults, I agree. That is called empowerment, or the taking back of a hurtful epithet by a group of people so as to lessen it's impact. African Americans calling each other nigger is another example. Would you (I'm assuming your white) as a Caucasian call an African American that you were not friends with and that you were having an argument with a nigger? Somehow I don't think so. Why not? Because implicit in your calling him a nigger is that you are racist and are trying to make him feel bad because he's of an inferior race. Same deal goes with gay. Your calling an assumed straight guy that you don't know "gay" is supposed to function as a damaging salvo because you're implying he is of the dreaded inferior sexuality of "gay." And whether you mean it or not, it also makes you sound homophobic (just as if you were to use nigger, you'd sound racist). This has nothing to do with "gay" being synonymous with "tool" IMHO.

Sure this might be subtle reasoning and you might think that I'm being a Politically-Correct pedagogue, but I think you are insulting homosexuals when you use the word "gay" in an argument like this with a stranger (even though that was not at all your intention). Why not just call him a tool? Words are powerful things, let's use them carefully.


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"...if the mind is actually part of a continuum, a labyrinth that is connected not only to every other mind that exists or has existed, but to every atom, organism, and region in the vastness of space and time itself, the fact that it is able to occasionally make forays into the labyrinth and have transpersonal experiences no longer seems so strange."

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Edited by Basidiocarp (03/26/05 05:47 PM)


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Offlinecb9fl
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Re: The Use of Epithets [Re: Basidiocarp]
    #3973067 - 03/26/05 05:58 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

If I'm especially annoyed with a person I'll use a racial epithet exactly because of the reaction I know it will probably elicit. Just as I use curse words in some situations because they are stronger than another choice. For example if I call someone a dick or a bitch I don't mean it in the literal form rather I use it because of the person's resulting emotional response. In the same way I will use fag, kike, wop or nigger to elicit an emotional response. It doesn't matter if the person I'm calling a nigger is black or not. The word simply has a certain connotation to some people and thus it can be useful in an argument. Also I'm more likely to use a word like that with someone who gets extremely upset with the use of such words because they are exactly that, just words. I feel that by using such words more often instead of less they will lose their negative connotation and in reality the people who get pissed off when a person uses racial epithets is adding to their power. If someone calls me a nigger I don't associate it with black people and some idiotic sense that they are all niggers and dirty. Instead the word applies equally across all races. It may have begun with racists but, at least to me, it's meaning has evolved.


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It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. -Andre Gide

"Generosity is nothing else than a craze to possess. All which I abandon, all which I give, I enjoy in a higher manner through the fact that I give it away. To give is to enjoy possessively the object which one gives."


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OfflineJesusChrist
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Re: The Use of Epithets [Re: cb9fl]
    #3973070 - 03/26/05 05:58 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

This thread is gay.


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Tastes just like chicken


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OfflineBasidiocarp
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Re: The Use of Epithets [Re: cb9fl]
    #3973112 - 03/26/05 06:13 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

I agree with some of your ideas, mainly that perhaps if we over-use these words they will cease to become problematic epithets. But I don't think it's going to happen if we run around and indiscriminately call people these names in the hopes of pissing them off and iliciting an emotional response, as you suggest. I think that would lead to a continued cycle of people associating hurtful, negative connotations with the epithet. Let the gays marginalize "fag," let the Italians marginalize "wop," let the African Americans marginalize "nigger," etc... amongst themselves.

Quote:

cb9fl said:
at least to me, it's meaning has evolved.




And that's the other tricky part about this linguistic stuff. Although the meaning may have evolved for you and some other individuals, for many other people it may have not yet.


--------------------
"...if the mind is actually part of a continuum, a labyrinth that is connected not only to every other mind that exists or has existed, but to every atom, organism, and region in the vastness of space and time itself, the fact that it is able to occasionally make forays into the labyrinth and have transpersonal experiences no longer seems so strange."

Visit the Psychonautical Society


Edited by Basidiocarp (03/26/05 06:16 PM)


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OfflineBasidiocarp
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Re: The Use of Epithets [Re: JesusChrist]
    #3973128 - 03/26/05 06:19 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

JesusChrist said:
This thread is gay.




Thank you so much for contributing something of substance to the debate.


--------------------
"...if the mind is actually part of a continuum, a labyrinth that is connected not only to every other mind that exists or has existed, but to every atom, organism, and region in the vastness of space and time itself, the fact that it is able to occasionally make forays into the labyrinth and have transpersonal experiences no longer seems so strange."

Visit the Psychonautical Society


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Offlinecb9fl
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Re: The Use of Epithets [Re: Basidiocarp]
    #3973141 - 03/26/05 06:22 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

But I don't think it's going to happen if we run around and indiscriminately call people these names in the hopes of pissing them off and iliciting an emotional response, as you suggest.

That's not what I was saying, I was simply saying I use racial epithets the same as I would a curse word. They have no stronger meaning to me. In fact I'll often use racial epithets with no negative connotation. For example I'll sometimes say "what's up nig" to friends. I can understand how those words may have a special meaning to some people but they don't to me and I don't feel the need to pander to other people's emotions.

Let the gays marginalize "fag," let the Italians marginalize "wop," let the African Americans marginalize "nigger," etc... amongst themselves.

Unless everyone uses the word it will remain specialized to a certain group and thus retain its original meaning.


--------------------
It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. -Andre Gide

"Generosity is nothing else than a craze to possess. All which I abandon, all which I give, I enjoy in a higher manner through the fact that I give it away. To give is to enjoy possessively the object which one gives."


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OfflineBasidiocarp
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Re: The Use of Epithets [Re: cb9fl]
    #3973174 - 03/26/05 06:30 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

cb9fl said:
Unless everyone uses the word it will remain specialized to a certain group and thus retain its original meaning.




That's a great point. And it is cool when friends and whatnot can use these words together, sort of affectionately, even if they're not members of the particular group in question. I like to see that, and I think that will definitely help with the "desensitization" that you talk about, and that we all seek. But I still stand by my argument that using these words in debates or confrontations with strangers is counter-productive.


--------------------
"...if the mind is actually part of a continuum, a labyrinth that is connected not only to every other mind that exists or has existed, but to every atom, organism, and region in the vastness of space and time itself, the fact that it is able to occasionally make forays into the labyrinth and have transpersonal experiences no longer seems so strange."

Visit the Psychonautical Society


Edited by Basidiocarp (03/26/05 06:32 PM)


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OfflineKaptKid
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Re: The Use of Epithets [Re: Basidiocarp]
    #3973323 - 03/26/05 07:14 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

Basidiocarp said:
Quote:

cb9fl said:But I still stand by my argument that using these words in debates or confrontations with strangers is counter-productive.




So true. ..

:sun:


--------------------
Child of the 60's, Tripping ever since.


:sun:


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Offlinecb9fl
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Re: The Use of Epithets [Re: KaptKid]
    #3973343 - 03/26/05 07:21 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

KaptKid said: Oops I quoted the wrong person.


--------------------
It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. -Andre Gide

"Generosity is nothing else than a craze to possess. All which I abandon, all which I give, I enjoy in a higher manner through the fact that I give it away. To give is to enjoy possessively the object which one gives."


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: The Use of Epithets [Re: Basidiocarp]
    #3973357 - 03/26/05 07:23 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Some people get offended by certain words, others don't. If I'm around a group of people I'm comfortable with, and know that they're laid back about that sort of stuff, I don't see a problem with using those kinds of words. They're just that--words. Some people take that kind of shit too seriously, but since I can't convince everyone to lighten up, I err on the side of caution when I'm around people I don't know well.

BTW...



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Offlinecb9fl
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Re: The Use of Epithets [Re: cb9fl]
    #3973416 - 03/26/05 07:36 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Hah I like the "Go back to Canada"


--------------------
It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. -Andre Gide

"Generosity is nothing else than a craze to possess. All which I abandon, all which I give, I enjoy in a higher manner through the fact that I give it away. To give is to enjoy possessively the object which one gives."


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OfflineBasidiocarp
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Re: The Use of Epithets [Re: Silversoul]
    #3973430 - 03/26/05 07:39 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

Paradigm said:





ROFL! Ya can't quite read the Canada part unless you click on the thumbnail...


--------------------
"...if the mind is actually part of a continuum, a labyrinth that is connected not only to every other mind that exists or has existed, but to every atom, organism, and region in the vastness of space and time itself, the fact that it is able to occasionally make forays into the labyrinth and have transpersonal experiences no longer seems so strange."

Visit the Psychonautical Society


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OfflineJesusChrist
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Re: The Use of Epithets [Re: Basidiocarp]
    #3973533 - 03/26/05 08:11 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

Basidiocarp said:
Quote:

JesusChrist said:
This thread is gay.




Thank you so much for contributing something of substance to the debate.




I was making a joke about the word gay. It is often used as a substitute for silly. Words evolve, and we can't stop them from doing so. At one point the word gay didn't have a thing to do with homosexuality.


--------------------
Tastes just like chicken


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Offlineunbeliever
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Re: The Use of Epithets [Re: Basidiocarp]
    #3974034 - 03/26/05 10:37 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Simple answer: If it hurts somebody, don't do it.


--------------------
Happiness is a warm gun...


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: The Use of Epithets [Re: Basidiocarp]
    #3974061 - 03/26/05 10:44 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Just think how real hoes feel when someone calls someone else a hoe.









Won't someone please think of the hoes!


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OfflinePhred
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Re: The Use of Epithets [Re: Basidiocarp]
    #3975285 - 03/27/05 07:57 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

This has nothing whatsoever to do with politics or activism or law. Did you mean to post this in the Spirituality and Philosophy Forum but hit the wrong button or something?


Phred


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: The Use of Epithets [Re: Phred]
    #3975311 - 03/27/05 08:16 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Hmm, good point.


I guess it loosely fits the category of "activism".




loosely


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OfflineBasidiocarp
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Re: The Use of Epithets [Re: Phred]
    #3976027 - 03/27/05 03:09 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

Phred said:
This has nothing whatsoever to do with politics or activism or law. Did you mean to post this in the Spirituality and Philosophy Forum but hit the wrong button or something?




No, I didn't hit the wrong button. I actually put some thought into where to post this, and it was a toss-up between the two forums you mentioned. I went with this forum because I thought it was somewhat of a socio-political (or maybe just sociological?) debate. The thread doesn't fit neatly into either forum, so hopefully you don't mind it hanging out here.


--------------------
"...if the mind is actually part of a continuum, a labyrinth that is connected not only to every other mind that exists or has existed, but to every atom, organism, and region in the vastness of space and time itself, the fact that it is able to occasionally make forays into the labyrinth and have transpersonal experiences no longer seems so strange."

Visit the Psychonautical Society


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OfflineIGnosticAbhorI
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Re: The Use of Epithets [Re: Basidiocarp]
    #3984483 - 03/29/05 10:12 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Hey carp :thumbup:

The only constant is change. :smirk:

-Gnostic


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