May 2019
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slurs are still very harmful when they are aimed at a situation/action/thing instead of a person


icon: "passionate (a red stylized gas mask: the Benjamin Gate symbol)"

What does it mean to use a slur?

a slur is a word with derogatory meaning which gets its negative connotation from the 'undesirability' of a group of people. It's a word used to mean 'bad' because it refers to a group of people who are labeled 'bad' by society. It doesn't matter if it is being used against a person or not; it is still a slur. Slurs still cause harm when they are used about situations or actions, because they're still reinforcing the idea that a certain group of people is less worthy. The logic train is mostly subconscious, but it works like this: someone says "this situation is gay" and the implication is "this situation is bad like gay people are bad." If you said a situation was shitty, that would have no meaning if people didn't assume that shit was something unpleasant and unwanted.

So, if someone calls a situation 'gay' or an action 'st*pid' or a thing 'cr*zy' when they find the situation/action/thing upsetting and undesirable, they're (unintentionally) implying that anyone who is put in those categories is also upsetting and undesirable just for existing. When someone uses the word 'b*tching' to mean 'complaining' they are reinforcing misogyny. When someone uses the word 'id*ocy' to mean 'selfish evil' they are reinforcing ableism. (I see that last one so often in people speaking against oppression, and it fucking burns) Etc.

So please, don't call your actions st*pid, or use other slurs to describe things, situations, or actions. Usually what you mean is "illogical" or "thoughtless" or "careless" or "clumsy" anyway -- be more creative! be more accurate! Just take slurs out of your vocabulary completely. There is no acceptable way to use a slur.*

I can't be friends with people who use slurs. When I say I can't deal with this, I don't mean I can't deal with people who call names. That's a problem too, but it is WAY less common. I mean, every time you use these words in ANY WAY AT ALL it stabs me in the soul and there is only so much of that that I can take.

[this is also inversely true.]
This is also inversely true (calling people 'fit' when you mean you find them attractive is fatphobic and saying 'be a man' when you mean 'be brave' is misogynistic, etc) but that's a next-level analysis and at least it doesn't involve slurs. I don't like it but I can tolerate it. it's more like you gave me a hard finger-jab in the soul rather than stabbing.


*except for reclaiming: that is, society puts you in a group labeled with a slur, and you self-identify with that as a way of rejecting the stigma. For instance, I have reclaimed the word "fat" and use it as a self-label. I do not ever use it to mean something negative.

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Comments
muggles
meri_sielu ══╣muggles╠══
I wholey agree on the use of slurs as being unacceptable, I have tried very, very hard to eliminate words such as 'gay', 'retarded' etc from my language because they were picked up just from the use of slang and subconsiciously I used to use them as a teenager and not really give much thought to how much hurt it could cause. Of course now I know and I wouldn't ever use those words either in public, out loud, in my private thoughts or in my journal. That's a given and anyone who does still use them, I personally think, is being willfully ignorant.

As for things like 'mad', 'crazy', 'stupid'... the more 'innocent' ones.... well they are a lot harder to remove. That's not to say someone shouldn't try but the English language comes with a lot of double meanings and possibilities. For example the last time I used 'stupid' I was describing something that I did to injure myself that was genuinely absolutely the most ridiculous thing I have ever done to myself and I caused myself unnecessary pain through my own actions. I don't think it's wrong to berate myself in that way if the action was well and truly that unfortunate. I really don't think anyone still calls being who are less intellectual than others or have learning difficulties stupid anymore unless they are absolute assholes. In a way that word has shifted from that connotation if that makes sense? I am not denying that it hurts individuals however... if I am aware that my language in that sense hurts someone on my friends list or that I know then I will make more effort not to use those words as I have been trying to do.
honesty
belenen ══╣honesty╠══
I don't think it is wrong to berate yourself, but using the word "stupid" to do so is like using the word "retarded" to do so. People with cognitive disabilities are abused and treated as lesser, but they are not unfortunate for their disability.

I really don't think anyone still calls being who are less intellectual than others or have learning difficulties stupid anymore unless they are absolute assholes. In a way that word has shifted from that connotation if that makes sense?

This makes sense logically but is quite untrue. I think that without the experiences of having cognitive disabilities, all we can do is listen to those who do have those. A lot of times people know that it isn't acceptable to be overtly cruel to oppressed people so they only do it when they are not likely to be seen by people who would judge them for it (as I imagine you would and I certainly would). The problem is that stupid is really closely associated with a group of oppressed people. Not only does it reinforce in the prejudiced people's minds that to be cognitively impaired is to be inherently lesser, it can be triggering to people who were literally beaten while having that word hurled at them.

I think that it is excellent that even if something doesn't seem logical to you, you are willing to make the effort for others, just to keep from hurting them. I really appreciate this. So many people are like "I think you're wrong so I'm gonna keep doing this" instead of "I'm not convinced, but it's a small effort so I'll change just in case."
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.