Date: Tue, 30 Aug 1994 14:24:40 -0500

From: Lewis Sanborne lsanbore[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]SAUNIX.SAU.EDU

Subject: Re: Racist terms

On 8/30/94 Tom Murray wrote:

Surely ANY descriptive term, used by one person to describe another, is "racist

" if the person so described perceives it as such (?). How can any basis for "

racist terminology" exclude the listener's feelings? And, on the other hand, i

f I call an African-American person a "nigger" and the person isn't offended, h

ave I used "racist" terminology? Can any term be "racist" independent of the p

erceptions of the person it describes? (But no talkshow host, except maybe Phi

l Donahue, would ever pick up on any of this.)

But if we look at a phrase/label like "meanest white person" then we aren't

just refering to the person described. That person is NOT likely to be

offended. However, the label generalized about a larger group. Is it not

racist then because those refered to as the not-white segment of the

population may not be within earshot and so aren't offended? In this case

the listener's feelings aren't relevant.