The "View" Debate

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The "View" Debate

Post by Abby » Sat Jul 19, 2008 12:16 pm

On Thursday, a “View” debate between Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Whoopi Goldberg over the Reverend Jesse Jackson’s use of the “N-word” in off air comments on Fox, attracted a lot of headlines.
The above snippet came from Access Hollywood

Now, I was discussing this with my husband, and I feel like first of all, Elisabeth Hasselbeck while probably meant well, I don't think she should have gotten all bent out of shape because I don't think she has the understanding of what the word means, and how it gets used. My issue with this whole thing, is the fact that there seems to be a one way street. It's ok for those in that community to use and refer to themselves as that, but when a white person does it, all hell breaks loose.

Now my thoughts are, if the word is going to be accepted as a "term of endearment" as some articles have suggested people as quoting, then it should be a term that is acceptable to be used by anyone, no matter their race, be them white, Mexican, Asian, whatever. Each race has their own "terms of endearment." for each other, and yet, all sorts of, as my husband called it, "Positive" racism is allowed. If the use of the N word is racist by those not in the African-American community, then WHY should it be allowed to be used at all?

What are your thoughts on this issue?

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Post by Pyrochan » Sat Jul 19, 2008 12:29 pm

I agree, if black people don't want themselves referred to as such by non black people but it's ok for them to refer to each other as such it's just contradictory and hypocritical.
As far as I'm aware the term was first used as a derogatory term anyway, created by white people to describe black people, so why anyone would want to use it in a 'friendly' or 'jesting' way I have no idea.

I mean really I can't talk because I'm white as anything XD but because I'm quite thin, in the past I've been called anorexic (which I'm not) by larger girls, (not fat just girls not as thin as I am) and it hurts, because anorexia is a serious mental condition, and it's horrible to use the term just because someone is thin. I also wouldn't take kindly to someone as thin as I am calling me anorexic either, just because they're thin too it's not a joke.

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Post by Abby » Sat Jul 19, 2008 12:36 pm

So many people have stereotypes for others, its unreal. In your case, Pyrochan, being thin, in our world, there HAS to be something wrong with you, you know? If your thin, your regarded as having an eating disorder, but if your obese, then your accused of not caring about your health.

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with YOU specifically, its the stereotype that others put us all in.

Oh by the way, I'm as white as casper myself...LOL

Oh also, Whoopie Goldberg, when asked why is it different, said because it is... So because whoopi is black its ok, because... thats the way it is? and people in that community get all upset when someone NOT in their community uses the term, and then they are racist. This reminds me of the whole Don Imus incident with the girls on the Rutgers Univeristy team. (While the incident isn't quite the same its within the same ballpark) and he lost his job because of it.

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Post by blue » Sat Jul 19, 2008 12:50 pm

Just for the record: No, the word WASN'T invented to be hurtful, I don't believe. o.O It's the Khemit/Egyptian term for 'God', after a little research, and in earlier years of the US, at least, it was a perfectly acceptable way to refer to someone with dark skin. It was socially acceptable, once upon a time; it's just one of those things that's been warped over the years...
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Post by Landen » Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:29 pm

To be honest, words only hurt you as much as you let them. If you're going to get all bent out of shape over a curse word or the N-word, then that's on you. They're JUST words. Just strings of letters. It only bothers you as much as you allow it to bother you, so black people are just essentially hurting themselves by being bothered by that word. And most of the people who freak out about it, I think, are people who've never known racial discrimination. At least in my area, where black is the majority, it's just hard being WHITE.

... OF COURSE, it all could be like that episode of South Park where they were allowed to say "shit" without being censored and the horses of the apocalypse came down and killed a lot of people. There was a dragon, too. =/
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Post by blue » Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:34 pm

Yeah, I definitely got discriminated against on the train a couple weeks ago, being that Yonkers is such a black area; the conductor came to collect tickets and it turned out the train was an express, didn't stop at my stop...she gave me a REALLY hard time, hard-faced, acted like I was an idiot, and when I floundered INFORMED me of where I had to get off.

She barely even checked the tickets of the two black girls behind me. \: smiled and joked with them, and took her time before moving on. It left me pretty upset.
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Post by Pyrochan » Sat Jul 19, 2008 2:04 pm

I find in places it's almost gone the other way, that black or other racial minorities get all upset if you inavertantly are 'racist' to them but they can call you whatever they want, White Girl, Milk, Snowflake etc and that's not racism apparently.

However I do know that my aunt still says she's going to the 'chinkys' for chinese takeaway, and other such things, it's an age thing I think as well. For them it was socially acceptable even if now it's not.

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Post by Hawke » Sat Jul 19, 2008 5:53 pm

Touchy subject.

First things first: the "N-word" is a corruption/dissolution/ of the word "negro". It was not, originally, meant as a slur. It's just the way the word got pronounced in the south. However, it *did* come to be derogatory and insulting/offensive because of the intent and invective behind the word. Yes, if you are not black and you're throwing the word around, you're going to offend and piss people off. You may not agree with that point of view, but Whoopi's right. It is the way it is.

In much the same way that feminists "took back" the word "bitch" in order to make it less of an attack word, or gays have taken back "fag", blacks have taken back the n-word. There are a *lot* of black folk who don't want *anyone* to say it, feeling that it demeans people no matter the color of the skin of the person using it. It is still used as an insult/invective *within* the community as well. It depends on the context and how it's used.

However, there's a significant population that believes it's "okay" when coming from someone else in the community. Again, it's all about context.

And there's a whole world of context that someone not IN the community will never, ever understand. Which is true of *any* minority population anywhere.
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Post by citizen3 » Sat Jul 19, 2008 6:46 pm

Hawke took the words right out of my mouth.

I think it was Lenny Bruce who started using the "N" word in his stand-up comedy act, explaining that if you use it--and use it a LOT--in a way that is not negative, it starts to lose its power.

WORDS ARE ARBITRARY. Our connotations and intentions aren't. It depends on how a word is used. If a white guy refers to a black guy using the "N" word, intending to be condescending / cruel, it IS offensive. It's about the intentions behind it. Because we're not all psychic mind-readers, it's easy to get offended if someone uses a term that applies to a group they don't belong to--because people don't know their exact intentions. That's why a lot of people get offended.

I'm part of the LGBT community, and refer to myself as "queer" all the time. I'm reclaiming to term :) "Faggot" is more offensive--and hearing heterosexuals say it rubs me the wrong way, because I'm not sure if they're being mean spirited about it or not (usually they are.) But, just like the "N" word, LGBT people are reclaiming "Fag," and have been for a while. (I.e. Scott Thompson from 'The Kids in the Hall'. Used that word all the time on KITH, and he's gay. This was in the '90s, mind you.)

Bottom line: it's about intention, and intentions are easy to misinterpret.

That's my $0.02. :P

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Post by Alya » Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:06 pm

Unfortunately, I come from a racist family (even though I'm not this way myself), so hearing it all the time isn't really new to me. I think the only time I've ever wanted to even say it was to a person who was being an absolute shit, but I kept my mouth shut. Do I get a gold star?

Frankly racial slurs tend to make me giggle because they just sound silly. Seriously, 'Honky'? OH MY GOD I'M A CLOWN -screams- is the first thing that comes to mind. I'm odd. >:

As for 'fag', I call everyone that, though mostly in a joking way. The mom person claims that everyone used to say it, but who knows. People get angry when I say it around them, and I'm just like "Pfff, I wasn't even talking to you." Mmhmm.
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Post by Cally » Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:45 pm

My dad uses the N word when refering to black people in general.. which really annoys me because it sounds like he's using it in a negative/offensive way and I don't like to call people names. But what's also confusing is that he has black friends.. and at least when he talks about them to me he uses the N word too sometimes..

but I don't like any kind of racial slur, I don't use them unless I am beyond pissed at someone of that race or am just throwing out random insults to vent.. but I usually try not to do that because I know it's mean.

I've stopped using the word 'gay' to describe stupid things too..I have a lot of gay friends who don't like the word to be a substitute so I stopped using it for them mostly even though I know it's just a use of the word
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Post by blue » Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:07 pm

Citizen3, "Queer" is actually rapidly becoming the PC term for the gay community. <.< Sorry to burst the bubble. XDXD But that's pretty common. ::shrug.::
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Post by keiradesu » Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:30 pm

I really hate it when people say "You don't understand, you'll never understand." because that is completely untrue. The n-word isn't the ONLY racial slur out there. People called these things all the time, not just black people. I mean, I've been called a "fag" and those kinda funny racist terms for white people before so why can't I relate?
And I totally agree with Landen. If you're going to get hung up on a word then how are you supposed to move forward in the first place. If someone says it to you just be like "sticks and stones" and move on with your life.
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Post by Hawke » Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:34 pm

What I meant, Keira, about not understanding, is that if you're not a part of that community, you won't get how it's okay for people within it to use a word you're not allowed to use.

And, while I dislike any racial slur as well, until you're in a position where you're in the minority and *seriously* being attacked for being so (and yes, it happens to white folk too, I know, it's not the same thing.

If you've been in a situation where someone calling you "fag" or "honky" has made you fear for your safety, then I take that back. If you have, then you understand that at that point, there's no option for thinking that it's sticks and stones. It's real fear.
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Post by keiradesu » Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:29 pm

Hawke wrote:What I meant, Keira, about not understanding, is that if you're not a part of that community, you won't get how it's okay for people within it to use a word you're not allowed to use.
Oh, whoops I didn't know someone commented on that. I'm sorry I only skimmed some of the posts, I wasn't commenting on what you said exactly, sorry if I made you feel that way.
But yes I do see where you are coming from. But I didn't mean that "I" necessarily understand how everyone feels, I just mean that they are not the only people that have to go through that and therefore, other people can understand how they feel and it isn't just them.
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Post by erin » Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:52 am

I dislike any racial slur- why? Because my dad thinks it's socially ok to say them outloud and in public, and I just stand there going "WHY?!?" I mean I know he's from the backcountry and all but that doesn't mean he is anymore- or its acceptable in any way shape or form.

An offensive word is still an offensive word no matter how you say it- as an endearment, or as an insult- its still offensive and you're still going to offend someone if you say it whether its who you're talking too or the surrounding people.

People shouldn't be calling people racial slurs- it just takes you back to a time where it was acceptable on the country level where white people were superior and well- I've never believed that because of skin color or what race you are gives you a right to discriminate or disrespect another race, they're still human no matter what.

So even if you are of the same race, same skin color and you call another person a racial slur- in my eyes it will always BE an insult and not an endearment.
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Post by citizen3 » Sun Jul 20, 2008 3:07 am

blue wrote:Citizen3, "Queer" is actually rapidly becoming the PC term for the gay community. <.< Sorry to burst the bubble. XDXD But that's pretty common. ::shrug.::
Then I've done my job :P

For realz, though--I know homosexual people who are still offended by the term. Others who prefer using it (like me--it's a more vague label than "lesbian" or "bisexual") I think it depends on who you're talking to.

But I digress...

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Post by Abby » Sun Jul 20, 2008 11:10 am

erin wrote:
An offensive word is still an offensive word no matter how you say it- as an endearment, or as an insult- its still offensive and you're still going to offend someone if you say it whether its who you're talking too or the surrounding people.

So even if you are of the same race, same skin color and you call another person a racial slur- in my eyes it will always BE an insult and not an endearment.
That is EXACTLY my feeling too. If the word is considered 'racist' when used by -anyone- NOT in the community, shouldnt it be that way for those using it within the community? I get the whole notion of taking back terms and what not, but WHAT makes this one, when used by someone NOT in the same community, so different? I can safely say I don't BELIEVE i have ever used the term myself, but I can also say, that I wouldn't just randomly say it either because I KNOW what the connotations are. It goes back to any racial slur, "fag" "queer" "Oreo" etc, a word that is considered "racist" should be considered that for EVERYONE it shouldnt be dubbed as something that is acceptable if people within the community can use it. I dont see how a word such as that, or any racial slur, can be a term of endearment. Why not use something else?

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Post by Rami » Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:15 pm

If the N word isn't politcorrect, i think, black people themselves shouldn't use it either. I mean, everyone starts fussing if someone say N*****, but way fewer people get offended or pissed off over the use of term "cracker".

When i just mopved to the us, i found it kind of weird how all the blacks get up in peoples faces for the N word, but yet they use it a hell of a lot more. Plus, i moved here from a place where the N word is totally chill, and the blacks themselves are cool with it. So, if you think of it, the N word isnt a special term or anything, its a name of a color (romanian, italian for what i know) - its same as "black".

i understand it might be hurtful, but people should just really chill with that thing. People do use these words, and they will probably never stop, so why fuss over it like that?
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