politically correct

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by mathman, Feb 15, 2015.

  1. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    Afro-American and black seem to be the only current PC terms, while colored and Negro are no longer PC. However these terms remain in use (National Assoc. ... Advancement .... Colored People, United Negro College Fund). What is going on?
     
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  3. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    It's inappropriate for people who aren't of African descent to refer to those who are, using words that were once considered racist and offensive. But in popular culture, African-Americans often call each other "the N-word" without any controversy. Anyone who's played Grand Theft Auto V can tell you that.

    Words that were once deemed offensive have been taken by the groups they were intended to ostracize, and made their own, as a symbol of defiance against the racists, homophobes and other bigots. However, those same words are still considered offensive when used by people outside of that group.
     
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  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    In our era, the term "Paddy wagon" is explained as a compliment to the Irish cops who drove it. The Director of the FBI recently noted that this is a whitewash. The wagon was called that because it was full of Irish people who had been arrested. There were, indeed, a lot of Irish cops in those days (they were the first immigrant group after independence who arrived speaking fluent English so they qualified for jobs that previous generations of immigrants could not), but they were not the majority of any police force.
     
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  7. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    "Colored" and "negro" aren't exactly offensive, just anachronistic. They keep the name out of tradition.
     
  8. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    I find it interesting that Benedict Cumberbatch is censured for using the word coloured when he was speaking out on behalf of the "ethnically disadvantaged", yet racists can conceal their prejudices through the use of politically correct terminology. The words used are quite secondary to the sentiments felt. I wish more people understood this and acted (and reacted) accordingly.

    Of course, what do I know, I'm just an aging WASP who is too loaded with prejudices to have a worthwhile opinion.
     
  9. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    I call them by their names if I know them or say the brothers.
     
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    It's quite an ordeal for an organization to change its name. The NAACP was founded in 1909, the UNCF in 1944. I deliberately wrote the abbreviations by which they are almost always identified (especially the NAACP) to illustrate how difficult it would be to train the entire population to recognize and use new ones.

    "Negro" may not be politically correct, but it is hardly considered insulting these days, and many older people still use the words they learned when they were young. Personally I've had trouble keeping up with colored/negro/Afro-American/black/African-American/whatever comes next.

    "Colored people"... well that's more likely to evoke a chuckle than a frown. After all, none of us is transparent, so all of our skins are colored in one hue or another.

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    Stevie Wonder nonchalantly used the term in his big hit "Living for the City" because it fit the meter of the song.

    Although, admittedly, Stevie Wonder can't see any colors, so he's probably as perplexed by this issue as the rest of us.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2015
  11. Doug Coulter Registered Member

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    Crap, I have enough problems just figuring out how to be correct. Often enough, once I do, I find there's no possible overlap with political correctness...sigh, which often has not much to do with, you know, fact.

    Anecdote:
    I spent some years touring with a band that was half black, half white (you can guess which I am). We were really good, close friends (try living with a few other people on the road - it's inevitable you become close, or the band dissolves). OK, we taught each other quite a lot - they were better at some things (emotional intelligence, quick to pick up on and fix things before a fight would start) and not so much at other things, where the white people did better. No problems at all - we learned one from another, everyone was cool and smart.

    But they used the "N" word on one another, and we couldn't. They called us all kinds of whitey, cracker kinds of things - we didn't care, and took it for the joking and horsing around that it was, not an issue. But we couldn't use the "N" word on them in the same sense. Of course, essentially living together in the same "room" for over a year, we asked them what the problem was, after all, we didn't mind the joking racial slurs used on us. They couldn't say! And these were some very articulate people, true artists, stage people. It was just something they could only say was visceral and not-rational, their reaction was not something they had control over - and that not having control over that embarrassed them, actually (a couple of them were very disciplined martial artists, for example, so self-control was something they had pride in). We just didn't do it after that - once we knew it wasn't our problem, and that it bothered our brothers in arms - why make people hurt?
     
  12. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    It's not so hard to understand. They were enslaved by white people. They are a little sensitive about it.
     
  13. Doug Coulter Registered Member

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    It was hard for THEM to understand. They'd never been enslaved by anyone, other than the usual drag it is to have to make a living. Being outstanding in every way, they'd not had any especially hard life - high IQ, super talented...and so on. They did fine, personally, as did we all. That was what made that weird, for them and for us. Outside the middle east, most people don't give a crap about what ancestors did. At least these guys (and gal) appeared not to.

    So, we all understood what a rational basis might have been - but that wasn't it. These people were as rational as it gets, and said it wasn't that. It was something "beneath their conscious control" - lizard-brain stuff, and it upset them that they couldn't avoid feeling it, since actually we were all better friends than most people ever get to experience, ever.​
     
  14. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    It's often rather arbitrary and not a little bizarre. 'Colored person' is politically incorrect, while 'person of color' is a favored (if somewhat cumbersome) phrase that all the trendy lefties seem to be using these days.

    When certain phrases are perceived to have acquired negative connotations out there among the public, the media and educational elites will try to introduce new words and phrases into the vocabulary that don't have the unwelcome associations. It's their attempt to steer how the general public thinks about controversial things.

    Many of the big-city newspapers and the broadcast media have in-house style-books that tell the writers that they employ which phrases shouldn't be used and which ones are favored.

    For example, you won't typically see the phrase 'illegal alien' used in the national media, where euphemisms like 'undocumented immigrant' are used in its place. The goal of influencing how the public thinks of this group is obvious.

    The process might be underway at the present moment with the phrase 'Islamic terrorist'. There seems to be growing reluctance among the media, educational and governmental elites to use that phrase, and growing disapproval of those who do use it. It may be in the process of becoming politically incorrect.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2015
  15. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    Its likely that that ther parents/grand parents understood... an prolly to a lesser degree as time goes by... the baggage from that understandin is still bein passed on to the next generations.!!!
     
  16. Doug Coulter Registered Member

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    Yeah, we even discussed epigenetics and a possible case of Lysenko-ism as possible causes. We were that mystified, none of us understood it.

    As to the spin aspect mentioned by Yazata, yeah, that's why I'm proud to be non-PC, which after all, changes with the winds (and the desires of the manipulators) anyway. Facts do for me.

    And as far as niggers go - I know more white ones than black, by my definition of that word. So there.
     
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Aside from white Americans not being allowed to say "nigger" in social situations, which never struck me as much of an imposition (in whose white person life is there common call for the term? ), the noticeable linguinazi impositions I run into frequently are the apparent bans on the word "capitalist" in most contexts, and "fascist" when referring to, well, fascistic political stances and people.

    Fascist is one of the more interesting cases of word policing, because the rule is so strange: one is only allowed to misuse it, not use it. As long as the word is used to describe non-fascistic stances or people, as a meaningless pejorative say, it seems to be acceptable.

    But the pretzel terminology people deploy around and around the word "capitalist" is just annoying.
     
  18. Doug Coulter Registered Member

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    Or any ism. Yup. Like I said, it's hard enough to simply be correct without adding the spin-bound "politically" in front. Someone is getting ahead of things...or simply using this stuff as a tool of manipulation, which is what I think about it. Humans, sigh. Now and then I go read a list of cognitive biases to keep on a more or less level course...
     
  19. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    I remember when black people woudnt go into a "white" restaurant to eat... jokes was openly made about hangin "niggers" from a tree limb... an for survival they put up wit a lot of sht... ther kids an grand kids have knowledge about thangs like that... its been to recent to completely behave as if it didnt happen... ie... i dont see the mystery.!!!

    To ignore the obvous an jump to thangs like epigenetics an Lysenkoism is not seein the trees for the forest.!!!
     
  20. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    What's bizarre is a growing desire to sanitize "memories" -- to rob them of their "punch". For instance: The revision of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn a few years ago to make it more palatable to the sensitivities of the current era. Such efforts ironically sterilize the very historical context which keeps "N" either an odious relic or a shock-word. (I.e., if we keep prettifying past literature and written accounts enough with "slave" (etc) as a replacement, then future generations may eventually regard N's origins as concerning little more than Sylvia Plath's poetic nickname for blackberries. [Should that happen to be the last surviving item eluding the purifying fires of these "Records Department of the Ministry of Truth" movements.])
     
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  21. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Uh... that is simply not true. There is still tremendous animosity between the people of the American North and the South, because of the Civil War, which had the largest death toll (in proportion to the population) of any war in history. There has been so much migration in the last century and a half, that a large portion of the people who live in those places are not descended from ancestors who lived there (or even descended from ancestors who lived in other countries). But there are enough people who are the great-grandchildren of Americans who died in the Civil War, that they still think of each other as "Damn Yankees" and "Rednecks" or "Hillbillies" or several other epithets.

    Not to mention, despite the civil rights movement that was (arguably) launched by President Truman in the 1940s (when he integrated the armed services) but attained a lot more momentum under President Eisenhower in the 1950s (when he integrated the nation's schools), and finally became a cause celebre in the "counterculture" of the 1960s, neither Afro-Americans nor their sympathetic Euro-American friends have forgiven the many generations of Americans who enslaved them, then passed the Jim Crow legislation after the Civil War, then continued to discriminate against them in housing, employment and public life up through the 1950s, and continue to shoot them every chance they get... (stop for breath) there is still tremendous animosity between our Afro-American community and a large segment of the Euro-American community, especially in the South and other Republican Party strongholds.

    As for other parts of the globe, ask the average older Frenchman, Belgian, Czech, Pole, Dutchman, Dane, etc. how he feels about the Germans.

    The Chinese are still pissed off at the Japanese.

    Oh, and don't get me started on the Native Americans!
     
  22. Doug Coulter Registered Member

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    We didn't ignore the obvious here. We lived together 24/7 for years and had plenty of time...and no one was stupid.
    Yes, there is always an outlier, like N vs S, but I've live in both places and actually that only applies to a very few people, nearly all of them I'd class as ignorant. Not the majority.
    N vs S Korea is probably the world's most concentrated hate, but no one is killing (much) over it, like in the ME.
    I've dealt with almost every nationality due to my trading. I see the usual sort-of nationalism, but it's not to the point of even denying a job to someone, just something that is used for one sort to rib another about the past. And on G+ I regularly talk to most groups, and many are mixed, no sweat. Could all that you mention be simply ignorance? We'll always have those types in the world...but we needn't let them dominate everything.
     
  23. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Whenever I'm asked what race I am I always reply "human". I didn't get many jobs because of that but I wouldn't want to work for a company who didn't realize the difference between ethnicity and race. There's only one race but many ethnic peoples.
     

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