ISF Logo   IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Social Issues & Current Events
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Tags language , racial slurs , racism issues , semantics , Stephen Hagan

Reply
Old 26th July 2020, 04:11 AM   #321
EHocking
Philosopher
 
EHocking's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 7,846
Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
According to the online etymological dictionary:
That certainly demonstrates just how much Urban Dictionary sucks.
__________________
"A closed mouth gathers no feet"
"Ignorance is a renewable resource" P.J.O'Rourke
"It's all god's handiwork, there's little quality control applied", Fox26 reporter on Texas granite
You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it. Art Buchwald
EHocking is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th July 2020, 09:30 AM   #322
zooterkin
Nitpicking dilettante
Administrator
 
zooterkin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Berkshire, mostly
Posts: 46,170
Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
Kind of pot calling the kettle black though.
Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
I'm not fighting anything.

I don't actually care if they change the name.

As I have said I am not an Aussie. Have never seen it or brought it.

All I said was I thought it was stupid as it is someone's last name.

I hope your British friend got home alright to buy her Faggots from tescos
That might be comparable if 'faggot' were used as an insult in the UK, which it isn't, AFAIK (there may be corner cases, given our exposure to US TV and movies, but it's not at all common). Faggot means either a type of meatball or a bundle of sticks. Similarly, 'fag' means cigarette (though you won't see that written the packet).

In the cheese case, the word is known and used as a racial slur in the same country.
__________________
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.Bertrand Russell
Zooterkin is correct Darat
Nerd! Hokulele
Join the JREF Folders ! Team 13232
Ezekiel 23:20
zooterkin is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th July 2020, 10:46 AM   #323
Giordano
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 17,355
Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
Since it's an Aussie thing, I didn't actually know there was a Coon cheese.

When I see the name Coon, I think of this guy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_L._Coon


Maybe if they named it something like "Edward Coon Style Cheese". Or just "Ed Coon". Redesign the logo so that it's more obvious that it's a guy's name. Bah. There's a reason I'm in engineering instead of marketing.

I'm not trying to be flippant with this next question. Honestly. We've heard that calling a dog a Coon Hound is racist, so what about the Maine Coon cat breed? Like I say, it's a serious question. They are named because they are larger than average cats, like the size of a raccoon, that often have ringed tails.

I'm just trying to grasp what it is that makes a name racist. There is absolutely zero doubt that the cat breed is named for its resemblance to a raccoon, but the actual origin of the name seems pretty irrelevant. The cheese is named for a guy who invented the cheese-making process used to make the cheese, but because the name has a different meaning, people say that using the guy's name is racist, at least when applied to cheese.

With cats, I suppose the "Maine" descriptor makes it sound less jarring. I've never heard anyone refer to the breed without the "Maine" part.. It's always "Maine Coon", so maybe that's enough separation, verbally, that no one gets confused. I hope so. Otherwise, the state of Maine is going to have to change its official state cat.
I actually like the concept. If one wanted to keep a connection to the founder then call it “Ed C’s Cheese.” Or something similar.

To me it is basic marketing and the name of one’s product is crucial. Companies pay consultants many, many dollars to choose (in the USA) a replacement for “Esso,” then to decide if the replacement, Exxon, should have one or two x’s. Above all you don’t want to stir up any negative feelings, even subconscious ones, in a potential consumer.

Often the passage of time or unfortunate events turn a previously acceptable name into poison. There used to a a brand of candylike treat that was sold as a dietary aid called “AIDS.” Needless to say after the outbreak of HIV in the 1970’s...

One can spend a lot of money to try to educate the consumer, “Oh, no, the name doesn’t mean what you might think,” or one can just recognize that it is time to change the name. Stupid to be stubborn.
Giordano is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th July 2020, 11:00 AM   #324
Meadmaker
Penultimate Amazing
 
Meadmaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 22,278
Originally Posted by EHocking View Post
I have no issue with the rest of the post either, but disagree that sucks was vulgar in intent.

I’ve always thought of it, and used it, in the context of “that sucks air

OK Urban Dictionary is not the greatest of cites sure, but, except for “suck my dick”, none (Not many)of the other “suck” variants are vulgar?

I’m not sure how accurate their etymology is, but this is how they go at sucks,
The early Jazz musicians would say that a guy could really "Blow" if he had a good sound when playing the horn. If he couldn't play very well then they would say that he was "Sucking" on that horn. That's where the term "Suck" as being something bad came from.
He plays that horn so poorly that he must be sucking on it
I much prefer, “ya boo sucks to all swots gurls and masters”
When I was young, 1970s, it was considered not quite obscene, and it was certainly known exactly what was being sucked in the reference. Although, like the other word that rhymes with it that the autocensor would remove if I were to type it, it is unclear exactly how one would go about performing the act in many of the cases where the word is used.
Meadmaker is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th July 2020, 11:16 AM   #325
Meadmaker
Penultimate Amazing
 
Meadmaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 22,278
Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
I actually like the concept. If one wanted to keep a connection to the founder then call it “Ed C’s Cheese.” Or something similar.

To me it is basic marketing and the name of one’s product is crucial. Companies pay consultants many, many dollars to choose (in the USA) a replacement for “Esso,” then to decide if the replacement, Exxon, should have one or two x’s. Above all you don’t want to stir up any negative feelings, even subconscious ones, in a potential consumer.

Often the passage of time or unfortunate events turn a previously acceptable name into poison. There used to a a brand of candylike treat that was sold as a dietary aid called “AIDS.” Needless to say after the outbreak of HIV in the 1970’s...

One can spend a lot of money to try to educate the consumer, “Oh, no, the name doesn’t mean what you might think,” or one can just recognize that it is time to change the name. Stupid to be stubborn.
In the end, it is a business decision, and what they are trading off is brand recognition and loyalty versus loss of sales due to negative perceptions of their brand name, and they should make their decision purely in business terms.

My objection is not that they are changing their name. I had never heard of the stuff before this thread. My objection is to the self righteousness displayed by those people in this case and similar cases who demand that something be changed because they perceive something racist or vulgar when in fact there is nothing of the sort present in the name, and they persist in their demands even after their mistake has been pointed out. Their perception is what is significant to them. Reality be damned.

There's a word that can be used as a racial slur, and it can also be used as a person's name, or it could be a shortened form of the name of a North American nocturnal mammal. That word then lends itself to cheese naming or to name a breed of dog or cat. The fact that it can be used as a racial slur does not make the other uses of those sounds into racist references, and people shouldn't have to change the way they talk, or the way they name their cheese, due to other people's errors.
Meadmaker is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th July 2020, 12:27 PM   #326
MoeFaux
Suspicious Mind
 
MoeFaux's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,153
"Sucks" was a swear in my house, and at school. Adults made it clear that it referred to dick sucking. Thanks, adults.

But, I think that's devolving away from the issue. Comparing the use of word the cheese is named after to the throwaway "too bad" word for something being negative is like the folks getting their panties in a twist and saying being called a "Karen" is the same as the n-word. It's not the same. Not. At. All.

A more apt comparison came to me last night when I recalled the recent call for the regional grocer Trader Joe's to begin renaming some of their in-house products which had "cute" names referring to the cuisine. In hindsight, now that it's been called to my attention, it is so glaringly obvious how these products must be renamed. (This is like that Supreme Court Justice quote on porn, "I'll know it when I see it," where maybe I didn't quite see it before it was pointed out to me, but I can't *unsee* it now that I know.)

From NPR:
"Trader Joe's is getting rid of product names such as Trader José's, Arabian Joe's and Trader Ming's that critics say are racist and "perpetuates harmful stereotypes."

(I'm sorry, campaign for good linking, I'm just linking: https://www.npr.org/sections/live-up...ized-as-racist )

Still. "Trader Ming's" refers to a stereotype. The word in question in this thread is a slur.
__________________
This post brought to you by the artist fauxmerly known as Moe.

*Parrot Mason's mask courtesy of alfaniner*
MoeFaux is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th July 2020, 12:44 PM   #327
pgwenthold
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 19,222
Originally Posted by MoeFaux View Post
"Sucks" was a swear in my house, and at school. Adults made it clear that it referred to dick sucking. Thanks, adults.
"Sucks cold donkey balls"
__________________
"As your friend, I have to be honest with you: I don't care about you or your problems" - Chloe, Secret Life of Pets
pgwenthold is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th July 2020, 12:57 PM   #328
Meadmaker
Penultimate Amazing
 
Meadmaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 22,278
Originally Posted by MoeFaux View Post
From NPR:
"Trader Joe's is getting rid of product names such as Trader José's, Arabian Joe's and Trader Ming's that critics say are racist and "perpetuates harmful stereotypes."

(I'm sorry, campaign for good linking, I'm just linking: https://www.npr.org/sections/live-up...ized-as-racist )

Still. "Trader Ming's" refers to a stereotype. The word in question in this thread is a slur.

I don't get it. Should people named "Coon" change their names? Or should they just refrain from using their names if they create a product? I googled a bit. There's a Coon Laboratories. Name change required? There's a Coon Manufacturing that does plastics. Out it goes? That's a serious question.

As for Trader Joe's, the word "Joe" refers to a stereotype as well. My name is "Dave". That's a stereotypical American name. If you want a bland American name for a character in fiction, call him Dave. There was a movie of that name in the '90s that exploited that characteristic. I wonder if I should be outraged at the use of my name as a stereotype. "Joe" is in some ways even more stereotypical. It's an "average Joe" name. It carries an image. I don't know if the company had any connection to someone named "Joe" when it started, but they stuck with that name because it created a pleasant association in people's minds, through the stereotype on the name.


I can't see anything offensive about "Trader Jose", unless it was accompanied by some graphics that were offensive. i.e. I remember Juan Valdez and the Frito Bandito. I can understand what was offensive about them. Using "Jose" in place of "Joe" shouldn't be considered offensive by itself. It's a recognition that Mexican food, which is an ethnic stereotype, has roots in Mexico, where no one is named Joe, but the equivalent name is Jose. The Spanish language is not an unflattering stereotype.

Ethnic references are not offensive unless they are used in a demeaning manner.

ETA: I haven't seen a "Carlos Murphy's" restauraunt/bar in a while. Talk about your ethnic stereotypes. That's worse than a "black and tan hound".

Last edited by Meadmaker; 26th July 2020 at 01:04 PM.
Meadmaker is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th July 2020, 01:14 PM   #329
Minoosh
Penultimate Amazing
 
Minoosh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 11,138
How many clicked on this thread because the title included the word "coon"? Is using racist terms ironically OK?

My brother and I loved our "coonskin" caps from the Fess Parker fan club. I'm sure no actual raccoons were involved. Or "coons" either for that matter.
Minoosh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th July 2020, 03:28 PM   #330
rockinkt
Graduate Poster
 
rockinkt's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 1,731
Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
Really? You, a member of the white majority, are telling a black person that they are just being too sensitive, too silly, and should not be offended or not by a use of a term that has a long history as a racial slur directed against blacks. After, in fact, members of this forum had specifically requested that black people be asked if they are offended by this term. Apparently she had the “wrong” answer for you to accept it.

Don’t you think your post might be viewed as a bit insulting, condescending, and presumptuous?
You're making a lot of assumptions about a half-breed Sto:Lo - Eastern European.

I received insults from both sides of the spectrum growing up. "Half-breed" was one of the nicest terms. I was called "apple" (red on the outside and white on the inside) a million times by my First Nation relatives and acquaintances. "Siwash" was one of the name I was called by my "white" relatives and acquaintances. I went to movies and watched John Wayne kill a lot of "Redskins".
I was told by one teacher I was Native Indian because race was from the mother's side.
I was told by another teacher I was white because at that time women lost their Native Indian status officially if they married a non-Native Indian man. Therefore - I was not legally an "Indian" in the eyes of the government.
My First Nation relatives got a daily stipend to go to school. They got their university paid for. I had to earn every penny on my own.
I was doubly disadvantaged. Redskin with no rights.

I never bothered to get my status card when the rules changed. Like my mother and father - I don't believe in dividing people by race.
I don't cringe or cry or play the victim and demand a type of fruit never be mentioned in my presence because I am looking for ways to put myself in some sort of sympathetic position.

I looked up to police officers when I was growing up. When I became a cop a lot of people hated me because of the uniform I wore. Wow! Could have swallowed my service revolver like a number of cops do - but I had been raised to be self-respecting and confident that I was a good person. Great parents make a difference.
I learned at a young age that words don't have power over me and that people are people and to ignore the bad and cherish the good. Again - one can look and find hidden meaning in all sorts of things if one is looking for them.
Best not to think everything is about you or your race or your sex or your whatever. Peace of mind is far more important than always looking for something to bitch about.
It's called self-respect, based on self-confidence and accomplishing something in life instead of always playing the victim card.
Life is hard. It's harder for people who refuse to take responsibility for their own state of mind.
__________________
"Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that." Steve Earle

"I've met Bob Dylan's bodyguards and if Steve Earle thinks he can stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table, he's sadly mistaken." Townes Van Zandt
rockinkt is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th July 2020, 04:12 PM   #331
Giordano
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 17,355
Originally Posted by rockinkt View Post
You're making a lot of assumptions about a half-breed Sto:Lo - Eastern European.

I received insults from both sides of the spectrum growing up. "Half-breed" was one of the nicest terms. I was called "apple" (red on the outside and white on the inside) a million times by my First Nation relatives and acquaintances. "Siwash" was one of the name I was called by my "white" relatives and acquaintances. I went to movies and watched John Wayne kill a lot of "Redskins".
I was told by one teacher I was Native Indian because race was from the mother's side.
I was told by another teacher I was white because at that time women lost their Native Indian status officially if they married a non-Native Indian man. Therefore - I was not legally an "Indian" in the eyes of the government.
My First Nation relatives got a daily stipend to go to school. They got their university paid for. I had to earn every penny on my own.
I was doubly disadvantaged. Redskin with no rights.

I never bothered to get my status card when the rules changed. Like my mother and father - I don't believe in dividing people by race.
I don't cringe or cry or play the victim and demand a type of fruit never be mentioned in my presence because I am looking for ways to put myself in some sort of sympathetic position.

I looked up to police officers when I was growing up. When I became a cop a lot of people hated me because of the uniform I wore. Wow! Could have swallowed my service revolver like a number of cops do - but I had been raised to be self-respecting and confident that I was a good person. Great parents make a difference.
I learned at a young age that words don't have power over me and that people are people and to ignore the bad and cherish the good. Again - one can look and find hidden meaning in all sorts of things if one is looking for them.
Best not to think everything is about you or your race or your sex or your whatever. Peace of mind is far more important than always looking for something to bitch about.
It's called self-respect, based on self-confidence and accomplishing something in life instead of always playing the victim card.
Life is hard. It's harder for people who refuse to take responsibility for their own state of mind.
Sounds like you did a great job overcoming the prejudice you encountered in your life. But it doesn’t mean that ignoring insults and slurs is the only approach. In fact I submit that name calling, discrimination, and prejudice never go away if the only response is to. buck-up and show how stoic one is. Jim Crow and institutionalized racism continued unchanged for over a hundred years in the USA with many black people bearing it silently and with dignity. They were strong and brave people. Yet the racism continued on and on. Only taking offense, protesting and engaging in acts of resistance led to the Civil Rights acts of the 1960s.

The current thread is about a lesser issue: the decision by a business to rename a cheese that currently is a term that is a racial slur. You are arguing that because the origin of this name was innocent people should just buck-up and not be offended. My point is

(1) it is a rational business decision whatever the origin of the name. It is ridiculous to suggest the company should try to explain to every potential customer that the name isn’t really a slur name. Not changing the name is just bad business. The same as stubbornly keeping a product name “Nausea Nibbles” because the founder of the company was James Nausea.

(2) in the absence of a leaflet with every box explaining the backstory, it is reasonable to be offended by the name. Even knowing the backstory I can understand the word itself can be disturbing and I don’t think one has to be terribly thin skinned to be disturbed. As I noted upthread “Hitler’s Cheese Nibbles Baked in Gas Ovens” would be disturbing to me even knowing it wasn’t “that” Hitler. The name inherently invokes negative images and connotations - not what one wants for a sales product.

Other posters demanded to know if black people were indeed offended by the name and indeed the one person queried was. That was precisely relevant to the question of was it important to change the product name from a sales point of view. You in your own situation have a different view of slurs against your ethnic background but other people have the right to provide their own views about slur words without being treated dismissively or patronized.
Giordano is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th July 2020, 04:53 PM   #332
cullennz
Embarrasingly illiterate
 
cullennz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 18,684
Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
Sounds like you did a great job overcoming the prejudice you encountered in your life. But it doesn’t mean that ignoring insults and slurs is the only approach. In fact I submit that name calling, discrimination, and prejudice never go away if the only response is to. buck-up and show how stoic one is. Jim Crow and institutionalized racism continued unchanged for over a hundred years in the USA with many black people bearing it silently and with dignity. They were strong and brave people. Yet the racism continued on and on. Only taking offense, protesting and engaging in acts of resistance led to the Civil Rights acts of the 1960s.



The current thread is about a lesser issue: the decision by a business to rename a cheese that currently is a term that is a racial slur. You are arguing that because the origin of this name was innocent people should just buck-up and not be offended. My point is



(1) it is a rational business decision whatever the origin of the name. It is ridiculous to suggest the company should try to explain to every potential customer that the name isn’t really a slur name. Not changing the name is just bad business. The same as stubbornly keeping a product name “Nausea Nibbles” because the founder of the company was James Nausea.



(2) in the absence of a leaflet with every box explaining the backstory, it is reasonable to be offended by the name. Even knowing the backstory I can understand the word itself can be disturbing and I don’t think one has to be terribly thin skinned to be disturbed. As I noted upthread “Hitler’s Cheese Nibbles Baked in Gas Ovens” would be disturbing to me even knowing it wasn’t “that” Hitler. The name inherently invokes negative images and connotations - not what one wants for a sales product.



Other posters demanded to know if black people were indeed offended by the name and indeed the one person queried was. That was precisely relevant to the question of was it important to change the product name from a sales point of view. You in your own situation have a different view of slurs against your ethnic background but other people have the right to provide their own views about slur words without being treated dismissively or patronized.
Tbf the cheese is sold in Aus and I doubt a lot of people know what the Jim Crow laws were in the US
__________________
I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
cullennz is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th July 2020, 04:57 PM   #333
arthwollipot
Observer of Phenomena
Pronouns: he/him
 
arthwollipot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Location, Location
Posts: 67,841
Originally Posted by lionking View Post
At the expense of repeating myself, there are a lot of big issues surrounding indigenous disadvantage. This is not one of them.
There's no reason we can't work on all the issues, big and small. Let's grab the low-hanging fruit while we work on the bigger and more complex issues.

No-one is saying "Well, we've renamed the cheese. Racism over!"
__________________
Self-described nerd.

My mom told me she tries never to make fun of people for not knowing something.
- Randall Munroe
arthwollipot is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th July 2020, 05:04 PM   #334
arthwollipot
Observer of Phenomena
Pronouns: he/him
 
arthwollipot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Location, Location
Posts: 67,841
Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
Tbf cheese is a personal thing.

A bloke once threw a block of cheddar at me for no reason.

I thought. Hey that's not mature.
Okay, credit where it's due.
__________________
Self-described nerd.

My mom told me she tries never to make fun of people for not knowing something.
- Randall Munroe
arthwollipot is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th July 2020, 06:10 PM   #335
rockinkt
Graduate Poster
 
rockinkt's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 1,731
Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
<snip>
The current thread is about a lesser issue: the decision by a business to rename a cheese that currently is a term that is a racial slur. You are arguing that because the origin of this name was innocent people should just buck-up and not be offended.
<snip>
I am not arguing that any business should not change its branding for whatever reason it wants. I'm merely pointing out the fact that words do not have power over you unless you allow them to have power over you.

Words are a very different thing and should not be compared to Jim Crow Laws or the Canadian Indian Act that actively took away rights and privileges and created actual situations of quantifiable and demonstrable harm.
Not being allowed into business or a neighborhood or having no vote or being forced to go to different schools or being physically abused or harassed/assaulted/killed by cops for being a certain race is a whole lot different than words that may or may not be intended as derogatory.
"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never break me" is an old rhyme that makes a lot of sense.
Of course - the power associated with playing a victim in this day and age is something a lot of people cannot resist.
__________________
"Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that." Steve Earle

"I've met Bob Dylan's bodyguards and if Steve Earle thinks he can stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table, he's sadly mistaken." Townes Van Zandt
rockinkt is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th July 2020, 06:20 PM   #336
arthwollipot
Observer of Phenomena
Pronouns: he/him
 
arthwollipot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Location, Location
Posts: 67,841
Originally Posted by rockinkt View Post
"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never break me" is an old rhyme that makes a lot of sense.
Except that it's not true.

Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can disenfranchise and marginalise.

The only people who say that words can never hurt them are those who have never been on the receiving end of a barrage of hateful words.
__________________
Self-described nerd.

My mom told me she tries never to make fun of people for not knowing something.
- Randall Munroe
arthwollipot is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th July 2020, 06:36 PM   #337
Meadmaker
Penultimate Amazing
 
Meadmaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 22,278
Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Except that it's not true.

Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can disenfranchise and marginalise.

The only people who say that words can never hurt them are those who have never been on the receiving end of a barrage of hateful words.
Words can also convince other people to throw sticks and stones.

ETA: So, words can end up causing real harm, indirectly. That doesn't actually take much away from Rockinkt's point.

Last edited by Meadmaker; 26th July 2020 at 06:38 PM.
Meadmaker is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th July 2020, 12:32 AM   #338
Planigale
Illuminator
 
Planigale's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: 49 North
Posts: 4,174
Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
I don't know how old you are, but "coon" was frequently used in the UK, on mainstream TV, throughout the 70s and 80s (TV shows featuring Alf Garnett, the "comedy" of Bernard Manning and the movie Scum spring to mind). These films and TV shows were surely broadcast to Australia. I am sure that nobody above the age of 40 born and raised in the UK or Australia can claim to not know that coon is a racial epithet used against black people.
Born 1986. I thought gentleman of your vintage had better manners than to ask a lady her age! (Insert appropriate smiley here.)

As said I am certainly aware of it as a predominantly US racist epithet. Like the discussion around Faggots*, as a Yorkshire lass this was something unpleasant that I never got from the chippy as it was almost certainly haram, it was not one of the many anti-gay terms widely bandied about. I would however be very careful about using the term.

*
1 lb. pig's liver
2 onions
4 oz. fat pork e.g. belly
Sage, Thyme, Basil, Nutmeg, Pepper
Salt
1 egg
Breadcrumbs
Pig's caul
Planigale is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th July 2020, 01:32 AM   #339
Vixen
Penultimate Amazing
 
Vixen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Suomi
Posts: 18,881
Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
I don't know how old you are, but "coon" was frequently used in the UK, on mainstream TV, throughout the 70s and 80s (TV shows featuring Alf Garnett, the "comedy" of Bernard Manning and the movie Scum spring to mind). These films and TV shows were surely broadcast to Australia. I am sure that nobody above the age of 40 born and raised in the UK or Australia can claim to not know that coon is a racial epithet used against black people.
It was used a lot in 'Until Death Us Do Part' by Alf Garnett, but I don't think it ever caught on with the man-in-the-street, as it were.
__________________
Blott en dag, ett ögonblick i sänder,

vilken tröst, vad än som kommer på!
Vixen is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th July 2020, 01:50 AM   #340
Darat
Lackey
Administrator
 
Darat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: South East, UK
Posts: 92,820
Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
It was used a lot in 'Until Death Us Do Part' by Alf Garnett, but I don't think it ever caught on with the man-in-the-street, as it were.
Where do you think Speight got it from? It was a common insult long before 1965.
__________________
I wish I knew how to quit you
Darat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th July 2020, 02:01 AM   #341
Vixen
Penultimate Amazing
 
Vixen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Suomi
Posts: 18,881
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Where do you think Speight got it from? It was a common insult long before 1965.
ISTM he substituted it for the 'w' - word which even then was considered offensive.
__________________
Blott en dag, ett ögonblick i sänder,

vilken tröst, vad än som kommer på!
Vixen is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th July 2020, 02:14 AM   #342
P.J. Denyer
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 7,410
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Where do you think Speight got it from? It was a common insult long before 1965.
Historically it originates as a racial slur in the early 1800s and was popularised in a blackface minstrel song and character in the 1820s.
__________________
"I know my brain cannot tell me what to think." - Scorpion

"Nebulous means Nebulous" - Adam Hills
P.J. Denyer is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th July 2020, 02:30 AM   #343
cullennz
Embarrasingly illiterate
 
cullennz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 18,684
Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
ISTM he substituted it for the 'w' - word which even then was considered offensive.
This is starting to get confusing. I don't even know an offensive "w" word. Unless you mean pulling your own chain if you know what I mean
__________________
I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
cullennz is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th July 2020, 02:32 AM   #344
angrysoba
Philosophile
 
angrysoba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Osaka, Japan
Posts: 27,592
Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
This is starting to get confusing. I don't even know an offensive "w" word. Unless you mean pulling your own chain if you know what I mean
Seriously? It is also a common racial slur in Australia but usually aimed at a different demographic to who it is/was aimed at in the UK.
__________________
"The thief and the murderer follow nature just as much as the philanthropist. Cosmic evolution may teach us how the good and the evil tendencies of man may have come about; but, in itself, it is incompetent to furnish any better reason why what we call good is preferable to what we call evil than we had before."

"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
angrysoba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th July 2020, 02:35 AM   #345
lionking
In the Peanut Gallery
 
lionking's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 45,813
It’s not on the banned word list as far as I know. Wog.
__________________
A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.

Sir Winston Churchill
lionking is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th July 2020, 02:35 AM   #346
Darat
Lackey
Administrator
 
Darat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: South East, UK
Posts: 92,820
Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
ISTM he substituted it for the 'w' - word which even then was considered offensive.
No he didn't, the character used "wog" as well. Coon and Wog were pretty much interchangeable back then, both used as racial pejoratives.

(For our Australian folk: I think "wog" has a different meaning these days for you lot, but it has only ever been used as a pejorative/insult in the UK.)

For non-UK folk or younger UK folk, this is a playlist on Youtube that has clips from some very popular TV shows from the 60s and 70s and it shows the language that was deemed acceptable to use on broadcast TV. I doubt the clips are going to be safe for work for the vast majority of folk so please be careful where you watch them.

Clip 5 is titled "I don't like wogs" and is being used by the character Albert Steptoe, since the clip is in black and white we can date it to pre-Alf Garnet so it shows the word was being used in very popular mainstream television.

Note: at the time if a character used a non-racial profanity such as say "piss" or the s-word in these shows it would have had society in an uproar. E.g.

In 1965 - so contemporaneous to the "I don't like wogs" clip someone used the f-word on a late night discussion show and this is what happened:

Quote:
Wikipedia .....In response to public outcry, the BBC was forced to issue a formal apology. In the House of Commons, four censuring motions were signed by a total of 133 Labour and Conservative backbenchers. ...
It just shows how acceptable racism was in "polite" company back then.
__________________
I wish I knew how to quit you

Last edited by Darat; 27th July 2020 at 02:39 AM. Reason: it got away with me
Darat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th July 2020, 02:36 AM   #347
zooterkin
Nitpicking dilettante
Administrator
 
zooterkin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Berkshire, mostly
Posts: 46,170
Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
ISTM he substituted it for the 'w' - word which even then was considered offensive.
He used both.
__________________
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.Bertrand Russell
Zooterkin is correct Darat
Nerd! Hokulele
Join the JREF Folders ! Team 13232
Ezekiel 23:20
zooterkin is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th July 2020, 02:44 AM   #348
lionking
In the Peanut Gallery
 
lionking's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 45,813
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
No he didn't, the character used "wog" as well. Coon and Wog were pretty much interchangeable back then, both used as racial pejoratives.

(For our Australian folk: I think "wog" has a different meaning these days for you lot, but it has only ever been used as a pejorative/insult in the UK.)

For non-UK folk or younger UK folk, this is a playlist on Youtube that has clips from some very popular TV shows from the 60s and 70s and it shows the language that was deemed acceptable to use on broadcast TV. I doubt the clips are going to be safe for work for the vast majority of folk so please be careful where you watch them.

Clip 5 is titled "I don't like wogs" and is being used by the character Albert Steptoe, since the clip is in black and white we can date it to pre-Alf Garnet so it shows the word was being used in very popular mainstream television.

Note: at the time if a character used a non-racial profanity such as say "piss" or the s-word in these shows it would have had society in an uproar. E.g.

In 1965 - so contemporaneous to the "I don't like wogs" clip someone used the f-word on a late night discussion show and this is what happened:



It just shows how acceptable racism was in "polite" company back then.
“Wog” and “dago” were pejorative terms for Greek and Italian immigrants to Australia and later extended to other Eastern Europeans. It was reclaimed by ethnic comedians from about the 1970s with TV shows like “Wogs out of work”.

I don’t think it has ever been used in Australian to describe indigenous or black immigrants.
__________________
A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.

Sir Winston Churchill
lionking is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th July 2020, 02:47 AM   #349
cullennz
Embarrasingly illiterate
 
cullennz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 18,684
Originally Posted by lionking View Post
It’s not on the banned word list as far as I know. Wog.
Aah. I do know it, but just have never heard of it for decades
__________________
I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
cullennz is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th July 2020, 02:54 AM   #350
cullennz
Embarrasingly illiterate
 
cullennz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 18,684
It is just different eras doing dim stuff.

There is even a Fawlty Towers episode with the old army dude spouting the n word they wanted banned.

Times change. Stupid people change.
__________________
I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
cullennz is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th July 2020, 02:57 AM   #351
cullennz
Embarrasingly illiterate
 
cullennz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 18,684
In fact the dude in it died about 32 years ago
__________________
I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
cullennz is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th July 2020, 03:09 AM   #352
P.J. Denyer
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 7,410
Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
It is just different eras doing dim stuff.

There is even a Fawlty Towers episode with the old army dude spouting the n word they wanted banned.

Times change. Stupid people change.
Not banned. Contextualised with an introduction that also warns the viewer that racist language is used in the episode.
__________________
"I know my brain cannot tell me what to think." - Scorpion

"Nebulous means Nebulous" - Adam Hills
P.J. Denyer is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th July 2020, 03:19 AM   #353
cullennz
Embarrasingly illiterate
 
cullennz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 18,684
Originally Posted by P.J. Denyer View Post
Not banned. Contextualised with an introduction that also warns the viewer that racist language is used in the episode.
Why I said "wanted" and not "had"

Give it a generation and.

A) people just won't think those shows are funny or worth watching. I mean Alf Garnett is just tedious, even for me.

B) the new bad words will just go their way. I literally have not heard anyone say wog, gollywogs, or dago since I was a little kid.

Even then it was only on TV.

The English language boots out dim words.

Or we would still be saying "thou", "come hither" and "per chance" and ****
__________________
I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
cullennz is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th July 2020, 03:51 AM   #354
Hlafordlaes
Disorder of Kilopi
 
Hlafordlaes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: State of Flux
Posts: 12,929
Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
... My objection is to the self righteousness displayed by those people in this case and similar cases who demand that something be changed because they perceive something racist or vulgar when in fact there is nothing of the sort present in the name, and they persist in their demands even after their mistake has been pointed out. Their perception is what is significant to them. Reality be damned.
The reality is that word meanings are solely tied to current usage in a given population of native speakers, and their semantic mappings drift over time. Any word or name can suffer an "ignoble fate" in common usage, entirely irrespectively of its origin, traditional dictionary definition, commercial use, or possibly noble past in literature.

It's one major reason why dictionaries have new editions.

Simply put, reality entirely refutes your effort to impute.
__________________
Driftwood on an empty shore of the sea of meaninglessness. Irrelevant, weightless, inconsequential moment of existential hubris on the fast track to oblivion.
His real name is Count Douchenozzle von Stenchfahrter und Lichtendicks. - shemp
Hlafordlaes is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th July 2020, 12:04 PM   #355
Emily's Cat
Rarely prone to hissy-fits
 
Emily's Cat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: The Wettest Desert on Earth
Posts: 11,159
Originally Posted by MoeFaux View Post
Yes, I agree, because it's a good move and because these are the times we're in. People will still find and eat their cheese! It can't possibly hurt cheese sales overall. People want their cheese, and fans of the product will adapt.

I learned the word has racist connotations while working at a dog start up. People would tell me the kinds of dogs they had. Many people had a particular kind of hound. But one person told me that they didn't refer to their breed by the common name, as it was racist. I appreciate having been told that. I never uttered that dog breed name again.
It was bred to hunt racoons. It's a ra-Coon Hound.
__________________
I am me. I am just me. I'm a little like other cats... but mostly I am just me.
Emily's Cat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th July 2020, 12:29 PM   #356
Emily's Cat
Rarely prone to hissy-fits
 
Emily's Cat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: The Wettest Desert on Earth
Posts: 11,159
Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
Born 1986. I thought gentleman of your vintage had better manners than to ask a lady her age! (Insert appropriate smiley here.)

As said I am certainly aware of it as a predominantly US racist epithet. Like the discussion around Faggots*, as a Yorkshire lass this was something unpleasant that I never got from the chippy as it was almost certainly haram, it was not one of the many anti-gay terms widely bandied about. I would however be very careful about using the term.

*
1 lb. pig's liver
2 onions
4 oz. fat pork e.g. belly
Sage, Thyme, Basil, Nutmeg, Pepper
Salt
1 egg
Breadcrumbs
Pig's caul
You lost me right there at the start...
__________________
I am me. I am just me. I'm a little like other cats... but mostly I am just me.
Emily's Cat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th July 2020, 09:11 PM   #357
Red Baron Farms
Philosopher
 
Red Baron Farms's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 5,081
Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post
It was bred to hunt raccoons. It's a ra-Coon Hound.
OFC a coon hound was bred to hunt raccoons. And when the hounds were instead used to hunt down human beings like animals, "coon hunting" has a whole new racist meaning.

There is nothing inherently racist about the word coon or racoon either one. It becomes racist only when used to call a fellow human being a name that degrades his dignity and compares him to a pest animal.

Roughly equivalent to calling someone a pig, except in the South they really did hunt down human beings like animals and treated them badly when caught.

So it is worse than just name calling. It was name calling with a very real threat of violence. The worst sort of racism.

To bring it back to the thread topic.... No, Coon cheese is not racist. It has nothing to do with either raccoons, runaway slaves, hunting humans, calling humans names of pest animals, threatening or doing violence to other humans, or anything else racist at all. And the term itself is not inherently racist either.
__________________
Scott
"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; & of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system." Bill Mollison
Biome Carbon Cycle Management

Last edited by Red Baron Farms; 27th July 2020 at 09:18 PM.
Red Baron Farms is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th July 2020, 09:54 PM   #358
Sideroxylon
Featherless biped
 
Sideroxylon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Aporia
Posts: 23,655
What does it even mean to say a word is “inherently racist.” Some sort of essentialist take on words and meanings?
Sideroxylon is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th July 2020, 10:35 PM   #359
arthwollipot
Observer of Phenomena
Pronouns: he/him
 
arthwollipot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Location, Location
Posts: 67,841
It means that a word is racist regardless of what context it is used in.

For example, you can't say "The 'n-word' is racist and you should never use it".

Edited by Agatha:  Edited for rule 10. For this word only we allow the construction 'n-word' where it is necessary (such as in discussing etymology) but the autocensor advice does not change; in the public sections, spell out swear words in full and correctly and allow the autocensor to catch them.
__________________
Self-described nerd.

My mom told me she tries never to make fun of people for not knowing something.
- Randall Munroe

Last edited by Agatha; 28th July 2020 at 02:47 AM.
arthwollipot is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th July 2020, 10:57 PM   #360
Sideroxylon
Featherless biped
 
Sideroxylon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Aporia
Posts: 23,655
Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
It means that a word is racist regardless of what context it is used in.

For example, you can't say "The word 'n-word' is racist and you should never use it".
Is there meaning without context? Surely there is no essential or inherent meaning.

One of Aboriginal activist Stephen Hagan’s other campaigns was over the E. S. "******" Brown Stand at a QLD rugby ground. As we have seen with the word coon, supporters argued for a contextual meaning that wasn’t racist. In this case it was the nickname of a lauded rugby player. The word it’s isn’t racist in its etymology. It is so because of its use towards black slaves.

Last edited by Agatha; 28th July 2020 at 02:47 AM. Reason: to match quoted post
Sideroxylon is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Social Issues & Current Events

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:18 AM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.