Forums > Social Discussion > Politically correct terms and words we aren't allowed to use anymore

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natasqi
natasqi

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Posted:Continued from the US Education thread...

How do we decide what words to use anymore in the PC world? I'm talking about black, coloured, retard etc etc.

In Medicine, I was learning about skulls and learnt it as Negroid, Caucasoid and Mongoloid +/- Australoid.
Later I used the term Mongoloid and was severly told off because you're not allow to use the term Mongoloid because it has non-PC connitations for Downs syndrome...
But these terms are still helpful in Forensic Anthropolgy...
So, someone decided to call Down's Syndrome people "Mongs" and it caught on and suddenly, the term Mongoloid wasn't allowed to be used anymore.

Same with Retard. Retardate was a word used in Medicine for many years (and still is with the STYCAR) , then people started to use the term "retard" derogatively. SO retard was struck off the language.

I can definietly understand how words like 'coloured' are offensive. Coloured creates an us and other polarisation.

The word 'black' has historical meaning... but if it didn't, would it still be offensive? Travelling in Africa, I got called "whitey". Is this racist? is it not racist because it doesn't have historical meaning and links to slavery and oppression?

Will we ever be able to 'claim' these words back?
i.e. can doctors use retardate again?
Or maybe can we decide that retardate ISN'T used to describe disabled/differently abled individuals and then youngsters are allowed to call each other 'retard' because it has taken on a whole new meaning in their language?

The word idiot had a similar history, being used to describe someone who was mentally deficient/differently abled (hell, even I don't know what terms to use) but now, most people could use idiot without someone saying "Hey, my borhter has a mental deficiency, I find that offensive" like would happen with the word retard.

Same goes for 'gay'.

When can we use these words? Should they be taken out of the language all together? Are they offensive if we use then in their original meaning i.e. retardate?


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Pyrolific
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Posted:context is everything. School yard vs Hospital for eg. Mechanic's shop vs city street, friend you've known for years vs a stranger etc etc



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Mynci
Mynci

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Posted:I always thought the use of "retard" came from the latin "tardus" meaning slow. So I use that instead of retard when someone is being a bit slow witted, but I blame that on being forced to take latin at school.

I think using gay has fallen slightly out of vogue recently. I hardly hear it anymore I'm more likely to hear someone say
"_____ Fail" and nominate a "type" of fail be it "epic" or "walking" when someone falls over. I also think it has far too happy a connitation for it to remain a negative word.

I think medicine should stick with what it has, if people understand it wrong then maybe they should learn language correctly. Doctors have so much to learn without them having to relearn new terms because teenagers find them amusing as insults, or people find terms offensive due to their own perception. so what if people feel are offended, nothing actually happpens and what gives offense can differ between individuals.

I'd rather be called a retard than an idiot nowadays, when I'm called retard it's generally a jovial way of saying I made a silly mistake by a friend. i find being called idiot offends me more because it suggests that someone feels i'm unintelligent (which i do not feel I am wink )

I think we're finding a whole new range of slang at the moment, I saw something on TV on how predicitve text is causing some words to change meanings (slang) because when entered, a different word comes up to what's been meant the best example given was teenagers using "book" to describe things as "cool" because book comes up first on some predictive text memories.

Language is fluid so I think there is always a chance of reclaiming lost words afte they have been out of fashion for a while. "gay" used to be "pants" after all and that was only in the last 10 years. That's why I like numbers they stay the same, they are eternal it will always be the 3 billy goats gruff even if Billy, goats and gruff all change their meanings there will still be 3 of them laugh3


A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.

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natasqi
natasqi

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Posted:Originally Posted By: MynciI think we're finding a whole new range of slang at the moment, I saw something on TV on how predicitve text is causing some words to change meanings (slang) because when entered, a different word comes up to what's been meant the best example given was teenagers using "book" to describe things as "cool" because book comes up first on some predictive text memories.


Haha.. I've done that! I use "yup" a lot and it always comes out as "zur" so now I use zur.

And my sister (Roslyn) comes up as Porky.. so now I call her Porky. grin


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aston
aston

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Posted:In general I think it comes down to what the word means to whomever you are talking to. If you know that you are talking to a medical professional in that capacity, calling someone a retard is very different to calling someone at school a retard wen talking to your friends.

It comes down to context, like pyrolific said.


'We're all mad here. I'm mad, you're mad." [said the Cat.]
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "Or you wouldn't have come here."
- Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland

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This Jaded Flesh
This Jaded Flesh

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Posted:Were you using 'gay' and 'black' as the PG versions? I've never seen these used in offensive contexts ever. Unless followed by an offensive term refering a womans genitalia. Personnaly, I like the charm of being called 'corn-bread' but it never happens here in England.

"I may lack virtue, but I'm penitent"

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Rouge Dragon
Rouge Dragon

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Posted:Black is one I have an issue with. The PC-crap behind it that is.

Living in Vanuatu, among the black people, black and white were simply adjectives used to describe people, just like how we'd say "oh the girl with the brown hair." They honestly couldn't understand why white people got so hung up on colour. And I agree with them.

Now I know that I'm about to open up a massive can of worms, but I feel that the infiltration of US culture into Australian culture is the reason behind this. "Nigger" is a word of US offence, yet the influence lead that nickname for a famous rugby player become taboo. Or made some bloke with nothing better to do try and sue the brand of cheese, Coon. Similarly the incident with Bert Newton, Muhammed Ali and "boy" and the more recent 'blackface' skit.

Anyways, I've completely digressed - Political correctness was probably a good idea when it started, but it's now gone so out of hand we're now being offended by things that were never meant to be offensive simply because the PC gods told us to be.


i would have changed ***** to phallus, and claire to petey Petey

Rougie: but that's what I'm doing here
Arnwyn: what letting me adjust myself in your room?..don't you dare quote that on HoP...

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natasqi
natasqi

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Posted:Jaded Flesh - no, I'm pretty sure describing an African American as black is offensive to many people... I think maybe we need Americans in the discussion...

And I know some people who are offended if you say "oh that is so GAY" because you are inferring that to be gay is a bad thing.

The blackface thing is something I had a big discussion with my friends about.

(Backstory)
A group of people dressed up as the Jackson Five, painted their faces black and performed a Jackson Five skit on Australian TV.

Harry Connick Jnr was one of the hosts and went "OMG thats so racist" and the next day lots of international media went "OMG Australia is so racist".

Lots of Australians were like "huh?". Most because they had never heard of "blackface" or Vaudeville theatre.

So is it only racist from a historical point of view? Does intent matter in racism?

If they were emulating the artist, is that different to if they were making fun of the artist?


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Mother_Natures_Son
Mother_Natures_Son

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Posted:Nat, correct me if I'm wrong, but further information on the blackface skit... wasn't it not thought of as racist when it was first aired and it was only really picked out on the 'best of' show that aired more recently??

Also... my two cents after only skim reading this conversation, I think a lot of the "PC" issue is that these words are often meant offensively.. and often they're quite simply descriptive... "black" is the perfect example... without any connotation or history the word 'black' is just a descriptive word, though used with connotation in mind, its offensive.

Without knowing a persons intent we judge the usage of the words in question. Its not overall productive to combat the prejudice that the PC movement is apparently against... it merely creates more divisions than it does areas of common ground.

"You are black, I am white" is rarely interpreted as "you are a black <b>human</b> and I am a white <b>human</b>.




To just throw something else out there... the "queer" movement... Queer means strange, not quite right, almost... wrong... and it was used as a derogatory term for homosexuals, now the term has been reappropriated as a symbol of pride, thus disarming the word for those that used it negatively.

"You are queer" "Yes I am, whats your point?"

"You are black" "Thats racist!"

"You are black" "You have a keen eye, sir... Well spotted"



Excuse the above ramblings, I kinda like the lack of cohesiveness in my response. tongue2


hug

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Mynci
Mynci

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Posted:I stand by the fact that if someone is offended it's their problem not mine. everybody is offended by something and it differs so widely between people that if we weren't allowed to do things that offended someone somewhere we'd get nothing done or be able to say nothing. so what we do is we take terms that "someone" believes offends a unproven / unknown number of a group or population that crosses a make-believe threshold and we make it taboo or ban it or some other nonsense.

I'd really like to know how many people or what percentage of people have to be offended by a term before it can be considered taboo to a nation, where is the turning point from word or action to national insult. It's amazing that we can create such a fuss about words that invoke feelings. they are just words (apologies in advance for this) but to me the word "nigger" isn't offensive. If it can be used by the people it was meant to insult, to each other as a term of familiarity or respect then they aren't offended by the word. What they are offended by is the word being used by an white person therefore if anyone should be offended it should be the white person to the racism of the veiwpoint. I agree this isn't always true as the word has a long history or use in a derogatory manner and this is the way of reclaiming back an offensive word as mentioned in the first post, however the way with which is being regained has offensive connotations so does this make it right?

The above shows how offense is such a transient thing that it can be justified in any number of ways, how can you set stock by something at once both important and yet immaterial to different people. how can you tell someone what is offensive when be definition offensiveness can only be decided by the people experiencing the situation, some may be offended and some not, just because some find it offensive is that a reason to give it credance and if so how do you set the threashold for that so it becomes known to all?

I Belive context to be much more important than the actual words used. If offensive words are used in a light and jovial manner with no offense intended then it is the responsibility of the person listening to HEAR the words correctly and the manner in which they were spoken and not to take offense at mere language, it is after all only a tool to communicate information and feelings, to get the language confused is to get the emotion behind it confused. Therefore any offense can only be inferred by the listener, whether the offense was meant or not,

*hug* to anyone I offended with any of my language - it was to prove a point not to offend wink

or was it? see I can't stop laugh3


A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.

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JaredW
JaredW

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Posted:Originally Posted By: Mother_Natures_Son
"You are black" "Thats racist!"

"You are black" "You have a keen eye, sir... Well spotted"


Here's something I've noticed, not sure how widespread it is.
The people who would be offended and call me racist when I say black and not mean anything bad by it at all, are nearly always the people that only shop at stores that are members of the black chamber of commerce, go exclusively to black clubs, black churches, black colleges, join black only organizations. These are the people I avoid associating with, not because I'm racist, but because they're hypocrites. They fault me for something completely harmless, say I'm racist, then go out of their way to alienate themselves. And it's not just one race I'm picking out. Every group that has been, or still is, discriminated against has people that do it.

Personally I don't take offense to any words. My best friend, my brother, some of my co workers, even my boyfriendlaugh3 call me queer, gay, homo, fag. I don't care. It's not what people say, it's how they say it. People just really need to lighten up and quit looking for something negative in everything.


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Fire_Moose
Fire_Moose

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Posted:Just say what you want....no matter how hard you try someone is going to be offended. I don't curse (mostly) around kids...i don't talk gangsta around "thugs"...but then again i don't do that stuff much anyways


stop worrying so much, tard-os


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This Jaded Flesh
This Jaded Flesh

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Posted:Originally Posted By: natasqiJaded Flesh - no, I'm pretty sure describing an African American as black is offensive to many people... I think maybe we need Americans in the discussion...

Please explain? seriously I don't understand what the issue is about using the word black to describe a skin tone. Is that racist? that I don't get it? because I was watching this program the other week about this woman called Jane Elliot and she totaly made me feel 'passively rasict' but normaly I wouldn't think of myself as racist what so ever.


"I may lack virtue, but I'm penitent"

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Fire_Moose
Fire_Moose

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Posted:don't you think that describing black people as African American is pretty racist...i mean there are a TON of black people who do not live in the US

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This Jaded Flesh
This Jaded Flesh

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Posted:No I think he meant black people in america find the term 'black' offensive like in England black people don't like the 'N' word unless it's from a 'true bruv'. God I hate that gansta talk.

"I may lack virtue, but I'm penitent"

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Mr Majestik
Mr Majestik

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Posted:when using predictive text cider = aides.

can you pass the aides?


"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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This Jaded Flesh
This Jaded Flesh

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Posted:If it's 'white lightining' cider then it is aides.

"I may lack virtue, but I'm penitent"

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natasqi
natasqi

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Posted:Quote:
Please explain? seriously I don't understand what the issue is about using the word black to describe a skin tone.

Well, no ones come to affirm my statement but I always thought that 'black' was considered an offensive term by many as it was used interchangably with 'native' etc - i.e. Heart of Darkness...

I would love it if no one found this describing word racist... I just thought many people did...

Quote:don't you think that describing black people as African American is pretty racist...i mean there are a TON of black people who do not live in the US
I think that it would be mainly African Americans who would be offended by it because of their history re slavery etc etc...

From my travels in Africa, they didn't have a problem with 'white person, black person' and I'm pretty sure most Indigenous Australians wouldn't have a problem with 'blackfella'... These are the extent of my travels though so I cant include ALL black people in my summary.

Quote:Nat, correct me if I'm wrong, but further information on the blackface skit... wasn't it not thought of as racist when it was first aired and it was only really picked out on the 'best of' show that aired more recently??
They did the skit for Red Faces in the 80s (or early 90s) when they were students and were asked back... Yes, when they first performed the skit, there was no outrage and Im pretty sure that if there wasn't an American on the show this time, there wouldn't have been either.


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Rouge Dragon
Rouge Dragon

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Posted:I'll affirm your statement, Nat! I've noticed that using the word "black" if often perceived as being offensive.

When I got back from Vanuatu, someone asked me if my employer over there was a volunteer like me and when I replied with "no, she's black" the person I was speaking to got all tense. Likewise, when I mention my "black mum" (as opposed to my white one lol!) I have often seen people get uncomfortable.

Oh and I completely agree with your comment about what would have happened without an American on the show.


i would have changed ***** to phallus, and claire to petey Petey

Rougie: but that's what I'm doing here
Arnwyn: what letting me adjust myself in your room?..don't you dare quote that on HoP...

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JayKitty
JayKitty

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Posted:American checking in here. I know Poje is from texas, so here's the point of view as far as east coast US. As far as US politics there's thought to be a difference in the regions as far as differences in people from east, west, and south. North is pretty fair. lol. Anyway, I'm in nursing school and when charting on patients it's an important fact in discribing someone. I had a talk with one of my classmates, she is a lovley shade of dark chocolate brown, I myself am I light olive, another girl was a nice shade of mocha. Yet I would be charted as a white adolescent male, they would be middle aged adult black adult females.

From a medical perspective it's silly to think that people are the same. It's just not true. Ethno-pharmacology is a big topic. Also back to the retarded topic. Medicine is still a safe haven for words somewhat. If something is retarding a child's growth, it doesn't mean that their growth is drooling all over itself. Fetal insult doesn't mean you're yelling at a pregnant woman's stomach.

But I digress. PC is getting out of hand. And its far beyond the white/black thing and I don't see any signs of it stopping. ::sigh::


Don't mind me, just passing through.

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This Jaded Flesh
This Jaded Flesh

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Posted:Originally Posted By: Rouge DragonWhen I got back from Vanuatu, someone asked me if my employer over there was a volunteer like me and when I replied with "no, she's black" the person I was speaking to got all tense.

lol could it have not been because, you brought up the fact she was black when all she was asking was if she was volunteering like you? I think I would have looked at you all weird too XD


"I may lack virtue, but I'm penitent"

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Fine_Rabid_Dog
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Posted:Originally Posted By: Pyrolificcontext is everything. School yard vs Hospital for eg. Mechanic's shop vs city street, friend you've known for years vs a stranger etc etc


About sums it up.


The existance of flamethrowers says that someone, somewhere, at sometime said "I need to set that thing on fire, but it's too far away."

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Mynci
Mynci

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Posted:It is getting silly, soon you won't be allowed to call people chavs or emos or goths because they will be termed as derogatory comments regarding a particular group irregardless of ethnicity. to give credance to a word as offensive only becuase it is based upon race, faculty or ethnicity devalues labels as a whole even if a comment is meant as derogatory it's no different to using common slanders in front of an authorised word to descibe a group. you could say "F**king C**nting african americans" piss me off with their racism, it should be no more or less offensive than using the famous "N" word as the sentiment is exactly the same and the different words do not change the underlying meaning behind them or the message. I find the PC world so frustrating and annoying that I honestly don't care about it. if a word frowned on by others fits the use I wish to put it to then that's the word I'll use, censorship is one thing but to censor language means you have to censor peoples thoughts

A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.

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Rouge Dragon
Rouge Dragon

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Posted:Originally Posted By: This Jaded Fleshlol could it have not been because, you brought up the fact she was black when all she was asking was if she was volunteering like you? I think I would have looked at you all weird too XD

Nah, context meant "is she a white aussie on the same program as yourself?" I didn't explain it well.


i would have changed ***** to phallus, and claire to petey Petey

Rougie: but that's what I'm doing here
Arnwyn: what letting me adjust myself in your room?..don't you dare quote that on HoP...

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Fire_Moose
Fire_Moose

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Posted:Originally Posted By: JayKittyAmerican checking in here. I know Poje is from texas, so here's the point of view as far as east coast US. As far as US politics there's thought to be a difference in the regions as far as differences in people from east, west, and south. North is pretty fair. lol. Anyway, I'm in nursing school and when charting on patients it's an important fact in discribing someone. I had a talk with one of my classmates, she is a lovley shade of dark chocolate brown, I myself am I light olive, another girl was a nice shade of mocha. Yet I would be charted as a white adolescent male, they would be middle aged adult black adult females.

From a medical perspective it's silly to think that people are the same. It's just not true. Ethno-pharmacology is a big topic. Also back to the retarded topic. Medicine is still a safe haven for words somewhat. If something is retarding a child's growth, it doesn't mean that their growth is drooling all over itself. Fetal insult doesn't mean you're yelling at a pregnant woman's stomach.

But I digress. PC is getting out of hand. And its far beyond the white/black thing and I don't see any signs of it stopping. ::sigh::


I am SO not from Texas...stop stereo typing tongue2


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This Jaded Flesh
This Jaded Flesh

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Posted:Originally Posted By: Rouge DragonOriginally Posted By: This Jaded Fleshlol could it have not been because, you brought up the fact she was black when all she was asking was if she was volunteering like you? I think I would have looked at you all weird too XD

Nah, context meant "is she a white aussie on the same program as yourself?" I didn't explain it well.

Ah right makes sense now lol On different note, so we agree that words in themselves can't be racist... But if someone uses a word with racist conotations in a series of verbal assaults does that make the person instantly racist? You see isn't that person just using the term to cause offend and they know using thoughs kind of terms will offend the other individual so does it make them racist?


"I may lack virtue, but I'm penitent"

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natasqi
natasqi

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Posted:So someone who has no problem with the (minority group) gets cut off in traffic and lets out a range of explicits, including ones which are considered racist to that minority group... Does that make them racist?


Good question. I have to say no...

When driving I would have to say Ive muttered "Stupid female drivers" or "Stupid Asian drivers" just because that is a stereotype in Australia.. but I know that the probability of a female/Asian/ any other group being a bad driver is equal. (and being female myself I would like to consider myself a great driver.. but don't 80% of people think that they're better than average? :D)

Would I yell it out the window to their face? No.
I think it's more about venting frustration.

I think if you said it to someones face, you're being iffensive.. but not necessarily racist. Because racism comes from your thoughts and attitudes ight? not your words or actions...


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Fire_Moose
Fire_Moose

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This Jaded Flesh
This Jaded Flesh

One soul is as good as another...
Location: England, Durham
Member Since: 30th Oct 2009
Total posts: 323
Posted:I can understand why they would say that about women but gay men? They didn't even classify which kind of gay male. The ones playing gay or the ones actualy geneticly predisposed to being gay? And that could still carry over into the hetrosexual group to since they didn't define how they were testing. Makes a huge difference. Silly telegraph. I think I may complain about it since without more detailed explanation of the testing it's just hate mongering.

"I may lack virtue, but I'm penitent"

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EpitomeOfNovice
EpitomeOfNovice

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Posted:Originally Posted By: This Jaded FleshAh right makes sense now lol On different note, so we agree that words in themselves can't be racist... But if someone uses a word with racist conotations in a series of verbal assaults does that make the person instantly racist? You see isn't that person just using the term to cause offend and they know using thoughs kind of terms will offend the other individual so does it make them racist?

I'm going to have to say "yes" then it becomes a racist statement/racial slur although you might not be a "racist" in terms of your everyday life and who you are as an individual. Whenever a person uses race as part of an insult (that they could have just left out and insulted the behavior or whatever undesirable factor in play) you made a choice to bring race into it and should expect to bear the consequences of displaying racist behavior or being racist in that moment. It may not be who you are on a regular basis but in that instant you became one if you think race contributes to undesirability and that's even if you don't voice it. It's quite a gray area, but just for a moment people become one when they do it.

I wish we just lived in a world where people were just people and didn't get wrapped up in the whole thing, but the more people aren't mindful when relaying a point race/gender/orientation will get all the attention and not the point or statement that was truly intended.

ubbidea

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Felex
Felex

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Posted:What do you call a black bloke flying a plain?


A pilot you f?&k racist.

At the end of the day everyone is slightly racist. We all think things which we know we shouldnt.


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