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Old 10-21-2009, 07:12 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by bigjohn2441 View Post
ok i broke down and found that post:
while that may be a strict interpretation, you dont leave room for the fact the language is an organism, and is malleable; words take on new or altered meanings over time. Racism, as a functional part of the modern language is exclusively applied to the negative aspects of stereotyping physical characteristics, usually causing significant social, economic and physical disadvantage to a group of people based solely on these characteristics
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:15 PM   #17
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I think your anecdotes miss the point and also I don't understand ^^^ this type of anger. Are you more aggravated by those that use the word than the fact that it still exist today, and very prevalent?
I don't like that the almost careless use of the word makes it harder for people to identify REAL racism. Too many people are quicker to call Keith Olbermann a racist than they are the KKK, and quicker to call Glenn Beck a racist than they are the New Black Panther Party. I have no problem with the word "racist" itself, but please, use it to classify someone who fits the term.
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:24 PM   #18
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I don't like that the almost careless use of the word makes it harder for people to identify REAL racism. Too many people are quicker to call Keith Olbermann a racist than they are the KKK, and quicker to call Glenn Beck a racist than they are the New Black Panther Party. I have no problem with the word "racist" itself, but please, use it to classify someone who fits the term.
But everyone knows the extremist groups are racist, that's just a given. So these aren't fair comparisons. Do I believe it gets overused? Absolutely, but not NEARLY as much as you would like to think.
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:30 PM   #19
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Less important than racism itself, is how you respond to it. The same holds true for entrenched sexism. Some - I say some - of this is wound pretty deep into basic human nature. At the most basic level, a preference for the known and familiar.

Now, we see around us, and in history, racism that has manifested in everything from vicious brutality to benign neglect and apathy. None of those outcomes are fantastic and some of them are appalling. Generally, my baseline would be that they be responded to accordingly.

Sorry for the vagueness. Still and all, while it is possible to go overboard, I don't think that sneaky racism that is driven by real malice should be given a free pass just because no naughty words were used. As a foreigner, the loopier ranting against Obama's health care policy springs to mind. And the birth certificate thing. And, and, and.
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:34 PM   #20
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I don't like that the almost careless use of the word makes it harder for people to identify REAL racism. Too many people are quicker to call Keith Olbermann a racist than they are the KKK, and quicker to call Glenn Beck a racist than they are the New Black Panther Party. I have no problem with the word "racist" itself, but please, use it to classify someone who fits the term.
Fairly or not, the reality is that in life the only thing that really matters at the end of the day is perception. I am not saying that it should, but you are largely a product of how you are perceived, and I think that people who are particularly self-aware take great care in considering how they are perceived.

You may think that Rush Limbaugh is not a racist and that he's not a sexist. The reality is that many people, perhaps even MOST people perceive him to be racist and sexist. And this is not because of dementia on their part; it is attributable directly to his words and his actions (on a repeated basis).

It is hard, maybe even impossible to know whether any given person is truly a racist on the inside. But perceptions do matter and when large numbers of people perceive a person to be racist or their thoughts to be racist, it is more worthy to examine why they think so and whether there is any truth to it than it is to be outraged by some sort of malfeasance on their part.
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:36 PM   #21
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Less important than racism itself, is how you respond to it. The same holds true for entrenched sexism. Some - I say some - of this is wound pretty deep into basic human nature. At the most basic level, a preference for the known and familiar.

Now, we see around us, and in history, racism that has manifested in everything from vicious brutality to benign neglect and apathy. None of those outcomes are fantastic and some of them are appalling. Generally, my baseline would be that they be responded to accordingly.

Sorry for the vagueness. Still and all, while it is possible to go overboard, I don't think that sneaky racism that is driven by real malice should be given a free pass just because no naughty words were used. As a foreigner, the loopier ranting against Obama's health care policy springs to mind. And the birth certificate thing. And, and, and.
Great post.

I'd also like to add that I believe some of the more subtle racism can at times actually be more destructive than the overt white hood type of racism. And I think this is the complex issue we are dealing with right now in North America.
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:49 PM   #22
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I guess, to put it another way, it's not wise to bring a bunker-busting tank to a fist-fight. Sometimes seemingly trivial incidents can be illustrative of larger problems, but that judgement requires great caution.

When it's a case of someone committing a faux paus out of simple ignorance, you gotta tread very carefully indeed (although I've read many blog threads, including ones local to my own country, that would disagree strongly with that). Using the wrong word is not a hanging offence. Using the nice or polite word with malice to slip a knife in under the radar, well that's a different matter.

None of that has any bearing on Rush Limbaugh, of course. From what I can tell, if he is not racist, he is maybe something worse - a deeply cynical man with contempt for his listeners. His effect, from what I can tell, is wholly poisonous to American politics.
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Old 10-21-2009, 08:10 PM   #23
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When it's a case of someone committing a faux paus out of simple ignorance, you gotta tread very carefully indeed
Very true, and this is a perfect example of it's "how you respond to it", like you said, that makes the difference.

If my grandmother says something, and I tell her "grandma it's really not polite to say "oriental", "negro", "queer", etc she has two choices: either apologize and find a more polite way to say it, or say damnnit I'll call them what I want to call them.

We see this in interference all the time.
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Old 10-21-2009, 08:11 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by BVS View Post
Very true, and this is a perfect example of it's "how you respond to it", like you said, that makes the difference.

If my grandmother says something, and I tell her "grandma it's really not polite to say "oriental", "negro", "queer", etc she has two choices: either apologize and find a more polite way to say it, or say damnnit I'll call them what I want to call them.

We see this in interference all the time.
What's wrong with oriental?
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Old 10-21-2009, 08:18 PM   #25
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What's wrong with oriental?
Here's a fairly good explanation:

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Perceptions and connotations
An important factor in the usage of 'Oriental', regardless of perceptions of pejorativeness, is that it collectively refers to cultural, ethnic and national groupings of people who do not necessarily identify themselves as associated, and hence can lead to inaccurate assumptions about similarity.

[edit] American English
While a number of reference works used in the United States describe Oriental as pejorative, antiquated or offensive in some instances, the American Heritage Book of English Usage notes that

It is worth remembering, though, that Oriental is not an ethnic slur to be avoided in all situations. It is most objectionable in contemporary contexts and when used as a noun, as in the appointment of an Oriental to head the commission. In these cases Asian (or a more specific term such as Vietnamese, Korean, or Asian American, if appropriate) is the only acceptable term. But in certain historical contexts, or when its exotic connotations are integral to the topic, Oriental remains a useful term.[3]
Random House's Guide to Sensitive Language states "Other words (e.g., Oriental, colored) are outdated or inaccurate." This Guide to Sensitive Language suggests the use of "Asian or more specific designation such as Pacific Islander, Chinese American, [or] Korean." [4] Merriam-Webster describes the term as "sometimes offensive,"[5] Encarta states when the term is used as a noun it is considered "a highly offensive term for somebody from East Asia." [6]
Orient - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 10-21-2009, 08:18 PM   #26
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Very true, and this is a perfect example of it's "how you respond to it", like you said, that makes the difference.

If my grandmother says something, and I tell her "grandma it's really not polite to say "oriental", "negro", "queer", etc she has two choices: either apologize and find a more polite way to say it, or say damnnit I'll call them what I want to call them.

We see this in interference all the time.
My grandfather thinks he is the most tolerant and socially responsible person in the world. But mention Jewish people and he rants about loan sharks and shysters in the depression. Everyone has their definition of what ok is, and where the line is.
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Old 10-21-2009, 08:21 PM   #27
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I don't like that the almost careless use of the word makes it harder for people to identify REAL racism.
To an extent, I agree with you here.

There also seems to be a certain PCness about certain terms that we used around race (and I don't mean obviously racist words like n*****)

In Ireland, there are what are now called 'travelling people' or 'travellers' but what historically were called 'gypsies'.

Many years ago, certain people on the left in Ireland decreed that we must not call them 'gypsies' any more, that this was an offensive term to use, and suggested the term 'itinerant' instead.

More recently still - you've guessed it - it has been decreed that the term 'itinerant' is also offensive and should no longer be used. In fact, there is nothing offensive about the term 'itinerant' - it quite literally means someone that travels around from place to place. The sad truth is that it is a section of the 'travelling community' that make these terms offensive, by their 'lifestyle' of robbing, criminality and in some cases murder.

It seems that terms like 'black' must not be used, that black people must be called 'African Americans', but of course there are black people that are neither African or American, so go figure.

I have heard it suggested, apparently seriously, that the term 'Jew' is in itself offensive. Well, it may be, depending on context and the person using it - but not always.
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Old 10-21-2009, 08:25 PM   #28
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My grandfather thinks he is the most tolerant and socially responsible person in the world. But mention Jewish people and he rants about loan sharks and shysters in the depression. Everyone has their definition of what ok is, and where the line is.
Yeah, my grandmother used to live in a neighborhood that was 99% African American, some of her best friends were black, went to a church that was 50-50 but when she would talk about segregation she talked about it almost as if she never saw the problem with it. Not that she wished it still existed there's was just never any sense of unjust in her voice when she spoke about it. It was very odd to me as a child.
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Old 10-21-2009, 08:25 PM   #29
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Here's a fairly good explanation:



Orient - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Frankly there's an element of liberal dogoodery in that article.

Isn't it the case that the term 'coloured' was originally used by black people themselves as a non-offensive, almost celebratory response to words like n*****?
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Old 10-21-2009, 08:34 PM   #30
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To an extent, I agree with you here.

There also seems to be a certain PCness about certain terms that we used around race (and I don't mean obviously racist words like n*****)

In Ireland, there are what are now called 'travelling people' or 'travellers' but what historically were called 'gypsies'.

Many years ago, certain people on the left in Ireland decreed that we must not call them 'gypsies' any more, that this was an offensive term to use, and suggested the term 'itinerant' instead.

More recently still - you've guessed it - it has been decreed that the term 'itinerant' is also offensive and should no longer be used. In fact, there is nothing offensive about the term 'itinerant' - it quite literally means someone that travels around from place to place. The sad truth is that it is a section of the 'travelling community' that make these terms offensive, by their 'lifestyle' of robbing, criminality and in some cases murder.

It seems that terms like 'black' must not be used, that black people must be called 'African Americans', but of course there are black people that are neither African or American, so go figure.

I have heard it suggested, apparently seriously, that the term 'Jew' is in itself offensive. Well, it may be, depending on context and the person using it - but not always.
I hate rants against "PC ness", because so many of them come off as an unwillingness to grow. Many of them sound like the cranky old white man that would just prefer the days of when he could slap a girl on her ass and call her a 'broad'.

That being said, I also think this too can get out of hand. But it's a matter of empathy to me. I honestly don't think most black people mind being called black, but it's slightly different when you call them "a black" or describe something as "black".
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