Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Do at Least One Thing a Day to Fight Bigotry

Bart, regarding the NYT article:

I also object to free speech rights in curbing speech—even hateful speech.

Women, for example, are routinely denigrated. What's the male equivalent for "whore"? It’s so much a part of the cultural belief that men are superior to women that its reflection in language largely goes unchecked. I did nag about “chairman” at HCC until even dyed-in-the-wool faculty chauvinist would use “chair” or “chairperson” to shut me up. They would even rise across an auditorium full of people to say to me, “See, Lee, I have it right.”

People’s synapses are set, both men’s and women’s. I object to being called “hon” by gas station attendants, but they are too obtuse to understand why. It’s like correcting a big friendly dog. They think they’re showing themselves hospitable.

But a lead article in the NYT says calling the elderly pet names such as “sweetie” negatively affects their health. It’s at the top of the favorite list, so this is an issue that I didn’t even think about. Now I will.

But If we protest everything, we would have no time for regular life, filled with discrimination, disparities, and just downright evil.

I try to protest something every day as Gloria Steinem suggests. But I have moved the concept to other evils in society such as the Hillsborough County school board thuggery. If I protest Elia’s crudities, I count that as a valid one for the day. Then I feel I have done my daily duty so that I can do things like cook and mop the kitchen floor—radical feminist activities.

I have bitten the bullet and bought a new printer. So I will be able to scan in the rest of the Irwin files for Casting Room Couch. Now the Irwin files catalog the evil done within the walls of ROSSAC that turns the stomach to read about it in the dryly businesslike court papers that describe its ugly arc and demise. The ROSSAC people learned nothing. They were surprised that the jury ruled for Erwin and then turned back to acting in the very same way that lasts until today. Lee

From: William Birdsall []
Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2008 7:12 AM
To: lee de cesare
Subject: Re: Advertising - A Push to Curb the Casual Use of Ugly Phrases -

I think it is good to teach kids the true meaning behind, "That's so gay!" but it is an uphill battle trying to change how people speak or how language is used. Language sort of has a life of its own. I think trying to curb a phrase can sometimes backfire and give it more strength and make it more powerful.

I have asked students why they say that, and even the most pro-gay students say, "That's so gay" simply meaning "That is so dumb" or "That is so weird." They do not intend to put anyone down, b/c they aren't even thinking of it in that way.

So they are not using it to refer to gay people, BUT the phrase originally comes from being derogatory to gay people. So I think it is good to point it out, but I have to admit that I have some problems with banning words or phrases. I think it depends on the context in which it is used.

Even gay guys say, "You are so gay!" to each other......or if someone is being ultra queeny, we might joke, "You are such a fag!" but we mean it in a loving way. It is similar how blacks can call each other the n word, but whites can't call them that unless the white person is in their inner circle and is using it the same exact way the blacks use it.

You have to laugh at the craziness of it all.


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