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View Full Version : Do you challenge prejudiced and/or offensive phrases whenever you encounter them?


OUT!
Nov 14th, 2004, 11:29 PM
I pose this question b/c I was at a relatives house last week and my sister-in-law kept using the terms "half caste" and "coloured" to refer to bi-racial and black people respectively :o Yet as I was with relatives I felt that I should keep my mouth shut and say nothing. But if that wasn't bad enough then my 10 year old nephew used the term coloured too :mad:

I guess my questions are - do you let offensive terms go in certain situations or do you make it a point to always challenge them?

Is there anything wrong per se with letting them go unchallenged?

Volcana
Nov 14th, 2004, 11:54 PM
Is there anything wrong per se with letting them go unchallenged?Well, there is the chance is somebody beating the shit out of your 10 year old nephew. People who are offended can react unpredictably.

I pose this question b/c I was at a relatives house last week and my sister-in-law kept using the terms "half caste" and "coloured" to refer to bi-racial and black people respectively :o Yet as I was with relatives I felt that I should keep my mouth shut and say nothing. But if that wasn't bad enough then my 10 year old nephew used the term coloured too :mad:

I guess my questions are - do you let offensive terms go in certain situations or do you make it a point to always challenge them? Well, what country are you from? What culture are you from? I don't know how offensive those terms would be in your culture/country. I used to challenge that sort of thing all the time, but the reality is, that's a contentious way to spend your life. In a family situation, sometimes dicretion is best. You might pull your brother aside and point out to him that his son could be at some risk if he uses terms like that in public.

If you personally find it offensive, you can say something like 'hey, you're gonna talk how you're gonna talk, but I gotta tell you I find your using terms like that offensive. I have friends who'd fall into those categories and I KNOW they'd be offended."

This too, can be handled by talking to someone privately, rather than having a public confrontation over family dinner.

In a workplace situation, I ususally handle it with a discrete request to HR asking them to remind everyone in general about policy vis-a-vis offensive language.

A lot of the reason we avoid language like that in public places in the USA is that that language reminds everyone of a time when Blacks were not protaected from Whites under the law, and Whites took advantage of that fact to commit a lot of violence against Blacks. (Of course, a lot of Americans look back at that time fondly.) And the USA went through about a decade of 'civil unrest', called 'The Rebellions' or 'The Riots', depending on whose historians you're reading, before the government decided that granting Blacks equal protect under the law was better watching the cities burn.

When I hear people use terms like 'half-caste' (not much used in the northeastern USA) and 'coloured', I tend to examine them carefully, as I may be dealing with someone who like to see Blacks again denied equal rights. Is your sister-in-law such a person? How should I know? But sometimes we temper our language in the interest of everyone 'getting along'.

OUT!
Nov 14th, 2004, 11:58 PM
Well, there is the chance is somebody beating the shit out of your 10 year old nephew. People who are offended can react unpredictably.

More later.Yes I know plus doors will be closed in this day and age if somebody, whatever age, uses terms like that. But I still felt in that situation say nothing, afteral they're family. However, with hindsight perhaps it was wrong of me b/c then the ignorance just festers.

Philbo
Nov 15th, 2004, 12:05 AM
I dont really pull people up just for using politically incorrect words. I listen to the way in which they said the politically incorrect words - like if someone calls a gay person a 'fag' but is using the term without TRYING to be derogatory, I'd let it go.

But if anyone at my work, or in my family ever says anything blatantly racist or homophobic or hateful in general, I usually end up in an argument with that person.

I havent really spoken much to my grandmother in the last 7 or 8 years because one day I got into an argument with her over the 'white australia' policy which she said she agreed with. Never felt the same about my grandma after that.

flyingmachine
Nov 15th, 2004, 12:08 AM
I pose this question b/c I was at a relatives house last week and my sister-in-law kept using the terms "half caste" and "coloured" to refer to bi-racial and black people respectively :o Yet as I was with relatives I felt that I should keep my mouth shut and say nothing. But if that wasn't bad enough then my 10 year old nephew used the term coloured too :mad:

I guess my questions are - do you let offensive terms go in certain situations or do you make it a point to always challenge them?

Is there anything wrong per se with letting them go unchallenged?
If you thought your nephew will use it sometime in the future I think you should say something about it. If you think it's for the good for that person them you should challenge them. If you don't care about that person or you mighty get your head kick as the result than no.
I'm always challenge on these comment because it's not fair and I'm a minority myself so I do know a thing about prejudice. Anyway it's nice to debate something like this after all these US politics in the last few weeks,

Volcana
Nov 15th, 2004, 12:09 AM
Yes I know plus doors will be closed in this day and age if somebody, whatever age, uses terms like that. But I still felt in that situation say nothing, afteral they're family. However, with hindsight perhaps it was wrong of me b/c then the ignorance just festers.I added some to my previous answer. You don't have to be confrontational to make the point.

Dava
Nov 15th, 2004, 01:10 AM
Well I mean I have to say if something truly out of line was said then I would say something. Ive said something to my grandfather and constantly remind him about his lack of PC.

For the term gay it doesnt bother me. In fact when poeple say " actx's music is gay" and then apologise to me for using the word gay it offends me more then that uses. I have a sense of humour about it. But I did get upset this one time not so long ago, when people just were really being horrible about the whole gay thing, however I already have had beef with this person (although he knows Im gay, he thinks im shagging his girlfriend...WANKER) so I didnt say anything. And its not like every person who has unmarried parents gets offended by the term bastard.

As for the tern 'halfe-cast' its kinda complicated, because a lot of bi-racial people ive met dont mind the term, and freely use it to describe themselevs. In fact I think there is even a poem called Halfe-Cast. I cant remember how it goes...but it takes the pissout of people who use it as a derogatary term, and celebrates the mix of cultures.

darren cahill
Nov 15th, 2004, 02:17 AM
I work with someone who uses a lot of slang (wrong word maybe) but she says a lot of stuff like the person above me said --for example...she'll say "i hate these shoes, they are so gay or so queer'...i used to bite my tongue before but now i point it out to her and tell her she needs to find a new word to use, not only because it has the potential to be offensive to someone, but those terms are so 1978...get with it girl

PointBlank
Nov 15th, 2004, 02:23 AM
When someone around says the "n" word I tell them that word is extremly racist and basically that is the end of me and that persons relationship or friendship..I think it is extremly word and the word "wetback" also..Im white but it kills me when someone says the "n" word to someones face

Crazy Canuck
Nov 15th, 2004, 03:42 AM
My mother's old boyfriend used to use the "n" word quite freely, and I went ape shit on him each and everytime. I was horrified that my mother would spend her time with such a backwards hick. He eventually did stop using it around me...

Scotso
Nov 15th, 2004, 03:46 AM
I always call people out on things. I get especially mad when people use the term "gay" to refer to something.... i.e. "that's gay," or when they say "that's mighty white of you" (which is a popular phrase in the south it seems) to refer to someone who does something 'good.'

bionic71
Nov 15th, 2004, 05:42 AM
There has been a rise in the usage of the word "gay" to describe things that are broken, or unappealling....especially amongst teenagers and I do find it troublesome.
It appears that their parents do not consider it offensive...and would actually prefer them to say that "gay" as opposed to "shit" or "fucked".
I hear it used all the time at school and I do make an effort to stop and question their choice of words....
This is my place of work and I do not want to hear that sort of crap all day long, so I do make an attempt to address it.

My partner and I had eggs thrown at us a few months ago...which I wrote about in another thread somewhere....just walking at my local beach. The young men involved were aged between 15-25....and hurled a string of abuse "******s etc"...the usual dull stuff. It is too risky to confront a pack...had there only been a few them I might have made a serious attempt at thumping one or two, but there is nothing you can do when confronted with 20 or more.
Considering that I wasn't wearing my pink tu-tu and stilletoes at the time, and was dressed in a pair of boardshorts and a singlet, I was dumbfounded by the assumptiveness of the behaviour....we were targetted on an assumption and nothing more. I could have been with my Brother or my Dad and the behaviour would have been the same I have no doubt.

From what I have since heard from the police...the group of thugs target any group visually or potentailly different...Asian people, Islamic people and anyone they consider may be gay. Not much you can do.

I am pretty defiant though and continue to attend this same beach...as I have lived in the area a long time and refuse to be frightened by such behaviour...that is my own personal protest.

Sam L
Nov 15th, 2004, 06:05 AM
Usually, I just won't deal with them anymore. None of my friends are racist or homophobic or prejudiced in anyway, so that's a good thing.

If I faced what bionic71 faced in public. I'll just go about my own way and busy myself with thoughts. I usually do anyway. People like that are not worth my time.

jelena4me
Nov 15th, 2004, 07:19 AM
I pose this question b/c I was at a relatives house last week and my sister-in-law kept using the terms "half caste" and "coloured" to refer to bi-racial and black people respectively :o Yet as I was with relatives I felt that I should keep my mouth shut and say nothing. But if that wasn't bad enough then my 10 year old nephew used the term coloured too :mad:

I guess my questions are - do you let offensive terms go in certain situations or do you make it a point to always challenge them?

Is there anything wrong per se with letting them go unchallenged?
Well, I'm English and "coloured" is about the least offensive term I can think of. Where I am come from its totally inoffensive and very common, certainly less offensive than "dark","darkie" and a lot of other far worse terms I could list. I would have thought it was less offensive than using "black. What term would you like people to use?

I guess every area is different, but I think you are going to find this term very common in a non-offensive context.

OUT!
Nov 15th, 2004, 11:12 AM
Well, I'm English and "coloured" is about the least offensive term I can think of. Where I am come from its totally inoffensive and very common, certainly less offensive than "dark","darkie" and a lot of other far worse terms I could list. I would have thought it was less offensive than using "black. What term would you like people to use?

I guess every area is different, but I think you are going to find this term very common in a non-offensive context.Black is less offensive than coloured in the UK and USA.

Mixed heritage or bi-racial instead of half-caste. Half-caste means "half class". :)

OUT!
Nov 15th, 2004, 11:25 AM
Well, there is the chance is somebody beating the shit out of your 10 year old nephew. People who are offended can react unpredictably.

Well, what country are you from? What culture are you from? I don't know how offensive those terms would be in your culture/country. I used to challenge that sort of thing all the time, but the reality is, that's a contentious way to spend your life. In a family situation, sometimes dicretion is best. You might pull your brother aside and point out to him that his son could be at some risk if he uses terms like that in public. I am mixed heritage. Mt mother is white Irish and my father is black Jamaican. Ironically, the boy's mother is mixed heritage/bi-raical too and they both get off on the fact that the boy looks Latin as opposed to "black". :o Coloured is an offensive term although many Brits think it's fine to use colonial/outfdatred terms like coloured. Yeah thanks for the tip, I know my dad would be furious if he heard the boy use those terms.

If you personally find it offensive, you can say something like 'hey, you're gonna talk how you're gonna talk, but I gotta tell you I find your using terms like that offensive. I have friends who'd fall into those categories and I KNOW they'd be offended." This too, can be handled by talking to someone privately, rather than having a public confrontation over family dinner.
I'll let my dad do it for me :p :lol:

In a workplace situation, I ususally handle it with a discrete request to HR asking them to remind everyone in general about policy vis-a-vis offensive language.It's funny you mention the workplace situation, b/c I and I work colleague took a grievance out against a person who used the term half-caste all of the time, despite telling them that we found it offensive. They got the messaige in the end, but bless the man said to me "So what do I call you then?" :o :lol:

A lot of the reason we avoid language like that in public places in the USA is that that language reminds everyone of a time when Blacks were not protaected from Whites under the law, and Whites took advantage of that fact to commit a lot of violence against Blacks. (Of course, a lot of Americans look back at that time fondly.) And the USA went through about a decade of 'civil unrest', called 'The Rebellions' or 'The Riots', depending on whose historians you're reading, before the government decided that granting Blacks equal protect under the law was better watching the cities burn.Yes we're playing catch up here. My point too is that language is highly political and demonstrates hoe as a society we have not fully embraced the move to greater social equality by using terms that hark back to an injuste age.


When I hear people use terms like 'half-caste' (not much used in the northeastern USA) and 'coloured', I tend to examine them carefully, as I may be dealing with someone who like to see Blacks again denied equal rights. Is your sister-in-law such a person? How should I know? But sometimes we temper our language in the interest of everyone 'getting along'.Absolutely I am immediately suspicious of such a person also. As I said my sister-in-law is mixed heritasge like me which makes things worse IMO. She should know better plus she is only in her 20's.

OUT!
Nov 15th, 2004, 11:32 AM
Well, I'm English and "coloured" is about the least offensive term I can think of. Where I am come from its totally inoffensive and very common.Although I disagree with you re the word "coloured" being inoffensive, you raise a good point about the issue of intent. I am sure most people who use terms like "coloured" or "half-caste" are not being intentionally offensive, and they believe it is a perfectly acceptable form of language.

OUT!
Nov 15th, 2004, 11:36 AM
Awww hugs for Shane! Another issue re offensive terms is that there is still a hierarchy (although less so) in what language is acceptable/unacceptable to use. Whilst most would agree that racist language is completely unacceptable, there are many who use homophobic langaue or language offensive to those with disabilities, quite freely. At least that's my experience.

OUT!
Nov 15th, 2004, 11:40 AM
As for the tern 'halfe-cast' its kinda complicated, because a lot of bi-racial people ive met dont mind the term, and freely use it to describe themselevs. In fact I think there is even a poem called Halfe-Cast. I cant remember how it goes...but it takes the pissout of people who use it as a derogatary term, and celebrates the mix of cultures.Dan that poem sounds intersting, but I wonder if bi-racial/mixed heritage ppl who don't mind the term fully appreciate its meaning? :confused:

"Sluggy"
Nov 15th, 2004, 02:25 PM
No not me. you can say what you want in your own house. its if people start using offensive language around others that i say something. but then again my best friends are an African, a homosexual, a muslim, etc.

OUT!
Nov 15th, 2004, 02:30 PM
Thanks Joy!

Yeah it is disturbing for a multi racial child to use such derogatory terms. I think there's a little bit of shadism going on there too (omg am I disclosing too much here?:o). But with this boy it is also strange b/c my brother is affirming of his Jamaican heritage and takes him to festivals, Jamaican aunts and uncles so it's weird. The mother I don't really speak to so I can't comment. The boy is the older brother of my baby niece - you remember her pic? :D

I don't think I ever challenge the older generation on such terms either b/c what's the point? It also goes back to the issue of intent and they probably don't think there's anything wrong with what they are saying. As for younger people :rolleyes:

Thanks for the advice Joy. :)

OUT!
Nov 15th, 2004, 02:32 PM
No not me. you can say what you want in your own house. Even in front of the children in the household? Doesn't the legacy of ignorance and possible prejudice pass onto the next generation if that is permissable?

TimBo
Nov 15th, 2004, 02:36 PM
I tell them they are wrong for using the word and treat them with kindness. That usually pisses them off. However, if I get mad, I usually curse and my blood pressure goes sky high and I have to walk outside. lol

kabuki
Nov 15th, 2004, 02:56 PM
You bet your chinky, ******y, retarded ass.

Helen Lawson
Nov 15th, 2004, 03:01 PM
It really depends on who is saying it. If it's like a studio executive or a like a big-time agent or director who has power over my career, I don't say anything. If it's like a carhop or a dress extra, or some other Hollywood underling, I let them have it with a double-barrell Helen Lawson dressing down.

Dava
Nov 15th, 2004, 03:58 PM
Excuse me
standing on one leg
I'm half-caste
Explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean when picasso
mix red an green
is a half-caste canvas/
explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean when light an shadow
mix in de sky
is a half-caste weather/
well in dat case
england weather
nearly always half-caste
in fact some o dem cloud
half-caste till dem overcast
so spiteful dem dont want de sun pass
ah rass/
explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean tchaikovsky
sit down at dah piano
an mix a black key
wid a white key
is a half-caste symphony/
Explain yuself
wha yu mean
Ah listening to yu wid de keen
half of mih ear
Ah lookin at yu wid de keen
half of mih eye
and when I'm introduced to yu
I'm sure you'll
understand
why I offer yu half-a-hand
an when I sleep at night
I close half-a-eye
consequently when I dream
I dream half-a-dream
an when moon begin to glow
I half-caste human being
cast half-a-shadow
but yu must come back tomorrow
wid de whole of yu eye
an de whole of yu ear
an de whole of yu mind
an I will tell yu
de other half
of my story

Barrie_Dude
Nov 15th, 2004, 06:11 PM
I do challange them when I can, but, I do have some customers that are really stupid with this stuff and, because I depend on my customers for a living, I sort of just sht up or, if I can, I find a way to politlely inform them that I really do not approve.

Kart
Nov 15th, 2004, 06:28 PM
I guess my questions are - do you let offensive terms go in certain situations or do you make it a point to always challenge them?

Is there anything wrong per se with letting them go unchallenged?
Yes, no and no.

I love giving people a piece of my mind about things like this but ultimately people lead their own lives and make their own choices. I have no real issue with that as long as those choices are informed choices.

With terms like 'coloured' and 'half caste' though, I would note that there is a difference between taking offence and actually meaning to cause it. A lot of people often aren't aware of the implications of those words - myself included until I ventured into the realms to WTA board cyberspace.