The SDMB needs to have a banned words list

Uppity usage note from Merriam-Webster:

I don’t fault folks for not knowing this; I just file it in the category of “things I’m astonished people don’t know.”

But @Whack-a-Mole, your response to learning that you used a word in an “especially offensive” manner could use work. Rather than be all, “Oh shit, I had no idea, sorry, thanks for the heads up!” you went on the attack. Maybe don’t do that?

For the record I, for one, have not. Nor have I ever realized uppity used in such a context.

This I have heard before, though wouldn’t necessarily relate that word to this situation out of context.

You learn something new every day. But with that said I don’t want a banned word list because it just puts too much on the poster, have to check if every word in the post conforms, or run into this exact situation that there was an unknown link between the word uppity and black oppression.

This, exactly.

And it was. His context was truly egregious. He used it in a thread with racial overtones, where he was criticizing a tribute to Black people who fought race barriers. Nonetheless, due to his history it was only a mod note, not a warning.

As for a list of banned words, i don’t think “uppity” would make that list. For instance, i think someone might use uppity ironically to refer to women fighting sex barriers without moderation. It was the context of this use that made the word really jarring and upsetting.

I find unusual that someone well educated in the US hasn’t heard the term used in a derogatory racial way, but not unbelievable. Still, it’s pervasive and should be moderated as such.

Lists of banned words are a recipe for rules lawyering. For example, there’s no need to ban the word monkey but if it was used in a discussion about African-Americans it would be highly problematic, regardless of the intent.

The flip side is that we hope that reading the board doesn’t require walking on eggshells as often as in the past. This board has a history of feeling really hostile to women and minorities, and we are trying to make it less so.

I’d like to see “moist” on the list.

I have an anecdote!

I was talking to a close acquaintance/distant friend (we play some sports together) about where he went to school. I knew he had gone to some Ivy and asked if it was Harvard. “No, I went to Brown.” Me: “Oh, right, I knew it was some uppity school like that.”

Now, I never really use that word. This friend of mine is Black! Somewhere, my subconscious pulled this word, which I rarely use, but it came up when talking to a Black man.

I knew the racist background of the word and felt terrible about using it. He seemed OK and we remain occasional teammates with no animus that I can detect. I’m sure he thinks less of me at some level.

Maybe something like that happened to @Whack-a-Mole. It’s a word he doesn’t usually use, but there it was in his subconscious in a thread about MLK.

I know I still have subconscious racism and I’m trying to get past it. Anyway, I’m not justifying anything.

On the main subject, I think a bright line list of banned words is a terrible idea.

That suggestion came across less as a serious suggestion and more as a petulant complaint about being chastized.

Maybe I misread it, but even if it were intended seriously, I see no reason to take it seriously.

“Uppity” isn’t always about race, but it’s usually about class.
Men complaining about uppity women.
Managers complaining about uppity workers.
Landlords complaining about uppity tenants.
Art snobs complaining about uppity philistines like Whack-A-Mole.

But, yes, in a thread about MLK, people will assume the worst, long before they have parsed the grammar of Whack-A-Mole’s sentence.

But a Banned Word list would create more problems than it solved.

And i want to add, yes, of course you can criticize a tribute without criticizing the people it’s supposed to honor. And most of the thread is fine, imo. But the woman on the daily show clip had a point, doing so is not without risks. So when you are complaining about a statue honoring the Kings, you should be really clear about separating the two. And using a word with baggage like “uppity” is REALLY not the way to do it.

Then it sounds like the mod note worked. Good job, @puzzlegal!

That’s how I almost always see the word used. It’s still insulting, IMHO, because you’re putting insulting words in other people’s mouths. However, those other people aren’t always SDMB members, and sometimes they deserve to be insulted, so obviously it can’t always be worthy of mod action. (It would be another story if there were an otherwise-civil discussion on the Dope taking place about gender or race, and you said something sarcastic like “oh, sure, I agree with you, let’s keep those uppity people in their place!”)

I will gently suggest that your mod note contained IMO an inappropriate amount of your personal upsetness. In contrast to @Babale just above I will suggest that correcting @Whack-a-Mole was completely appropriate, but the correction was poorly done.

It is difficult to be a policeman, even of a message board, without letting one’s emotions intrude into one’s actions.

IMO good modding demands “Just the facts Ma’am.” By that standard, that was not good modding.

I think that with all such discussions over deprecating offensive language, nobody has ever advocated insta-bans or even insta-warnings, unless it’s something like the n-word that anyone who lives on planet Earth knows about. Nobody is going to have their reputation tarnished for genuine lack of familiarity with the connotations of a word. It would surely always start out as mod guidance, with moderation increasing in severity only if someone refused to listen and persisted with repeat infractions.

At the same time, words have objective semantic content, and some things can be highly offensive even if we genuinely didn’t intend them to be. So “your reaction was too harsh because I didn’t have any ill intent” isn’t always an appropriate response to mod action. On the third hand… it’s human nature to be upset and defensive if you feel someone has unjustly accused you of being a racist.

I feel like eventually this all came out to the right place on this occasion. OP now knows nobody thinks he’s a racist, and has taken on board why the mod reacted that way.

I disagree. That’s the sort of modding that allows the “I’m not touching you” variety of trolling to flourish, as it has on this boad for many years.

It had to be quoted.

The very few times I’ve heard it without racial overtones, it had sexist ones.

I agree with your disagreement. In something like this, it should be clear how deep the wound is, and, thus, how serious the matter.

I agree with your agreement with the disagreement.

It’s inappropriate for a mod (or anyone else) to assume malice on the part of a poster (without a history that points to that). But it’s not inappropriate for a mod to react to the objective semantic content of the language a poster used.