Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 00:42:35 -0600 From: Tom Head Subject: Re: What does the "n" word mean? (was PC dictionaries) 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 impossible. Ethnic slurs are not like most other expletives, which sound nasty only because they sound nasty; ethnic slurs also have specific targets. Tom Head tlh[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] "The first duty in life is to be as artificial as possible. What the second duty is, no one has yet discovered." -- Oscar Wilde