Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01-04-2019, 06:03 AM
Blalron Blalron is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 6,319
The recent taboo of using the N-word under ANY circumstances

I'm 34, and as long as I can remember the "N word" was considered an inappropriate racial slur to direct at someone. But I've noticed there's been a recent trend whereby it can't be used under ANY circumstances, regardless of the context. Even if you are quoting a White Supremacist in order to thoroughly condemn him, you are still guilty if you merely utter those words. If you are an English teacher, you are treading on thin ice if you quote certain passages from Huckleberry Finn.

I don't think this is a positive development at all. It seems like a symptom of a moral panic, the secular equivalent of a blasphemy law. Intent and context should matter.
  #2  
Old 01-04-2019, 07:42 AM
iiandyiiii's Avatar
iiandyiiii iiandyiiii is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 31,886
I don't think what you've noticed is accurate in a wider context. And you're mixing up "using" a word and "mentioning" a word. You're using the word if you're calling someone an insulting ethnic slur. You're mentioning the word if you're quoting someone else (assuming you have good reason to do so) or describing something that should definitely not be said, or similar.
  #3  
Old 01-04-2019, 07:54 AM
Odesio Odesio is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Posts: 11,399
When we read Huck Finn in 10th grade my teacher wouldn't use the word herself while reading passages from the book. As a graduate student one of my projects was on lynching and while I used the word when quoting in papers I didn't generally speak the word out loud. But then it's one of the three words I was raised never to utter so no matter the context it just feels weird to say it.
__________________
I can be found in history's unmarked grave of discarded ideologies.
  #4  
Old 01-04-2019, 07:58 AM
Mijin's Avatar
Mijin Mijin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 8,688
Actually I'd agree with the OP but don't think it's unique in that respect. There are a number of pejoratives and slurs in English that many people are uncomfortable saying; even when it's just quoting something that someone said. Plenty of times you'll hear people say "the C-word" or "a MF" in contexts where swearing would be OK but still it's just not something you want to voice.

And it's the same with other languages IME.

Probably, in English, nigger is right at the top end of offensiveness but some word had to be, and with the history it's not surprising.
  #5  
Old 01-04-2019, 08:56 AM
Icarus's Avatar
Icarus Icarus is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: In front of my PC, y tu?
Posts: 4,889
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blalron View Post
Intent and context should matter.
The inherent risk is that there will always be people using "Hey, I'm just referring to the word by quoting Mark Twain." as cover to say the word 1,000 times a day.

Arguably, some would question what your intent is on even starting this thread. As the "just asking questions" trope is also cover for looking for an apology to justify using the word publicly.

Yes the word is toxic, no you can't use it. If that's a BIG DEAL to you, then that says more about you than the word or society at large.
  #6  
Old 01-04-2019, 09:18 AM
Blalron Blalron is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 6,319
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icarus View Post
The inherent risk is that there will always be people using "Hey, I'm just referring to the word by quoting Mark Twain." as cover to say the word 1,000 times a day.
Which is why intent and context matters. Using any word a 1000 times a day would be obnoxious, even if it were an innocuous word like "strawberry." I would say: why the hell do you keep saying strawberry over and over again? Cut that shit out.

Quote:
Arguably, some would question what your intent is on even starting this thread. As the "just asking questions" trope is also cover for looking for an apology to justify using the word publicly.
Only I know my own intent, and when I search deep within my own heart my motives are pure. I practice a Buddhist form of meditation called Lovingkindness, which means that I radiate an attitude of goodwill towards all sentient beings in the universe. Don't believe me? I'm sorry, I can't prove it to you but it happens to be the truth.

Quote:
Yes the word is toxic, no you can't use it. If that's a BIG DEAL to you, then that says more about you than the word or society at large.
I view saying that word the same way I view burning an American flag. I personally don't care to do it and find it distasteful, but as a principled supporter of free speech I support other people's right to do so.
  #7  
Old 01-04-2019, 09:36 AM
andros andros is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Dejagore
Posts: 10,406
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blalron View Post
But I've noticed there's been a recent trend whereby...
I do not in any way doubt you've noticed this. But confirmation bias is always a harsh mistress. Do you have any numbers or other evidence to suggest it's an objective thing rather than a subjective experience on your part?
  #8  
Old 01-04-2019, 09:59 AM
RitterSport's Avatar
RitterSport RitterSport is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,852
I don't see that trend. I just checked the Billboard top rap songs and it's used in four of the top five songs. Do you not consider that a "context"?
  #9  
Old 01-04-2019, 10:14 AM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 50,932
Yes, certain books set back in history did use the word (Huck Finn, To Kill A Mockingbird and Gne With The Wind come to mind). Maybe they considered it an okay word to use. Doesn't mean we do.
  #10  
Old 01-04-2019, 10:21 AM
Velocity Velocity is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 13,057
If the purpose of using the N-word in a discussion or writing is to condemn it and racism, then condemning that usage of the N-word is as nonsensical as condemning the Holocaust Museum for showing the swastika.

The recent movie, 42, about Jackie Robinson, featured a great many N-words. Does that make the movie racist? Of course not. It was simply portraying American society as it was at the time for the sake of historical accuracy.
  #11  
Old 01-04-2019, 10:23 AM
Cheesesteak's Avatar
Cheesesteak Cheesesteak is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Lovely Montclair, NJ
Posts: 12,947
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blalron View Post
I don't think this is a positive development at all.
Who has it harmed? Who is really, honestly, harmed by having to come up with a replacement for the N-word in open conversation?

Is the level of public discourse brought down a notch because people fail to use this word?

The poor teacher who wants to stand in front of his class quoting Mark Twain has to carefully tread over his use of this hateful, racist, vulgarity. Yes, that's what lesson preparation is for. Teacher should be fully aware of the vulgarity used, and have an appropriate treatment of it if that quote is so all-fired important to be read aloud in class.

It's a word used to denigrate a population of people, and it doesn't need to be repeated by you, even if your motives are "pure".
  #12  
Old 01-04-2019, 10:35 AM
RitterSport's Avatar
RitterSport RitterSport is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,852
Quote:
Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
If the purpose of using the N-word in a discussion or writing is to condemn it and racism, then condemning that usage of the N-word is as nonsensical as condemning the Holocaust Museum for showing the swastika.

The recent movie, 42, about Jackie Robinson, featured a great many N-words. Does that make the movie racist? Of course not. It was simply portraying American society as it was at the time for the sake of historical accuracy.
Yes, that would be bad. Is it happening?
  #13  
Old 01-04-2019, 10:56 AM
andros andros is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Dejagore
Posts: 10,406
Quote:
Originally Posted by RitterSport View Post
Yes, that would be bad. Is it happening?
To preempt a bit: It has happened. We could look at the recurrent kerfuffles around the word "niggardly," f'rinstance.

It can be tempting for those with unexamined agendas to argue that these sort of reactions, or other extreme or ignorant responses, reflect a common or pervasive trend. They might, but I'd like to see something more solid than anecdote to support such an argument.
  #14  
Old 01-04-2019, 10:57 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 79,645
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icarus View Post
The inherent risk is that there will always be people using "Hey, I'm just referring to the word by quoting Mark Twain." as cover to say the word 1,000 times a day.
I agree. The problem is how some people kept looking for loopholes that allowed them to say it.

"Can I say it if I'm quoting Mark Twain? Can I say it if I'm quoting Quentin Tarantino? Can I say it if I'm quoting the lyrics to a rap song? Can I say it if I'm being ironic? Can I can it if I'm wearing a disapproving look? Can I say it if I pronounce it slightly differently? Can I say a word that sounds like it?"

If you tell these people they can't say it a thousand times a day, their response will be "So it's okay to say it nine hundred times a day?"

Eventually you just have to tell these people that they can never say it under any circumstances. It's the only way you can stop them.
  #15  
Old 01-04-2019, 10:58 AM
Corry El Corry El is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 3,369
Quote:
Originally Posted by RitterSport View Post
I don't see that trend. I just checked the Billboard top rap songs and it's used in four of the top five songs. Do you not consider that a "context"?
That only states explicitly what's implicit in the OP, maybe the OP should have stated it, but anyway it's obvious from your reference. The issue in non-black people using the word in any context in public. As opposed to here anonymously where I see it used all the an innocuous context. That doesn't apply in real American life now.

The recent firing of the Netflix exec over 'descriptive' use of the word was never fully clarified with an actual quote AFAIK. But it doesn't seem as it was referring to any person, but the word itself, 'our audiences do/don't like to hear the word 'n' in our shows'. The Netflix CEO wrote in firing him
"For non-Black people, the word should not be spoken as there is almost no context in which it is appropriate or constructive..."

It is secular blasphemy, albeit applied unevenly between black and non-black people, for what the judges of secular blasphemy think are good reasons. But that doesn't IMO reduce the accuracy of the analogy. Same issue here as people on the generally pro-PC side of things showing how they can use the word on SDMB in 'appropriate context'. I really doubt they would in any kind of public setting in real life. And similarly for their supporting claim that 'context matters'. For non-black people, context doesn't really matter except to distinguish bad from worse cases of speaking the word, in real public life. The Netflix CEO was solidly within the PC mainstream in his statement.
  #16  
Old 01-04-2019, 11:05 AM
kayaker's Avatar
kayaker kayaker is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 30,467
I've gone quite a while without using the word and it hasn't hampered my ability to effectively communicate.
  #17  
Old 01-04-2019, 11:07 AM
RitterSport's Avatar
RitterSport RitterSport is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,852
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corry El View Post
That only states explicitly what's implicit in the OP, maybe the OP should have stated it, but anyway it's obvious from your reference. The issue in non-black people using the word in any context in public. As opposed to here anonymously where I see it used all the an innocuous context. That doesn't apply in real American life now.

The recent firing of the Netflix exec over 'descriptive' use of the word was never fully clarified with an actual quote AFAIK. But it doesn't seem as it was referring to any person, but the word itself, 'our audiences do/don't like to hear the word 'n' in our shows'. The Netflix CEO wrote in firing him
"For non-Black people, the word should not be spoken as there is almost no context in which it is appropriate or constructive..."

It is secular blasphemy, albeit applied unevenly between black and non-black people, for what the judges of secular blasphemy think are good reasons. But that doesn't IMO reduce the accuracy of the analogy. Same issue here as people on the generally pro-PC side of things showing how they can use the word on SDMB in 'appropriate context'. I really doubt they would in any kind of public setting in real life. And similarly for their supporting claim that 'context matters'. For non-black people, context doesn't really matter except to distinguish bad from worse cases of speaking the word, in real public life. The Netflix CEO was solidly within the PC mainstream in his statement.
Maybe you want to start a new thread. This one is about the taboo for the word under ANY circumstances (capitalization from the OP).
  #18  
Old 01-04-2019, 11:15 AM
Vinyl Turnip Vinyl Turnip is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 19,877
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
I've gone quite a while without using the word and it hasn't hampered my ability to effectively communicate.
I won't lie; it's been a really tough adjustment for me, as a white man. But when I'm feeling really down in the dumps and put-upon, I just reflect back on all the times I heard my father say it, and bask in the warm glow of nostalgia.
  #19  
Old 01-04-2019, 11:15 AM
RitterSport's Avatar
RitterSport RitterSport is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,852
Quote:
Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
If the purpose of using the N-word in a discussion or writing is to condemn it and racism, then condemning that usage of the N-word is as nonsensical as condemning the Holocaust Museum for showing the swastika.

The recent movie, 42, about Jackie Robinson, featured a great many N-words. Does that make the movie racist? Of course not. It was simply portraying American society as it was at the time for the sake of historical accuracy.
Hey, OP, the Jackie Robinson movie came out in 2013 and used that word. Is that not considered a circumstance, or is your "recent taboo" more recent than that?
  #20  
Old 01-04-2019, 12:15 PM
Ashtura Ashtura is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,735
Probably a prudent practice considering people have been raked over the coals for saying "niggardly".

Last edited by Ashtura; 01-04-2019 at 12:15 PM.
  #21  
Old 01-04-2019, 12:27 PM
Cheesesteak's Avatar
Cheesesteak Cheesesteak is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Lovely Montclair, NJ
Posts: 12,947
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashtura View Post
Probably a prudent practice considering people have been raked over the coals for saying "niggardly".
Let's be honest here, the only time people use the word niggardly is to tweak people perceived as overly PC, or to talk about "that time someone got in trouble for using niggardly"


It's an archaic word whose usage is driven entirely by it's resemblance to a vulgarity.
  #22  
Old 01-04-2019, 12:42 PM
RitterSport's Avatar
RitterSport RitterSport is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,852
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashtura View Post
Probably a prudent practice considering people have been raked over the coals for saying "niggardly".
"People"? I know of one person from that stupid incident, what, 10-15 years ago?

Anyway, are you going to respond to the OP? Is there a recent taboo of using the N-word under ANY circumstances? I've already cited two places where it was used -- current rap songs and the Jackie Robinson movie, so my view is that the OP is wrong, but I'd be interested in counter cites.
  #23  
Old 01-04-2019, 12:47 PM
Velocity Velocity is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 13,057
Quote:
Originally Posted by RitterSport View Post
"People"? I know of one person from that stupid incident, what, 10-15 years ago?

Anyway, are you going to respond to the OP? Is there a recent taboo of using the N-word under ANY circumstances? I've already cited two places where it was used -- current rap songs and the Jackie Robinson movie, so my view is that the OP is wrong, but I'd be interested in counter cites.
I can't speak for the OP, but I don't think rap or the Jackie Robinson movie are good examples:

1. Most rappers are black. There is a societal understanding that it's OK for black people to use the N word and not okay for non-blacks to do so.

2. The Jackie Robinson movie only "got away" with it because it fit several narrow criteria: Everyone understood that it was an anti-racist movie, and also that the movie would have gotten far more flak for substituting "N-word" for "nigger" or "African-American" for "nigger" (if the actors had said to Jackie, "You fucking AFRICAN-AMERICAN," it would have been downright farcical.) Whereas a school teacher faces criticism for pronouncing the word "nigger" out loud while reading Huck Finn because there is a perceived alternative - he/she can opt to say "N-word" instead of nigger.
  #24  
Old 01-04-2019, 12:52 PM
RitterSport's Avatar
RitterSport RitterSport is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,852
I think you should take that up with the OP, since he/she was asking about the taboo under ANY circumstances.
  #25  
Old 01-04-2019, 12:56 PM
Budget Player Cadet's Avatar
Budget Player Cadet Budget Player Cadet is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 8,567
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
Actually I'd agree with the OP but don't think it's unique in that respect. There are a number of pejoratives and slurs in English that many people are uncomfortable saying; even when it's just quoting something that someone said. Plenty of times you'll hear people say "the C-word" or "a MF" in contexts where swearing would be OK but still it's just not something you want to voice.

And it's the same with other languages IME.

Probably, in English, nigger is right at the top end of offensiveness but some word had to be, and with the history it's not surprising.
(Bolding mine.)

Please note the lack of widespread condemnation.
  #26  
Old 01-04-2019, 12:58 PM
RitterSport's Avatar
RitterSport RitterSport is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,852
Quote:
Originally Posted by Budget Player Cadet View Post
(Bolding mine.)

Please note the lack of widespread condemnation.
Hmmm, that must also not be a "circumstance" according to the OP.
  #27  
Old 01-04-2019, 01:34 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: SF Bay Area, California
Posts: 13,453
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheesesteak View Post
Let's be honest here, the only time people use the word niggardly is to tweak people perceived as overly PC, or to talk about "that time someone got in trouble for using niggardly"

It's an archaic word whose usage is driven entirely by it's resemblance to a vulgarity.
Quite possibly, today. But I'll note at a little over 50 I learned it as a regular word and I never even noticed the similarity until the first controversy came around about 20 years ago.
  #28  
Old 01-04-2019, 02:16 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= iamthewalrus(:3= is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Posts: 11,383
Quote:
Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
Everyone understood that it was an anti-racist movie, and also that the movie would have gotten far more flak for substituting "N-word" for "nigger" or "African-American" for "nigger" (if the actors had said to Jackie, "You fucking AFRICAN-AMERICAN," it would have been downright farcical.) Whereas a school teacher faces criticism for pronouncing the word "nigger" out loud while reading Huck Finn because there is a perceived alternative - he/she can opt to say "N-word" instead of nigger.
I'm not sure I understand the distinction you're drawing here. Why is it farcical for a film to self-censor but totally reasonable for a teacher to censor great American literature?

The film, for what it's worth, could also have bleeped out the word. Which seems like a reasonable choice if you're threading the needle of verisimilitude and propriety.

And what about Tarantino's movies. They basically all use the word, and while they certainly have something of an anti-racist vibe, Django Unchained is the only one where that's the central focus.

I think it's clear that context is relevant, but also that people avoid using the word even when it would be contextually reasonable because it's so easy for things to be taken out of context, and why open yourself up to that?
  #29  
Old 01-04-2019, 08:31 PM
Drunky Smurf's Avatar
Drunky Smurf Drunky Smurf is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Smurf Village.
Posts: 11,114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blalron View Post
Only I know my own intent, and when I search deep within my own heart my motives are pure. I practice a Buddhist form of meditation called Lovingkindness, which means that I radiate an attitude of goodwill towards all sentient beings in the universe. Don't believe me? I'm sorry, I can't prove it to you but it happens to be the truth.
Does this extend to people who have their children circumcised?
  #30  
Old 01-04-2019, 08:46 PM
DPRK DPRK is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 2,520
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheesesteak View Post
It's an archaic word whose usage is driven entirely by it's resemblance to a vulgarity.
'Snigger', on the other hand...
  #31  
Old 01-04-2019, 10:22 PM
Mijin's Avatar
Mijin Mijin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 8,688
On the TV Show QI, they pointed out that an English word with many meanings is "jigger" (though most are variations of saying "thingy"). I think that word will probably die out too.

And IMO it's normal and not a big deal.
It's like how "clean <pronoun>'s clock" is becoming pretty rare IME. It sounds too close to "cock" in this kind of sentence, so people use some other substitute.
  #32  
Old 01-04-2019, 10:52 PM
RitterSport's Avatar
RitterSport RitterSport is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,852
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
On the TV Show QI, they pointed out that an English word with many meanings is "jigger" (though most are variations of saying "thingy"). I think that word will probably die out too.

And IMO it's normal and not a big deal.
It's like how "clean <pronoun>'s clock" is becoming pretty rare IME. It sounds too close to "cock" in this kind of sentence, so people use some other substitute.
"Lost jigger of salt" is a pretty famous line from a pretty famous song, so I doubt that's going anywhere. It's a pretty standard drink measure. And, I have no idea where you come up with "clean someone's clock" sounding like "cock" -- that's just bizarre.
  #33  
Old 01-04-2019, 11:54 PM
Bone's Avatar
Bone Bone is offline
Extrajudicial
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,795
Moderating

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drunky Smurf View Post
Does this extend to people who have their children circumcised?
Dude. Knock it off.

[/moderating]
  #34  
Old 01-04-2019, 11:59 PM
Mijin's Avatar
Mijin Mijin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 8,688
Quote:
Originally Posted by RitterSport View Post
And, I have no idea where you come up with "clean someone's clock" sounding like "cock" -- that's just bizarre.
Which part is bizarre: whether the word "clock" and "cock" sound similar or that in this context some people would find it an awkward phrase to voice?
  #35  
Old 01-05-2019, 01:24 AM
Bryan Ekers's Avatar
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Montreal, QC
Posts: 58,254
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
On the TV Show QI, they pointed out that an English word with many meanings is "jigger" (though most are variations of saying "thingy"). I think that word will probably die out too.
Well, not in some warehouses. "Jigger" is a common name for a pallet jack. I'm not aware of any effort to start using the term "jegro" instead.
__________________
Don't worry about the end of Inception. We have top men working on it right now. Top. Men.
  #36  
Old 01-05-2019, 02:08 AM
Banquet Bear's Avatar
Banquet Bear Banquet Bear is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Posts: 4,713
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blalron View Post
Intent and context should matter.
...former President of the United States Barack Obama used the n-word in a public venue which was widely reported. It was relatively uncontroversial. It appears that intent and context does matter. Can you make a case that it does not?
  #37  
Old 01-05-2019, 04:54 AM
MrDibble's Avatar
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Cape Town, South Africa &
Posts: 24,376
The situation is not analogous to blasphemy - because African-Americans aren't imaginary beards in the sky, but real human beings with real feelings.
  #38  
Old 01-05-2019, 08:09 AM
Blalron Blalron is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 6,319
Quote:
Originally Posted by RitterSport View Post
I think you should take that up with the OP, since he/she was asking about the taboo under ANY circumstances.
Perhaps I should have been more specific: the taboo is for white people to say the word under any circumstances.
  #39  
Old 01-05-2019, 08:55 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 79,645
Quote:
Originally Posted by RitterSport View Post
"Lost jigger of salt" is a pretty famous line from a pretty famous song
I believe the line is "Searching for my lost shaker of salt".
  #40  
Old 01-05-2019, 09:10 AM
RitterSport's Avatar
RitterSport RitterSport is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,852
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
Which part is bizarre: whether the word "clock" and "cock" sound similar or that in this context some people would find it an awkward phrase to voice?
I'm saying I've never heard of anyone not using that phrase because clock sounds like cock. It's a pretty old-fashioned phrase, so it might be going out of favor, but I'd like a cite that it's going away because of the similarity of those words. Do people avoid referring to shih tzu dogs or shiitake mushrooms? How about Suffolk County or Norfolk Virginia?

Anyway, I had forgotten about that other use for jigger that Bryan Ekers brought up. When I was in manufacturing, it was used all the time.
  #41  
Old 01-05-2019, 09:18 AM
RitterSport's Avatar
RitterSport RitterSport is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,852
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
I believe the line is "Searching for my lost shaker of salt".
You're right, of course. It's still a common term for a drink ingredient amount.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blalron View Post
Perhaps I should have been more specific: the taboo is for white people to say the word under any circumstances.
I think the word nigger shouldn't be used by white people in most circumstances. That previous sentence wasn't one of them, because of the use/mention distinction. See? One circumstance.

I haven't seen the Jackie Robinson movie or Django Unchained, but my understanding is that the word was used in both of those. Were they only said by black people? If not, there's two circumstances -- use/mention, movies and books.

There's no reason for a teacher to read the word aloud -- why does Huck Finn have to be read aloud? How many books are teachers reading to students? Do you think this is a recent taboo? Because I would have thought that would have been the case since at least the 80s. You know, two generations ago. I don't remember teachers reading to us, except maybe some Shakespeare passages(?).

What other circumstances do you have in mind?
  #42  
Old 01-05-2019, 09:27 AM
puzzlegal's Avatar
puzzlegal puzzlegal is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3,646
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corry El View Post
...The recent firing of the Netflix exec over 'descriptive' use of the word was never fully clarified with an actual quote AFAIK. But it doesn't seem as it was referring to any person, but the word itself, 'our audiences do/don't like to hear the word 'n' in our shows'. The Netflix CEO wrote in firing him
"For non-Black people, the word should not be spoken as there is almost no context in which it is appropriate or constructive..."

It is secular blasphemy, albeit applied unevenly between black and non-black people, for what the judges of secular blasphemy think are good reasons. But that doesn't IMO reduce the accuracy of the analogy. Same issue here as people on the generally pro-PC side of things showing how they can use the word on SDMB in 'appropriate context'. I really doubt they would in any kind of public setting in real life. And similarly for their supporting claim that 'context matters'. For non-black people, context doesn't really matter except to distinguish bad from worse cases of speaking the word, in real public life. The Netflix CEO was solidly within the PC mainstream in his statement.
This is interesting, and I missed that story. If it's not appropriate to discuss it here, could you make another thread for it?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheesesteak View Post
Let's be honest here, the only time people use the word niggardly is to tweak people perceived as overly PC, or to talk about "that time someone got in trouble for using niggardly"


It's an archaic word whose usage is driven entirely by it's resemblance to a vulgarity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamerlane View Post
Quite possibly, today. But I'll note at a little over 50 I learned it as a regular word and I never even noticed the similarity until the first controversy came around about 20 years ago.
Uh, it was a word in my use-vocabulary as a young adult. I'm also over 50, so agreeing with Tamerlane. While it wasn't a super-common word, it wasn't weird, either. I believe the word was forced into early "archaicism" by its resemblance to a vulgarity.

The vulgarity was never part of my use-vocabulary, and I've never missed it. I do sometimes miss niggardly.
  #43  
Old 01-05-2019, 10:31 AM
you with the face you with the face is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Laurel, MD
Posts: 11,969
Quote:
Originally Posted by puzzlegal View Post
I believe the word was forced into early "archaicism" by its resemblance to a vulgarity.
The fact is there is no shortage of synonyms for niggardly (miserly, stingy, cheap, frugal), so it likely fell into disuse simply because there is nothing special about it. To me, itís one of those words that sounds awkward unless youíre using it in written literary prose and have a precise connotation in mind.
  #44  
Old 01-05-2019, 11:30 AM
puzzlegal's Avatar
puzzlegal puzzlegal is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3,646
I would have said it was more common that miserly when I was younger. It didn't sound awkward until people started comparing it to the vulgarity. But i agree that it's not a huge loss to the language.
  #45  
Old 01-05-2019, 11:33 AM
Bryan Ekers's Avatar
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Montreal, QC
Posts: 58,254
Quote:
Originally Posted by you with the face View Post
The fact is there is no shortage of synonyms for niggardly (miserly, stingy, cheap, frugal), so it likely fell into disuse simply because there is nothing special about it. To me, it’s one of those words that sounds awkward unless you’re using it in written literary prose and have a precise connotation in mind.
"Niggardly" also strikes me as somewhat orphan-like compared to those others, each of which has at least one common word with the same root, i.e. noun and adverb forms like: miser, stinginess, cheaply, frugality. Were there words like niggard or niggardishness that could have offered mutual support to niggardly?

And as an afterthought, the OP's complaint blends in with a lot of similar complaints about PC-ness run amok, i.e. overblown at best.
__________________
Don't worry about the end of Inception. We have top men working on it right now. Top. Men.

Last edited by Bryan Ekers; 01-05-2019 at 11:34 AM.
  #46  
Old 01-05-2019, 12:59 PM
drad dog's Avatar
drad dog drad dog is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 5,788
Quote:
Originally Posted by puzzlegal View Post
I would have said it was more common that miserly when I was younger. It didn't sound awkward until people started comparing it to the vulgarity. But i agree that it's not a huge loss to the language.
This happened during your lifetime?
  #47  
Old 01-05-2019, 01:35 PM
Mijin's Avatar
Mijin Mijin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 8,688
Quote:
Originally Posted by RitterSport View Post
I'm saying I've never heard of anyone not using that phrase because clock sounds like cock. It's a pretty old-fashioned phrase, so it might be going out of favor, but I'd like a cite that it's going away because of the similarity of those words.
No cite is required because it was just an "IME" I was saying. If you're saying that that's not the case in your experience...fine. What more can be said?

All I have found is that in the rare event it comes up in conversation, someone will respond with "Clean his what!?" with a somewhat shocked expression as though the speaker had said something rude.
In fairness, in my recollection, it's usually an american saying the phrase and non-american being shocked by it. But still; that's gonna be a downward pressure on the use of that expression.
  #48  
Old 01-05-2019, 02:42 PM
DPRK DPRK is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 2,520
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers View Post
"Niggardly" also strikes me as somewhat orphan-like compared to those others, each of which has at least one common word with the same root, i.e. noun and adverb forms like: miser, stinginess, cheaply, frugality. Were there words like niggard or niggardishness that could have offered mutual support to niggardly?
?

'Niggardly' is obviously derived from 'niggard'. There are also other words offering 'mutual support' like 'niggle'. None of these are archaic words, with the exception of 'nig'.
  #49  
Old 01-05-2019, 04:42 PM
MrDibble's Avatar
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Cape Town, South Africa &
Posts: 24,376
I think I have a possible compromise solution - non-AAVE-speakers should endeavour to only have the word nigger pass their lips when it is immediately following the 2 words "the word". So it should only be used in the phrase "the word 'nigger'", never standalone. That would make the use/mention distinction clearer.
  #50  
Old 01-05-2019, 05:25 PM
Bryan Ekers's Avatar
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Montreal, QC
Posts: 58,254
Quote:
Originally Posted by DPRK View Post
?

'Niggardly' is obviously derived from 'niggard'. There are also other words offering 'mutual support' like 'niggle'. None of these are archaic words, with the exception of 'nig'.
I figured there was a niggard, but it sounds like it faded from common usage a while ago.

Is "niggle" used commonly any more? I'm not really moved to reconsider my assessment of "niggardly" as an orphan if you cite relatives that are long dead.
__________________
Don't worry about the end of Inception. We have top men working on it right now. Top. Men.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:23 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017