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View Poll Results: Do You Support the Usage of Racial/Cultural Slurs?
Yes. I will exercise my freedom of speech whenever possible. 14 36.84%
No. I don't see any point in harboring an intolerant mindset. 24 63.16%
Voters: 38. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
Old 12-09-2007, 04:42 PM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
31,205 posts, read 69,463,693 times
Reputation: 16837

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After spending the last hour reading through threads on the Doherty Deceit message board, I must say that I'm shocked to see folks supporting the web master, Joseph Pilchesky, in his recent usage of a racial slur against African-Americans. There are also those who are opposed to its usage (including one who said he now feels "guilty" about still posting there through association), but even that person was called names by others who support Mr. Pilchesky's actions, which are reprehensible, in my opinion.

One member even took the words right out of my mouth when he called Mr. Pilchesky a "hypocrite." This same man belittled homosexuality in the past when he and I became involved in a spat just before he banned me from his message board (apparently I wasn't "mean" enough or something to retain my membership), and now he used the word ni*ger to reference an African-American reporter. He stands by his comments, claiming that he is protected by the U.S. Constitution. However, if one elected official in Scranton or Lackawanna County were to have let such a remark slip his or her lips, Mr. Pilchesky would be the first to call them out on it on his message board.

What do others think? Is it ever acceptable to use racial/cultural slurs or intimidation to get a point across? If so, then please explain why. If not, then why on Earth do you think so many folks in Scranton promote racism and intolerance while, at the same, time bemoaning the lack of quality employers? Are they just that simple-minded that they can't comprehend that Fortune 500 companies frown upon areas that are intolerant?

I know this is a touchy subject, so I'd ask that just as with the same-sex marriage poll which was kept surprisingly CIVILIZED, this poll's discussion would follow the same standards. Thank you.

 
Old 12-09-2007, 05:13 PM
 
Location: Northern Wayne Co, PA
620 posts, read 1,885,332 times
Reputation: 339
I don't support the banning of certain words, because that is giving the words too much power. They are just words. It is clear when someone uses a particularly incendiary word to inspire negative feelings in another person or group of people that that person is either ignorant or mean-spirited. So, it is the speaker, not the words, that is hurtful.

As an aside, something I'm interested in and have written some articles on: the interesting linguistic phenomenon that happens when offended groups will reclaim the language typically used to belittle them. Like ni**er or f*g. I know a lot of gay people who call themselves f*gs, or even identify themselves as qu*er It's also true in academia--for instance, at NYU you could be a qu*er Studies major. These groups are actually changing the meaning of the offensive words little by little, which is pretty radical.

Last edited by MermanMike; 12-09-2007 at 05:16 PM.. Reason: bots blocked my offensive language
 
Old 12-09-2007, 05:21 PM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
31,205 posts, read 69,463,693 times
Reputation: 16837
Upon further research, Mr. Pilchesky seems to be defending his usage of the "n"-word as a means to elicit a heated response from city council president Judith Gatelli (which he succeeded in doing last week). He more or less dangled something in front of her, and she took the bait hook, line, and sinker and made a fool out of herself by trying to play the role of "martyr." While Janet Evans nails herself to the cross every week and elicits claps and cheers, when Judy does it nobody shows any sort of sympathy, and one would assume she would have known that ahead of time.

No matter what though, I'm still flabbergasted that Mr. Pilchesky (and most on his forum) are defending that word because, more or less, "gangsta thug rappers use it, so why can't we?" How many of these foul-mouthed, often-incarcerated rap artists possess a high school diploma or G.E.D.? Few, if any. How many have ever been on the wrong side of the law? Most, by my estimation. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a big fan of dancing to music, some of which contains vulgar language against blacks and gays, when I go clubbing with my friends, but I know that the nasty remarks made in these song lyrics by these celebrities is in NO WAY representative of the typical middle-class African-American.

If Mr. Pilchesky thinks no harm can come of his word, then I'd like to see him walk up to a random African-American in Scranton and scream "NIG*ER" at them, and then wait for a response. I can guarantee they'll be offended, much like my partner and I are offended whenever we're called "f*gs." In the latter case, I also notice that several of these folks were attempting to justify THAT slur as well because some in the LGBT community have made it "fashionable." I'm inclined to disagree. I distance myself as much as I possibly can from the very flamboyant Pride Parade types, much like many middle-class American families try to distance themselves as much as possible from those inner-city pond scum rappers (save perhaps for Will Smith).

I know Dan might chime in with a reply of "If you don't like seeing such things, then why go to that site and read them?" I feel as if I have a moral and civic duty to Scranton to DEFEND its marred image. After all, many threads on that site have thousands of views, MOST from non-members, and you don't know how many of those non-members might be potential new residents, potential investors, human resources directors for Fortune 500 companies considering relocation to the city, etc. If they see people attempting to justify slurs against African-Americans and gays (and I'm sure many other groups), how likely do you think anyone outside of the bubble around this valley is going to be to view the city in a favorable light? Not many.

Mr. Pilchesky's initial attempts to show the rest of the nation that Scrantonians were taking an active role in their city's political process has now backfired into becoming a black eye for its already struggling reputation. As I've said in the past, who will want to come to a city with an unfavorable reputation? Nobody.
 
Old 12-09-2007, 05:24 PM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
31,205 posts, read 69,463,693 times
Reputation: 16837
Quote:
Originally Posted by MermanMike View Post
I don't support the banning of certain words, because that is giving the words too much power. They are just words. It is clear when someone uses a particularly incendiary word to inspire negative feelings in another person or group of people that that person is either ignorant or mean-spirited. So, it is the speaker, not the words, that is hurtful.

As an aside, something I'm interested in and have written some articles on: the interesting linguistic phenomenon that happens when offended groups will reclaim the language typically used to belittle them. Like ni**er or f*g. I know a lot of gay people who call themselves f*gs, or even identify themselves as qu*er It's also true in academia--for instance, at NYU you could be a qu*er Studies major. These groups are actually changing the meaning of the offensive words little by little, which is pretty radical.
I agree wholeheartedly with your last paragraph as someone who is likewise shocked by this phenomenon, although as a gay male myself I can't say I'm thrilled that so many of my fellow peers in the LGBT community are rolling out the red carpet for terms like "f*g" and "qu*er" to be acceptable. On the other hand, if racists and bigots no longer see slurs having their desired emotionally-painful effect upon their targeted groups, then perhaps they'll move on to something more productive? Once again to play devil's advocate though, what if the diminishing effects of their words lead more people to commit actions to get their points across? This all truly is a very, very controversial subject.
 
Old 12-09-2007, 05:27 PM
 
6,732 posts, read 4,126,646 times
Reputation: 8643
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScrantonWilkesBarre View Post
If not, then why on Earth do you think so many folks in Scranton promote racism and intolerance while, at the same, time bemoaning the lack of quality employers?
I think a lot of the racism has to do with the fact that NEPA was for so long and still is to a certain extant 99% white Eastern European (Polish, Hungarian, Russian, Czechoslovakian, etc.), German, Irish, Italian and Welsh.
I realize it's not 99% anymore, maybe more like 95%, but you know what I mean.

My Dad was one of 12 in his family, all the siblings born from '36 to '58, and many of my Aunts and Uncles to this day will say the N-word when talking about Black people, it's really sad to say the least. Maybe it's the mentality of growing up here.
 
Old 12-09-2007, 05:40 PM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
31,205 posts, read 69,463,693 times
Reputation: 16837
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjseliga View Post
I think a lot of the racism has to do with the fact that NEPA was for so long and still is to a certain extant 99% white Eastern European (Polish, Hungarian, Russian, Czechoslovakian, etc.), German, Irish, Italian and Welsh.
I realize it's not 99% anymore, maybe more like 95%, but you know what I mean.

My Dad was one of 12 in his family, all the siblings born from '36 to '58, and many of my Aunts and Uncles to this day will say the N-word when talking about Black people, it's really sad to say the least. Maybe it's the mentality of growing up here.
It is truly sad. I've heard all sorts of nasty remarks made about people from different cultures and backgrounds within my own family as well. Thankfully my parents have ebbed their disdain for gays/lesbians much more now when I'm around (perhaps they're finally coming around to how hurtful their remarks were to me), but negative comments about Arabs, African-Americans, Indian-Americans, and others remain common in my family.
 
Old 12-09-2007, 05:56 PM
 
1,245 posts, read 2,888,591 times
Reputation: 529
I voted yes, but only because some words that are considered offensive by some (pork chop and cracker for example) I don't consider offensive. I do not run around spouting off racial slurs (like the big bad n word), however, in our country, it is not illegal to do so. That is the reasoning behind my yes vote.

As a side note, I am truly upset in the double standard applied in the U.S. by certain groups. Black rappers can use the n-word, but poor old Eminem can not.
 
Old 12-09-2007, 06:42 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
5,726 posts, read 10,381,607 times
Reputation: 9718
If people defend their right to use a racial slur, then they should (but often don't) defend the right of people to call them out on it. If I were to use a slur and claim free speech, I should not be surprised at any consequences that might result (being judged a bigot, being criticized on a city-data forum, etc.).

It is the height of hypocrisy to call somebody by a racial slur and then plead martyr when they get crap for it.
 
Old 12-10-2007, 04:24 AM
 
Location: Northern Wayne Co, PA
620 posts, read 1,885,332 times
Reputation: 339
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScrantonWilkesBarre View Post
I agree wholeheartedly with your last paragraph as someone who is likewise shocked by this phenomenon, although as a gay male myself I can't say I'm thrilled that so many of my fellow peers in the LGBT community are rolling out the red carpet for terms like "f*g" and "qu*er" to be acceptable. On the other hand, if racists and bigots no longer see slurs having their desired emotionally-painful effect upon their targeted groups, then perhaps they'll move on to something more productive? Once again to play devil's advocate though, what if the diminishing effects of their words lead more people to commit actions to get their points across? This all truly is a very, very controversial subject.
I don't really have a strong value judgment one way or the other about this phenomenon, but I think it stems from the pain that we have felt from being pre-judged. We know the power of language because we have been hurt by it, and it is one way to take the power back.

Linguistically speaking, the culture will just come up with a new word once we have effectively re-defined the current hate speech, so I don't see it as all that effective in the long run. (Does culture shape language, or language shape culture?) I don't think it leads to violence, but new words will be born. So, probably the best thing that comes of it is the person who was belittled being able to re-balance the power paradigm created when haters used f*g (etc) against him.

Someone mentioned how a black rapper can use ni**er but eminem, for instance, can't. I think that makes sense. What is going on there is the black person has been abused by this word. And he is saying, no, this is not your word to abuse me with. I am taking this word that has been created against me and it will be mine. He is not saying OK let's everyone just start using this word, but he is saying if you have had the experience of being persecuted with this word, please, take this word, and evolve it.

And actually, I've heard black rappers say eminem can use the word. Because eminem has been persecuted by the word. So the perspective is there. When I use the word f*g, I know the weight of it. It is a heavy, serious word that has caused destruction inside of one of my communities. It has caused people to kill themselves and to never leave their homes in fear. So, we say, alright, not putting up with this, got to get rid of the power of this word somehow. I've got to forgive this word for my own sanity. But, no that does not mean that suddenly it is OK for homophobes to start calling me a f*g.
 
Old 12-10-2007, 04:59 AM
 
196 posts, read 716,190 times
Reputation: 101
I really wasn't going to say anything about this because there has been enough said already butttttttttt when are people going to try to see each other as human beings, as someone's child, as a child of God. This is the Christmas season- go to a church or wherever you worship or just pray in your home and stop all of this talk -work on respect. No, I'm not perfect and if the moderator does't like my opinionated viewpoint then he may ban me from this board. There is a lot of negative bantering here. Just my humble opinion.
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