Slurs

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Fraggle Rocker, Dec 28, 2009.

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  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    These were presented by Gene Weingarten in the Washington Post.
    • In New Zealand, Pacific Islanders are called coconuts. Although New Zealand itself is part of the Pacific Islands, this term does not apply to New Zealanders of European ancestry.
    • Australians call Indians currymunchers.
    • The British call Afro-Caribbeans golliwogs. A golliwog was a grotesque black doll in a series of illustrated children's books in the 1890s. Golliwog dolls quickly came on the toy market, and they are still made, although generally only seen at doll collectors' shows.
    • Quebecois call the English squareheads.
    • Native Australians call people of European ancestry gwubs. I have not been able to find this anywhere, but I generally trust Weingarten's scholarship.
    • Jews call each other goysher kopf when they do something dumb. Literally it means "goy-head," or "gentile-brain."
    • North Americans call a woman with obvious breast implants a non-dairy creamer.
     
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  3. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    Can I list some interesting slurs designating blacks or African-Americans that I found on the Internet that are still used by people in the south?

    Hey, how 'bout we make a list of slurs that are used for Hispanics and/or Mexicans that's in wide use in southern California and Texas? Wouldn't that be fun?

    And, hell, let's not limit it to races, let's have some fun with slurs that people use for women!

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    Baron Max
     
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  5. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    One question Fraggle: how old is that article?
    Golliwog as racial slur died sometime in the 60s (apart from a few die-hard racists maybe). Even the word itself is persona non grata, and the toy/ doll has all disappeared (as noted).
    Heck, they even took them off our jam jars a few years ago.
     
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  7. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    My best friend in high school had an older brother. He came home from college and brought 2 classmates with him. Some of his home-town friends came over and wanted to know if he was ready to go coon hunting. The 2 black city guys he brought home from college were not amused.
    They had to explain about raccoon hunting
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  8. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

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    My grandad used to always bang on about living next door to a family of darkies. I wouldn't mind him saying that, but they were from Cornwall.
     
  9. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

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    I dunno how relevant your post is Fraggle, but it does underline something i've always wondered over the years.

    Can't you brown/blacks/darkies/non"white"s out there come up with some better derogatory terms than "honkey"(lol) "Cracker" (lolol), "Whitey" (seriously sad), etc.

    Just lame, how am I supposed to get pissed off with such lame shit like that?
     
  10. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    well, here in Michigan, there are a lot of slurs against Canadians, no matter what colour they are
     
  11. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

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    Oh ya...lemme have them.

    Michigan is full of drunk bastards who's only contribution is beer shits these days...is what I heard.
     
  12. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    That's the yoopers, not us down here

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  13. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    In defence of Australians, the term "currymuncher" is not always a slur (although it can be). Sometimes, it is used as a term of affection. Australians have a history of insulting close friends in a way that is obviously not to be taken seriously.
     
  14. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    I think the gay
    breeders
    is a clever slur for straights. It makes something neutral at worst seem like a negative quality. Kinda funny and pre-emptive against the supposed superiority.
     
  15. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    gringo
    gora - indian
    peckerwood
    whitebread
    melanin challenged
    farang - Thai
    obroni - ghanese
    pale face
    ofay
    blue-eyed devil
    wasichu
    hoale - hawaiian
    gadjo dilo - romani

    Hard for me to judge how snappy some of these are, so I'll vote for peckerwood as the best one.
     
  16. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

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    Peckerwood is the best? I stand uninsulted...perhaps even empowered...Blue-eyed Devil? lmao definitely empowered.
     
  17. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not sure what you're hoping for. I mean the most triggering word for blacks, the big N, simply comes from words meaning black. But the word became powerful because of the hate behind it and the contexts and power relationships where it was used. But the word itself....

    again, I don't know what your expecting.
     
  18. glaucon tending tangentially Moderator

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    lol

    We have something similar for Michiganers when they're here in Canada: Americans [nuff said... lol].
     
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    This is the Linguistics board so we can discuss words. Nonetheless I'm not looking for the ones that are calculated to deeply offend anyone. Let's stick with words that could be spoken on prime-time TV. I believe that all of the ones in my OP fit that constraint, because A) they were printed in the humor column of the kid-friendly Sunday supplement of a major newspaper, B) many of them clearly are more silly than mean-spirited, C) I've already gotten feedback from other members.

    Frankly I was worried about golliwog, but it doesn't raise any eyebrows in the USA and apparently, according to Dwydder, it's about as obsolete as 23-skidoo and doesn't offend anyone anymore. However the dolls are still made (usually by hand by doll artists) in the USA and you can buy one at any doll show. They often shorten it to golly.

    So please don't be a spoilsport and push the limits so I have to lock or delete the thread.

    Also, I was hoping you would all follow my lead and explain the origin of the more obscure ones, if you can track it down. If we remember that this is supposed to be a place of scholarship and at least pretend to be scholars, we're less likely to offend the casual visitor.

    Gringo is really obsolete in the Southwest. The Mexican-Americans there generally just call us Anglos or white people. Elsewhere where the Latino community has a higher proportion of Puerto Ricans (they call themselves boricuas) and other nationalities, they often use the word gabacho, which literally means "an import," and makes maybe just a tiny bit more sense when spoken in their countries than it does here.

    "Cracker" was originally a word for the British settlers of the Florida territory, when it changed from Spanish ownership to British. It comes from the Spanish cuáquero, a mosh-up of "Quaker," their derogatory term for all Protestants. Eventually it spread to include other Southern Americans, although these days it's mostly the province of comedians and country music. And as noted, it is also a racial insult for Euro-Americans, although it doesn't carry much venom and is as likely to be heard in a comedy sketch as a gang fight.
     
  20. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

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    I notice "Paki" hasn't cropped up yet. Do you not use that across the pond? I know you use "Spic" over there whereas we don't.

    I heard a new one recently actually, from a British Indian who happily called the foreigners BSG's. Brown Skinned Gyppo's. Might catch on.
     
  21. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    No. The Pakistani community in the USA has not reached critical mass, so we don't have any slang words for them. I think you'd have to live in New York City to encounter any. I live in the Washington metropolitan area and there is, presumably, a Pakistani embassy downtown, but nobody I know has ever met anyone from there.

    This word had its own thread a couple of years ago and we Americans were introduced to it. Most of the people I talked to assumed it was just proper English. A citizen of Kurdistan is a Kurd, a citizen of Turkmenistan is a Turkmen, a citzien of Kyrghyzstan is a Kyrghyz, a citizen of Uzbekistan is an Uzbek, a citizen of Kazakhstan is a Kazakh, a citizen of Tatarstan is a Tatar, a citizen of Kurdistan is a Kurd, and a citizen of Tajikistan is a Tajik. Therefore, they ask, is a citizen of Pakistan not also a Pak or a Paki? What can be wrong with that???
    That's a little old-fashioned; it's like calling an African-American a "spook," a 1950s word.

    In Clint Eastwood's last big hit, "Grand Torino," he played a Korean War veteran in his 80s, a cranky old dude who nonetheless could not keep himself from defending people from injustice even if he didn't like them. He called the Hmong people in his neighborhood "Zipperheads." (Has anybody heard that one before???) He ran into a teenage Hmong girl being shaken down by some African-American hoodlums, and he walked up to them and asked, "What are you spooks doin'?" They started rolling on the ground with laughter, "The dude called us SPOOKS!!!" and he just grabbed the girl and strolled away.

    Today Mexican-Americans are more likely to be disparaged as "beaners," but like "cracker," it's an epithet with more humor than hatred. Bear in mind that there are many Mexican families in the Southwest who have lived there since it was part of Mexico, or even a Spanish colony. In other words, like the Indians, they've been here longer than we have and have every right to consider us the "immigrants." I heard a Redneck remark on this the last time I was in L.A. Looking around at the sea of Asian, African, Indian and Mideastern faces in the shopping mall, he said, "Y'all ain't goan believe yuh hearin' this from me, but Ah thank it's tahm we gonna hafta admit that these here Messicans are naoo 'honorary what folks'."

    This was shortly after 9/11, and in any American city with a sizeable Mexican community it was well-known that every American embassy and consulate in Mexico had a line stretching for blocks, of Mexicans trying to volunteer for the U.S. Army--just as there was after Pearl Harbor.
    Where exactly does a regular-colored "Gyppo" come from? We don't have that word here.

    I know that "Gypsy" is a corruption of "Egyptian," since Europeans assumed they came from Egypt. They did not. They're an Indic people who hurriedly emigrated from some place near Kashmir about a thousand years ago, after backing the losing side in a civil war. Their language is known as Romani and in English that's an accepted name for the people (from the Romani word for "man," rom) but they have no standard name for themselves and it varies from country to country. In many places we hear them call themselves Rom or a compound built upon that word, but in Germany, for example, they call themselves Sinti.
     
  22. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

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    I do sometimes wonder just how offensive a word on its own can be, when surely tone of voice and the actual usage would be far more important, but that's one of those strange semantical debates that is considered non-pc.
    Cultural difference is interesting, especially knowing when an American describes themselves as "Asian" they mean far east Asia, but here an Asian is Indian(or there abouts). Then again you already have Indians over there.

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    Interesting, you do have quite a strange country there.

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    Gyppo is slang for Gypsy, (as in Romani) and in the case of the UK any travelling eastern european peoples, and no doubt some natives too.
    As you can tell, political correctness doesn't feature highly on our list of things we give a shit about.
     
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Not always. Some words carry such strong connotations that the delivery can't make a useful difference in their effect. Obviously this is especially true of words that are primarily used as insults. The intention behind words like "faggot" and "nigger" are understood to be something other than offensive when uttered by the people whom they disparage, but when uttered by others to describe their customary targets they have such a history of accompanying discrimination or outright persecution, that the emotions of the average target immediately rise and short-circuit any slight suspicion of, "Gee I wonder if he was just trying to be funny and doesn't know how that word affects us?"
    Here the census takers distinguish between "East Asian" and "South Asian." The former Soviet republics whose name end in -stan are "Central Asia." Everything from Afghanistan to Turkey is "the Middle East," which these days may also include Pakistan because, like all of those others except Israel, it too is a Muslim nation. This leaves the Asian peoples of Georgia and Armenia in limbo, but they're generally classified as honorary Europeans because of their Christian, Western culture, which will surely get them into the EU before Turkey.

    Siberia... well Siberia is just Siberia.
    I think most of them look that way from the outside.

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    From our perspective, in any European country these days the pass-fail test of that is whether you suppress free speech by making it illegal to deny the Holocaust or advocate Nazism. We let the Nazis hold parades so we can throw tomatoes at them.

    * * * * MODERATOR'S NOTE * * * *

    Yes I printed the N-word, surrounded by an entire paragraph of amateur scholarly analysis, which will hopefully excuse it in the eyes of readers who might ordinarily take offense. Anyone else who plans to get away with it will be held to that standard. Please don't try using it to be sarcastic or humorous, on a website where many of the members are not native anglophones and just won't get it.
     
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