Turn on thread page Beta

Are terms like "spaz" offensive? watch

Announcements
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    i think therms like those are fine. just PC gone mad.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I've personally not used the word 'spaz' as an insult since I was about 8; however I use drater. I would never use the word in its original context, I think that it is used to much as an insult for it to be applied to those with disabilities.

    With regards to 'yid', I'm a Spurs fan so I think you could probably guess my position on that!
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    In America, the word 'spaz' is not considered remotely offenisve. It is a light hearted way of saying clumsy etc. As Tiger Woods is American, this is probably what he meant. It really doesn't carry the same meaning as it does in Britain.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Kapster)
    With regards to 'yid', I'm a Spurs fan so I think you could probably guess my position on that!
    Yid Army! Yid Army!

    (Original post by Moloko)
    In America, the word 'spaz' is not considered remotely offenisve. It is a light hearted way of saying clumsy etc.
    I like 'sped'.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    I prefer the term quadraspaz myself.
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by covered farm wagon)
    Correct!
    Seriously, there's a dinosaur comic for everything!
    You have just introduced me to something amazing.
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by covered farm wagon)
    I'm glad you think so! Seriously, Dinosaur Comics will change your life. I never get any work done anymore. You know you wont be able to sleep until you've read all 750-odd, don't you?
    By the way, for added awesomeness, hover your cursor over the comic to read the title text, which is sometimes even funnier than the comic! And also hover over the 'comments' clicky at the top of the page, and read the subject line of the email (it changes with every comic, and is also significantly awesome).
    When it gets to midnight, I'm going to rep your ass into oblivion.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    like poeple have already said, the intent of the word being used is important, not what the word means in the dictionary.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Curious~Leo-ess1989)
    I'm black and I find that HILARIOUS. lol
    Stop trying so hard, Condoleezza
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    :confused:
    (Original post by cottonmouth)
    Stop trying so hard, Condoleezza
    What do you mean by that? It was hilarious. (?)
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Curious~Leo-ess1989)
    :confused:
    What do you mean by that?
    It's a guess, but I think they may be suggesting some similarity between Condoleezza and Curious~Leo-ess (?)

    Best answer I could think of...
    Offline

    10
    ReputationRep:
    What, it starts with "C" and has an "L" and a double letter in it? So does "codswallop". Ironically enough.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    I think, with the Tiger Woods incident, it is all to do with context, which nobody seems to have mentioned.

    Tiger Woods didn't say the word "spaz" to mean, like, oh my god, I have cerebral palsy. He meant it as a word to depict how crap he was playing. Like when people, especially Americans, say "retarded".

    Apparently, in America, the word 'spaz' has absolutely no connotations whatsoever with disability and therefore Woods is not the least bit in the wrong for saying it. It was only the international community that really complained.

    Like the Black Eyed Peas' song is actually called 'Let's Get Retarded in Here' as opposed to 'Let's Get it Started in Here'. But it was censored and the lyrics changed for mainstream release.

    And the meanings of words change over time and become offensive, derogatory, non-offensive etc according to the repetitive context in which people use them. For instance, some people have talked about how the term 'gay' is now used to describe explicitly non-homosexual things/events etc.

    The term '******' is now less used as a racial aggressive term and more used as a brotherhood term between black people (I find this bizzare, by the way), but it is now seen, generally, to not be offensive when black people refer to each other as '*******'.

    Like the word 'monkey' is now regarded as racist termonology. If a teacher called a black kid messing about in class, a 'monkey', he would probably be deemed racist, just as if another kid had said it he would too.

    A teacher from my school, years back now, was sacked for gross misconduct or something because he referred to a group of pupils as those in the "nig-nog" corner.

    He meant the term 'nig-nog' to mean 'foolish', ie. he was trying to imply that those group of pupils were messing about.

    However, two of them happened to be Asian kids and they complained and he faced a tribunal etc, and was fired.

    This incident was way before my time and I'm not giving a judgement on what I think personally, but the fact of the matter is, the teacher was an older guy and he used the term to mean 'foolish' and not to be racially or ethnically derogative. Apparently the Oxford English Dictionary listed both 'foolish' and a 'racist derogatory term'.

    The teacher in question had spent twent years teaching in Africa and working with developing schools and had the support, apparently, of a lot of teachers and parents and other pupils.

    But it does all depend on context. If that person used the term to mean 'foolish' can he really be described as racist? If Woods used the word 'spaz' to describe his own shortcomings in a game of golf can he really be described as offensive or inpolitically correct?

    This is where the problem lies; where there is a clash between the person uttering the word; their concept of the meaning, and the recipient (whoever that might be).

    It's also a debate as to whether when generally, the meaning of a word changes over time, whether the public should still refer to that word's original meaning or rather erase it in the face of the newer context.

    ie. The term 'Paki' is deemed offensive and racially aggresive. But, traditionally, it is just an abbreviation on the term Pakistini; ie. a person of national citizenship of Pakistan.

    The term, 'Brit' is not thought of as offensive despite it being the same thing. But the meaning, and context of the word, 'Paki' has changed over time because of it's changing repetitive usage.

    Should the world stick with the original meaning, and ignore the newer abuse of the word by racists? Or cave in to them, and re-write the word as racist termonology?

    Usually, it is the latter option which is chosen. 'Paki' is now a racist term; 'gay' is now often used to describe things not gay in the traditional sense at all; a person who is a 'spaz' is no longer a person with disabilities.

    It is very hard to implement compromise, very hard indeed. Either we must allow all words to be used, or reprimand those completely of an 'offensive nature'.

    But what one person is offended by and another is not is variable. There is no evident, clear, solution, I don't think.

    Therefore people will go on offending, and people will continue to be offended. I don't think there are clear distinguishings between right and wrongs in cases concerning usage of language.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by zhivago)
    A teacher from my school, years back now, was sacked for gross misconduct or something because he referred to a group of pupils as those in the "nig-nog" corner.

    He meant the term 'nig-nog' to mean 'foolish', ie. he was trying to imply that those group of pupils were messing about.

    However, two of them happened to be Asian kids and they complained and he faced a tribunal etc, and was fired.

    This incident was way before my time and I'm not giving a judgement on what I think personally, but the fact of the matter is, the teacher was an older guy and he used the term to mean 'foolish' and not to be racially or ethnically derogative. Apparently the Oxford English Dictionary listed both 'foolish' and a 'racist derogatory term'.
    I don't know what the dictionary says today, but my aunt and uncle in Manchester still use the term, in it's original context, it's a North Western phrase, and they've always said it comes from "Niggardly Noggin" to mean someone with a small head (brain).

    Apparently there used to be a nig-nog club in the old days, and even nig-nog biscuits, and none of it had anything to do with race.
    Offline

    10
    ReputationRep:
    OK, let's test a little hypothesis of mine. Somebody give me a random word and I will do my level best to claim it is offensive on some grounds or other - religious, racial, sexual, disability-al, or whatever.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    'Milkman'
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by cheesecakebobby)
    'Milkman'
    sexist!
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by cheesecakebobby)
    'Milkman'
    Milk = white

    It's an attack on white people isn't it?

    It's a derogatory attack on my skin colour and appearance.

    Your suggesting somehow because I am pale skinned I am somehow inferior, and I guess you are also suggesting I am weak, because milk is a liquid.

    Am I right?

    You racist!!!

    :p:
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    Reminds me of this song I heard of yesterday that has been banned by the BBC in daylight hours - "*******us Autisticus".

    It was actually meant to be an empowering parody (Sparticus and so on) not a derogatory joke.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Ferrus)
    Reminds me of this song I heard of yesterday that has been banned by the BBC in daylight hours - "*******us Autisticus".

    It was actually meant to be an empowering parody (Sparticus and so on) not a derogatory joke.
    Ian Dury?

    He was a polio sufferer, disabled, and worked hard for disabled peoples rights, and disabled awareness.

    That was kind of a weird move by the BBC, and a good example of the offence being in the eye of the beholder.
 
 
 
Reply
Submit reply
Turn on thread page Beta
TSR Support Team

We have a brilliant team of more than 60 Support Team members looking after discussions on The Student Room, helping to make it a fun, safe and useful place to hang out.

Updated: April 20, 2006
Poll
Do you think parents should charge rent?
Useful resources

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.