Double Standards On Offensive Words...

@twoey68 (13662)
United States
November 11, 2007 12:05pm CST
Ok, I just responded to a discussion concerning something and I want to see other ppl's views and opinions on this. Let's try to be mature about this so no wars please. The discussion is about offensive words. There's been alot of problems and incidents lately concerning the "N" word. Let me say right off that I don't like this word either and banned it from my home when we had foster kids (especially since one of them was black). The word is seemingly highly offensive to black ppl (understandably) and is (according to dictionary.com) one of the most offensive words in the English language. In fact they are banning it and fining anyone that uses it. Now my question: If it is so offensive, why is it ok for one black person to call another black person THE EXACT SAME WORD?? By saying that it is only offensive if a white person uses it, isn't that racist? The same thing applies to the word F*g. Having had a gay foster child live in our home I can tell you he would become irrate if anyone called him a F*g...unless it was another gay person? I'm not defending either word...I don't like or use either one...but I do want to know how ppl can be offended by a word depending on who uses it. I'm not looking to fight with everyone or start a war, but I really would some insight into this. I understand some words are offensive but shouldn't they be offensive all the time and not just when certain ppl use it? "COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS" **AT PEACE WITHIN** ~~STAND STRONG IN YOUR BELIEFS~~
20 people like this
26 responses
• United States
11 Nov 07
Simple.They are taking back the word. I heard Dave Chappelle tell Maya Angelou that the brothers use it with each other and it is empowering.And society has changed so that the kids think being black is cool so everything black is cool. Then they showed a clip from his show where a blind racist character just heard hip hop music coming from a car and assumed there were blacks in the car and used the N word and the two white guys in the car were so happy to be called the N word. It was a satire but wild to see.And that is where we are.I guess it is the same with the F word for gays and the B word for women.There will always be words that can either be used as a term of endearment when used as one person and fighting words if used by someone else.
5 people like this
@carmelanirel (21108)
• United States
11 Nov 07
I didn't know about the f*g word being used that way, but I know for certain that black people call not only each other, but some whites the N word when it us used as in, a victim of prejudice similar to that suffered by blacks; a person who is economically, politically, or socially disenfranchised. I will try to send you a link that may help, it won't post here because the word N is in the link itself
@estherlou (5026)
• United States
11 Nov 07
I know what you mean. I guess it is all in the context, or in the perspective in which it is being used. If a white person uses the N word, everyone assumes he is a racist and a bigot and is being derogatory. If one black man uses it to another, they know the context is different and the meaning changes. Subtle...but seems to be true. Interesting to note...30 or 40 years ago, that N word was common and not as derogatory then as it became. It was just a word. Culture changes things.
3 people like this
• United States
11 Nov 07
I think that is a situation that is related to sibling rivalry. You can call your sibling whatever you wish, but don't have someone else say the same unless they are prepared for a car fight. I understand the thinking and psychology behind what you are illustrating, but that doesn't make it right. I agree the words are offensive I am white and not gay but I still think they are offensive. People need to show a little common courtesy and respect for others, there really is no need for offensive language unless you wish to deliberately provoke an incident which is all to common as well.
2 people like this
• United States
15 Nov 07
I have often wondered teh same thing. I'll be reading up on what your other responders say on this subject!
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Nov 07
B*tch is another one. Women call each other that all the time, but if a man calls a woman that, he is in trouble. I personally don't like being called that by ANYONE.
1 person likes this
@Barb42 (4225)
• United States
18 Sep 08
You are so right. There is a double standard on the use of these words. If it is wrong for one part of society to use it, then it shouldn't be used by those that think it is so offensive. It has always bothered me that so many of our words in the English language has become high jacked to mean things they really don't mean. Just look at the word 'gay'. From the American Heritage Dictionary: 1. Showing or characterized by cheerfulness and lighthearted excitement; merry. 2. Bright or lively, especially in color. THIS is the first two entries. Then comes the homosexual connotation. It makes a person unable to use the word simply to mean joyful. And women with the name Gaye probably feel like it has really made fun of their name.
@meme0907 (3481)
• United States
20 Nov 07
You know t68 it's probably the case that these ppl are just plain out offended by the other person using the word/s-that's my guess.Maybe one could call that prejudice. +'s |:)
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Nov 07
Well the "N" word has been changed over the years by white people to mean something degrading. And that's why it's usually unacceptable for a white person to say it to a black person - unless they're really close. It actually meant/means 'black'. But like I said the meaning got changed during slavery. And f*g is the same way sort of. The point is it seems degrading and like they're being put down when it comes from someone that is different from themselves. A good documentary/movie to watch is "The N Word". It's really interesting. Though I still detest the word and wouldn't allow my kids to say it either.
1 person likes this
@kimthedane (1000)
• Denmark
14 Nov 07
Hi twoe. This could be a very explosive subject, but also a quiet interesting one. At the end of the day I guess it is all down to political correctness. 30 years ago the N word was the word you used to describe a black person, today you cannot use the word either coz it is banned or of fear for ending up in a racial discrimination case. Personally I do not see the N word as more offensive than the description 'black'. But thing is, I might not regard the words as being offensive, but if the person my comment is directed to take offence, then it is offensive. Therefore I believe you should be careful how you use the language, simply to show respect to your fellow human beings, not be cause it is political incorrect. I myself had a bad discrimination experience when I first moved to England. It was in my very first job over there. Pretty soon a couple of the supervisors started calling me names, to start out as a friendly joke, but this soon developed into something much more serious. I tried to talk to these 2 supervisors and told them that i did not like being called names as Danish C**t, Danish B*****d etc. They thought however that since I was white as so were they, they were not offending me and asked me to simply stand up for myself and not being silly by taking this personally. I even went to my boss to talk about this and how it made me feel, but he did not see anything wrong doing either. To make a long story short, I decided to file a lawsuit against my employer for Racial Harassment in the Employment Tribunal. Eventually after 18 month i won my case and received a substantial compensation. The tribunal decided that the discrimination was unlawful simply due to the fact that the words Danish was used in any connection with abusive language. That the harassment was done by white towards another white, did just make matters even worse, as the perpetrators did not think that what they were doing was wrong. They would never have treated a black person the same way.
1 person likes this
@MsTickle (24752)
• Australia
13 Nov 07
This sort of thing is very frustrating and annoying. It's the same here with the indigenous natives of Australia. To call them Aborigine is "often offensive" according to the Collins Dictionary. How are we supposed to know when it's ok and when not. And they call each other the most horrid names. If the white people did that there would be a race riot. I have to say too that I find the offensive use of the word for a female dog, which Mylot won't allow, and the word that sounds like a garden tool, used to describe women, is just disgraceful and seems to be extremely prevalent now. It might be meaningless and harmless in some societies but that's the shame of it. For goodness sake, have some respect for each other folks...please.
1 person likes this
@Debs_place (10551)
• United States
13 Nov 07
Everyone has to just grow up and stop using offensive words. It can be the "N" word or the "P" word when referring to people of Polish descent or the "W" word when referring to people of Italian descent. We must stop using all of the negative words!! We just have to stop using group words to describe people since all peoples are different.
1 person likes this
@vicki2876 (5640)
• Canada
13 Nov 07
I understand what you mean about the double standard. It is a puzzle to me too. Even if I hear someone say it is okay cause they are one of us it doesn't seem okay to me still. I mean if a white person called me a bad name it will hurt me just as much as if it came from a person of another color.
1 person likes this
@blackbriar (9126)
• United States
13 Nov 07
I hate the 'N' word as well and never use it or f-g either. My hubby said the 'N' word few days ago and I gave him a look that would do more damage than killing would. I told him I never ever wanted to hear him say that word again. I turned to my daughter, who heard him plain as day, not to ever say it either.
1 person likes this
@avonrep1 (1863)
• United States
12 Nov 07
Mainly because most people put ther er after the n word. Black people use the N word but with an a sound, it changes the word. To me its all stupid. Words are just words. Get over it.
• United States
12 Nov 07
I think in both cases its an attempt to make the word less powerful by using it in a different context. The groups have tried to take the words back from the oppressors and switch it around so it means something else. Obviously it doesn't work, because if someone from that group uses it, it still means the same thing, and causes the same upset. I am glad that this is getting national attention, and I hope this puts an end to the use of this word once and for all.
1 person likes this
@Lakota12 (42794)
• United States
12 Nov 07
I have always wondered the same thing. I dont understand why either will be interesting to see what is said here.
1 person likes this
@mkirby624 (1599)
• United States
12 Nov 07
I don't care what color you are, the word is wrong and it shouldn't be ok for one person to say it but not another. Blacks want to be respected more. They want to get more things in life. They want race to stop being an issue when it comes to court rulings and job oppurtunities. However, in order to do that, you've got to stop demeaning YOUR OWN RACE. They are not furthering the success of their fellow African Americans by continuing to use demeaning and inappropriate words to one another. And African American parents who allow their children to speak that way are essentially holding their children back from a better future.
1 person likes this
@ElicBxn (59949)
• United States
12 Nov 07
I agree with you. I had the roomie's nephew (who used to belong to a predominately black gang) and the girls that live across from her folks over to help with some work around the house. The younger of the 2 girls came from a neglegent household before moving into her half-sister's home and has issues because of it. The boy & that girl kept calling one of our kittens "N.." AND, he isn't even BLACK! We told them and told them that we weren't going to accept that word in this house. The boy accepted it pretty well, but that girl kept at it. I finally told her that if she didn't call the cat by his name, Rygel, instead of that other word, I was going to take her home & she was NEVER coming again. I also have a problem with the kids today using "gay" as a negative thing, as in" "that's so gay." I don't often hear the f*g word, eccept to relate to women & gals who hang with gay guys, as in "f*g hags." I don't even care for that label, and a friend & I were joking about it because she seemed to have only gay guy friends besides us for several years. But they've all moved away, she's got herself a real boyfriend and we never see her anymore.
1 person likes this
@cripfemme (7719)
• United States
11 Nov 07
The reason why some people say "I can say that but you can't" is that some people who are members of subcultures (ethnic subcultures, LGBT subcultures, and disability subcultures) are reclaimg the words used to demean them like crip, the n-word (I don't use that one or like it when anyone else does; you can't reclaim everything), and queer. I have reclaimed numerous social slurs, but it bothers me when dominant culture people do it.
@worldwise1 (14890)
• United States
11 Nov 07
I will do my best to enlighten you, twoey, as to why the "N" word is more offensive when it is used by another ethnicity. For generations my people have been battered and assaulted with this word simply because it was the most derogatory word whites could come up with. They made the word what it has come to mean in their own eyes. Any race of people could be compared to a family. Sometimes family members do choose to use negative language toward each other-but affectionately. If the word is used in a negative connotation it doesn't matter who speaks it, it's just as bad. I can remember a time when the word was used as a part of everyday banter, but enlightenment came along and the word became unacceptable among polite members of my race. Understandably, when the word is used by someone other than a black it is the worst insult because it dredges up all of the old hurts dating all the way back to slavery. Black people had no choice but to accept it in those dsys; today they have earned the right not to be called by this derogatory and ignorant name.