Friday, February 16, 2007

Language, Timothy

I visited a site yesterday which made me quite cross due to the racist language used. It would be of little comment, as there are plenty of unsavoury sites around, but the content was apparently created by a black American into hip-hop culture. This is not something I'm at all familiar with and I'm still not sure whether the language used on the site was a reflection of that culture, or if it was satirical or whether I'm completely missing something. Maybe using those sorts of terms is an attempt to wrest them from racists, or maybe it is racism/self-hatred. I suppose famously Richard Pryor was known for using racial epithets in his act, but after a visit to Africa, he publicly announced he would never use the n-word again. Hmm.

I'm not sure hate-words ever can be reclaimed or made positive, because no matter what, given the wrong audience or speaker, the old meaning can return.

Language can evolve, obviously, as with the rise of 'gay', intended as a positive word. But of course, modern yoof seem to have turned it into their word for 'sad' or 'pathetic', which is rather dispiriting.

Ms was supposed to replace Mrs & Miss, but instead of no longer being defined by our marital status, women now have a third way of being defined as divorced or feminist or both. #Rolls eyes#. I guess you can't force change through language alone.

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