Thursday, December 20, 2007


So not many people use the 'f-word' here (faggot) because A: just, noone does, and B: you can actually buy these weird mini-haggis type things called faggots, so it really doesn't have the same kind of meaning here. We know what it means, but its just not widely used.

See below: a picture of some pork faggots in gravy (similar to a pack my friend Laura bought me once, as my nickname is/was 'Brain')

So anyway, I get the feeling that it's a huge deal over there compared to here. And it is quite harsh sounding and I doubt anyone would relish being called it as an insult implying their gayness or otherwise.

But the reason I am bringing it up is cause I was discussing if it is on the same sort of a level with 'the N-word' (nigger) which again is not so huge a deal here as it is there. It is still a big deal, but there it seems world-changing. It's not widely used here, yet everyone knows what it means, and blah blah blah.

Anyway, is it?? Should we even give these words this magical power by giving them 'letter-word' status? I don't think people should censor themselves, or be censored by others as that gives whatever they want to say the special power of taboo. If everyone said nigger all day long, it would lose its shock-power, wouldn't it? Or if everyone stopped using it maybe it would stop being used all together and we would all be able to move on.

Maybe in 50 years people will think it is a quaint reminder of the past, like pickaninny, gollywog and wog are today. but then ARE those quaint? In any event, they are laughed at in a sort of 'oh, you! *shakes head fondly*' sort of a way.

This has no special point that I am trying to make, I am just pondering over it. In regards to the 'n-word'- I think it is kind of hard to expect people to not use it and for people to hold it in this special box of bad words, when certain parts of the population ARE allowed to use it. its selfish for one thing. I don't know. I guess that sounds racist of me. I get that if you feel like you are being labelled something you would want to take that label and own it. So fair enough I guess. Gosh I don't know. It kind of provokes tourette-ish behaviour to act like that though- don't think of elephants!!!

uh, I don't know how much sense this makes. But it's my blog, dammit! I shall post anon.


Jolean said...

I think you are right, giving words 'power" by making them taboo just lends them to being used more in a derogatory fashion. We should take back the words true definition and leave it at that, not let the tabooness of some words cause discrimination and hate amongst us.

Anonymous said...

Long story, but I was ostensibly raised by an African-American, single-mother, although I'm white, during high school years (14 to 18 years old). I also had one family member, who was gay, and who has since died of AIDS. As a result of both, I have a pretty big basket of personal experiences and observations from which to inform a viewpoint.

In the U.S., "nigger" and "faggot" are on the level of "your mother is a filty, dirty whore." In other words, be prepared for a knock down, drag out, fight. For that reason, the words will likely never lose their sting. Maybe I should become a Youtuber and do a a U.S. Swears video.


Chris Stokes said...

Your post does make sense, and I believe it is the intent behind the use of a certain word rather than the use of the word itself that should be thought about when the subject of taboo comes up. For example, the word 'nigger'. Used by Elvis Costello in the song 'Oliver's Army', it was clearly not there to upset anyone, and was obviously thought through and used more intelligently and responsibly than a certain UK Big Brother housemate. These words do exist and will always be used, but for different ends. Some in prejudice, some to highlight how stupid prejudice is.

Bayard Rustin said...

It's not as much the words as where they come from. If the words were the only problem it wouln't be "such a big deal". That's not the full extent of it. The words do more harm than good. What need have we of them? More importantly overt racism is not nearly as insidious as other forms such as discrimination whether it's conscious or not. It's not all just history. I think it's easy for someone who comes from a backround where they have not been quite as oppressed, and in fact have dominated the world, not to get it. Check out the Michael Richards video even JAckDanYells version and pay attention to the things other than the N- word but esp the feeling and intent he says them with. Check out Mamie and Kenneth Clark work. Also Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, and Bayard Rustin

Anonymous said...

Just saw the end of your post, or maybe it was even edited, because I didn't see it before, but yeah, when the two guys (brothers) I was raised with call me on the telephone (both black), the opening greeting is almost always some version of: "What up, nigger?" So, to the initiated, it can be used as a term of endearment, which understandably causes confusion amongst those on the outside. It's all context.


Anonymous said...

P.S. That's their opening greeting, however, not mine. I would never think I was that initiated. You just can't.

James Bond 007 said...

As a fellow UK'er I don't really agree with your assesment that the N word is not used here.

Interestingly, a Pakistani is known in Australia as a Pak* without any hint of racism whatsoever yet in the UK that word is considered taboo.

NusaCat said...

Polictical correctness goes in cycles. I remember when calling someone "black" was considered insulting -- instead you were supposed to say "African-American" a lot.

Fortunately, common sense has prevailed over the years, and one syllable is so much easier to use casually than seven.

Kimberl(eigh)y said...

I couldn't even bring myself to type the n word!! Seriously! It's that repulsive to me.

Maybe these words shouldn't have power, but the fact is that they do, and no matter what we do as individuals, they will continue to hold power in our society. Trying to desensatize it by using it will just make you look like an insensative and biggoted jerk and therefore wont work, but fighting the negative stereotypes of people different from ourself eventually will.

MrBlonde said...

Just for curiosity, we here in Spain call the bassoon (the instrument) "fagot". Have a look:

Anonymous said...

I agree that some words do aquire too much power for some reasons that are very hard to define.The N.word is such a word so i choose not to use it.But faggot means almost nothing as in insult in the UK.
On a lighter note.
In the UK faggot also means "a bundle of sticks and branches bound together". There's a camping joke in there somewhere but out of respect i'll leave that up to you.

streakfreak said...

I don't consider myself especially sensitive when it comes to racial matters. I often think many other black people read way too much into things, seeing racist boogeymen when nothing much is really there. That being said... I believe that suggesting you should use the N-word until it loses it's negative power is much like suggesting you should keep clawing at someone's deep and painful wound until it no longer causes them discomfort.

And for the record, if some asshole called one of my beautiful and brilliant nieces 'pickaninny', I'd cave their fucking head in.

As for black people using these terms, I don't believe that anyone should use them, whatever their colour. IMNSHO, using them debases both the speaker and the listeners.

I do believe in free speech. I believe a person should have the right to use those terms, most definitely. I also believe that decent, well-meaning people should choose not to.

P.S. I recognize the inconsistency of supporting free speech and then bashing skulls when it's exercised. But sometimes emotion overwhelms reason. And using those terms is an excellent way to get otherwise peaceful people like me to that destructive emotional place.

P.P.S. I apologize for the length. No... not that one! The reply. I meant the reply. Pervs...

shadx said...

I think the original meaning of them is important as a context for labeling someone as an outcast (Like Patti Smith's "Rock'n'Roll Nigger" for example) and to me that's a good thing; if people want to come up with racist labels for anyone who isn't like them it just shows how idiotic and insecure they are.

It's also important because Nick Frost's line in Shaun of the Dead ("Whassup my niggaz???") is hilarious.

danbotic said...

Really, these days you hear the "N" word and the "F" word almost everyday. Especially hanging around sites like youtube and the like. Because of this, they've sort of, in general, lost their shocking effect. Now whenever I hear these words, it just confirms that the people saying them are just a bit ignorant and dumb really, and not really worth getting offended over.

Anonymous said...

It's a complicated one for example the Gays' stole the word "Gay" from the Straights. Whitey labelled the Africans the N-word and decent Cow Polk labelled the Indians Savages. And Respectable People label the Britney's of this world Trailer Trash (Cause she is). My point being some people call a goat a goat but just because a goat is called a goat doesn't mean it has to act the "Goat".

LateNiteRandomness said...

Are you talking about pants? The k-word?