Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 00:38:08 -0600
From: Greg Pulliam gpulliam[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]CHARLIE.IIT.EDU
Subject: Re: What does the "n" word mean? (was PC dictionaries)
I don't understand how a white person can use the "N" word and it be
offensive and black people can use this word toward each other and it
not be offensive. Maybe someone can explain this phenomenon to me. I
personally do not use this word in any context, but this is something I
just don't understand.
Well, if white guys sit around and call each other rednecks, it's a group
identification thing. If a black guy calls a white guy a redneck, it might
be offensive. If my 15-year-old daughter and her girlfriends sit around
and say "you bitch!" to each other, it's not offensive but a group
identification thing. If one of their male friends calls one of them a
bitch, it will probably be taken as offensive.
It's hard for me to believe that you've never before encountered the
co-opting of a negative term for group identification purposes.
Gregory J. Pulliam
Illinois Institute of Technology
Lewis Department of Humanities
Chicago, IL 60616
gpulliam[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]charlie.cns.iit.edu