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#210780 - 05/06/13 06:46 AM Queer street
Pulchery Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 2
Loc: Lusaka, Zambia
I grew up with the term "queer street" used by my British parents and would still use it today. The word "queer" has meant odd or curious or whatever for ages and any person who takes offense at the use of the word in such contexts is just ignorant or way too sensitive. When I am feeling nauseous or out-of-sorts, I still say I am feeling queer. "Nigger" is a different thing altogether - it describes a person's skin colour, with no other earlier meanings and came out of the whole era of "white" rule over people of clou;, it is a racially charged word. Just as the word "kaffir" in Africa actually is derived from the Arabic world supposedly used by Malay slaves/labour in South Africa to describe the European settlers who were considered infidels or non-beleivers because they were not Muslims. But it has taken on a whole new meaning and is highly offensive now.

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#210781 - 05/06/13 07:21 AM Re: Queer street [Re: Pulchery]
Amos Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 1
Intro to this week's theme is very insightful and on point! Thanks.

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#210782 - 05/06/13 07:42 AM Re: Queer street [Re: Pulchery]
Len De Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 1
Loc: RI
Thanks for the sensitivity and explanation for the theme.
Words evolve and grow with connotations. Twain's use of the "N" word was appropriate for the time, and altering it rewrites his words, and dismisses the culture (or lack of) in which the word was used. It is a teaching/learning opportunity.
Adjusting connotations and definitions to fit the times is considerate and sensitive; but the "baggage" and "issues" words carry from their past, need to be respected.
The best way to alter the past is to adjust to it, and practice from its lessons.
Peace,

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#210783 - 05/06/13 08:03 AM Re: Queer street [Re: Pulchery]
Frances Mary Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 1
My daughter once practically came to blows with a black woman in a seminar, about 'black humour'. The woman insisted it was a racial insult, and the tutor was weakly trying to persuade everybody simply to avoid using the term, which justifiably annoyed Jenny as a loss and slur to the English language. Fortunately, Jenny could assure the group it came from 'bleak humour' - and bleak originally meant grim or pale, or even white.


Edited by Frances Mary (05/06/13 08:04 AM)
Edit Reason: spelling error

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#210784 - 05/06/13 08:22 AM Re: Queer street [Re: Pulchery]
Lar Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 1
Loc: United States
We were admonished not to use the term queer street to a "gay" person when the term 'gay' itself has been stolen from perfectly normal usage in my younger years. Can words so easily be lost to political correctness?

Word 'nigger' seems more likely to have derived from an anglicized pronunciation in the willful way of the English with 'foreign' words, of the word Niger, originally from the Roman latin for black (niger), in which area, the Niger River valley, was the cradle of African civilization and well known to the classical world.

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#210785 - 05/06/13 08:31 AM Re: Queer street [Re: Pulchery]
Peachey Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 1
Loc: Germany
Kind of funny... I'm German and when I saw the word "queer street" in the mail today, I associated it directly with the german word "Querstraße", what simply means a street going left or right from the main road you are just on.

How near can be words together and same time so far away smile.

(Sorry for my bad english, one reason for the daily mail from wordsmith is, to get better smile

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#210788 - 05/06/13 09:27 AM Re: Queer street [Re: Pulchery]
blackjack11155 Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 1
Yeah, we should all be careful about whatever we say anyway. People who don't know the REAL meaning of the word (or any word)can understandably take this term the wrong way. When I was a kid the word 'queer' meant simply 'different' or 'odd'; but as time went along it was derogitorily used toward gay people. So much so, that it seemed no longer to mean simply 'different'.

A friend of mine who is black told me of a meeting at work that he attended and someone used the word 'niggardly' which means reluctant to give or spend; stingy; miserly. This being a government meeting and funding always being an issue, the term was in a sense appropriately used. However; when a certain inflection is placed in the voice or eye contact is made with the only black person in the room when it was being said, even this can be inflametory.

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#210789 - 05/06/13 09:45 AM Re: Queer street [Re: Pulchery]
Thurston Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 1
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
Similarly the word 'homely' means different things in various contexts, and I imagine that the meaning has evolved over time.
I hear it as an offensive word, but I often read it where the context makes it clear that it is intended to be positive.

It's important to speak so your listeners understand what you are saying and write so your readers get the message, regardless of how ignorant we are.

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#210790 - 05/06/13 09:52 AM Re: Queer street [Re: Pulchery]
ToastMaster1911 Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 1
You are correct in your opening message about how words and their usage can offend. For example, your term "blacks" could be considered offensive to African-Americans. The word "boy" has racial connotations that could also be considered offensive to them. The N-word has so many negative connotations no matter who uses it.

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#210791 - 05/06/13 10:04 AM Re: Queer street [Re: Pulchery]
mdiwoman Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 1
I think people who are homosexuals would want their friends to speak naturally and use the appropriate term when applicable. And I want to take back or reapply the meanings of queer and gay. It is a beautiful day in Maine, it makes me feel gay. And when I say that, I should not get queer looks from my co-workers. One reason I feel gay is that I am not on queer street because I have a great job.

What we need is a less clinical word than "homosexual" to describe people attracted to their own gender.

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