Derogatory words that no one objects to

I’d like to start an IMHO poll in relation to this post (not to combat the warning, I’m just curious to know the answer):

I would need to use the word to run the poll, so I would like permission to do so.

The questions would be:

  1. Have you ever met anyone who was offended by this term?
  2. Would you say that a word is genuinely derogatory simply out of dictionary definition, or must there be some reasonable population of the world that is actually offended for the term to truly be derogatory?

To clarify, it wasn’t a warning, it was a mod note.

I’ll let the IMHO mods reply to the poll request, but I would say that something can be derogatory based on both the person(s) that may or may not be offended, and the person’s intent independent of the target.

I’m familiar with the term, have been around plenty of folks who use it in both a derogatory and humorous way, and I know it’s fairly low on the scale of offensiveness.

Oh no, I do put soy sauce on rice, but prefer to think of myself as a jive turkey.

The term in question never took off as an offensive expression. You’d really have to lay on the horn to get a rise out of anyone.

As an example of this word, I find it in no way offensive. No matter who calls me one.

Not offended, and doubt anyone else is. Most white folks I know see it as a well-deserved chance for an oft-maligned minority (blacks) to put white folks in their place, with a mild, deprecating, slightly funny term. Not really derogatory. Given the history and reality of power relations in US culture, a term for all white people really *can’t *be truly derogatory. (For certain subsets of whites – say, “white trash” – there can be, but not for whites in general).

Dead honky.”

15.3 Doper points if you recognize the source.

Not very insulting at all in my book.

^ Richard Pryor on SNL

I reckon a sufficiently skilled wordsmith can make pretty much any word a term of abuse.

IMHO just as ‘nigger’ is deemed offensive, so too equally should ‘honky / honkie’. It is, after all, the black equivalent, AFAIAA. Pretty much every dictionary lists it as a term of racial abuse or at least derogatory.

Only offensive if it is followed by “Tonk Badonkadonk” (and no, that isn’t a Harry Potter character.)

Okay, well, then I guess I’ll be the first:

Yes, I think/find “Honky” to be an offensive and racist word.

Huh. I’m Caucasian and I don’t find the word offensive at all. In fact, I find it amusing since I have a moderately deep baritone voice and don’t meet the stereotype of white people talking through their noses at all. I’m not a mod, so it’s not up to me, but I don’t mind if you use it.

Might as well get a consensus on cracker and peckerwood while we’re at it.

Lord Of The Rings, right?

I don’t find it offensive but the truth is that the definition of an offensive word here is any word Ed or the mods think is offensive. Their board, their rules.

the term “derogatory” applies to intent:

There really is no reason to use a slang term to describe a group of people unless you mean to single them out from others, which, imho is inherently disrespectful, regardless of offense taken.


I use soy sauce as a condiment on both steamed and fried rice. I am Caucasian, with vitiligo to boot. Fuck y’all.

ETA: I am not offended. In fact, I’m difficult to offend. Go ahead; try.

Nope, not offensive to me. Usually humorous, in my experience.

Nope. It is not a word used to oppress a minority. The word bass thus never harmed me, and thus I cannot see how there is any problem with it. It’s a joke word, used that way as long as I’ve been alive, at least.

They even had it on TV, when nigger was a serious thing. And everyone laughed when Jefferson said it.

I would like to point out that this statement assumes an incredibly naive understanding of how dictionaries work.
The compilers of dictionaries print definitions and usages based on how some reasonable population of the world uses and understands the word. Few dictionaries, (and no good ones), are prescriptive. That is a task for authors writing stylebooks. Dictionaries are descriptive. They may take a couple of years to catch up to current colloquial meanings, but they are not laying down some arbitrary rule for how words should be viewed.