Speech & Harm - Slurs

300 Words2 Pages
Slurs have been around for thousands of years and are very common in many parts of the world. The use of a slur indicates that a person possesses a set of demeaning attitudes towards members of a group and their views. They target groups on the basis of race, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and much more. Unlike slurs, stereotypes still possess a grain of truth in them. Slurs, on the other hand, are simply wrong. Although all slurs are harmful, society does not seem to react unless enough people have made a big deal about it. The use of the “N” word from a white person would be a huge deal, while the use of the word “cracker” would likely be overlooked. Why is it that schools would punish people for the use of the “N” word and not “cracker”? It is because no one has made a big deal about it. What makes a slur worse than another could perhaps also be because of an edict of an authoritative figure, or even recalling the past and who exactly introduced it. The prohibition of these slurs seems to be what gives these words their power. However, even when a word is not necessarily prohibited, such as “loser” or “nerd,” one could still classify it as a slur because of its implications of the group a person may or may not belong to. There are also slurs that members of targeted groups themselves are not always offended by. It seems that slurs are less about the words themselves, than about their offensiveness. Targeted groups and words can change over time, but the intent to disrespect and demean others through there use does not. However, these words have no power unless one buys into the caste system that produced
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