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Old 28th September 2022, 02:03 PM   #1
Bob001
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Eliminating a slur

The Interior Dept. has removed the word squaw from the names of over 600 federal lands and replaced them with new names, which in many cases are remarkably creative.
Quote:
America’s public lands belong to all of us, and we have a responsibility to ensure that these lands are accessible and welcoming to everyone. However, over the course of our history, many such lands were named using a hateful and derogatory term for Indigenous women. It’s a word that carries with it a history of brutality, misogyny and dehumanization.

This month, we succeeded in removing it from the names of nearly 650 federal land units.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...tive-american/
https://edits.nationalmap.gov/apps/g...icial-sq-names
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Old 28th September 2022, 02:07 PM   #2
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Speakers of Algonquian dialects will find it surprising that the Massachusett/Narragansett word for "woman" is now a slur.

ETA: Link
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Old 28th September 2022, 02:39 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Speakers of Algonquian dialects will find it surprising that the Massachusett/Narragansett word for "woman" is now a slur.
...

The Interior Secretary says that was its original meaning in one language, but it came to be used differently.
Quote:
The word is squaw — a term so offensive that I have never used it except in issuing the order to make the name change, and beyond this sentence I will not repeat it here or anywhere. It was stolen from the word for “woman” in one specific Indigenous language, I believe Algonquian. The word was then perverted — as so many Indigenous words and customs were — turning it into a broad racial slur, a caricature that removed individual identity and dignity from all women of Native American heritage.
....
“Almost every young woman growing up on a reservation going into a non-reservation school has heard that term, has been called that,” Bobbi Webster, from the Oneida Nation, told a Wisconsin news channel. “It was mean, and it was spiteful, and it was very hurtful.” When Native Americans hear it, we feel the suffering of our ancestors and the traumas of the past. It has no place in our national vocabulary.
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Old 28th September 2022, 02:54 PM   #4
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I suppose it makes sense to let the hateful racists tell us what the word connotes.
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Old 28th September 2022, 03:22 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
I suppose it makes sense to let the hateful racists tell us what the word connotes.
They already have. Many slurs are derived from what were originally ordinary words, often in foreign languages. Where do you think the N-word came from?
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Old 28th September 2022, 03:37 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
Where do you think the N-word came from?
Spanish, obviously.

I suppose the right thing to do here is to supress my instinct to ask for evidence and accept that ****** and squaw are comparably slurrish, even though I've never seen the latter used in that way.
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Old 28th September 2022, 03:41 PM   #7
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Heh, I remember the whole furor over Squaw Peak in Phoenix. First they tried the gambit that Squaw doesn't refer to woman but to her vagina. Then they said that the original name was Squaw Tit Peak, which made some sense given the shape, but of course didn't make much sense as vagina breast peak.

Janet Napolitano did an end run, naming it Piestewa after an early female Native American casualty in the Iraq War. Hard for conservatives to oppose forcefully (and if she'd waited a year longer, renaming it Tillman Peak would have had overwhelming support). There was supposedly a naming rule that prohibits places and landmarks from being named after people until after 5 years or so after their death.

The residents on the drive leading into the preserve around the peak resisted changing their name for years, although of course they got stampeded in 2020.

I still call it Squaw Peak, as do most of the locals, but it's just force of habit--I climbed it 1500 times and I've lived within a mile of the Parkway since it was built starting in the 1980s.
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Old 28th September 2022, 03:47 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Speakers of Algonquian dialects will find it surprising that the Massachusett/Narragansett word for "woman" is now a slur.

ETA: Link
They might find it disappointing. But unless they've spent the last 50 years frozen in stasis, they would not be surprised.
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Old 28th September 2022, 03:53 PM   #9
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Her mountain. The Lady's Valley. Woman Peak. Good, good. Geography should not be a sausage fest.

No can do, chief. Those scumbags over there used it as a pejorative [citation needed], so now you do, too.
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Old 28th September 2022, 05:08 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
No can do, chief. Those scumbags over there used it as a pejorative [citation needed], so now you do, too.
Chief?! You ******* colonizer!

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Old 28th September 2022, 08:21 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
.....
No can do, chief. Those scumbags over there used it as a pejorative [citation needed], so now you do, too.

Here's one:
Quote:
The English word squaw is an ethnic and sexual slur,[1][2][3][4] historically used for Indigenous North American women.[1][5] Contemporary use of the term, especially by non-Natives, is considered derogatory, misogynist, and racist.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

While the morpheme squaw (or a close variant) is found within longer words in several Eastern and Central Algonquian languages, primarily spoken in the northeastern United States and in eastern and central Canada,[8][9] these languages only make up a small minority of the Indigenous languages of North America. The word "squaw" is not used among Native American, First Nations, Inuit, or Métis peoples.[2][3][4][5] Even in Algonquian, the related morphemes used are not the English-language slur, but only a component part of longer Algonquian words that contain more than one morpheme.[8]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squaw

Also:
Quote:
Though the origins of s-word may have several questionably confirmed sources historically, Indigenous women say that the term is offensive.
https://indiancountrytoday.com/archi...fensive-or-not


The people who are the subject of a word get to decide whether it's offensive. The Washington football team had to change its name despite all the management protestations that Redskin really meant "victorious warrior" or "brave hunter" or something.

The Interior Dept. list is fascinating. A high percentage of the old names seem to be Squaw Peak, Squaw Creek or Squaw Valley. Now every name is unique. That's a reason in itself for the change.
https://edits.nationalmap.gov/apps/g...icial-sq-names
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Old 29th September 2022, 12:36 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
The Interior Dept. list is fascinating. A high percentage of the old names seem to be Squaw Peak, Squaw Creek or Squaw Valley. Now every name is unique. That's a reason in itself for the change.
https://edits.nationalmap.gov/apps/g...icial-sq-names
Was every replacement name a Native American female name?
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Old 29th September 2022, 01:44 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Speakers of Algonquian dialects will find it surprising that the Massachusett/Narragansett word for "woman" is now a slur.
I'm quite sure they wouldn't find it surprising at all because they're not some isolated population somehow quarantined from the rest of the world; I am rather comfortably certain that they are already aware that the word has been turned into a slur and used that way by white people for the last one hundred years or so. And even further, contrary to your insinuation, I doubt many - if any - speakers of Algonquian dialects would have any real objection to the removal of the word from lists of names that white, non-Algoquian-speaking people have given to places.
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Old 29th September 2022, 06:46 AM   #14
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They should replace all instances of it with "Hawk Screech".
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Old 29th September 2022, 06:55 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
I am rather comfortably certain that they are already aware that the word has been turned into a slur and used that way by white people for the last one hundred years or so.
I am sure you can quite easily come up with examples of the s-word used as a slur in, say, novels or screenplays.

Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
The people who are the subject of a word get to decide whether it's offensive.
This is a silly rule and I don't remember agreeing to follow it.
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Old 29th September 2022, 07:22 AM   #16
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You ever notice that it's always the same group of posters valiantly defending the right to use ethnic slurs around here? And simultaneously denying those ethnic groups the ability to be offended at such slurs, no matter how well documented it is that such a word is an ethnic slur?
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Old 29th September 2022, 07:28 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by wareyin View Post
...no matter how well documented it is that such a word is an ethnic slur?
How well documented is it?
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Old 29th September 2022, 07:31 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
How well documented is it?
Haven't been following the thread, huh? Despite being the most prolific poster in it?

Try post 11 to start
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Old 29th September 2022, 07:45 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Was every replacement name a Native American female name?
Of course not, and there's no reason why they should be. Many appear to refer to local names or geography.

Once again:
https://edits.nationalmap.gov/apps/g...icial-sq-names

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Old 29th September 2022, 07:50 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by wareyin View Post
Try post 11 to start
Doesn't exactly give examples, does it?

Suppose I wanted to show that "spic" is a racial epithet. I could very easily pull up examples of contemporary usage:
Quote:
“But I ain't no spic,” Lopez said to Lancette. “My name's Lopez. But as far back as we can trace, ain't no spic blood, just a spic name, okay?”
https://books.google.com/books?id=trw-lvZU-rcC&pg=PT166
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Old 29th September 2022, 07:59 AM   #21
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Old 29th September 2022, 08:13 AM   #22
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Wikipedia has a bunch

Quote:
Colville / Okanagan author Mourning Dove, in her 1927 novel, Cogewea, the Half-Blood had one of her characters say,

Quote:
If I was to marry a white man and he would dare call me a 'squaw'—as an epithet with the sarcasm that we know so well—I believe that I would feel like killing him.[24]
Science Fiction author Isaac Asimov, in his novel Pebble in the Sky (1950), wrote that science-fictional natives of other planets would use slurs against natives of Earth, such as, "Earthie-squaw".[25]

LaDonna Harris, a Comanche social activist who spoke about empowering Native American schoolchildren in the 1960s at Ponca City, Oklahoma, recounted:

Quote:
We tried to find out what the children found painful about school [causing a very high dropout rate]. (...) The children said that they felt humiliated almost every day by teachers calling them "squaws" and using all those other old horrible terms.[26]

Poster for the play The Squaw Man (1905)
Quote:
As a word referring to a woman, it was sometimes used to denigrate men, as in "squaw man," meaning either "a man who does woman's work" or "a white man married to an Indian woman and living with her people"
.[27]
Quote:
An early comment in which squaw appears to have a sexual meaning is from the Canadian writer E. Pauline Johnson, who was of Mohawk heritage, but spent little time in that culture as an adult.[28] She wrote about the title character in An Algonquin Maiden by G. Mercer Adam and A. Ethelwyn Wetherald:

Quote:
Poor little Wanda! not only is she non-descript and ill-starred, but as usual the authors take away her love, her life, and last and most terrible of all, reputation; for they permit a crowd of men-friends of the hero to call her a "squaw" and neither hero nor authors deny that she is a squaw. It is almost too sad when so much prejudice exists against the Indians, that any one should write up an Indian heroine with such glaring accusations against her virtue, and no contradictory statements from either writer, hero or circumstance.
[29]


Note that this is being done by the Dept. of Interior (via the USGS, one of the agencies of the DOI). Interior's chief:
Quote:
Secretary Deb Haaland made history when she became the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary. She is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna and a 35th generation New Mexican.


Here's a few more
Arizona leaders praise Secretary Deb Haaland’s order to remove derogatory names from federal lands
Quote:
“The removal of such language is bittersweet as it addresses an everyday indignity that Native Americans are continuously subjected to, but also highlights the deeply-rooted anti-Native sentiments that our country was founded on and for which our government is yet to atone,” Pima County Recorder Gabriella Cázares-Kelly said.
Cázares-Kelly is a citizen of the Tohono O’odham Nation and the first Native American to hold a countywide seat in Pima County.

“Deb Haaland’s move to remove a well-known racist and derogatory term that sexualizes Indigenous women from everyday government use is incredibly powerful and long overdue,” said Cázares-Kelly.
Quote:
“The word is highly offensive and not used by Indigenous peoples,” said Sen. Victoria Steele, a Tucson Democrat who is descended from the Seneca and Mingo peoples. “One of the earliest known uses of the word was by the European colonists, who wielded it as a derogatory term referring to Indigenous women.”
Quote:
Debbie Nez-Manuel, a Navajo community leader and Arizona Democratic Party state committee member who previously vice chaired the party’s Native American Caucus, said that Indigenous women are taught to be sacred.

In various Indigenous communities, practices can be found that often celebrate the transition Indigenous girls go through into adulthood, Nez-Manuel said, and many have ceremonies that help shape their minds and ideas as a young Indigenous woman.

This is why, when the term “squaw” is used to represent Indigenous women, Nez-Manuel said that “it really works against the mindset of what we’re trying to teach our young people.”
Quote:
When Matthew Yatsayte, 25, who is part of Morning Star Youth Leaders, learned that there were 67 locations in Arizona, he was shocked. He thought Piestewa Peak was the only geographic feature that once had that name, which was renamed in 2003.

...growing up on the Navajo Nation, he was taught by his mom and aunts that saying that term was never OK and if he ever did say it they would get mad at him.

I have worked with a number of tribal governments on this or that project, and one thing that is clear to me is that these groups are very much not monolithic. I am sure that applies to this as well. I've worked with groups that would get very angry at the use of the word "Indian", others that used the word casually and were fine with it, others that preferred the use of that word in legal documents but not in any other usage (because the treaties they had with the U.S. Government used the word "Indian" so they wanted to be very very clear that they were that group referred to in the treaty). Most, though, seemed to prefer "Native American" or "Indigenous" for the larger picture with the correct names of the tribes/nations/groups in more local situations.

So I am guessing that the same is true of this word. One can find Native Americans who are not offended by the use of the word, and Native Americans who are very offended. But a strong majority seem to find the word to have derogatory connotations, even if they recognize that the word did not start out that way.

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Old 29th September 2022, 08:14 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Doesn't exactly give examples, does it?

Suppose I wanted to show that "spic" is a racial epithet. I could very easily pull up examples of contemporary usage: https://books.google.com/books?id=trw-lvZU-rcC&pg=PT166
Jebus. It documents how the word is an ethnic slur with sources. How far down the rabbit hole must you go in your crusade for the right to continue using ethnic slurs as you see fit?
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Old 29th September 2022, 08:32 AM   #24
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Squaw, frequently "fat squaw," used to be a derisive epithet among the plains tribes when I was a kid. There was a jukebox number called "Fat Squaw Boogie," popular on the Sioux reservations.

Squaw has been an English word for centuries. If first peoples dislike it, that's good enough for me.

I don't like "gringo." That's good enough for you.
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Old 29th September 2022, 08:43 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Chief?! You ******* colonizer!
You may already know this and I'm pretty sure your complaint is in jest, but for any spectators: "Chief" isn't an Indian word. It comes to English from Latin by way of French, so it predates European discovery of the Americas.
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Old 29th September 2022, 08:44 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by sackett View Post
Squaw, frequently "fat squaw," used to be a derisive epithet among the plains tribes when I was a kid. There was a jukebox number called "Fat Squaw Boogie," popular on the Sioux reservations.

Squaw has been an English word for centuries. If first peoples dislike it, that's good enough for me.
I will also note, it's not like there has to unanimous agreement among all first peoples that it is a problem. I don't care if you find some tribes that say, "It doesn't bother us" when there are obviously plenty who say "It DOES bother us."

Where are the tribes that say "It bothers us if you don't use it"?
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Old 29th September 2022, 08:57 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
I will also note, it's not like there has to unanimous agreement among all first peoples that it is a problem.
First, I think we're in agreement here. But that's* common for virtually all slurs, though. It was a refrain in the recent "Moslem" thread: 'just because the dictionary and writing guides say it's offensive means nothing. I know a guy who isn't bothered by it' or 'I went to a whole different country on a different continent that uses a different alphabet and they didn't care how it was spelled in English' as defenses for why a slur shouldn't be considered a slur.


Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
I don't care if you find some tribes that say, "It doesn't bother us" when there are obviously plenty who say "It DOES bother us."

Where are the tribes that say "It bothers us if you don't use it"?
The "tribes" that are bothered by any restrictions on the use of slurs tend to bear little resemblance to those on the receiving end of the slurs, that's for sure.

* that= the lack of universal levels of offense towards a slur

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Old 29th September 2022, 09:57 AM   #28
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We're missing the most important piece of information here.

How does Squaw Peak feel about being called Squaw Peak? Is it offended? Would the mountain feel better with a different name? Have we unfairly assumed its gender?
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Old 29th September 2022, 11:41 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
....
This is a silly rule and I don't remember agreeing to follow it.
What's your ethnic background? I'm pretty sure I could call you something you wouldn't like even if I insisted "But it's just a word!"
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Old 29th September 2022, 11:48 AM   #30
Ziggurat
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
What's your ethnic background? I'm pretty sure I could call you something you wouldn't like even if I insisted "But it's just a word!"
Possibly. But that's not the rule he referenced. The rule wasn't that some things are offensive and shouldn't be said. The rule was that the person being called something gets to decide if it's offensive. Suppose, for example, that he's Irish, and you called him a Celt, should he be allowed to take offense to that, and punish you for calling him that? If anyone gets to object to being called anything, and we all have to play along and not call anyone that thing, well, that's going to be paralyzing. We can't operate that way. The standard for what is and isn't offensive enough that people should really avoid that offense needs to be more objective than that.
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Old 29th September 2022, 12:09 PM   #31
Bob001
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Possibly. But that's not the rule he referenced. The rule wasn't that some things are offensive and shouldn't be said. The rule was that the person being called something gets to decide if it's offensive. Suppose, for example, that he's Irish, and you called him a Celt, should he be allowed to take offense to that, and punish you for calling him that? If anyone gets to object to being called anything, and we all have to play along and not call anyone that thing, well, that's going to be paralyzing. We can't operate that way. The standard for what is and isn't offensive enough that people should really avoid that offense needs to be more objective than that.
If he told me he didn't like being called a Celt for whatever reason or no reason, and I insisted on repeating it, that would be willfully offensive and even taunting.
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Old 29th September 2022, 12:11 PM   #32
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It's the "s-word" now, dear me. I've been trying to come up with a complete alphabet of such creations, but I'm having trouble coming up with an offensive slur for 'z'.

Are racially mixed people called Zebras anywhere? That would complete my set.
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Old 29th September 2022, 12:23 PM   #33
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I'm just glad that the term "Squaw" has not been cancelled in the bedroom. What a stupid debate this is.
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Old 29th September 2022, 12:24 PM   #34
Bob001
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Originally Posted by Ron Obvious View Post
It's the "s-word" now, dear me. I've been trying to come up with a complete alphabet of such creations, but I'm having trouble coming up with an offensive slur for 'z'.
....

Zipperhead.
Quote:
A derogatory term used in reference to people of Asian descent.

It is said to have been coined during the Korean war by frontline troops whom had run over enemy troops in jeeps.

The soldiers claimed that the tire tracks from the jeeps left a pattern resembling that of a closed zipper along the corpse.
https://www.urbandictionary.com/defi...erm=zipperhead

Glad to help.

For broader reference:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_slurs
http://www.rsdb.org/
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Old 29th September 2022, 12:28 PM   #35
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Note to the defenders of the right to use ethnic slurs: you personally are still free to use as many ethnic slurs as you wish. This is simply the federal government realizing that it isn't a good look to use this particular slur in official place names. They aren't stopping you, personally, from shouting from the rooftops whatever ethnic slur gets your jollies off.

The rest of the world is, however, free to recognize that people using ethnic slurs are being gratuitous ********.
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Old 29th September 2022, 12:31 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
What's your ethnic background?
Half spic, half mick.

Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Suppose, for example, that he's Irish, and you called him a Celt...
A surprisingly good supposition.

Originally Posted by wareyin View Post
How far down the rabbit hole must you go in your crusade for the right to continue using ethnic slurs as you see fit?
I don't think the legal right to use all sorts of slurs is in any danger here in the U.S.
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Old 29th September 2022, 12:54 PM   #37
wareyin
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
I don't think the legal right to use all sorts of slurs is in any danger here in the U.S.
And yet anytime it's suggested that it's bad taste to sling around ethnic slurs, or that using ethnic slurs in official documents is wrong, we still have you guys leaping up to defend the use of slurs. For some reason.
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Old 29th September 2022, 12:57 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by wareyin View Post
The rest of the world is, however, free to recognize that people using ethnic slurs are being gratuitous ********.
The thing you're missing is today's ethnic slurs were the preferred terms just a few years ago, and today's preferred terms will be tomorrow's ethnic slurs, and there's little in the way of logic that goes into determining which is which.

Can you explain to e.g. a computer AI program that "coloured person" is an ethnic slur, while "person of colour" is now the preferred term? That Oriental has now become an offensive term for what's now an Asian, even though Oriental merely means easterner?

I can't.
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Old 29th September 2022, 01:04 PM   #39
d4m10n
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Originally Posted by wareyin View Post
And yet anytime it's suggested that it's bad taste to sling around ethnic slurs, or that using ethnic slurs in official documents is wrong, we still have you guys leaping up to defend the use of slurs.
Out of curiosity, do you think it is possible that the same word can be used as a slur at some times and merely descriptive at other times?

For example:
Originally Posted by Edgar Allen Poe
This man was the son of an Indian squaw of the tribe of Upsarokas, who live among the fastnesses of the Black Hills near the source of the Missouri.
I suppose it is possible that Poe was trying to put this man's mother down, but it doesn't seem likely in context.
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Old 29th September 2022, 01:08 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Speakers of Algonquian dialects will find it surprising that the Massachusett/Narragansett word for "woman" is now a slur.
Considering that those are both dead languages, and that the morpheme doesn't appear to be cognate with equivalents in extant Algonquian languages, I'm not sure who you imagine will be surprised.

But for whatever it's worth, Cheyenne is an Algonquian language with a fair number of living speakers (relatively speaking), and...

https://www.cbsnews.com/colorado/new...hern-cheyenne/

Quote:
The Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board voted unanimously on Thursday to get rid of the offensive name of a mountain in Clear Creek County and instead honor a Cheyenne woman named Mestaa'ėhehe. The mountain that's currently called Squaw Mountain looms tall in Colorado's foothills. The Northern Cheyenne Tribe asked to rename it Mestaa'ėhehe Mountain.
Squaw is hardly alone in being a word with no negative connotations that has accrued baggage (and false etymologies) over time.
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