View Poll Results: Are some words inherently offensive?

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Thread: Are some words inherently offensive or is context important?

  1. #31
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    Re: Are some words inherently offensive or is context important?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
    Again, I hear "bitch" and "bastard" generally said in EXTREMELY similar context with extremely similar venom. The only real difference I see is the way in which it envokes a reaction *typically*. Your assertion seems to be that that means one word is naturally more "offensive" than the other it seems, where as I think it has more to do with the general way in which the sexes tend to act and respond to certain things on a stereotypical general level.
    Thank you for a well thought out reply. Needless to say, I disagree with it in most ways, but the disagreement is with perception I think. We perceive the usage and reaction to these words differently, and I don't think that is reconcilable.

    To give an example of what I mean, from what I quoted above: "She is such a bitch" has a strongly different meaning from "he is such a bastard". I don't think one is "worse" than the other, just that one is stronger than the other, and find it interesting that our culture has stronger negative terms for women than men.

  2. #32
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    Re: Are some words inherently offensive or is context important?

    I'm very niggardly with my use of words if I feel the audience viewing/hearing my words may perhaps have a fundemental failure of understanding of the meaning of said word.

    It's not the word that is the problem, rather the IQ of the people hearing/seeing it that matters. Words are only words until some rere hears it and gets offended. Often for the wrong reasons.
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  3. #33
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    Re: Are some words inherently offensive or is context important?

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronssongs View Post
    From what I've seen, is a lot of jockeying for position. Why does the onus fall upon the person offended and not the person offending? I fail to understand that. I can't tell you what's offensive to you. I rely on you to tell me what you find offensive, and for me to consider your feelings in the matter, human being to human being, and avoid offending you...that is if I care. If I have empathy, or sympathy. Some people don't possess it, and go through life treading on the feelings and beliefs of others, thinking that their feelings and beliefs trump, somehow. I didn't grow up that way. My mother instilled care and concern for other human beings in me. I summarily reject arrogance. And it's arrogant to suggest that folks should be offended by words which historically have the sole purpose of offense, and was commonplace, during slavery. Unless things haven't changed that much.
    I will not apologize because the offense you took to my use of the word was illogical. Especially given your post in this thread in which you did exactly the same thing. I did not use the word to spice up a comment, insult anyone, or emphasize a stereotype. I used the word to describe an incident in which another used it offensively. Are authors who cite the history of the word in their study of race relations also racists? Is Kat Williams a racist against blacks when he uses word over 100 times in an hour and a half?

    What I think you have done here is tried to come in and force your hyper sensitive racial issue on me and the rest of this forum. You deliberately mischaracterized me so that you could lend credence to your self perceived position of intellectual and social superiority. When you accused me of being a racist, it was very offensive because YOU deliberately made a disparaging remark about ME. The very fact that you believe that any use of the word "nigger" makes someone a racist or bigot is absolute bunk. It's completely illogical.

    What you either do not realize or refuse to acknowledge is that you were the one who trespassed against me in this incident. All you had to say is "Lerxst, I find the use of that term very offensive, would you please consider not using it?" And I might have simply said "you know, I'm sorry...I didn't mean to offend I was just describing the incident" and this thing would have all gone away. But you didn't do that. You took it way past civil and you extrapolated to the point of calling me a bigot and a racist. Do you even understand what actually constitutes racism and bigotry?

    You've taken a single word I used completely out of context and impugned my character here. I have been a stalwart defender of racial, religious, and sexual orientation tolerance on this forum since I arrived here. I would appreciate it if you reserved such strong judgment until you've actually gotten to know me.

    Thank you.

    And the answer to the poll question is a resounding "no." People can drop the f-bomb around me all day long and I don't care. Drop it front of my kids and we have a problem. I don't ever require an apology, I just ask that the person control their cursing around my children because I don't want them picking up on it. I'm not offended by the cursing because I found it offensive, I'm just asking for restraint due to small ears. Now if he said "**** you man!" as in insult then I would be offended because of the intent. Words are offensive when they are used in an offensive manner. People can take offense to words for any number of reason (social factors, upbringing, religious views, etc) but that does not mean that the speaker intended any offense.
    Last edited by Lerxst; 05-13-09 at 02:02 PM.
    Hi. TOGTFO.

  4. #34
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    Re: Are some words inherently offensive or is context important?

    And to the Reverend Hellhound, thank you sir.
    Hi. TOGTFO.

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    Re: Are some words inherently offensive or is context important?

    Quote Originally Posted by Redress View Post
    Thank you for a well thought out reply. Needless to say, I disagree with it in most ways, but the disagreement is with perception I think. We perceive the usage and reaction to these words differently, and I don't think that is reconcilable.

    To give an example of what I mean, from what I quoted above: "She is such a bitch" has a strongly different meaning from "he is such a bastard". I don't think one is "worse" than the other, just that one is stronger than the other, and find it interesting that our culture has stronger negative terms for women than men.
    And yeah, a lot of it comes down to the individual, which is indeed exactly my point. For example, with those two phrases you just said you seem to imply you find that one is stronger or "worse" than the other where as I see them as essentially a black and white mirror image of each other that invokes much the same emotions and thoughts, though perhaps slightly tailored to stereotypical gender norms (jerky, sarcastic, crude, harsh to catty, snide, nasty)
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  6. #36
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    Re: Are some words inherently offensive or is context important?

    Quote Originally Posted by dclxvinoise View Post
    Dude, I wasn't just talking about the 'N' word. You listed a whole crap load of offensive terms.
    I reprinted the list from Wikipedia, so as to make clear what kind of words were considered pejoratives.

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    Re: Are some words inherently offensive or is context important?

    Quote Originally Posted by dclxvinoise View Post
    I don't think guys like that are really that complex. I'm sure they wish they were. I think you are giving them far too much credit. To me they just have extremely fragile egos and want to lash out at others because of it.



    I agree. There should be a good name for guys like that.
    You got that right, or could say that again. Some men are just full of themselves, and cannot be told anything, lest they realize that the control they profess to have is but mere illusion.

  8. #38
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    Re: Are some words inherently offensive or is context important?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lerxst View Post
    I will not apologize because the offense you took to my use of the word was illogical. Especially given your post in this thread in which you did exactly the same thing. I did not use the word to spice up a comment, insult anyone, or emphasize a stereotype. I used the word to describe an incident in which another used it offensively. Are authors who cite the history of the word in their study of race relations also racists? Is Kat Williams a racist against blacks when he uses word over 100 times in an hour and a half?

    What I think you have done here is tried to come in and force your hyper sensitive racial issue on me and the rest of this forum. You deliberately mischaracterized me so that you could lend credence to your self perceived position of intellectual and social superiority. When you accused me of being a racist, it was very offensive because YOU deliberately made a disparaging remark about ME. The very fact that you believe that any use of the word "nigger" makes someone a racist or bigot is absolute bunk. It's completely illogical.

    What you either do not realize or refuse to acknowledge is that you were the one who trespassed against me in this incident. All you had to say is "Lerxst, I find the use of that term very offensive, would you please consider not using it?" And I might have simply said "you know, I'm sorry...I didn't mean to offend I was just describing the incident" and this thing would have all gone away. But you didn't do that. You took it way past civil and you extrapolated to the point of calling me a bigot and a racist. Do you even understand what actually constitutes racism and bigotry?

    You've taken a single word I used completely out of context and impugned my character here. I have been a stalwart defender of racial, religious, and sexual orientation tolerance on this forum since I arrived here. I would appreciate it if you reserved such strong judgment until you've actually gotten to know me.

    Thank you.

    And the answer to the poll question is a resounding "no." People can drop the f-bomb around me all day long and I don't care. Drop it front of my kids and we have a problem. I don't ever require an apology, I just ask that the person control their cursing around my children because I don't want them picking up on it. I'm not offended by the cursing because I found it offensive, I'm just asking for restraint due to small ears. Now if he said "**** you man!" as in insult then I would be offended because of the intent. Words are offensive when they are used in an offensive manner. People can take offense to words for any number of reason (social factors, upbringing, religious views, etc) but that does not mean that the speaker intended any offense.
    Of course, it is your own decision not to apologize for any perceived offense.
    I caught myself, when I failed to edit the reprint of the pejoratives found at Wikipedia, discussing pejoratives. I assure you that will never happen again. As I said, I don't use the word in passing, and I don't approve of the word used in any context, by anyone. And if you got that I perceive myself as intellectually and socially superior out of that, I give you kudos, for being close to the mark. But, of course, this was hardly about me, but about your cavalier use of a racial pejorative, whether citing it from another source or using it in genteel company. One can find excuses for anything, anytime, anywhere, anyhow. Intent, no matter how clouded in good will and congeniality, is obvious as a sore thumb.
    If you recall, my actual original quote was
    How outrageous that you would actually spell out the N-word, on a public forum with African American members present.
    So, I did not directly call you a racist. That is a patent lie.
    You could infer from my statement that I think that you are racist....but I did not call you one. Please stick to facts.
    Katt Williams, like Paul Mooney, is a comedian...a comedian who, frequently uses the racial pejorative in his schtick. In my estimation, he is a buffoon...much like Michael Richards. I don't follow him. I don't subscribe to his humor. And I speak for no other black person other than myself. I am not responsible for what others may or may not do, think, say, or feel.
    That you continue to say the word, indicates that you feel no remorse about using the word, and that you have drawn your line in the sand.
    So, there is no need for further exchange, though I was advised that you were reasonable and held no racist views. I fail to see anything other than the conclusion I previously drew. And forgive me if I find the highlighted area above, farcical. I have you on ignore, and won't respond any further to your posts. I'd appreciate it, if you'd kindly reciprocate. Thank you.

  9. #39
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    Re: Are some words inherently offensive or is context important?

    I agree that the word in question isn't one that has a place in enlightened society. Aaronssongs has indicated that he has been unfairly persecuted for his race in the past, and for that let me be the first to extend a bit of sensitivity and understanding.

    I'd guess your reaction is so rooted in the hatred you've experienced directed toward you and those you love in your lifetime that you cannot unhinge the word from being used as punctuation for violence and atrocity. I don't claim to know for certain, but as I care about the feelings of others I will err on the side of caution and avoid using a word that causes such a negative reaction in my fellow man. Having read many books and seen many movies on this and related subjects, I am aware of the damage that a single word can do.

    It is not just a word to some. Can anyone honestly state that me simply typing "Heil Hitler!" does not provoke a (hopefully strongly negative) reaction?

    I don't think it's too much to ask to avoid a word that is abhorrent to someone, and if I was talking to you face to face I would most certainly honor your request. I'll do no less on an internet forum.

    I do think it's unfortunate that you've ignored Lerxst, however, as I find him to be reasonable and level-headed, a solid contributor, and perhaps more importantly I don't get even the faintest hint of racism from anything he posts. I am certain his comment was in no way meant to be racist.

  10. #40
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    Re: Are some words inherently offensive or is context important?

    Quote Originally Posted by Analyst View Post
    I agree that the word in question isn't one that has a place in enlightened society. Aaronssongs has indicated that he has been unfairly persecuted for his race in the past, and for that let me be the first to extend a bit of sensitivity and understanding.

    I'd guess your reaction is so rooted in the hatred you've experienced directed toward you and those you love in your lifetime that you cannot unhinge the word from being used as punctuation for violence and atrocity. I don't claim to know for certain, but as I care about the feelings of others I will err on the side of caution and avoid using a word that causes such a negative reaction in my fellow man. Having read many books and seen many movies on this and related subjects, I am aware of the damage that a single word can do.

    It is not just a word to some. Can anyone honestly state that me simply typing "Heil Hitler!" does not provoke a (hopefully strongly negative) reaction?

    I don't think it's too much to ask to avoid a word that is abhorrent to someone, and if I was talking to you face to face I would most certainly honor your request. I'll do no less on an internet forum.

    I do think it's unfortunate that you've ignored Lerxst, however, as I find him to be reasonable and level-headed, a solid contributor, and perhaps more importantly I don't get even the faintest hint of racism from anything he posts. I am certain his comment was in no way meant to be racist.
    I am taken aback, in a most profound and pleasant way. What a thoughtful and respectful post. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your sensitivity and your humanity.
    In my mind, if there was a word, which could be misconstrued, or have the slightest bit of injury attached to it, I'd be loathed to use it in any conversation, for fear of hurting someone's feelings.
    What I've seen here, lately, is defense of the 1st amendment, to include "hate speech", with the explicit caveat, that the word is not being used as pejorative or directed at an individual, thus, is "innocuous" and "harmless".
    For one to insist on expressing the word, after being told that it is offensive, and painful, and me, being told to "get over it", or "to grow up", smacks of arrogance and insensitivity.
    It's like being at your mother's house, and using the profanity you use commonly with your drinking buddies. It's just not appropriate. Unless you got a momma like that (not you, just saying).
    But, when you care not, who you injure, and words can injure....and you rationalize about it all...what does that say about you as an individual?
    That's a horse of a different color...one that I would rather not be kicked by. I moved. I'm sure there very well may be some redeeming qualities....it's a shame I'll never really get to know, one way or another. Again, thank you. A

    And if ever I offend, please point it out to me, that I may endeavor not to repeat the error. Apologies are easy.
    Last edited by aaronssongs; 05-14-09 at 03:36 PM.

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