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Archive for 'language'

Saturday, April 26th, 2014
slurs–includes bad language, so be fairly warned

I was reading this article about a Texas Republican who was saying something to the effect that ranchers ought to be able to shoot all wetbacks. Elsewhere in the article, is mentioned the n-word as a slur. Specifically saying, “n-word” as opposed to nigger. Now I’m using the word here because I used the word wetback. Both seem equally offensive. In fact, there are a lot of offensive terms out there for women, for races, for gays, lesbians, and so on into just about infinity. There are a lot of words out there for people to use when they are being bigoted. What I started thinking about is how willing people are to use just about every one of those words when they are discussing them, but not nigger. That has become the n-word. It’s of particular heinousness. Well, I will say that I see the ‘c-word’ used about half or 3/4 of the time with the word cunt. I hate both those words, by the way, and it’s very difficult for me to type them, because in my head, they are so taboo. And yet it seems to me that saying the “n-word” or the “c-word,” undermines how horrible the slurs really are. It almost makes them cute.  It also seems to say, when other slurs like bitch or wetback or gook or fag are used, that they aren’t all that heinous. Not comparatively. So therefore they must be more okay to use.

On the other hand–

One of the things this Texas person said in the article was that the term wetback was common usage in Texas, and therefore apparently perfectly acceptable. Because as we all know, if everybody does it, it’s a good thing. In this case, common usage creates the impression that in fact, it is reasonable to use, and not a horrible slur. Perhaps that’s why n-word and c-word are used in place of the actual words, because the people speaking them or referring to them want to rob the words of their power.

These are contradictory points of view. Generally I don’t use slurs. I also hate words like “chick,” which isn’t nearly as bad as nigger, and yet to me infantilizes and dehumanizes women, and therefore, yeah, is pretty damned bad.  I’m not really getting to a conclusion here. Just articulating my own confusions. What do you think?