Date: Tue, 10 Sep 1996 11:50:37 +0900


Subject: Re: "Ami"

Only my best freinds (in fact, usually only other Hungarians) ever call me

a Hunkey.

I don't think many of us in the ADS ever thought of Dennis Preston as "hunky" before, but then I

learn something new every day.

I do agree with what he is saying here though about slurs being used among friends.

In Japan, the term "gaijin" (which technically is just a word for "foreigner") is held by many

gaijin and many Japanese as well to be derogatory. Although I refer to myself as a gaijin

sometimes, I am particularly fond of being referred to in this way by strangers. Some of my

close Japanese friends may refer to me in this way, but then that is the point here. I remember

an incident when I first came to Japan and was running around with a mixed crew of Japanese and

Americans. At a noisy party one night, one of the Americans yelled out "Jap" at one of the

Japanese guests. The room got really quiet for a second, until that person shot back with

"gaijin". After this, there was a feeling that now all of us in the group had crossed a line; we

could insult each other (and get away with it) as only friends could.

It doesn't surprise me that Jason Wilke doesn't find derogatory a term which others do, or that

he doesn't mind referring to himself in this way. After all, I have heard African-Americans

referring to themselves (in jest, as a defense mechanism, etc.) as "nigger". And it was "queers"

and "dykes" (not heterosexuals) who formed groups like Queer Nation and Dykes on Bikes. Does

that mean that it's okay for everyone else to use these insulting and just down-right mean

words? Of course not. It seems to me that if SOME people find a term that's used to describe

them derogatory, then that's good enough reason to consider them to be so.

Danny Long, full-time gaijin

Dennis R. Preston wrote:

I find it somewhat odd that Jason Wilke keeps trying to convince us that a

term (in this case German 'Ami' for 'American') lacks any negative

connotations by emphasizing the degree of trust, closeness, and friendship

that exists between him and those who use this term on him. For me, that is

a pretty good sign that it probably does have negative connotations.

Only my best freinds (in fact, usually only other Hungarians) ever call me

a Hunkey.

This is surely a commonplace in slurs of all sorts.

Dennis Preston