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  #301  
Old 06-02-2020, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
...
Irishman:
Expressing hatred based on a protected trait is not hate speech; expressing something that is percieved as hatred based on a protected trait is hate speech.
Similar to above, I can see this argument and will concede that if true, it follows that both "nigger" and "cunt" should be banned as hate speech. I don't agree on principle because with this definition we can only determine whether a statement is hate speech after-the-fact.
(My emphasis.)

This is always the case with humans because we can't know how another human feels until they tell us (verbally or through other means).

The person who realizes he or she is not the only human in the universe, will listen to the requests of others that certain language be used, or not used. If the request seems reasonable in the context, the person who realizes he or she is not the only person in the universe, will comply with the request.

Over the years I've known two different people who had two things in common: enrolled tribal membership in North American nations, and a strong opinion on what term should be used to refer to such people. One of them felt very strongly that "Native American" was an offensive term, and preferred "American Indian." The other had the reverse view, and held it just as strongly. Neither used the term "hate speech" (that I can recall--this was a bit before that term became widespread). But both had very strongly emotional reactions to the "wrong" term.

Fortunately I didn't know these people at the same period in my life, but during separate periods. So I was able to comply with their requests without any mix-ups.

Did I feel somewhat disturbed by the fact that these views were so inconsistent? Yes. And did I feel that their requests were somewhat subjective, and perhaps a bit unreasonable? At times I did. But I still used the terms each preferred, because my choice---freely made---is to be courteous to others.

We all have the option to make that choice.

For example, when we're angry at someone who happens to be a member of some demographic group, we can craft insults and denunciations that are peculiar to that person---without referring to their group membership at all. This is a real option. To some, such a choice might even seem more creative and thus admirable, than the choice to default to insults based on demographic group membership.

Perhaps you might find this course of action to be worth a try.

Last edited by Sherrerd; 06-02-2020 at 07:29 PM.
  #302  
Old 06-02-2020, 09:27 PM
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I think he just likes writing the n word.
  #303  
Old 06-02-2020, 10:49 PM
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I think he just likes writing the n word.
notalways?
  #304  
Old 06-02-2020, 11:32 PM
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This is always the case with humans because we can't know how another human feels until they tell us (verbally or through other means).

The person who realizes he or she is not the only human in the universe, will listen to the requests of others that certain language be used, or not used. If the request seems reasonable in the context, the person who realizes he or she is not the only person in the universe, will comply with the request.
I appreciate your post, Sherrerd.

I don't personally go around using highly offensive words, especially not after someone tells me how offensive it is to them. I think some may have the impression that I do so - I do not. For me there is a severe disconnect between what passes for normal conversation and the meaning of certain words in real life versus online or out of town, but it only takes a little while to adapt. I am well aware that the words we are discussing are sensitive and offensive to some or even most of the people here, and it is trivial for me to post without using any of them (this particular thread excepted). Outside of the threads about the words themselves, there is no pressing need to allow these words. As you said, there are other ways to deliberately insult individual women and people of color, although I don't see any pressing need to do that either.

What I think I am reading from you is that one can choose to be polite and abstain from using these particularly offensive words. You are correct. So was iiandyiiii. Perhaps even the Pit should have the basic decency to avoid these particular words. Given the scope and purpose of the Pit, I don't think it makes much sense to write this sort of politeness into the rules, but it's not my decision to make. We can agree to disagree.

~Max
  #305  
Old 06-03-2020, 08:07 AM
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Misogyny is, "the hatred of women". "Hatred" is a strong word. I think we sometimes call sexism misogyny, and they aren't the same thing, although the former can certainly stem from the latter.
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  #306  
Old 06-03-2020, 08:45 AM
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Misogyny is, "the hatred of women".
Well, depends what dictionary you use, doesn't it?

Mine says "hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against women or girls", BTW.

And that prescriptivist language pedantry tack doesn't work with e.g. homophobia, why would you think it would be any better with misogyny?
  #307  
Old 06-03-2020, 10:00 PM
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My main argument was that "cunt" isn't necessarily hate speech for the same reason "nigger" isn't necessarily hate speech. I will readily admit that if the one is inherently hate speech, the other must be, but I deny the premise.
And you are fundamentally wrong. Using "nigger" as an epithet is always hate speech. It doesn't matter if the person saying it thinks they are a racist, or if they think they are denigrating a whole class of people in order to insult one, they are being racist and using hate speech. That word does not mean "you are a bad person" - it means "you are one of those bad people".

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If one calls a woman a "cunt", the implication on the speaker's side is that she is meaner or overbearing or otherwise worse than normal women, otherwise what would be the insult? "I respected you as a man before, but now I see you for what you are, a woman with a vulva"? Historically, that could pass for an insult. Today...? I don't think that is what someone means when they call a woman a "cunt". You may recieve that meaning of course, perhaps justifiably so, but that is probably not what the speaker meant.

In my opinion, the word is still offensive because it is used as an insult, not because cultural baggage indicates an insulting and misogynistic connotation. It has lost whatever misogynistic meaning it had, not because of desensitization, but rather the opposite: the word has almost exclusively been used as an insult, and so the historic meaning faded away. People still want to use the word as an insult long after the overt misogyny ceased to be insulting. You are of course free to disagree with me, this is just my opinion.
No. You are off track. Yes, a person using "cunt" as an epithet is addressing a specific person, and may feel that person has particular traits that they find disagreeable. Yes, the word "cunt" is used because it is offensive. And maybe the person using it does not have the intention of denigrating all women. But the thing is, that is how the word is taken. It is denigrating a woman by being a woman and a man for being like a woman.

The problem is that we have an undercurrent of sexism and misogyny in our culture that is unexamined, and that segments of the population are blind to. But when I hear of someone using that word, it reflects to me a level of general misogyny that they then grant exception to certain women in their life. So they won't think of their wife or their mother that way (or maybe they do at times), but they're quick to go there when thinking of other women. This shows their true attitude towards women in general, just like using the n-word shows an underlying attitude toward blacks.


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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
Why do we insult others? I generally think the goal is to hurt them, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. If you approach the situation knowing that the speaker's goal is to hurt his target through invective, doesn't it make sense that the speaker chooses the most hurtful words he can think of? The hypothetical under discussion involves a white man insulting a black man who had punched the white man's wife. He might have said, "Did you just punch my wife, ******?" Those asterisks could be any vulgar word, but I think it is within reason for some people in that situation to pick the n-word just because it is the most hurtful, shocking word they could think of.

The context is one where the norms of civility are already broken down. I am not saying it is okay to walk into a black church and start cursing at people. We're talking about a situation where someone's wife was punched.
If you want to hurt someone for punching your wife, you punch them in the face. People using the most hurtful word they can think of just because it is hurtful are fully aware of what that word means, and what it says about the person using it. It says "I am a racist fucker. Deal with it."


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I think there are multiple issues here. One, I operate under a fundamentally different theory of semantics than you and Riemann. Two, I live in a totally different world than you and Riemann. I don't see an appeal to common sense or the popular opinion convincing me that calling a person "bitch" is necessarily misogynistic hate speech, because that is directly counter to my experience around men and women in real life. People say "bitch" here more than they say "damn".
So think about the word "bitch". Current slang applies it to women and men for being less than you. "I'll make you my bitch." Why? It's taking the epithet of "bitch" applied to women (i.e. the gendered insult) and applying it liberally to anyone to denigrate them. Yes, it is often used to mean a woman is mean or bitter or stuck up. It also inherently has the meaning "you are a woman", either literally or figuratively. As such, it is sexist. Saying "I don't mean all women when I use that word, just specific women" belies that the term is about denigrating women.

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I know it's not like this everywhere but it is very foreign to suggest to me that the word itself is necessarily hate speech. Like saying you don't eat grits, or you have a basement, or you have snow tires, or you are a registered Democrat - these are totally foreign concepts to me.
WTF? If you have that much trouble grasping others are different than you, then no wonder you're clueless on language. Surrender now.


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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
Irishman:
Expressing hatred based on a protected trait is not hate speech; expressing something that is percieved as hatred based on a protected trait is hate speech.
Similar to above, I can see this argument and will concede that if true, it follows that both "nigger" and "cunt" should be banned as hate speech. I don't agree on principle because with this definition we can only determine whether a statement is hate speech after-the-fact.
I don't know how you get that summary for me. Expressing hatred based on a protected trait is hate speech. It doesn't matter if the reason you are expressing hatred is that the person did something to anger you, if that insult is based upon a protected trait, it is hate speech.

And at this point, Max S., I'm really struggling. Given all that is currently going on in our country over George Floyd's death and the exposure of the kind of systemically embedded racism it exemplifies, I am at a loss for this conversation. I find it enrages me to be having to defend that using the n-word is a racial slur, I can only imagine how upsetting it must be to a black person. With that, I find I don't have the stomach to continue this conversation with you.

If you want to try to keep arguing about "bitch" and "cunt", I guess I can keep at it, but let's drop the whole racial line of argument. It is distracting and infuriating.
  #308  
Old 06-04-2020, 02:29 PM
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Yes, the word "cunt" is used because it is offensive. And maybe the person using it does not have the intention of denigrating all women. But the thing is, that is how the word is taken. It is denigrating a woman by being a woman and a man for being like a woman.

The problem is that we have an undercurrent of sexism and misogyny in our culture that is unexamined, and that segments of the population are blind to. But when I hear of someone using that word, it reflects to me a level of general misogyny that they then grant exception to certain women in their life. So they won't think of their wife or their mother that way (or maybe they do at times), but they're quick to go there when thinking of other women. This shows their true attitude towards women in general, just like using the n-word shows an underlying attitude toward blacks.
I acknowledge that these words are taken (by some) to be denigrating to all women. I was only asking, in return, that you recognize that not all people who might insult a woman with "cunt" or "bitch" actually think of most women as inferior or subservient creatures. You are within your rights to make the general assumption that people who use those words are somewhat sexist or misogynist, and I am within my rights to fail to make that general assumption. I might chalk up the difference between us by saying we live in different worlds or cultures, you might just think I'm out of touch with reality. That's all fine by me.

The only thing I was arguing for in the section you quoted was what you conceded right here: "And maybe the person using it does not have the intention of denigrating all women." We don't have to agree with each other about the prevalence of this exception to your rule, but for you to even understand my argument this concession has to be made. I also recognize that this concession does not invalidate your own argument. That's fine, too.
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If you want to hurt someone for punching your wife, you punch them in the face. People using the most hurtful word they can think of just because it is hurtful are fully aware of what that word means, and what it says about the person using it. It says "I am a racist fucker. Deal with it."
I don't think all people put much thought into which offensive word to use, at least I think there are some situations where the person speaks without thinking through the implications of their words. I think this is especially prevalent among those who frequently shout profanities. These are the people who will often realize just what they have communicated after the fact, and then try and apologize if their pride does not cloud their judgement. We can disagree on that - I know very well that this theory of mine just doesn't fly with everybody. It was the opinion of my mother, for example, that "he knows damn well what he said".
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It also inherently has the meaning "you are a woman", either literally or figuratively.
I will disagree on that point, as I have done with Riemann and others. I don't believe words have inherent meaning, and I don't believe meaning is assigned solely by the recieving end. I acknowledge that you or anyone else may interpret a word as meaning "you are a woman and therefore subservient or inferior". I do not agree that the use of these words necessarily implies that the speaker intended to communicate "you are a woman and therefore subservient or inferior". As a counterexample I will use the exact same phrase you used, "you are my bitch". In the mind of the speaker, the intent may not have extended beyond "you are my lapdog" or "you are my servant".

I will once more acknowledge that the speaker's non-misogynist state of mind does not invalidate your argument. But it is critical to my argument, if you are to understand what I am trying to argue.
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If you have that much trouble grasping others are different than you, then no wonder you're clueless on language.
It's not so much that I have trouble grasping that others have different experience than me as much as it is me claiming that I have a different experience than them. What I am saying is that to me, it is not within the realm of common sense to suggest the word "bitch" is necessarily hate speech. The naive argument that "bitch" is obviously misogyny or hate speech strikes me as foreign. There is something here which I do not understand or identify with, which some or all of you take for granted. I am not dismissing your experience nor anybody else's. As evidenced by my participation in this thread, I found the claim interesting and am attempting to make an effort both to understand you and to help you understand me.

Now, I could go ahead and drop my own arguments and simply try to understand instead of pushing my own viewpoint. But honestly, if I saw someone coming into a thread consistently questioning what I thought was common sense and not even trying to present their own viewpoint, I would report it as a troll hijacking the thread.
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I don't know how you get that summary for me. Expressing hatred based on a protected trait is hate speech. It doesn't matter if the reason you are expressing hatred is that the person did something to anger you, if that insult is based upon a protected trait, it is hate speech.
I hope it was a simple misunderstanding on my part. How about this summary of your position:
Expressing hatred based on a protected trait is hate speech; expressing something that is perceived as hatred based on a protected trait is also hate speech.
So if someone calls a woman a "bitch", so long as the intent was to denigrate all women or if the listener perceives the insult as denigrating all women, it is hate speech.

Whereas my argument - which doesn't invalidate yours, but is incompatible - is simply that the intent determines whether or not something is hate speech.

~Max
  #309  
Old 06-04-2020, 02:52 PM
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Whereas my argument - which doesn't invalidate yours, but is incompatible - is simply that the intent determines whether or not something is hate speech.
Here's the difference, it looks like to me. IMO, if someone calls someone by a racial slur, then they're either hateful themselves, or they don't care that lots of other people find that language hurtful and hateful. The second option is basically identical to being hateful, IMO. There's a chance someone's just incredibly ignorant, but in that case a sharp lesson is also appropriate so they can learn not to use such hateful language.
  #310  
Old 06-04-2020, 03:14 PM
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Here's the difference, it looks like to me. IMO, if someone calls someone by a racial slur, then they're either hateful themselves, or they don't care that lots of other people find that language hurtful and hateful. The second option is basically identical to being hateful, IMO.
Hateful of a class of people based on a protected trait, mind you. Most insults are hateful or at least contemptuous.

In my opinion, the someone you describe above could also just be an insensitive blockhead. Maybe you don't make the distinction, but I do. I am hesitant to lump together the speech of a literal Nazi disparaging a Jew with someone who disparages Hillary Clinton. I'm not going to accuse the latter of being a misogynist or spewing hate speech. The charge of hate speech, in my opinion, is too grave for the offense committed. It is possible that this person is a misogynist - there are many Clinton-hating misogynists - but it is in no way implied, in my opinion.

~Max
  #311  
Old 06-04-2020, 03:20 PM
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Hateful of a class of people based on a protected trait, mind you. Most insults are hateful or at least contemptuous.

In my opinion, the someone you describe above could also just be an insensitive blockhead. Maybe you don't make the distinction, but I do. I am hesitant to lump together the speech of a literal Nazi disparaging a Jew with someone who disparages Hillary Clinton. I'm not going to accuse the latter of being a misogynist or spewing hate speech. The charge of hate speech, in my opinion, is too grave for the offense committed. It is possible that this person is a misogynist - there are many Clinton-hating misogynists - but it is in no way implied, in my opinion.

~Max
But being an insensitive blockhead can still be hateful towards a race or gender. There were tons of white people in the 50s and 60s who probably didn't personally bear ill will towards black people, but they opposed the civil rights movement, because it inconvenienced them, or because of their own ignorance, or other flaws. They were being hateful by rhetorically aiding hate, even if they were doing so by being merely "insensitive blockheads".

I think you're letting folks like that off too easy. I don't condemn them to moral bankruptcy forever -- I challenge them. "You are being utterly horrible and you should change!" is what I'm saying (not to you, but to this hypothetical slur-user). Not the extremely mild "you're being insensitive!". No -- "you're aiding and abetting hate, in a small but still real way, even just with a single epithet".

Going easy on them isn't going to change them. Maybe you can have a calm and rational discussion with them, explaining why this is bad... and that's okay sometimes. Maybe it works sometimes. But so can challenging them harshly, with sharp rhetorical lessons.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 06-04-2020 at 03:21 PM.
  #312  
Old 06-04-2020, 03:36 PM
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But being an insensitive blockhead can still be hateful towards a race or gender. There were tons of white people in the 50s and 60s who probably didn't personally bear ill will towards black people, but they opposed the civil rights movement, because it inconvenienced them, or because of their own ignorance, or other flaws. They were being hateful by rhetorically aiding hate, even if they were doing so by being merely "insensitive blockheads".

I think you're letting folks like that off too easy. I don't condemn them to moral bankruptcy forever -- I challenge them. "You are being utterly horrible and you should change!" is what I'm saying (not to you, but to this hypothetical slur-user). Not the extremely mild "you're being insensitive!". No -- "you're aiding and abetting hate, in a small but still real way, even just with a single epithet".

Going easy on them isn't going to change them. Maybe you can have a calm and rational discussion with them, explaining why this is bad... and that's okay sometimes. Maybe it works sometimes. But so can challenging them harshly, with sharp rhetorical lessons.
Maybe we live in different worlds, but I have always thought to accuse someone of racism is to ask for a fight. You don't go around telling people they are closet racists or you get punched in the gut. "What the fuck did you just call me? Are you saying I'm a fucking racist?" Doesn't matter what ethnicity you're speaking to - in my experience, an accusation of racism is taken as seriously as an accusation of Naziism. Racism is the ultimate evil. There is a world of difference between you are insensitive or ignorant, and you are a racist. Yes, people even use "racist" as an insult under the same theory as I have been pushing throughout the thread.

I see what you are saying, and under different circumstances I could imagine myself agreeing. But as it is, I cannot.

~Max
  #313  
Old 06-04-2020, 04:20 PM
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Maybe we live in different worlds, but I have always thought to accuse someone of racism is to ask for a fight. You don't go around telling people they are closet racists or you get punched in the gut. "What the fuck did you just call me? Are you saying I'm a fucking racist?" Doesn't matter what ethnicity you're speaking to - in my experience, an accusation of racism is taken as seriously as an accusation of Naziism. Racism is the ultimate evil. There is a world of difference between you are insensitive or ignorant, and you are a racist. Yes, people even use "racist" as an insult under the same theory as I have been pushing throughout the thread.

I see what you are saying, and under different circumstances I could imagine myself agreeing. But as it is, I cannot.

~Max
Racism isn't "the ultimate evil" -- it's an everyday fact of life for millions. It's very bad, but so is greed. So is laziness. So is selfishness. So is carelessness. "You're being racist" is the same kind of challenge to get better as "you're being lazy" or "you're being selfish". The difference, IMO, is that racism is much more about conscious choice and "nurture" than the others. So it should be a lot easier to change. Maybe some folks are inherently lazy or selfish by nature... but no one is inherently racist. That shit is taught, which is why we should focus so much on teaching folks how wrong and harmful it is. Even just the rhetorical parts.
  #314  
Old 06-04-2020, 04:51 PM
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Racism isn't "the ultimate evil" -- it's an everyday fact of life for millions. It's very bad, but so is greed. So is laziness. So is selfishness. So is carelessness. "You're being racist" is the same kind of challenge to get better as "you're being lazy" or "you're being selfish". The difference, IMO, is that racism is much more about conscious choice and "nurture" than the others. So it should be a lot easier to change. Maybe some folks are inherently lazy or selfish by nature... but no one is inherently racist. That shit is taught, which is why we should focus so much on teaching folks how wrong and harmful it is. Even just the rhetorical parts.
The ultimate evil was hyperbole on my part, but your point about conscious choice is key. If the person you are talking to hears "you have made the conscious choice to be misogynistic/hateful/lazy/selfish", I would expect - in most contexts - that the well is dark with poison.

I don't want this to be an extended debate on the definition of hate speech though, similar to how others pointed out that they don't appreciate the debate on racism. For the purposes of this thread I think you and I understand each other's positions.

~Max
  #315  
Old 06-04-2020, 04:56 PM
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Max, I have had good interactions with you in the past here, and I do believe you are arguing in good faith. I wrestled with some of these questions myself before adopting the views I hold today -- I'm sure that's true of many of us whose views don't align with their parents'. So I understand where you are coming from.

Try thinking of it this way. Let's say I use a term to insult you -- a term like "retarded" or "cocksucker" or "bitch". In order to understand why using these terms is insulting to disabled people, homosexuals, or women, you have to reflect inwards: why are we using these terms to insult someone in the first place? If I call someone "bitch", and I hold no overt sexism in my heart, I still have to examine my actions and wonder: why is it that I consider the term insulting in the first place? And therein lies the rub. When you call a man a "bitch" it's usually because you are implying he's weak, beneath you -- like a woman would be. When you call a woman a "bitch", it's because she's assertive; a man acting like a woman who would be described as a "bitch" is respected. Why is that? Because our society views a woman's proper place as submissive, and a woman who isn't complying is a "bitch".

Same goes with calling someone a "cocksucker", like the incident that recently happened on this board. Maybe you don't overtly hate gays, but you if you use "cocksucker" as an insult it shows that you think the implication that one is homosexual is inherently insulting.

Imagine if people on the board started using the term "Max S." as an insult. Every time someone does something stupid, other posters would say "quit being such a Max S!". Wouldn't that lead you to think that the posters who do this don't think very highly of you?
  #316  
Old 06-04-2020, 06:08 PM
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...Whereas my argument - which doesn't invalidate yours, but is incompatible - is simply that the intent determines whether or not something is hate speech.
Let's look at that question of 'intent of the speaker' a little more closely:


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I acknowledge that these words are taken (by some) to be denigrating to all women. I was only asking, in return, that you recognize that not all people who might insult a woman with "cunt" or "bitch" actually think of most women as inferior or subservient creatures.
If a woman behaves in a way that you consider rude, and you say "you are a bitch" or "you are a cunt," you have failed to say 'what is wrong with you is that you are rude.' Instead, what you have said is 'what is wrong with you is that you are a woman.'

If a woman behaves in a way that you consider selfish, and you say "you are a bitch" or "you are a cunt," you have failed to say 'what is wrong with you is that you are selfish.' Instead, what you have said is 'what is wrong with you is that you are a woman.'

If a woman behaves in a way that you consider strident or overbearing, and you say "you are a bitch" or "you are a cunt," you have failed to say 'what is wrong with you is that you are strident and overbearing.' Instead, what you have said is 'what is wrong with you is that you are a woman.'

The intent of someone making a comeback or counterattack can be seen in the choice of comeback or counterattack.

If the insult used against a woman is to declare that she is a woman---not that she is a person who exhibits particular offensive traits (such as rudeness or hypocrisy or whatever)---but that she is a woman---then the intent of the person making the insult is clear. It is to declare that there is something wrong with being a woman.

You can use any sophistic argument you please, but you can't escape the obvious fact that in defending the use of "bitch" and "cunt," you are defending misogyny.




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... So if someone calls a woman a "bitch", so long as the intent was to denigrate all women or if the listener perceives the insult as denigrating all women, it is hate speech.
If someone calls a woman a "bitch," the intent is always to denigrate all women.
  #317  
Old 06-04-2020, 06:14 PM
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Max, I have had good interactions with you in the past here, and I do believe you are arguing in good faith. I wrestled with some of these questions myself before adopting the views I hold today -- I'm sure that's true of many of us whose views don't align with their parents'. So I understand where you are coming from.
Thanks, hopefully I come out the better for it.
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Originally Posted by Babale View Post
Try thinking of it this way. Let's say I use a term to insult you -- a term like "retarded" or "cocksucker" or "bitch". In order to understand why using these terms is insulting to disabled people, homosexuals, or women, you have to reflect inwards: why are we using these terms to insult someone in the first place? If I call someone "bitch", and I hold no overt sexism in my heart, I still have to examine my actions and wonder: why is it that I consider the term insulting in the first place? And therein lies the rub. When you call a man a "bitch" it's usually because you are implying he's weak, beneath you -- like a woman would be. When you call a woman a "bitch", it's because she's assertive; a man acting like a woman who would be described as a "bitch" is respected. Why is that? Because our society views a woman's proper place as submissive, and a woman who isn't complying is a "bitch".
I won't deny that the history of the word going back through the ages is intertwined with sexism. But at the same time I think your generalizations are too broad. Two counterexamples for your thoughts:

It is not nonsensical to say "quit being such a bitch" to a woman (or girl) who is acting scared or shy or indecisive. Here the unspoken statement is that the woman is a bitch because she is acting scared/shy/indecisive. But it is still an insult to call her a bitch, which no doubt contributes to the speaker's choice of that particular word. Why is it still an insult?

It is not nonsensical to say, "watch out for X, he's a real bitch when it comes to Y" and refer to his assertive nature. The unspoken statement is that X is a bitch because he is too assertive or overbearing. But it is still an insult to call him a bitch in this context, hence why the speaker chose that particular word. Why is it still an insult?

Are the speakers in these examples simply confused in their understanding of the word "bitch"? Are these sentences nonsensical to you? If I look in my dictionary the literal definitions of "bitch" are not actually gender-exclusive.
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Originally Posted by Babale View Post
Same goes with calling someone a "cocksucker", like the incident that recently happened on this board. Maybe you don't overtly hate gays, but you if you use "cocksucker" as an insult it shows that you think the implication that one is homosexual is inherently insulting.
Au contraire, it is an insult to call a woman a cocksucker and it is an insult to call a man or woman a motherfucker. I will not contest the reality that people attach a homophobic undercurrent to "cocksucker", but neither do I believe choosing the word as an insult necessarily implies any intention to disparage homosexuals. My theory is that many insults are used just because they are known to be insulting.
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Originally Posted by Babale View Post
Imagine if people on the board started using the term "Max S." as an insult. Every time someone does something stupid, other posters would say "quit being such a Max S!". Wouldn't that lead you to think that the posters who do this don't think very highly of you?
It would lead me to think posters don't think very highly of me, but not for the reasons I suspect you anticipate. First, there is a lot of leeway for fun pokes at me and my name. You can make a pun out of my name that reads "Max Asian" or "Sax Men" (sex men). I got over that stuff in grade school, and besides sometimes it's funny. You would have to go far beyond juvenile humor into something approaching harassment before it disturbs me. It would be the persistence in the face of my requests to cut it out that makes me think others don't think highly of me.

Nevertheless this agrees with my theory. The name "Max S." would be insulting, not necessarily because Max S. is actually stupid, but rather because it acquired status as a word for people who do stupid things. Maybe I actually did something stupid which prompted the use of my name. It doesn't follow that everything I do is stupid, and it would take a lot to transform some sort of in-joke insult over my one stupid act into harassment of me as a person.

~Max
  #318  
Old 06-04-2020, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
I acknowledge that these words are taken (by some) to be denigrating to all women. I was only asking, in return, that you recognize that not all people who might insult a woman with "cunt" or "bitch" actually think of most women as inferior or subservient creatures. You are within your rights to make the general assumption that people who use those words are somewhat sexist or misogynist, and I am within my rights to fail to make that general assumption.
I will grant you that not everyone who uses those words intends misogyny, that they might not themselves think of women as inferior or subservient. I think there is more of that than people acknowledge, even to themselves. But that's not my point. My point is that the language itself is misogynistic. To not be aware of that is okay, but once you become aware of it, then you have the choice of making a change in your use of words or continuing knowing the message it conveys.

It's like the example dropped in this very thread about "He Jewed me down." It's reasonable to accept someone uses that phrase innocently, not thinking about what it means and just using it because that's what they've heard all their lives. But that does not make the phrase less racist. And having that pointed out to you shouldn't be a moment of "are you calling me a racist?", but one of "Oh, I didn't know that was racist, I'll stop using it."

Quote:
I don't think all people put much thought into which offensive word to use, at least I think there are some situations where the person speaks without thinking through the implications of their words. I think this is especially prevalent among those who frequently shout profanities. These are the people who will often realize just what they have communicated after the fact, and then try and apologize if their pride does not cloud their judgement.
I acknowledge there are, unfortunately, people who look at arguments as a case of who can say the meanest thing wins. Do you really think there are people so nave out there that they don't realize the meaning of using the n-word? If they know the word is hateful to blacks, they know why it is hateful to blacks, and the choice to use it conveys more than "I hate you", it conveys the whole power dynamic of "I'm white and have all the power and you're black and do not."

Okay, there are people who spout curse words without giving them consideration. If you're comfortable dropping the n-word, then you are either a racist or okay being perceived as racist to make the other person feel bad. Because you're already comfortable using that word. If you are not a racist, you eliminate that word from your vocabulary, including as a curse word. If that word is what spews out of your mouth when you are angry, then you are carrying around those ideas in your head. Anger doesn't make you choose words out of the air, it pulls out the language you have in your common use.

Quote:
I will once more acknowledge that the speaker's non-misogynist state of mind does not invalidate your argument. But it is critical to my argument, if you are to understand what I am trying to argue.
A person may not intend misogyny, but it is still misogynist language.

Quote:
I hope it was a simple misunderstanding on my part. How about this summary of your position:
Expressing hatred based on a protected trait is hate speech; expressing something that is perceived as hatred based on a protected trait is also hate speech.
So if someone calls a woman a "bitch", so long as the intent was to denigrate all women or if the listener perceives the insult as denigrating all women, it is hate speech.

Whereas my argument - which doesn't invalidate yours, but is incompatible - is simply that the intent determines whether or not something is hate speech.
I accept there is a distinction between someone using that language to intentionally express misogyny, and not intending misogyny. The point is the language is still misogynist. The point is to make people aware of how hateful the language is, to get rid of the unexamined embedded misogyny in our culture by pointing it out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
Maybe we live in different worlds, but I have always thought to accuse someone of racism is to ask for a fight. You don't go around telling people they are closet racists or you get punched in the gut. "What the fuck did you just call me? Are you saying I'm a fucking racist?" Doesn't matter what ethnicity you're speaking to - in my experience, an accusation of racism is taken as seriously as an accusation of Naziism.
Funny, my experience with people who drop the n-word is that they are comfortable being called a racist. If someone is that offended to be thought of as a racist, they desperately need the wakeup call of having their racism pointed out.

"Are you calling me a racist?" "Well, you certainly say some racist things."

----
I know I said I didn't want to continue the topic. I'm weak.
  #319  
Old 06-04-2020, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Sherrerd View Post
If the insult used against a woman is to declare that she is a woman---not that she is a person who exhibits particular offensive traits (such as rudeness or hypocrisy or whatever)---but that she is a woman---then the intent of the person making the insult is clear. It is to declare that there is something wrong with being a woman.
I appreciate you laying out your thinking here, but it is plausible to me that the word "bitch" might just be a derogatory term for women (or men). I see no need for someone to specify which particular attributes make a woman into a "bitch", certainly not every time they use the word. In the absence of articulated rationale for using the insult, I see no reason to assume the speaker intends to insult the woman on behalf of her being a woman.

After all, the statement "I hate you" is not necessarily considered misogynist when addressed to a woman. The speaker has failed to specify why he or she hates the woman, yet we do not assume the hatred is based on sex. Consider also "You need to get that fixed". It's a very mean sentence. You could substitute that phrase for any of your examples. But it does not specify what specifically needs to be "fixed". It would be improper to assume the speaker thinks the addressee is the wrong sex. The intent of the speaker is not clear, other than that he or she thinks something is wrong with the addressee.

"You are a bitch" and "you are a cunt" does not clearly convey the intent of the speaker, at least not to the point where we can rule for or against misogyny. I think you are jumping the gun by assuming the speaker intends to insult based on sex. It could be misogyny, but it is not necessarily so. What was meant, that I am sure of, was "you are a person-worthy-of-insult". Depending on context there might be more meaning to uncover, or there might not be. Of course, the woman being insulted is free to glean whatever specific meaning she finds appropriate, as are you and I.

~Max
  #320  
Old Yesterday, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Irishman View Post
It's like the example dropped in this very thread about "He Jewed me down." It's reasonable to accept someone uses that phrase innocently, not thinking about what it means and just using it because that's what they've heard all their lives. But that does not make the phrase less racist. And having that pointed out to you shouldn't be a moment of "are you calling me a racist?", but one of "Oh, I didn't know that was racist, I'll stop using it."
No, no. I think you've somehow forgotten that we are talking about intentional use of sensitive words as insults. You can leave good faith ignorance out of this conversation. In a normal debate or any other polite conversation, if someone says you are hurting them, you don't argue or ask what it means to hurt, you just move off their feet. (Meta-conversations such as this one excepted - in law they might issue an injunction until the meta is sorted out)

I'm talking about... what phrase did I use... "Insensitive blockheads." Imagine there is a random thread in the Pit. Insensitive blockhead says, "X is a *****". Some woman member says, "Hey, I'm sick of seeing you call people that. Please stop. It is an incredibly offensive and misogynist word." What do you think the response would be? "No, it's not misogynist to call people *****, you oversensitive *****." Blockheads because they don't care that you think the word is misogynist, they don't and that's that. Insensitive because they don't care that it hurts you.

Now, I almost got hooked on the "we really don't want this kind of toxicity anyways" argument. That one is, in my opinion, the best out of all the supporting arguments in this thread. Much better than the hate speech route. But the way I see it, the Pit is like a vent for those who would otherwise explode all over the forums. When something devolves into pointless insult-slinging anywhere else in the forums, I have always thought of it as, 'you two, to the Pit.' If you don't want exposure to dirty words, why roll around in the Pit to begin with? If the rest of the board is operating under the Marquess of Queensberry Rules, the Pit is supposed to be no-holds-barred, or something approaching that. If you have a bone to pick, if you have something to rant about, if you just feel like participating in a shouting match, schadenfreude, etc.

Granted, I am new and it's not up to me to decide what the purpose of the Pit is.
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Originally Posted by Irishman View Post
Do you really think there are people so nave out there that they don't realize the meaning of using the n-word? If they know the word is hateful to blacks, they know why it is hateful to blacks, and the choice to use it conveys more than "I hate you", it conveys the whole power dynamic of "I'm white and have all the power and you're black and do not."
Same as above, I think you've forgotten that we were talking about deliberate insults. No naivette required, only blockheadedness. I had given an ad-hoc definition something along the lines of "you are lesser than me" or "you are a black person who is lesser than me". I don't want to drag you into another extended discussion about this after three members left the thread and even you've sworn off the topic.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishman View Post
A person may not intend misogyny, but it is still misogynist language.
According to the judgement of whoever reads it, yes, it is possible. We'll explore this shortly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishman View Post
I accept there is a distinction between someone using that language to intentionally express misogyny, and not intending misogyny. The point is the language is still misogynist. The point is to make people aware of how hateful the language is, to get rid of the unexamined embedded misogyny in our culture by pointing it out.
My position, should you wish to understand it, is that it is not hateful language if the intent is gone. It could still be misogynist language but that would be equivocating on the term misogynist language, which I have taken to mean misogynist hate speech. If your goal here is to get rid of misogynist language which is not hate speech, we would be having a totally different debate.

That being said, I want to preemptively counter an objection you might have:

'Max, say your way wins out. You've got Pit threads littered with "bitch" and "cunt". A reasonable person might go in there and be disgusted by misogynist hate speech, but at the same time you can't reasonably say that any poster intended to come across as misogynists.'

I will show that this is an impossible situation. I don't want the Pit to become some sort of safe-haven for misogynists who hide behind a fig leaf of perpetual naivette. I'm fine with mods exercising their discretion when someone claims to be naive.

Pretend you are mod in the Pit. You come across a post which uses the forbidden words. Is it possible for you to at once find this post to be misogynist hate speech (my def.), and simultaneously that the poster's intent non-misogynist? Yes, it is. Now let's rule out naivette. Is it still possible to find the post to be misogynist hate speech and simultaneously that the poster had non-misogynist intent? No, it is not.

Think of it this way. Under my argument, it's only "misogynist hate speech" or "misogynist language" when the speaker intended to convey hatred of women. The only way a reasonable person might classify a post as misogynist hate speech when the poster intended otherwise is if the poster made some naive mistake, as in the "Jew them down" example.

Let's look at (fictional) examples, following my blueprint:
  • In a thread about mall shopping, out of the blue, "Stop by Starbucks. Bitches love Starbucks."
    I think it's intentional. The implication is that all women are bitches.
  • Same thread. "Some girls just like wasting your money on useless stuff. Watch out for those bitches, pay cash if necessary."
    Not misogynist intent. In context, "bitches" is a subset of "girls" who "like wasting your money", which is not a protected trait.
  • After linking the mayor's decision to reopen L.A. a post reads, "She's a stupid cunt."
    Not necessarily misogynist intent. Why is she a stupid cunt? It could be because she is a woman (protected trait, therefore misogynist intent). It could also be because of her decision (not protected trait, not misogynist intent).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishman View Post
Funny, my experience with people who drop the n-word is that they are comfortable being called a racist.
It must be different where I live.

~Max
  #321  
Old Yesterday, 07:38 AM
Babale is online now
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Max -- focus on your third example. If you disagree with someone's decisions you may call that person stupid, so the "stupid" insult likely comes from there.

What about her actions led you to the word "cunt" in this hypothetical, other than her gender?
  #322  
Old Yesterday, 10:35 AM
Max S. is offline
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Originally Posted by Babale View Post
Max -- focus on your third example. If you disagree with someone's decisions you may call that person stupid, so the "stupid" insult likely comes from there.

What about her actions led you to the word "cunt" in this hypothetical, other than her gender?
That is a good point, but I don't believe the redundancy of using two insults implies two separate things are behind each insult. Compare "you stupid idiot". In your "but-for" analysis, you need to ask "but-for his hatred of all women, would he have used those words?" and not "but-for the fact that the mayor is a woman, would he have used those words?"

~Max
  #323  
Old Yesterday, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
That is a good point, but I don't believe the redundancy of using two insults implies two separate things are behind each insult. Compare "you stupid idiot". In your "but-for" analysis, you need to ask "but-for his hatred of all women, would he have used those words?" and not "but-for the fact that the mayor is a woman, would he have used those words?"

~Max
You don't have to hate women or be a misogynist in order to do misogynistic things, though.
  #324  
Old Yesterday, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
"You are a bitch" and "you are a cunt" does not clearly convey the intent of the speaker, at least not to the point where we can rule for or against misogyny.

Your claim here is unsupported, and, I believe, quite false.



"You are stupid" conveys the message 'there is something wrong with your intelligence.'

"You are selfish" conveys the message 'there is something wrong with your conduct which demonstrates self-absorption.'

"You are arrogant and entitled" conveys the message 'there is something wrong with being overbearing.'

"You are a cunt" and "you are a bitch" convey the message 'you are female, or acting like a female, and there is something wrong with that.'

It would appear that you like having the option of policing others by either labeling them as female, or comparing them to females, and that the benefit to you of so doing is the negative connotations involved in either being female or being like a female. And you will continue to defend this practice.

But if you make unsupported claims, you have to expect that this will be noted.

(my emphasis in the quote)
  #325  
Old Yesterday, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
"You are a bitch" and "you are a cunt" does not clearly convey the intent of the speaker, at least not to the point where we can rule for or against misogyny.
Once again, this is the heart of your (astonishing) failure to grasp the way language works. Meaning is contained in the words themselves, not in the intent.

Again, consider that I have had a stroke, and that the language center of my brain has been rewired so that I now think the word "blue" means the color yellow. Suppose I now say "The banana is blue." My intent was to say that the banana is yellow. Is it really your belief that I have described the color of the banana accurately?

That's preposterous on its face. The Monty Python phrasebook comes to mind. If someone intends to ask for half a pound of butter, but the sentence that comes out of their mouth is "Your hovercraft is full of eels", is it really your contention that they asked for half a pound of butter, because that was their intent?

The meaning of words is defined objectively by cultural consensus, not by subjective intent. You cannot strip away the semantic content of the word "cunt" by intending to use it to mean something else.
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