View Poll Results: Are some words inherently offensive?

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

  1. #71
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    Re: Are some words inherently offensive or is context important?

    Quote Originally Posted by talloulou View Post
    Again context is everything. It's one thing for Mind of Mencia to be joking about his wetback family whom he loves and a whole other thing for some irate white guy to grumble about the bunch of wetbacks that moved in next door.
    But they are both similar in one respect. Neither are funny.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
    As I said, words are not universally and automatically offensive, it is entirely the context and entirely up to how the person hearing it feels about it.
    Great post. I agree, and concede I overlooked the "universal" aspect.

    Funny, I think people are too needlessly callous in our culture, but that really is entirely just an opinion. Thanks for the thorough reply.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Gwendoline View Post
    Perhaps to put it slightly differently, I wonder why more people aren't offended by certain words. Is it perhaps, in part, because some people (who aren't offended) do not fall under the radar / fall into the categories of people that have some of the "worst" kind of "words" thrown at / attributed to them?
    I dunno. I think it has a lot more to do with how overly sensitive some people are and how much of their own value depends on what others think of them. I hear the word "fag" tossed about all the time and it never really bothers me at all when I hear it used generally. It takes someone actually getting my face and calling me a "fag" pointedly for me to get offended and even then, it's not offense over the word but offense over how the other person is acting.

    I also notice that offense is taken more readily in the course of political debate because liberals seem to think that punctuating an argument with a cry of "you're a racist" is supposed to shut debate down. I think they are finding that no one is really listening to that much anymore because it has been played out.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Gwendoline View Post
    Perhaps to put it slightly differently, I wonder why more people aren't offended by certain words. Is it perhaps, in part, because some people (who aren't offended) do not fall under the radar / fall into the categories of people that have some of the "worst" kind of "words" thrown at / attributed to them?
    Context, culture, an environment significantly alter ones sensitivity. If you're young and you hang with a group of friends who commonly and jokingly call each other all manner of names probably you'll pick up the habit as well and have no sensitivity to the words within that environment. However if you've never heard your father ever call your mother the names you and your friends constantly toss out at each other then the day he does it your mouth is gonna fall to the floor! The words loose or gain weight depending on the context and the environment.

    Let's say you're a teenage guy and your friends constantly mock each other during sporting events by saying crap like, "You run like a little bitch. " Now let's say a new kid moves in the neighborhood and his friends never did that. The first time he hears it or has it tossed his way he's gonna be more offended than he will be later on when he's so use to it he has no sensitivity to it whatsoever.

    I think that's why young black kids can use the N word frequently with each other in a jocular manner. They desensitize each other to it.

    However they are NOT desensitized to some white guy coming along and using it. So when that happens the reaction would be changed dramatically.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by dclxvinoise View Post
    How is it insensitivity when it is just being used as a reference point? Earlier you copied and pasted something from wikipedia including tons of terms that could be considered offensive. Why was that okay? I realize you just copied and pasted them, but it doesn't change that you put them out there in the same way that you would if you had typed them.



    I'm sorry, but I just think it's absurd for someone to be offended by me using that term when it is only being used as a reference point and not as a derogatory or insulting term. As I said earlier, we all differ in what we believe and what we consider offensive, am I supposed to be careful not to say some words (even in a non-derogatory context) in case they may offend some people?

    What about when African Americans use the term in a non-derogatory sense? Are they being racist as well?

    I agree that people shouldn't use the term carelessly in case they offend someone and that would fall under the umbrella of jokes or whatever. But to use it as a reference point? I'm sorry, but that's just silly to me.
    If the general consensus is "anything goes", and I employ it, totally disregarding my position, but being mindful of why I'm doing it (to make a point, hyperbole, to be clear), the hypocrisy doesn't stem from me. I'm clear. Are others clear why others choose to continue to use terms and words which some find offensive?
    What other explanation could there be but arrogance and continuance of "white privilege"?
    How ridiculous to suggest that a term which has no redeeming quality be used as an example of what? If one has used that word all ones' life and cannot see the fuss, then what are we talking about? Some would rather cling to the past, and its' sordidness, and all the accompanying trappings, instead of respecting other human beings, when the terms are in "black and white", as to what is offensive and what is not. Why tread in "gray areas"?
    Again, "white privilege" seems to be the answer, which is a function of "upbringing" or the lack thereof.
    I never use certain words...must I suffer them because others use them?
    Evidently, I must, in certain circles. Sooner or later, I may come to the conclusion that I must remove myself from a toxic environment...but it will be at my choosing, not of anyone else's. My main reason for leaving Political Forums was being attacked for pointing out racism and homophobia, in similar situations. Seems the same types are germane to each and every forum.
    Should I cower and run...or do I stand and fight against blatant racism and homophobia from last persons who should be racist and homophobic.... other gay people? I'm here, for the time being. Get into some acceptance about it.
    And bring your "A" game. It's obvious histrionics aren't going to cut it.
    Last edited by aaronssongs; 05-15-09 at 01:39 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by dclxvinoise View Post
    I stand by my belief that no word is inherently offensive.
    *nod* I admit I got caught up beating the wrong drum. I stand by my comments regarding sensitivity, but must concede that no word can be "inherently" offensive, as Zyphlin also correctly pointed out.
    Last edited by Analyst; 05-15-09 at 01:41 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronssongs View Post
    I never use certain words...must I suffer them because others use them?
    In a word, yes. Free speech is a bitch, ain't it?

    Evidently, I must, in certain circles. Sooner or later, I may come to the conclusion that I must remove myself from a toxic environment...but it will be at my choosing, not of anyone else's. My main reason for leaving Political Forums was being attacked for pointing out racism and homophobia, in similar situations. Seems the same types are germane to each and every forum.
    Should I cower and run...or do I stand and fight against blatant racism and homophobia from last persons who should be racist and homophobic, other gay people? I'm here, for the time being. Get into some acceptance about it.
    And bring your "A" game.
    If racism and homophobia are actually in play, I think you should point it out. What I can't stand is when someone cries "wolf" and claims racism and homophobia where there actually is none. Like in the instance of Ms. California and all the flak she caught. There was no sense in people calling her a homophobe when her answer was about as far from hateful as one could imagine. It was just wrong and classless to treat her the way she was treated. It also diminishes those times that homophobia is real.

  8. #78
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    Re: Are some words inherently offensive or is context important?

    In regards to respecting other people in regards to THEIR feelings about words, here's my general rule.

    I will speak as I speak. I'm not going to censor myself permanently because I may randomly find someone that somehow things something I say is offensive. If I feel like I've been ripped off by a car salesman I may say "The guy just gypped me". It may very well come out naturally. I'm not going to spank myself or shock myself or condition myself not to say it because there is a slight chance that I might randomly be within hearing distance to a Romani who may find it offensive. The same goes for other words, and I fully and completely feel the same way in regards to what other people say as well. Now if I know someone near me is going to be offended by it, then I likely wouldn't.

    IF I am around someone and I say something that offends them and they politely go "hey man, I know you didn't mean anything by it, but that's kind of offensive to me. You mind not saying that around me?" I'd say cool and make sure to try and not use such a word whiel I'm around that person to be respectful.

    HOWEVER

    If I do say something offensive and they blow up at me, start calling me a racist or a bigot or an incensitive person, or start insulting me or degrading ME for using a word not in an insulting context but simply USING it than most likely they're going to get ignored. If I said something completely benignly and it offended someone and they come back and INTENTINOALLY try to insult and offend me my sympathy for them is nil. Nothing in my original action was meant to show them disrespect, but if they're response is to PURPOSEFULLY show me disrespect then they will get the same in kind. Perhaps, to me, the fact that you will willfully and fully begin to insult someone for simply using a word that they have no way to definitively know you would find offensive, and to use it in a non-offensive way, and make broad accusations PERSONALLY against them is FAR more offensive to me than someone going "wow that looks gay" or "I swear how many times did that comedian just say the n-word" or "I was tired as a mother****er the other night" or some other kind of relatively benign or non-intentionally offensive use of a word.
    You down with TPP?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronssongs View Post
    If the general consensus is "anything goes", and I employ it, totally disregarding my position, but being mindful of why I'm doing it (to make a point, hyperbole, to be clear), the hypocrisy doesn't stem from me. I'm clear. Are others clear why others choose to continue to use terms and words which some find offensive?
    What other explanation could there be but arrogance and continuance of "white privilege"?
    This is a bit ridiculous as it assumes that all these bad words come out of the mouths of white folks. The last person I heard blathering on about the awfulness of "dykes" was a gay man. The last person I heard talking about towel heads was a black army friend.

    If someone is toxic and using such words to offend you why should you continue to be in their presence? I wouldn't.

    But I find this whole thing about white arrogance and continuance of white privilege to be mock worthy. A half black, half white man is our President. That means tons of white folks voted for him. Given that it's hard to take your dramatics on the topic seriously. Are there racists? Sure. Is it uniquely a white persons problem? Absolutely not. I know a black man who took huge amounts of crap from black women for dating a white girl. While the white girls family and friends give him ZERO crap. So you can just spare me the whole, "Damn white people, " crapola.

  10. #80
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    Re: Are some words inherently offensive or is context important?

    Actually, Jall brings up a great example.

    If some girl made a statement that she doesn't personally agree with gay marriage but the good thing about America is individual places can decide what's best for their states I don't see that as being incredibly offensive. I can see how someone could take it as offensive, but I don't see it aggregiously so, nor is it aimed at anyone in particular.

    HOWEVER

    If some guy, even if its a gay guy, decides that the proper response to that is to go "She's a Dumb Bitch and a Homophobic ****" then I would be FAR more bothered and be far more offended by that, relatively speaking, than I would to the previous thing as its purposefully hurtful and purposefully targetted at a specific person.

    Or for even more current events...

    I think its far more offensive to call someone "A faggot mother****er" than it is to tell someones mother "You raised a thug", but yet guess which one of those has got more focus and more condemnation in the media, to the extent of even sly accusations of racism, and which one has been gotten glossed over.
    You down with TPP?

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