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Hmn. Well, here I am at work, entirely divulged in a thread on a message board. A thread that I had thought to stay away from, but, being me, I couldn't. Its a thread on words that indicate racism. I see some good points...and agree that what something means to me, may not mean to another. I agree that words only have the power that we give them..but I've said it before. Make no mistake that words *do* have power. If they didn't, then we would not be so quick to get a reaction from them. Regardless of the reaction.
I did ask though, how one could use a word that is a racist word in a non-racist way? I'm confused on that one. I will mull that one over and see what I come up with, but I just don't see it. Maybe its because I have had to defend myself against racist terms before. It doesn't bother me so much now, to be called those things..."haole" means little more than 'white-person' to me now that I'm on the mainland again. But...when I was growing up, and the only white girl in school...it was often used as an insult, and slung at me on the play ground. It doesn't bother me now because I don't *let* it...but does that really make it any less of a racist word? No. Not really.
These, however, are just my thoughts. More often than not, these are things I keep to myself. Why? Because...in my 'old' age, I have become afraid to contradict because it might lead to confrontation. Confrontation is nasty, and a frightful thing. It makes my stomach turn and my palms sweaty. It means that I may 'lose'...and that, just couldn't be done. I'm learning folks...just give me a bit of time. Soon, I'll rock the boat with the best of the them, and have the nerve to back what I say and..if you can't take it...get off my damn boat.

Comments

( 2 comments — Drop A Feather )
staxxy
Jul. 25th, 2002 07:38 pm (UTC)
Hang in there sweetie, you're doing fine
I do not think it is possible to use a racist word in a non racist way unless it is a subject of discussion like we have been talking lately.

there were some long conversations I had with friends when I was younger about the english language and common acceptance of the use of some words and how that actually, honestly, *is* racism. I was glad that most of those words were ones I didn't use at all anyway, but it did give me a really strong spotlight that I drag my slang through before I adopt it now.

Bigotry will always make me sad. Even if it is just language.
i_dread
Jul. 25th, 2002 08:14 pm (UTC)
my two cents is free, and only one gram of fat- malice
you know the whole problem would right itself if people called others by their given names, in lieu of that sir or madam would more than suffice.

it's hard to have these discussions, unless there is a very open mind and heart. i'm sorry but i've found a large segment of people caught in frozen denial to be white. i also have found them to be mostly in the group of "people give words meaning." that can be true, but i was taught what words meant what.

so i think someone would be hard press to create a racist word out of the blue unless they taught others what they felt it meant. once the inside joke breeds across the land then of course you have others whom are called the word getting all bent out of shape. finally someone says but that word didn't mean that, why are you getting bent out of shape over that? words don't hurt people. which is where we are now.

i think people forget the africans didn't speak english, it was forced on them. so did the african's put that much weight on the word or was that weight put on the words by their english owners and very shitty teachers as they were taught them?
( 2 comments — Drop A Feather )