View Poll Results: Are some words inherently offensive?

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

  1. #1
    Androgyne
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    Are some words inherently offensive or is context important?

    This is in regards to the discussion going on in this thread.

    Personally, I think it's stupid to view any word as inherently offensive when it is just a word. In the proper context it can be completely offensive, but we shouldn't just ban it from being used in any context because some people give the word more power than it should have. It comes off as fear to me, and an irrational one at that. What does everyone else think?

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

    A word is merely a label applied to a concept--it's meaning, if you will.

    On their own, words lack any power of offense. Within the meanings we attach to words, however, there is great power for offense.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by dclxvinoise View Post
    This is in regards to the discussion going on in this thread.

    Personally, I think it's stupid to view any word as inherently offensive when it is just a word. In the proper context it can be completely offensive, but we shouldn't just ban it from being used in any context because some people give the word more power than it should have. It comes off as fear to me, and an irrational one at that. What does everyone else think?
    I think that certain words, such as "racial pejoratives", are inherently offensive.
    They have no other function than to offend or to demean. Context is not important, with regard to "racial pejoratives". If that were the case, they could not be viewed as pejorative.
    [ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pejorative]Pejorative - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]
    A pejorative (also term of abuse or term of disparagement), as a noun, means a word or phrase that implies disapproval or contempt and is meant to be insulting, impolite, or unkind: "A belittling or disparaging word or expression." When used as an adjective, pejorative is synonymous with derogatory, derisive, dyslogistic, and contemptuous. Standards of politeness limit the use of pejoratives.

    Pejoratives are distinct from profanity, which refers to language that is considered rude; Pejoratives refer more to disapproval and not necessarily rudeness.

    Sometimes a term may begin as a pejorative word and eventually be adopted in a non-pejorative sense. Big Bang, Quaker, Yankee, Okie, Tory and Whig, Ham radio, Methodist, Shaker, Unitarian, Sooner, and Liberal were originally slang insults but came to be used as non-pejorative standard words. In historical linguistics, this phenomenon is known as melioration, or amelioration, or semantic change. Sometimes a term is still considered as a pejorative word by some but not by others. In other cases, some groups have attempted to "reclaim" formerly offensive words applied against them (reclaimed word).

    Ethnic slurs are one kind of category of pejorative. Such terms as pagan,[1][2][3] nigger,[4] nigga, kike, redneck, cracker, spade, white trash, redskin, dyke, queer, fairy, faggot, tranny, geek, nerd, retard, mamak, paki, chav, ginger, gook, and cripple are widely considered pejorative

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

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronssongs View Post
    I think that certain words, such as "racial pejoratives", are inherently offensive.
    They have no other function than to offend or to demean. Context is not important, with regard to "racial pejoratives". If that were the case, they could not be viewed as pejorative.
    Pejorative - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    A pejorative (also term of abuse or term of disparagement), as a noun, means a word or phrase that implies disapproval or contempt and is meant to be insulting, impolite, or unkind: "A belittling or disparaging word or expression." When used as an adjective, pejorative is synonymous with derogatory, derisive, dyslogistic, and contemptuous. Standards of politeness limit the use of pejoratives.

    Pejoratives are distinct from profanity, which refers to language that is considered rude; Pejoratives refer more to disapproval and not necessarily rudeness.

    Sometimes a term may begin as a pejorative word and eventually be adopted in a non-pejorative sense. Big Bang, Quaker, Yankee, Okie, Tory and Whig, Ham radio, Methodist, Shaker, Unitarian, Sooner, and Liberal were originally slang insults but came to be used as non-pejorative standard words. In historical linguistics, this phenomenon is known as melioration, or amelioration, or semantic change. Sometimes a term is still considered as a pejorative word by some but not by others. In other cases, some groups have attempted to "reclaim" formerly offensive words applied against them (reclaimed word).

    Ethnic slurs are one kind of category of pejorative. Such terms as pagan,[1][2][3] nigger,[4] nigga, kike, redneck, cracker, spade, white trash, redskin, dyke, queer, fairy, faggot, tranny, geek, nerd, retard, mamak, paki, chav, ginger, gook, and cripple are widely considered pejorative


    But in context "nigger" was not used as a racial slur in the other thread. And you sir, were offended by the use of "niggardly" which has nothing to do with race.


    I think when one gets offended by the use of vernacular this way, you actually give more power to the word when it is used as a slur.



    Oh and I love my white trash, cracker can't dance, redneck side of me....


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  5. #5
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    Re: Are some words inherently offensive or is context important?

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronssongs View Post
    I think that certain words, such as "racial pejoratives", are inherently offensive.
    They have no other function than to offend or to demean. Context is not important, with regard to "racial pejoratives". If that were the case, they could not be viewed as pejorative.
    Pejorative - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    A pejorative (also term of abuse or term of disparagement), as a noun, means a word or phrase that implies disapproval or contempt and is meant to be insulting, impolite, or unkind: "A belittling or disparaging word or expression." When used as an adjective, pejorative is synonymous with derogatory, derisive, dyslogistic, and contemptuous. Standards of politeness limit the use of pejoratives.
    So if I was to use the word to reference something that someone else said or to even reference the word itself as being offensive that my use of it would be just as bad as some racist guy who used it against someone else in a derogatory way? You can't be serious. I'm sorry, but if that really is your stance that is idiotic. It's just a word. Personally I would place more blame on the people who use it in the derogatory sense than on the word itself.

    Pejoratives are distinct from profanity, which refers to language that is considered rude; Pejoratives refer more to disapproval and not necessarily rudeness.
    The word is rude in the proper context, I agree.

    Sometimes a term may begin as a pejorative word and eventually be adopted in a non-pejorative sense. Big Bang, Quaker, Yankee, Okie, Tory and Whig, Ham radio, Methodist, Shaker, Unitarian, Sooner, and Liberal were originally slang insults but came to be used as non-pejorative standard words. In historical linguistics, this phenomenon is known as melioration, or amelioration, or semantic change. Sometimes a term is still considered as a pejorative word by some but not by others. In other cases, some groups have attempted to "reclaim" formerly offensive words applied against them (reclaimed word).
    Kind of a hypocrite aren't you? You just used words that others consider offensive and it was only in a referencing context. However, according to your logic that doesn't matter.

    Ethnic slurs are one kind of category of pejorative. Such terms as pagan,[1][2][3] nigger,[4] nigga, kike, redneck, cracker, spade, white trash, redskin, dyke, queer, fairy, faggot, tranny, geek, nerd, retard, mamak, paki, chav, ginger, gook, and cripple are widely considered pejorative
    You did it again!

  6. #6
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    Re: Are some words inherently offensive or is context important?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend_Hellh0und View Post
    But in context "nigger" was not used as a racial slur in the other thread. And you sir, were offended by the use of "niggardly" which has nothing to do with race.


    I think when one gets offended by the use of vernacular this way, you actually give more power to the word when it is used as a slur.



    Oh and I love my white trash, cracker can't dance, redneck side of me....
    Not only that, but he said just used those terms in a referencing context, which according to him is just as offensive. Kind of a hypocrite, wouldn't you say?

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

    Words can only be offensive if you take offense to them. A word is inherently value neutral, it's just a bunch of sounds coming out of someone's mouth. If you don't get offended by those sounds, they remain value neutral, but the offense you might take comes from within, not from the words themselves.
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    Re: Are some words inherently offensive or is context important?

    Quote Originally Posted by dclxvinoise View Post
    Not only that, but he said just used those terms in a referencing context, which according to him is just as offensive. Kind of a hypocrite, wouldn't you say?



    Good catch!


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

    I don't think words are inherently offensive.

    However

    I can fully understand how certain people can view words as offensive no matter the context.

    I can see how a black person could perhaps hear "spic" and not be instantly offended no matter the context while hearing the n-word and be offended no matter what the context.

    There is no universal "offensiveness" scale that is somehow consistant all across the board; the offensiveness of a word is unique to each person.

    I'm sure if he was still alive you could go up to George Carlin and tell him "You're a mother ****ing patty drunk that goes out every night to take cocks up your ass while your munch on potatoes doused in alcohol" and he'd laugh at you and not be offended. I'm sure if you went and told a relatively sheltered 70 year old woman the same thing she'd be horribly offended.

    Some people are firmly rooted in history, and thus the history of the words mean more to them than the context. I don't share this view, and I do not think they should PUSH this view onto others and try to force it onto them as it is a personal opinion, but I also do not begrudge them for having that opinion no matter how much I disagree with it.

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

    If I just typed in the N word and posted only the N word I think that would be offensive. If I use it a context it could go either way IMHO.

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