Why is 'Jap' demeaning and 'Brit' is not?

I think it’s all in the subject liine. They’re both just contractions.

Probabl;y irrelevant, but the Japanese don’t call it Japan, so the abbreviations are not exactly equivalent.

However, ‘Nip’ is yet worse, I think.

For the same reason that “Paki” is demeaning. If the word (or sound or whatever) has a history of being used in a demeaning way then people will see it in that light.

Is Brit used in demeaning ways?


Is it only used in demeaning ways?


Is Jap used in demeaning ways?


Is it only used in demeaning ways?


I’m not sure how the Japanese feel about it; we have a large Japanese oil company here named Japoil. And I’ll add that when I do hear ‘Jap’ used, while it certainly marks the speaker as non—PC, it is used not to demean but to describe - a Jap car, etc. So, no, in my experience it is rarely used in demeaning ways. It nevertheless is commonly thought of as demeaning.

I didn’t know “Paki” was demeaning. I guess we just don’t use it over here.

Yes, Cardinal ‘Paki’ is very demeaning and can also mean anyone from the Indian sub-continent.

I have heard a few Americans use it simply because they assume that Pakistan has the same contraction as, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, etc. (i.e. Afghan, Uzbek, etc.) but in the UK especially it is pretty much on par with the n- word.

A word becomes a slur due to its usage.

It’s likely there would be nothing wrong with the shortened version of Japanese without its history. “Brit” as far as I know, does not have a long, widespread history of being derogatory

I’ve often heard Australian cricket commentators use the word with no derogatory undertones.
IMO it is only, as Swami says, the history of the word being used, that makes the word demeaning in the UK.

Well, for a start, we Brits do have that self-deprecating streak.

More seriously, the obvious commonality between “Jap” and “Paki”, at least in the UK, is that they’ve primarily (only?) been used by English speakers trying to stereotype the groups in question.
The interesting question is therefore surely what’s been the usage of “Brit” in the past.

Was ‘Jap’ demeaning before WWII?

The first line of what aahala said.

I don’t remember who said this, but it demonstrates the same principle:

“Why do you call a guy from Texas ‘Tex’, but you don’t call a guy from Florida ‘Flo’?”

I’ve always considered “Brit” to be minorly derogatory. It might be okay to say in a joke, but I’d never say it to a British person’s face.

You bet it was.

Cited as a negative stereotype in the mid-late 1800’s. But not in any way common the way it would be after WWII. It was more of a put-down demeaning orientals in general. It seems to have started life among sailors in the Far East.

Brit, as a shortening of British, doesn’t even appear in print until 1901, and then not in a demeaning usage. It wasn’t used in a negative way until the 1970’s in the US. And even then it was mild.

I have the sinking feeling that it’s because the Japanese aren’t “white.”


Related … does anyone know where that hideous term “Gook” came from, to describe Vietnamese? I’d guess it was started by soldiers, but why? I heard a guy at work use it who was in the Vietnam war; I can barely speak to him now.

Aw, c’mon, Ellen. Speak to him all the time. But be sure to preface every comment to him with, “You bigot.” Maybe then he’ll get the message.