• Harry Hindu
    749
    I would like to discuss name-calling - calling people names - derogatory names - what they mean and why some are offended by them and why some aren't.

    I'd specifically like to know what the difference is in using racial slurs as opposed to other forms of name-calling. For example, what is the difference between using a white racial slur or a black racial slur, and calling that same person say, a jerk. How can someone be called a jerk and be offended, yet be more offended at being called a racial slur? How are they different other than making a racial distinction? As a white person, what is different from being called a jerk or a cracker? Isn't calling someone a cracker the same as calling them a white jerk? Isn't it simply making a racial distinction while calling them a jerk at the same time? Why should we be more offended by one over the other?

    It seems to me that racial slurs, and name-calling in general, is only effective when the person being called a name has a negative view of themselves, or their race. Those with a higher self esteem are barely affected, if at all, by name-calling.

    It is giving power to others to define you, especially strangers. We seem to care more about what those we care about most, think of us. But there are some that seem to care just as much what strangers, or people who don't know us, think of us. Why?

    Why is calling someone a racial slur hate speech but calling someone a jerk, asshole, etc. isn't?
  • Wosret
    3k
    Generic insults aren't that good unless you get it a million times, then it begins to start to get annoying, or your at low energy or resolve. Insults shake resolve. They're meant to shake resolve. Make you do less well. It's a complex game. The ideal is to remain calm and clever, and not flip out, or say or do things that are unpleasant. Strong delivery, clever observations. Shake the other person until they lose composure or resolve.

    Fighters do it, there are rap battles. Lots of scenes of snooty posh people sitting around a table calmly trading asides until the loser is triggered, or a group of people making someone below them feel stupid, and then there is that ideal scenario in which they think of just the greatest of retorts, and put all of those assholes in their place.

    There are people though, that like were not properly socialized, and have an extremely low threshold for such games, and want everyone to be super nice, and stuff like mothers to infants all the time, because they can't deal, and they use pity to demonize everything that is fun, and exciting, mostly because they are edgy poo outcastes, and were never the head cheerleader, or captain of the football team, and now must take it out on the world until they die.

    Get used to it, the noble are always a gross minority, and the weak turn their weakness into strength by making it virtuous, and moral to be weak, and wicked to be strong.
  • Bitter Crank
    4.1k
    Megabytes of comments have been made here about political correctness; racial insults, sexual insults, and so on. Asshole--there's a book by that title, not very interesting, I didn't think--has been tossed around here quite a bit.

    I've been called queer, fairy, faggot, homo, cocksucker, etc. Before I came out of the closet (50 years ago) these terms would have upset me. I would have taken them as hostile; a knife through a weak spot in my armor. In the same way, it has bothered me for a long time when people refer to my (thick) glasses as "thick as the bottom of coke bottles". Being called blind as a bat or handicapped would have cut to the quick.

    From my perspective, the power of name-calling to hurt or anger me is proportionate to the confidence I have in myself. Not exactly self-esteem, but self-acceptance and confidence. These days I am not very sensitive. (I can still be gotten to on a couple of points, which I am not going to reveal here).

    Is a white person being called a honky the same thing as a black person being called a nigger? Is being called a "Jew" an insult whether one is or is not? Why is "colored people" an insult and people of color isn't? Why is "illegal alien" an insult even if one is? Negroes call each other "nigger" all the time. Why is it OK in one mouth and not in another? Is "niggardly" an OK spoken term?

    It seems to me that racial slurs, and name-calling in general, is only effective when the person being called a name has a negative view of themselves, or their race. Those with a higher self esteem are barely affected, if at all, by name-calling.Harry Hindu

    This sounds true, but some people who seem primed to go off at the first use of even prejudicial terms, let alone slurs quite often seem pretty proud of themselves and their group--race, sex, country of origin, belief system, bank account size, etc.
  • Noble Dust
    1.3k
    This sounds true, but some people who seem primed to go off at the first use of even prejudicial terms, let alone slurs quite often seem pretty proud of themselves and their group--race, sex, country of origin, belief system, bank account size, etc.Bitter Crank

    "Pride is shame's cloak." - William Blake
  • Bitter Crank
    4.1k
    Excellent quote job, there.
  • Noble Dust
    1.3k


    Admittedly my mental health lately has led to these sorts of occasional pithy posts. But glad you found it worthwhile; that quote has stuck with me for years, and I find myself turning the idea over and over in my head ad absurdum.
  • MPen89
    18
    Some racial name calling has a deep history to it. For instance, the term nigger has been used throughout what we consider history, and has eventually become more and more offensive, especially for a white person to use against a black person. However the term cracker is newer, and doesn't have as much meaning attached to it (i'm pretty sure it's just reflective of an actual cracker; white and flakey).

    As for why people are so offended by some words and not others? It is personal meaning. What does that word mean to you.

    'You're crazy!' someone might say to me if i was thinking of buying a car i can't afford. However, say the same thing to someone with schizophrenia and it might be quite offensive.

    As for why people are offended in general to name calling - jerk, for example - well, why wouldn't you be? Rather than saying something nice, or saying something constructive or offering a different point of view, they have decided to stoop to the level of a child and say something (which lacks criticism or construction) to intentionally hurt your feelings.
  • mcdoodle
    890
    However the term cracker is newer, and doesn't have as much meaning attached to it (i'm pretty sure it's just reflective of an actual cracker; white and flakey).MPen89

    Cracker has been going since the late 18th century.
  • mcdoodle
    890
    Why is calling someone a racial slur hate speech but calling someone a jerk, asshole, etc. isn't?Harry Hindu

    Hate speech is about groups, surely? The hater singles out people by a mean epithet for their group. They are usually hoping to foster prejudice against the group, as well as to demean them.

    It seems to me that much of the rest of what you say is that you wish people were other than the way they are. Well, I think the cards have been dealt. People are sensitive to status; shame lies at the bottom of the pit waiting for all of us to fall into it and if someone says a trigger word we fall.
  • MPen89
    18
    Cracker has been going since the late 18th century.mcdoodle

    Thanks, a brief search also taught me its origin is derived from the cracking of a whip, and also a reference to cracked kennel corn - poor white farmers.
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