Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 08:53:44 -0500
From: "Dennis R. Preston" preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU
Subject: Re: What does the "n" word mean? (was PC dictionaries)
Would you expand on the meaning of 'sound nasty'?
On Thu, 30 Oct 1997, STEPHANIE LYNN KIRK wrote:
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.
People don't usually use slurs on themselves, so the offensive
connotations of the term are stripped when the targets of the term use it.
The terms "Christian" and "Quaker" both originated as slurs, but were
borrowed and defused by the target groups. If a white fellow uses the N
word, history indicates that he probably means it in a racist sense. If
a black fellow uses the N word, a racist meaning would be nearly
Ethnic slurs are not like most other expletives, which sound nasty only
because they sound nasty; ethnic slurs also have specific targets.
tlh[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]netdoor.com
"The first duty in life is to be as artificial as possible.
What the second duty is, no one has yet discovered."
-- Oscar Wilde
Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]pilot.msu.edu