Monday, October 18, 2010

Nigger Versus Faggot

How is the use of the label "faggot" to describe men who are gay any more tolerable than the use of the label "nigger" to describe people who are Black? Why doesn't the f-word disgust people as much as the n-word does?  I don't understand that.

It is because, as a culture, we've come to our senses and realized using the n-word is unacceptable?  Perhaps.  So when, as a culture, do we come to our senses and realize using the f-word is as insulting to gay men as using the n-word is to Black people?

    

6 comments:

  1. I don't know if this is a bible belt thing, or a personal one, but I'm personally so deeply offended to be refered to as "Queer". Even within the community. I hate it. I will never try to reclaim it.

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  2. Amen, chaoticgrrl, amen. I detest the word "queer" as much as you do, and I avoid using it in all contexts. I would never refer to a gay man or lesbian woman as queer. For me, the connotation is there's something wrong with them, and I don't believe that for a moment. I know nothing's wrong with me just because I'm gay.
    So why did we adopt that word? It's beyond me. I think until we select life affirming words to describe who we are--if we need to label ourselves at all-we'll continue to see ourselves in an unfavorable light, consciously or unconsciously.
    Thanks so much for your comment. You and I are definitely on the same page.

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  3. I also hate the term queer. I don't hear it often, but when I do I know that I am not the one being spoken about. As Rick outlined, there is nothing queer about me at all - and I have no need to label myself or anybody with that misnomer. Not interested.

    I am equally uninterested in the term Faggot. Perhaps even moreso. But somehow, through somebody's misjudgment, this term has become a part of our identity too - there are those among us who call ourselves fags or who call those we hang out with fags. And we like it.

    I recently got into a debate with a friend of mine about this. She just happens to be a lesbian. She loves the term fag. I tell her it is offensive - more offensive than being called gay with a snide tongue or being told that there is something wrong with you. Fag is a term lined with hatred.

    And, when we decide to use it, other's think that it is ok. Like when black people use the term "Nigger" - people just don't understand how it is that the minority can use it while the rest of society is barred from it. To reduce the confusion, I would vote for its dismissal from the English language. In an instant...

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  4. Yup, I'm with you on this one, Neal. Let's abolish the label faggot immediately. I wish that term had never been directed at me, even though it has been many, many times. It's such an ugly word. How could it be used against anyone?
    And, no, I don't approve of its use in the gay community either. Gays think by using it, they take it back, they remove the bite from it, but I disagree. It's still distasteful and should not be a part of our, or anyone's, vocabulary.
    Thanks so much for your well-thought out comment on this subject. I really appreciate your contribution to this post.

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  5. Hmmm. Interesting, and I understand your (pl) viewpoint. I would never describe a man as a faggot (perhaps because of its original definition as wood to be burned??).

    On the other hand, I use "queer" and "dyke" to describe myself. It often shakes up the (usually "straight") person I'm speaking with, and I think that moment of awareness on their part is important. (It often sparks conversation about our language, which is a good thing IMO.)

    (Perhaps I should note that I'm 48, and would not have been comfortable shaking things up this way 20+ years ago. :-) )

    --Sarah

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  6. The British spell faggot with one "g." According to the Google dictionary, a fagot is also known as a contemptible woman. So, as I see it, the word can pretty much piss off any one of either sex.

    Shaking things up.... Hmmm. I understand why we might want to--shock value sometimes has great benefit. But I'd rather not go out of my way to throw anyone off. Cowardice on my part? Perhaps. But in the same way I wouldn't appreciate anyone dropping a bomb about him- or herself in front of me, just to get a reaction, I wouldn't do it to anyone either. Just different ways of looking at things, I guess.

    I appreciate your interest in my blog, Sarah. Thanks so much for your comment and your honesty.

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