Offensive Terms

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Salty, Jun 20, 2010.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    In a few threads, it has been brought up that certain terms are offensive.

    My question is "Who determines if a term is offensive"

    For example the word "retarded" is deemed by some to be unacceptable. Yet one poster said his brother is retarded and sees no problem with it. (I might understand when an someone individualy is called "retard") Actually the term retarded was used to replace the previously word - idiot - which means retarded.

    Or is it a case where a large number of people find a term inappropriate. But then again, who convinced them it is wrong and/or for what reason?

    Then if for the most part a group finds a word wrong, is it okay for them to use it, but get mad if someone out of their group uses it.

    Should we be walking on a tightrope as we speak so we do not offend anyone?

    Personally, I am (actually) offended when someone uses the term (fill-in-the-blank) - American. For example, Oriental-American. I will compromise with the term American of Oriental heritage.
    (can you give me the proper definition of "African-American"). Would a Caucasian from South Africa be an "A-A"; is it only for those who receives American citizenship, or is it automatic the minute they get off th plane at JFK?

    If you have read many of my post - you will see I often use the term "State or Commonwealth". I do this as my protest of those who insist on using the choppy and ridiculous phase of "he or she"

    And let the arguments begin :saint: :thumbs: :rolleyes:

    I understand this is basically a situation in the USA, but I would be interested in hearing from those in other countries as to how this situation is dwelt with..

    Salty
     
  2. Scarlett O.

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    As a she, I appreciate it when someone uses the phrase "he or she" where common sensely placed and not awkwardly placed.

    If people don't use it, I really don't think about it. I only pay attention when it is used and then I think to myself, "Gee, I appreciated that."

    As a she, I am not offended when it is not used nor do I wave a pink banner in the air and scream "we've come a long way, baby" when it is used.

    Not sure why a he would be offended when it is used, though. :flower:
     
  3. Salty

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    Scarlett, thank you for a very reasonable post.

    You profile does not give your age, so I assume you may be thirty-something.
    As I grew up - was last century, we were taught (in English class) that using the masculine term (such as he) also includes the feminine, unless specifically indicated. - This is the reason I would like input from BB members in other countries.

    This all changed with the advent of the feminist movement of the late '60 early '70.

    On the other hand I have seen paragraphs written using both genders. For example:
    < A teenager wanted to buy some nice shoes so she went to the mall. A store employee was very helpful to him. > Not the greatest example, but I think you get the ideal.

     
  4. mcdirector

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    I'm one who likes to chose my words carefully as well as speak my mind. My husband hears more of it than anyone else because the two don't mix especially well ;)

    I think we have entered an odd time when people seem to be more easily offended by what someone else says while at the same time they seem to think they have the right to say whatever without fear of offending anyone else. Surely at some point the masses will realize this isn't a well thought out policy.

    When I write, I try to use he for some examples and she for others. I feel a lot like Scarlett on this. He or she throughout a text becomes awkward IMHO.

    One day at school one day I asked a kid who was all spread out on the floor to sit like an Indian. Another teacher told me to use the term cross-legged instead. I jokingly said that as an American Indian, I at least should be able to get by with it. She informed me that I was a Native American. American Indian is an offensive label. Ha! to who? certainly not to me :p
     
  5. Scarlett O.

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    God bless you, brother.....:flower: In less than three months, I will be 49 years old. HA! But thanks for the compliment.



    Yes, you are right. And as a former English teacher to 8th graders, that is what I taught.





    Do you really think so, Salty? What I am talking about is something different.

    Let me give you an example. Let's say you have four high school seniors who are running for class president. Two are male and two are female. The principal of the school meets with the entire student body to discuss qualifications for class president and how important it is to choose wisely.

    She might say something like this, "Remember students, whomever is elected as your class president will have some decision making power over the activities of your senior year. Some activities will be left to his or her discretion."

    Since she is only talking about four students, to use "his or her" would be inclusive of all of them.

    And here is an example of where the use of "his or her" would be awkward, and in my opinion frustrating to read - silently or aloud.

    "Mankind in his quest for global domination has left a trail of evil behind him."

    We know that there have been evil women were greedy for power, but here, the masculine pronoun, is suitably all inclusive and works fine itself and does not leave out the women who contributed to the evils of the world.
     
  6. jaigner

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    I don't think it is unreasonable to use inclusive language whenever possible. Whatever its origins, which I personally don't think is any sort of radical feminism, it is the current standard.
     
  7. Salty

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    Scarlett, your example was much better than mine. Actually, I finished High school in 1973, and I remember the teacher writing the phrase "s/he" on the blackboard, remarking how stupid it was.

    And if you are trying to figure my age, I had orders to go to Vietnam
     
  8. saturneptune

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    A spouse is very sensitive to offensive terms. Just yesterday, my wife came up to me and asked where our son Josh (who is now 26 and a software engineer) got his smarts. I said why honey, it is obvious he got them from you, I still have mine. Boy that old couch was uncomfortable last night.
     
  9. Paul3144

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    I recently had a feminazi get mad at me for using the term "lady", so I'm trying to remove all "inclusive language" from my vocabulary as an anti-feminazi backlash. I don't hate women or anything and I'm a strong supporter of women's rights, but that "womyn" made me angry so I'm going to get even with her. From now on, if I quote a post that uses the word "they" in a singular manner, I'm going to [sic] the incorrect usage. Also, to add to what other posters said, I was also taught in school that the masculine pronoun can be used to include the feminine.
     
  10. blackbird

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    It offends me that people get offended!!

    Several years ago I had some outpatient surgery---right before the Anesthesia Doc "put me under" he told me a joke--right there in the operating room---here's what he said

    "I see from your record you are a preacher! I have a joke for you before I zap you!" ---then he told me the joke----I thought it was funny so I told him---"Doc! I'm gonna tell that joke this next Sunday!!"

    It was a Methodist joke

    So I told the joke---"There was this Methodist . . ."

    And wouldn't you know it---there was a lady visiting who happened to be Methodist---on her way out she told one of the deacons she was offended at that joke I told

    #1 She didn't have the guts to come tell me of her being offended
    and
    #2 She can just get over it!!!

    If you are offended by anything----GET OVER IT!!!!
     
  11. Tom Bryant

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    I try to use the he and she phrases on an even basis. It connects with the audience more.

    But the the larger point, I try to ask people who are a minority what they prefer to be called. I don't really care about offending someone because of the content and message of the Gospel, but I don't want to offend someone because of how i present the Gospel.
     
  12. mcdirector

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    I'm not going to change the terminology I use for a group of people (or person) looking for a fight. However, if someone were to graciously confront me about a particular term I used and tell me nicely why they were offended by it, then I'd at least give it some thought.
     
  13. Salty

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    Amen Brother :thumbsup:

    Unless it is the Lord you are offending.
     
  14. HankD

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    Being a senior citizen, I am offended by this statement.
    Since when is being young a compliment?

    What does that make me!?

    JUST KIDDING :) :)

    HankD
     
  15. Scarlett O.

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    You are a man. :flower: Being a senior citizen makes you distinguished. [​IMG]

    Ha! ;)
     
  16. HankD

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    OK, anyway I was just going along with the crybaby "offense at everything" sniveling.

    HankD
     
  17. Scarlett O.

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    :thumbs: I'm with you there, brother.
     
  18. Salty

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    I was offended when I got to the part that said "just kidding". I thought you was serious, and boy, was I......
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    :laugh::smilewinkgrin:
     
  19. Revmitchell

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    Some folks just look for reasons to be offended. They need to get a life.
     
  20. windcatcher

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    People are easily offended, more so than ever, now a days:

    Slow to take offense, slow to wrath? What is that? Not a current teaching or practice in our time.... yet the Bible teaches it.

    We each have our own weaknesses and this is mine. A righteous anger or offense is good, but too often, something which is generally stated is taken personally...... and bam! The temper flares and the defenses rise without considering the cause. I sometimes wonder about forgiveness for a 'brother' or any other, for that matter. When does forgiveness begin? Is it at the point where one claims his offense and the offender retracts? How about 'forgiveness' beginning at the time of the offense without making a point of the offense?

    As to hyphenated citizenship..... imo, an immigrant who is now an American citizen is probably the least likely to emphasize his origins.... but, perhaps, owns the greatest justification as his explanation of identity may help correct any misunderstanding between a difference of cultures..... just my thoughts. All other subsequent generations should identify as 'American'. Any other tends to imply a divided loyalty....unless the subject is a discussion of cultures, customs, and origins.
     

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