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#210816 - 05/06/13 07:27 PM Re: Queer street [Re: Pulchery]
Author.Bill.Lee Offline

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 1
Loc: California
As a native San Franciscan who grew up in Chinatown and Nob Hill during the '60s and '70s, when I hear the term "queer street," I think of Polk Street, where homosexual men openly congregated and claimed as their first neighborhood. It was in close proximity to the schools I attended.

In regards to derogatory terms, I was ignorant and customarily used the "N" word throughout my grammar school years, not realizing that it was just as offensive as hearing someone refer to me as Chinaman, Chink, Slant Eyes, and Coolie.

#210817 - 05/06/13 07:28 PM Re: Queer street [Re: Pulchery]
BoomerBurt Offline

Registered: 03/11/13
Posts: 4
Another old British expression referring to doing something to make an agreement go wrong is to "queer a deal." Not a sexual orientation reference, but an indication that something has gone wrong. Of course, that goes with the implication of the sexual orientation usage suggesting that someone's sexual preferences have "gone wrong." Another reason to avoid use of the word "queer" today.

Historically the term "nigger" was derived from the Latin, "niger" meaning black. There is a river of that name in Africa; a country named "Nigeria"; "Negro" is also drived from the same Latin root. So, black = niger = nigger. Technically, if you call someone "nigger" you are simply calling them "black." Mark Twain used "nigger" repeatedly in his classic "Huckleberry Finn" novel with (I believe) no malice of intent. But today, the N-word carries substantial additional baggage.

I once worked for a Greek fellow whose worst insult (often used) was to call someone a "Turk."

This all goes to the idea expressed above that the insult is in the intent and/or the perception, not the word itself.

#210818 - 05/06/13 07:40 PM Re: Queer street [Re: Author.Bill.Lee]
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
Mark Twain used the word nigger because the people who he was writing about used the word nigger.

#210820 - 05/07/13 06:26 AM Re: Queer street [Re: Pulchery]
Zee Offline

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 2
I have to say, I approach this week's theme with a mix of interest and caution. There are so many people to whom it is more important to defend word usage than to care about other people's feelings, and I don't understand it. There are so many words in the English language, it's not difficult at all to come up with alternatives when someone is hurt by specific terms. It is far worse to be hurt than it is to think twice before speaking.

Yes, it's interesting to discuss words, see where they came from, note that they had completely different meanings once, but it has its place (such as this forum!), and I see no reason to use these words in daily speech. I teach middle school, and we frequently have the discussion in class about what words are acceptable, and bottom line is the classroom is supposed to be a safe space for everyone, and everyone needs to participate in making it so - and that includes me not setting a bad example outside of the classroom. Not everyone has the luxury of "choosing" when to be offended. A bullied student doesn't "choose" to react with fear and anxiety when they hear the same word that has been used to bully them from an adult (or a fellow student) with "good intentions" and knowledge of etymology. (I'm a lesbian, and I remember what that was like; there are still words that get to me when used in certain contexts and by certain people). I never wanna be that person if I can help it, not to my students and not to the people of all ages around me.

#210822 - 05/07/13 11:40 AM Re: Queer street [Re: Zee]
LukeJavan8 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 8541
Loc: Land of the Flat Water
----please, draw me a sheep----

#210823 - 05/07/13 12:18 PM Re: Queer street [Re: Pulchery]
musick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 2661
Loc: Chicago
If you keep repeating the same lack of acceptability... even those whom you've already chosen to single out will (eventually) believe you, or accept that your version has a valid place in the *discussion. It sounds like the M.O. of mainstream media. Like mob action, police don't like it because there's no control over the ideas. Think "flock of birds". Those with control issues are't very happy, because the statistical base is indeterminant. They'd all have to start over, changing (back) one person at a time, to reach the point of being comfortable again. Controling the use of words goes as far as our inability to understand their (individual) use. Some people don't or won't pay attention. Some are just assholes... from which we are familiar with what exudes.

I suspect trolls ran away from under the bridge because the water got too high. The've found what has become dryer ground... till the next flood.

#210831 - 05/07/13 06:21 PM Re: Queer street [Re: Pulchery]
kenpk Offline

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 2
Loc: TN
like this theme. the word is not harmful but the intent and emotion are the measure of a slur or derogatory use.

#210833 - 05/07/13 07:27 PM Re: Queer street [Re: Zee]
Hamfast Offline

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 4
Loc: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shi...
In part, you are correct, there are many words that can be used in place of one that may be offensive, but in a climate where someone will try to be offended by anything you or I say we must apply reason and realize that they chose to be offended.

But I fear you are mistaken, we all get to choose when we are offended, while Pavlov had dogs, we have reason, we can use that reason if we wish.

You use a bullied child as an example, reacting to "fear and anxiety" when they hear a word used to bully them from another source (not just an adult), if you as a parent, teacher or Guardian addressed the issue as an issue of 2 parts, the first is words, words only hurt if you allow them to hurt... no matter how I call you "Magpie" unless you choose to be offended, I have just been acting the fool, if you choose to take my words to heart and feel offended, you chose that, you gave me control... so you know, I chose "Magpie" because it can be used to refer to a gossip.

The Second part of being bullied is the physical part, the Assault and Battery component, Assault is the threat of violence, battery is the actual violence. If a child is threatened with Violence, they need to know that their Parents, Teachers, Guardians, School Administrators, Policeman and so on will take that seriously, it's a Crime to threaten violence, punish the criminal and make an example of them (and their Parents and Guardians as well if they choose to teach their children that being a bully is acceptable), but there is still no reason to be "Offended", that just empowers the bully.

I must assume your preference of partners was what was used against you in your past, such an unimportant item to anyone beyond you and your partner... Red cars and blue cars, some folks like red, some like blue, we only have problems when people who like Red cars try to make people that like blue cars like red cars... think about it, every argument over preferences can be made silly by replacing the choices with "Red Car" and "Blue Car", try it in your own life, it works.

#210835 - 05/08/13 05:08 AM Re: Queer street [Re: Hamfast]
Zee Offline

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 2
I've met very few people who go out of their way to be offended, but I have met plenty of people who go out of their way to use offensive words that they know will provoke and then pull a wide-eyed faux-innocent 'but I didn't mean anything bad by it'. Being offended is not fun. Believe me, I derive no pleasure from it. It just hurts.

Yes, it's to some extent possible to train oneself out of the more immediate or visceral reactions to hurtful words, but why should that be the main solution? That people who have already been hurt be forced to change and reinforce themselves so that other more fortunate people be allowed to speak without consideration?

(Also, you assume it's not already being done. Society will always be full of inconsiderate people who think only of their own convenience, training oneself not to react every time is just plain self-preservation, but learning to survive doesn't mean I think we should strive for a society that caters to inconsideration.)

(And secondly, there's a huge difference between a word like "magpie" that is being used for someone personally, and words that have been used towards specific minorities in combination with physical abuse and murder. Using a homophobic slur carries with it all the hurt that has been done to gay people throughout history and is still being done. It makes me think 'is it unsafe for me to be alone with this person?')

Thinking twice so as to do one's best not to offend takes very little time or energy on the part of the speaker, unlearning a response that have come out of people deliberately wanting to hurt you can take a really long time and be a very painful process, if you succeed at all. Not everyone does. Why would you want to keep hurting people when you don't have to?

Edited by Zee (05/08/13 05:08 AM)

#210860 - 05/10/13 05:01 AM Re: Queer street [Re: Zee]
Pulchery Offline

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 2
Loc: Lusaka, Zambia
My son was born with a club foot. When I told my sister, she asked if he was deformed and I decided there and then not to ever be offended by anybody in respect of his club foot and to raise him to hopefully rebuff insults as well - I would rather use the opportunity to educate and sensitize people. So I calmly told her that he was indeed deformed, abnormal, misshapen, malformed etc and we have raised our son to understand the meanings of those words and to not necessarily take offence and to educate or ignore if offence is intended. Becuase mean people will find ways to be mean - one nasty child in my daughter's class said to her: "What's it like to have a brother who can play golf with his foot?". So we all have to learn to rise above and that is exactly what I do when I feel offended as a woman, which can be several times a day if I allow it or am feeling a little low myself, but generally I get a lovely warm glow of superiority and either confront the prejudice or just mark them down as a person to be avoided and deprecated to others in the mildest, unoffensive terms!

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