Debate:Does using a loaded term imply bigotry

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Some writers assert than any use of words like nigger implies that the writer or speaker hates black people. You can't even put the words in quotation marks, when quoting someone (real or fictional) who said it: the mere act of pronouncing the word aloud or spelling it out, implies that you condone its use and that you harbor anti-black racism. You have to say or write, "the n-word" in self-censorship.


Mark Twain used the word nigger hundreds of times in Huckleberry Finn, but the literary consensus is that his book presented an anti-slavery message second in strength only to Uncle Tom's Cabin. I myself became aware of the plight of black slaves (not to mention slaves in general: other races have been enslaved) and the essential, enduring humanity of all people despite their legal status, by reading this book. I'll never forget how Jim, the escaped slave, pricks Huck's conscience when they're on the raft, after Huck played a trick on him. Mark Twain makes it clear that Jim has a parental heart and Huck is just a teenager "who don't know no better."

Sarah Palin used the term blood libel when condemning a (liberal?) viewpoint that political rhetoric itself was to blame for the Jeffords shooting, quoting Ronald Reagan: "We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions." [1] Apparently some Jewish groups feel the term blood libel is sacrosanct and must never be used except when directly referencing the antisemitic charge that Jews use dead Christan babies' blood to make matzoh crackers. [2] No one who actually follows her position statements on Jews and Israel could think for a moment that she had anything less than genuine respect and love for Jews and Israel: more than Obama, if her statement about Jerusalem is any guide: "Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, not a settlement." [3]

I don't think so. An offensive phrase is really just an artifact of the time in which it was used. To use it as such, as an artifact, is no more offensive than photographic or literary portrayals of hatred.--AnthonyDW 12:53, 21 January 2011 (EST)