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Use Of Derogatory Terms in Modern Society

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Reflection of Derogatory comments

Derogatory terms are often used in a multitude of environments: socially when spoke to one another, during moments and passages such as schools, at home or in the work place, words of this nature seem to relate to almost all aspects of society as a whole. One word which remains as a demur toward another is bitch, a common curse words, as if it were an exercise to describe someone who nags, argues, and doesn’t pay attention; yet is applied toward women for the most part. In times gone by, the word describes a female dog. Every derogatory term has a historical origin; the n-word comes from the Latin word Niger meaning black. Terms and words travel in time, passing from one generation to another, transforming into new words and terms, and propagating forward to today’s society. This word in itself has transformed into a word to describe an African American slave in the 1800s. Today these terms portent the calamity that we as a society struggle to understand as these words are used on a daily basis with little regard to other’s thoughts and morals; we as a society do not reflect how the terms or words were intended to be exercised.Derogatory terms are divisive in nature.

Shanelle Matthews once described “The B-Word” (413) as they have marketed women as bitches and hoes in order to ensure money, power, and respect in this culture. Stating further, Matthews describes people as using words and terms to fit in; while they are not trying to be offensive; they don’t realize the terms are an epithet. In the passage of “Why The N-Word Doesn’t Go Away” (419) by Steven A. Holmes, he fastens terms and words that are used to describe terrorist with becoming a euphemism for Arabs and Muslims, with no regard to whether or not they are law abiding human beings. Further stating, the word or term illegal is used gainfully toward Latinos, with no regard of their citizenship status. What Holmes is trying to identify is that these terms are used and direct towards different races; in short we are dividing a society by the use of derogatory verbal fluency.All derogatory words or terms are very similar; one could easily infer that most use of derogatory words or terms verbally is found to be offensive. Racial slurs may not feel offensive to the pale individual when calling an African American a “nigger”; however the African American will stumble upon those very words as insulting. If a heterosexual male were to say “hey look there, a faggot”; although they not find it to be offensive, an individual from a different sexual orientation may find it to be exceedingly offensive.

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There are many types of derogatory words and terms used in society today, and they all seem to fall in line with being offensive. The scope of this essay is to show how verbal derogatory words and terms can be divisive when used in an offensive manner. Further, to what extent are sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, and prejudice on the basis of social class can be stereotyped as offensive and divisive? Is one mode of derogatory language uniquely different or more complicated than others? And how do some draw to these conclusions?No type of derogatory term is considered worse than the other; every type of derogatory term is bad to some degree, offensive and divisive. The verbal assaults when using the word illegal, or worse, serve no other purpose than to remain hurtful and unpleasant toward another human being. For example sexist comments in sports only bring about outrage in woman; as if we were dragging our voice through the red clay mud.

Racism and homophobic statements are offensive and divisive toward our society; they cause only displeasure in our youth which builds upon further division of humans in society.When we look closely at derogatory words and terms, we may find that some words when verbally displayed are more aggressive than others. People of today’s society classify words and terms, and derogatory verbal exchanges can be ranked. But are they any different than the others? Is a word in one context ranked on a scale of 1 to 10 in derogatory state any worse than another in a different context? I, myself, can only conclude that I view all derogatory words and terms as hurtful; at no point can you applicably apply that derogatory terms are helpful or essential. This basic premise then can only allow me to conclude that all derogatory words or terms are no different from the others; they are hurtful and lack any appreciation for one another.Both Shanelle and Steven make similar points.

In summary all derogatory words and terms are classified as: offensive, hurtful, demeaning. People do not think about what the words truly mean when they use them. However occasionally using these words will have a repercussions. Anthony Federico of ESPN had written “Chink in the Armor: Jeremy Lin’s 9 Turnovers Cost Knicks in Streak-stopping Loss to Hornets.” (418),in an article due to Federico using this demeaning language he lost this job with ESPN. This shows that there are some consequences to using these words, but these terms are still being used by people all over the world and there is nothing we can do to stop it. This type of language is all offensive and should not be used no matter what the situation is.

Work cited:

  1. Matthews, Shanelle, “The B-Word” Intersections: A Thematic Reader for Writers, edited by Emily Isaacs and Katherine Keohane, Bedford, 2017, 413-417.
  2. Holmes A. Steven, “Why the N-Word Doesn’t Go Away” Intersections: A Thematic Reader for Writers, edited by Emily Isaacs and Katherine Keohane, Bedford, 2017, 417-421.


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