Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 10:44:23 -0600 From: Tom Head Subject: Re: What does the "n" word mean? (was PC dictionaries) On Thu, 30 Oct 1997, Dennis R. Preston wrote: > >Ethnic slurs are not like most other expletives, which sound nasty only > >because they sound nasty; ethnic slurs also have specific targets. > > Would you expand on the meaning of 'sound nasty'? It's, ah, technical jargon. That's the ticket! Seriously, the "F" word is offensive in almost any context. The word itself has connotations that are not necessarily deragatory towards specific individuals, but remain nontheless offensive. Ethnic slurs, on the other hand, gain their offensiveness because they have a target. To describe a similar phenomenon, look at Meredith Brooks's song "Bitch". The chorus begins "I'm a bitch, I'm a lover...". If a male vocalist recorded a song called "Bitch" beginning "She's a bitch, she's a lover...", it would be insulting. Why? Because the male vocalist falls outside of the group the slur insults, and the female vocalist does not. In my opinion, the same principle applies to ethnic slurs. 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