What is more offensive: "Swine Flu" or "Mexican Flu"?

United States
April 29, 2009 10:21pm CST
"As the swine flu outbreak continues spreading, an Israeli health official is making waves by saying the name should be changed to "Mexican" flu, because the reference to pigs is offensive to Jews and Muslims, who consider pigs unclean and forbid the eating of pork products. As the Associated Press reports, scientists are unsure where the new virus originally emerged. The current strain of swine flu is believed to have originated in Mexico, where more than 100 people have died from it, but the virus was first identified in the USA. Scientists say there is nothing about the virus that makes it "Mexican" and worry that label would be stigmatizing. DO YOU THINK ... scientists should defer to possible religious sensitivities, as the Israeli official suggests? Also, is swine flu affecting your religious experience? Does it make you hesitant to shake hands with fellow worshippers or even go to your place of worship?" http://content.usatoday.com/communities/religion/post/2009/04/66129561/1 I can understand why someone would not want to call such a disease "swine flu" because of its religious implications. I don't know if Mexicans are supposed to be complimented that they are better than pigs or insulted that they would be placed on the same level as pigs. Haha. What do you guys think?
1 person likes this
14 responses
@irishidid (8710)
• United States
30 Apr 09
They can name it after my ex husband. I won't be offended.
3 people like this
@spalladino (17921)
• United States
30 Apr 09
It's already named after mine.
2 people like this
• United States
30 Apr 09
Sure, you say that now, until you catch it and you have to go through the messy divorce process all over again.
@opalina143 (1243)
• Morristown, New Jersey
30 Apr 09
I think that people being offended because "pigs are offensive" is ridiculous (I'm a Jew myself - ok half- so I can say that) Really, I mean, the flu is something bad, it's not good, it was spread by pigs, it's not giving a GOOD to be given a name with 'pigs' in it. So its not like pigs are being linked with something good, which might be offensive, I guess. Besides, are there really religious people so extreme that they can't even mention the word "pig"? I mean, really! It's one thing not to eat it, but how do they manage in daily life if they can't even say certain words! One can be as religious as they want to be, but people need to be grounded in reality and operate in the real world, the secular world, not expect the whole world to change because of their religious sensibilities. I do think that calling it Mexican Flu is a little offensive to Mexicans, I can see that at least. Though the big killer flu in 1917 was dubbed The Spanish Flu and I don't think anyone took offense.
3 people like this
• United States
30 Apr 09
http://www.stanford.edu/group/virus/uda/ Just a little background for those not familiar with the history of the the 1918 pandemic. They mentioned it on tonight's news, and I'm very glad we've come up with some good vaccines since then. Both of my children received vaccines for the regular flu. I cannot take them because of an allergy, but knock on wood I didn't get it this year. I did have a nasty cold the year before when pregnant, but not much you can do but wait it out. We did ok though. Namaste-Anora
3 people like this
• United States
30 Apr 09
Well, I don't think that pigs are bad or unclean, nor do I think that this outbreak confirms that, but I do see your point, haha. I think the problem arises when one is infected with the flu that is thought to have originated in pigs, because that may be on the same level of eating pigs? I'm not really sure. I heard that no Muslim countries have been making a fuss about the name so I don't really get it. I think it would be okay to call it the Mexican Flu if that is what it was originally referred to as, but re-naming a flu that has the word "swine" in it after Mexicans, that is where it gets offensive.
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Apr 09
Oh, sometimes I think people just need to get their knickers out of a wad. For heaven's sake, it's a disease let's call it by its scientific name and be done with it. I just don't understand the entire argument over "Let's not call it Swine flu because it's killing pork prices", etc, etc, etc. Now this? Let's stop the ignorance. I can't say that Swine Flu is affecting much of anything in my life other than what I've already been doing for years out of common sense. I wash my hands, I sneeze into a disposable tissue or my arm if one isn't available, and I cough into my arm so that I'm not spraying people. I wipe down things that people handle on a daily basis, and I practice safe measures of sanitation that should be plain common sense. It's not ruining my religion because I have no dietary restrictions, and I know full well you can't catch the flu by eating the meat. I would say that if anyone wants to be offended, let it be Miss. Piggy. Namaste-Anora
3 people like this
• United States
30 Apr 09
I agree, I mean if anyone should be offended it should be pigs, not non-pork eaters. Thankfully, I do not think that pigs are capable of such feelings.
• United States
30 Apr 09
I really do not understand why they would object to the name swine flu based on their beliefs. If pigs are unclean, wouldn't the outbreak of swine flu just help to convey this belief? Can anyone explain this to me? I do not really care what it is called. I know the pork industry has also pushed to have it called something else to protect their sales. President Obama referred to it by the H1N1 designation in his address tonight. I am really hoping that it has been over hyped as the spread seems to be slowing down. So God willing, a few weeks from now we won't need a name for it.
@paoxav (1382)
• Philippines
30 Apr 09
I agree on what you said. This just complement their belief that pigs were unclean and may (and it actually is) lead to some source of fatal disease. That's pure irony on their belief.
@xfahctor (14126)
• Lancaster, New Hampshire
30 Apr 09
Oh mys frikkin goddess. This is political correctness gone berzerk. Swine flu, Mexican flu, h1n1, hell, call it Bob flu for all I care. It's a frikkin flu. I guess their not too worried about offending Mexicans though are they, if we renamed it Mexican flu here in the states, the ACLU would be working overtime with lawsuits and the media would be crucifying people for it.
2 people like this
• United States
30 Apr 09
I'm sure they would! There is probably someone draftig papers up right now just in case! LOL
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Apr 09
Haha yeah the ACLU would be all over that. I think h1n1 is offensive because it resembles the word hiney...
@xfahctor (14126)
• Lancaster, New Hampshire
30 Apr 09
"Haha yeah the ACLU would be all over that. I think h1n1 is offensive because it resembles the word hiney... " ROFL!!!!! Well, they can kiss my h1n1
2 people like this
• Ireland
30 Apr 09
Political correctness , here it comes again ! If you catch it, do you really care what its called? It originated in Mexico, so why not call it Mexican flu? people are becoming so bloody sensitive . Who would it have occurred to that ' swine flu' could insult Jewish people? Not me! Now of course they brought it up themselves and made something out of nothing. Let's see, would I rather contract swine flu or Mexican flu or die of paranoia because of political correctness? Hm...
@cyberfluf (5004)
• Netherlands
4 Sep 09
You make a valid point there. There is no way we can please everybody (and certainly not at the same time). Political correctness has become a big issue lately. Even though I feel it's a good thing trying to be as political correct as possible it starts to feel like things are getting out of hand. People become worried and scared to offend other people. What happened to compromising and living together? We don't allways have to get our way; let's live our own lives in peace and dignity without bothering over such little, unimportant things as the name of a flu that no one will remember in 10 years from now.
@Wolfechu (1193)
• United States
30 Apr 09
If you're finding offense in viral nomenclature, you have bigger problems than swine flu. I'm already reluctant to shake hands with religious people. This may change if I actually caught it.
2 people like this
• United States
30 Apr 09
LOL Great response!
• India
30 Apr 09
I think some people have nothing better to do than rake up controversies on the most inane issues…the health dept official would have served the same Jews and Muslims better if he had a solution to the disease, as more and more people are being affected with the spread of the disease. Religion is a sensitive topic and most people use it irresponsibly to stir up a storm and divert attention to the core issues i.e of tackling this disease and a cure for it. We have had Mad Cow Disease a few years back…did Hindus protest just because the cow is holy to us? We also have Japanese Encephalitis – a deadly viral fever…I’m sure the Japanese are intelligent enough not to feel insulted over this nomenclature.
2 people like this
@Latrivia (2888)
• United States
30 Apr 09
Wouldn't "swine flu" be fitting for Jews and Muslims because it's a disease contracted from the animal they see to be so dirty? What's with the outrage? I just don't get it.
2 people like this
• United States
30 Apr 09
I guess if you find pigs to be offensive, getting diagnosed with the "swine flu" might bother you, but if they want to call it something else, the name should be it's clinical name (it's not even really "swine" flu since it appears to be a combination of the pig, bird and regular human influenza), which I think is currently termed a variant strain of H1N1 or something like that. In my church (Catholic) we traditionally shake hands (some even kiss on the cheek and hug) other parishioners at the end of mass and say "Peace be with you", but I think it will still have the same meaning if you simply turn to your fellow parishioners and wish them peace without the body contact as log as this thing is still spreading and folks won't immediately know if they are carriers right away. It's been quite a while since I have gone to mass, but I have heard that in places where there is an outbreak people are not shaking hands during the mass. The way I see it, God knows what's in your heart, even if your body is not doing something (like people unable to kneel during the kneeling parts of Mass, I'm sure their prayers still go to the same place as everybody else's) - a priest even told me so years ago when I was troubled at having missed the Ash Wednesday mass, he told me not to fret, that God cares what's in my heart more than what may be on my head. I think it's times like these when people need their spiritual stuff the most, but there are other ways to participate even if you are advised to stay home. Many religions televise their services, so people who can't make it can still watch from home, for instance.
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Apr 09
Even if you avoid shaking hands and kisses on the cheek, you have to take into consideration the communal holy water and communal cup for mass. Maybe churches will start handing out the individual cups, although I don't know if that is acceptable in the Catholic religion. I do know that in the Catholic religion the only real requirement for Mass is on Easter sunday, which has already passed :) So I don't think Catholics should worry if they aren't comfortable going to a service.
1 person likes this
@irisheyes (4372)
• United States
30 Apr 09
I think this is yet another case of PC going overboard. If the flu originated with pigs than it's fine to call it swine flu and it's not at all derogatory to anyone except maybe the pigs and it's wort of their fault anyway.
1 person likes this
• Chile
30 Apr 09
good swine flu, i think your question is very difficult to keep going for several contries this influenza encourage cuidense greeting
1 person likes this
@qiao522 (449)
• China
30 Apr 09
I just think the religious believers are being unreasonable. It's not about Mexican. It's about the whole world being in threat.
1 person likes this
@cyberfluf (5004)
• Netherlands
4 Sep 09
I don't see why we should change the name of the flu; to be quite frank, anyone can take offence by any name. Where do we draw the line? If people don't want to call the flu 'swine flu' refer to it differently in your own community. I don't think it has to be that complicated. Also, I haven't seen anyone take a stand for these poor swines that might be offended . But seriously. I don't think it has to be this big. It's just a way of referring to the flu which has been the case with chickens and other animals aswell. If it is effecting you in any way, like I said, refer to it differently. There is no way to find a name that pleases everyone, so we'd better look out for ourselves and keep ourselves (religiously) happy.