Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ethnic slurs

Ethnic slurs can only work on a population that kind of believes they are true.  What this means is that those being stereotyped and insulted are insecure about their position in society and have inkling that such an insult may well include them.  For this reason ethnic or racial slurs do not have the same effect, or really any effect, on the majority (white) citizens of the USA.  The terms “cracker”, “honkie”, “anglo”, “gringo”, “charley”, or “whitey” do not have them same painful effect as “wetback”, “nigger”, “spic”. These words are powerful to those they are used against conjuring up memories most of those effected don’t have.

The fears and insecurities about being accepted as simply another person are deep seated and difficult to overcome. By the same token those who hurl these imprecations are revealing their own fears. Prejudices are often obtained unconsciously by simple participation in society. They are poorly understood and confusing to those who possess them and almost impossible to fully overcome. A racial epithet used in earnest is a horrible thing most often done in painful jest. In some ways they are archaic while being contemporary, they are flung to remind those who are the object of their lesser place in the social group.

Even when used humorously they are dangerous in the sense that they , at the least, exacerbate social division and at  worst  they widen the divide. Intended to sting and push the person or group back however slightly from gaining on the user. When a person of color, (what a goofy term) tries the same thing it falls flat because they don’t actually threaten the majority. Certainly within the white group there are imprecations that are subtly used “Polacks”, “Canucks”, “Kikes”, “Wops”, “Dagos”, all have the same intent; to separate within the group a create a pecking order. Assimilation defeats all this.

It is therefore urgent that, in any country, immigrants be assimilated and indoctrinated in the language and traditions of their new home country.  Without this the majority will be creating a mass of discontented and disappointed citizens.

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