'spik' as a derogatory term

my sincerest apologies to the mexicans offended by this moniker.

i called my cat spik, derived from ‘spick and span’. the nasty little chocolate pointed thing comes to this name. now cats don’t come to you. you come to cats. never even been a cat person.

i meant no offense to anyone but my merkan friends laughingly called me a racist, i mean no way. how to fix this?

Tell them they don’t know what they are talking about, as usual.

These people are trying to save the world, and there is no fixing them.

Tell them the cat doesn’t know it’s considered a racist epithet and thinks “Spik” is it’s name. Then suggest they try talking it over with the cat.

555 great thanks. poor little bastard is confused.

i got a shakedown from the merkan partner who basically said wtf did you call the cat ‘spik’.

he’s cool i think but man, the culture thing at times is wayy over my head, he went on to discuss his trips to mexico and call someone a spik in mexico you’re asking for a fight.


The established primary meaning of the word is an an ethnic slur; this has been so for over a century. Given this, the problem you’re now having was forseeable from the outset.

Your intention in naming your cat “Spik” is irrelevant to the question of whether anyone hearing the name is going to take offence; people hearing the name have no way of divining your intention when you chose it. It’s a good rule of thumb that, if you have to eplain your choice of a word in order to allay any offence at its use, than indicates that it’s an offensive word. This is an offensive word.

How to fix it? You fix it by renaming the cat (maybe to “Span”?). Sure, the cat won’t come any more when you call it, but so what? Most cats don’t come when called, and their owners manage to cope with that.

I believe the slur is spelled spic, possibly a belittling version of hispanic.

I’ve also heard it applied to all people of Latin American origin, not just Mexicans.

We’ve done this before, and surprisingly that’s not the origin.

The word derives from the tendency of Latin Americans to reply to Americans with a statement that that they “Spicadee English” or “No spicadee English”. It was later reduced from “spicadee” to “spic”.

Clever, huh? :rolleyes:

How to fix?

Rename the cat to Spot, Spike, Steve, whatever.

Or live with the fact that you picked an easily-misunderstood name, that people will continue to tend to misunderstand, and that you will continue to have to explain yourself to them, and some of them will probably not believe you.

One thing you can do is stop calling Americans “merkans”.

Oh, and start using capital letters.

Baby steps… baby steps…

A book I read written in the 30s had a character referring to another character as a “dirty spiggoty”

Start calling him Stick. That should be close enough that he’ll recognize it as his name.

sure. this is part abject laziness as citizens of the united states of america is such a mouthful. just kidding. the americans i know love the term but object to being called ‘seppos’ which i don’t but its another slur.

why? but thanks for the input.

‘stick’ it is.

The OED starts out with spiggoty (probably from “[no] speaka da English”) shortened very soon to spig, and then losing the voiced /g/ for the unvoiced c (/k/) in spic. Spiggoty appears around 1910 with both and spig and spic(k) showing up within the next few years.

= = =

As to the OP, “stick” would probably bring the cat, as would sprick, smick, or a host of similar sounds. Cats are not that particular about their names as long as there is a food bowl at the end. (For that matter, how often does one call one’s cat in the hearing of large numbers of people with whom one is not already acquainted? Could this thread just possibly be a bit of a put on?)

no put on at all. i am not american but my partner is and as someone pointed out its a derogatory term.

i wanted to get more of an insight as to how offensive it was. you are right about the food bowl. as to people coming around and commenting on the cat’s name whatever. stick it is.

Because it is difficult to read, and this message board generally appreciates proper spelling and punctuation. It’s the culture of this message board.

Change the cat’s name to ‘Spickle’ or maybe ‘Speckle’

The cat won’t notice it at all.