Blog powered by Typepad

« "Pillars of the Community" by Henrik Ibsen | Main | Size doesn't matter - honestly! »

Sunday, 27 November 2005

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Hi David

I had been looking forward to this post because I was under the impression that you would use it to address the comment made by Simon Metz in the thread below this one. You appeared to indicate your intention to do so in your reply to him.

I am disappointed that you did not deal with any of his points, most of which I considered quite valid and worthy of discussion at the very least.

Specifically, I was interested in your answers to the following questions, as posed by Mr Metz:

'Would you refer to an Asian person as paki in their presence?'

and

'Would you use the word "nigger"? Would you seriously refer to a black person as a nigger and then accuse them of towing the fascist language-police line when they got offended, as you did with the Irish guy at the department of hate ... ?'

Your responses to these questions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Peter, greetings.

You are right, I did not answer directly the pertinent questions raised by Simon because I was struggling to get my thoughts together on the general rather than the specific. However, I think the answer was *implicit* in what I wrote, that is, the importance of 'talking softly', or 'doing unto others as you would be done by'. In a face to face conversation I would not deliberately insult a stranger, just the opposite, I would strive to be friendly and courteous. However, to people I know and who I judge would take it in the non-vindictive spirit in which it would be offered, then, yes, I would use such terms.

However, the term 'nigger' has vicious connotations emanating from long before political correctness was dreamt up and I cannot imagine a situation in which I would use it. That does not apply to terms such as 'Paddy' or 'Mick' which have a long-standing history as diminutives for Irishmen.

There are *no* hard and fast rules for this sort of thing which is why I detest the efforts of the Left to impose them. By allowing them so to do, of course, you grant them the power to decide on *all* language rules of usage. I deny them that right and will continue to use language by my own lights. I know when I'm kidding some-one and when I'm insulting some-one - and so do they!

Hi David

I gather you point is that there is a difference between cheering for the Home team even with a little verbal excess, and saying and acting like the Visiting team is actually so much &^&^!

The first is just part of the human condition. The latter, whether of not it meets some ones definition of racism, is unacceptable.


One of the “fun” controversies on this side of the big pond is when a minority person runs for public office and clearly does not support the leftist agenda. They are attacked by the left with a string of insults that would other wise be called racist and sexist.

Makes one wonder just who are the . . .

Thank you for your reply, David.

However, Simon asked you about the term 'Paki', rather than 'Mick' or 'Paddy'. I was wondering where 'Paki' fits in your sliding scale of acceptability, with 'Nigger' apparently on one extreme and the likes of 'Mick' on the other. (Incidentally, if 'Nigger' is too much, where do you stand on 'Sambo', 'Jungle Bunny', 'Coon' etc.?)

I also struggle to see the distinction you claim exists between 'Mick' and 'Nigger'. You say that 'Mick' and 'Paddy' have "a long-standing history as diminutives for Irishmen". Does not 'Nigger' have identical status as regards black men?

Similarly, you state that "the term 'nigger' has vicious connotations emanating from long before political correctness was dreamt up". How is this not true of 'Mick'? For example, for many Irish people this term brings to mind the wilful negligence of the British government during the Irish Famine, a period which, given its death toll of around one million people, can certainly be fairly described as vicious, and one in which any notions of political correctness were still 150 years off.

In my opinion, this is nothing to do with political correctness or the "new rules of language". The issue is the fact that people belonging to these groups that you so label (and from which black people are somehow exempt) *can and do* take offense at such terms, hence the criticism you receive for using them. If an Indian man is offended by the term 'Paki', for example, how can you justify your continued employment of this phrase? And how does that sit with your otherwise sound advice that one should "not be provocative" and instead "strive to 'do unto others as you would that they do unto you'"?

I apologise for the copious question marks but your post and subsequent comment raise more questions than they answer, I'm afraid, and I wonder if you are not being ever so slightly disingenuous here.

Yours,

Peter

David

I read your comments in reply to Peter with interest and I have to admit to being a little angry as I type. For I too am an Irishman and object utterly to being described as “Paddy” or a “Mick”. You will not refer to a man of African origin as a “nigger” due to the word’s long association with brutality but I put it to you that Englishmen have referred to my people as Paddys and Micks for longer and that the association has been equally brutal. Just because the Irishmen you’ve called Micks in the past have had neither the intelligence or the spine to put you in your place does not mean that all of us will take your derogation lightly.

Your failure to define racism itself is telling. You cannot find a description or definition which does not implicate you, hence your denial. Instead you ramble about tribal conflict and attempt parallels between ourselves and our primitive ancestors, where survival is what is at stake. Today’s racism is not a matter of survival, for we live in a land of such overwhelming plenty that we can afford to waste it daily. Today’s racism is a matter of unintelligence, disrespect, fear and greed.

It is to your intellectual detriment on this matter that your people have been long time purveyors of racism rather than receivers. Your appreciation of racism will not be complete until you are the subject of it yourself.

Trey

Hey Hank.

"when a minority person runs for public office and clearly does not support the leftist agenda. They are attacked by the left with a string of insults that would other wise be called racist and sexist"


I hope you aren't talking about the Oreo incident:

http://mediamatters.org/items/200511210004

"the Europeans .. when they conquered the primitive peoples of different parts of the world": actually, the vast bulk of slaves of the Europeans did not come from people they'd conquered but were simply bought in Africa, long before there was much European conquest there. There were exceptions - Canary Islanders, the Amerindian slaves used in the mines in South America - but the vast majority were purchased. Similarly, the British slaves shipped off to Ireland in the middle ages were purchased, not conquered (I refer to the period after the Irish slave raids on Britain.)

I wasn’t thinking of Michael Steele in particular though that is a good example.

The apparent myth of the Oreo cookie attack, if true, would be a minor incident in what happened in that election. From real Clear Politics. That election also put Michelle Malkin in good from (with many links.) But then some people think that since Michelle is of Philippine descent she has no right to her own opinion. (I often disagree with her but no one deserves that type of comment.) Most times the comments are not that vile, and some may be made more with tactical than racist intent, but the level of toleration that gets on the left is amazing.

Of course it is not just that election, it is an almost predictable event every time a non-white does not kowtow to left wing orthodoxy.


The URL did not work for some reason. Here are the links that are in the post.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-11_9_05_RNJ.htm

http://michellemalkin.com/archives/000859.htm

http://michellemalkin.com/archives/001417.htm

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-11_9_05_RNJ.html


On the other hand that sort of languge is appropriate for HTML code

Come on Hank. "Simple Sambo"? That's not racism, that's just rambunctious verbal horseplay, a la "Thick Mick". Just ask David!

For reference here's my post, which is better off here anyway.
.....


Hi David.

I'm not used to posting so I apologise for not knowing html so I can't do links or italics or any of that.

Having read some of your comments on http://departmentofhate.blogspot.com regarding the DUP and racism I thought as the subject had moved on somewhat the debate was best moved here, mainly to see if you were willing to have those views on your site. It seems as if Snotty is no longer going to talk to you anyway.

I was deeply offended in this comment from you:

"I use the words 'Mick', 'Taff', 'Jock', 'Yank', 'Frog' 'Kraut' and 'Paki' on a fairly constant basis" (Can't link to it but it's near the end of the string of comments connected to the Ian Paisley post.) You also refer to some slurs about being English but you didn't list them.

With whom do you use those words?

Would you refer to an Asian person as paki in their presence? (You seem to have no problem calling Irish people micks to theirs...so to speak. Not that any of us are actually face to face.)

Would you use the word "nigger"? Would you seriously refer to a black person as a nigger and then accuse them of towing the fascist language-police line when they got offended, as you did with the Irish guy at the department of hate did?

I'm Jewish and I have to say I'd not like to be called a kike or anything else referrring to MY race in a derogatory way by you or anyone else, regardless of how inoffensive it might seem to you.

You're a white, middle calss (?), educated, man. Top of the heap. You said that you get lots of severe insults thrown your way which was more than obvious from the comments string on the department of hate, but those seemed different to me in that they were specific to YOU rather than your relation to any particular group.

It's much easier for you to not be offended by racist language, but for others those words have serious connotations. Some, such as nigger, kike, paki and, yes, mick, refer to some hideous atrocities. Now, I personally have not experienced much in the way of racial abise, nor hardship. that does not mean that the previous experiences of my family, community, race, or whatever, should be diminished.

This leads to your commment about the Irish being enthusiastic for foreign rule and the other about the Irish not getting that they are part of Britain because they are too stupid. People have died over just those kinds of statements. I think some respect is required. It's like saying the blacks are owned by whites, they're just too dumb to realise it, the jews ARE a lesser species, Hitler WAS right, they are just too dumb to notice. The British invasion of Ireland verged on genocide. It was theft, murder and disempowerment of the worst sort. For example, children were beaten in school for using their own language, Catholic masses were banished to the roadside, people's land was taken and they were forced to work that same land for rich landlords. For a relatively small race like the Irish, that is devastating. Not dissimilar from Jews being forced to wear Stars of David, forced from their shops and businesses and coralled into ghettos. That many people nowadays in Ireland, generations later, are loyal to the crown is expected. That does not forgive the original act. It is just the aftermath of disgraceful period in English history. Again, being the top of the heap, being the coloniser rather than the colonised, the enslaver rather than the enslaved, you don't understand that. Those who take offence at your words do.

Hi there. Can somebody tell me if "spic" is okay? I just used it in an email at work and I think I might be in trouble.

Also, if I could get the final word on "wop", "wog", "panface" and "zipperhead" that would really help me out with the disciplinary committee, cheers.

Hello David.

"What is utterly risible, trivial and childish, is when the likes of Larry, 'lenin' and 'Snotty McShot' accuse me of being a racist because I refer to them as 'Paddies', or 'Micks'."

No David that's wrong. You were accused of being racist because you said that almost everyone from the island of Ireland (a) is a terrorist, (b) is British and doesn't know it, (c) loves being bossed about by foreigners, and (d) is stupid. Your usage of terms like "mick" provide no more than secondary, supporting evidence.

You now claim that (a) was misunderstood because you were drunk, and (b)-(d) were ironic. Well you didn't allow John Band's deep irony to stop you rubbing salt into that particular wound, so I don't see why you should expect to be treated any differently.

I suggest that dedicate your efforts to being more careful in future, rather than writing self-justifying pap like this.

Since I'm here, I'd also be interested to hear the official Duff-verdict on "jungle-bunny", "towel-head", and "camel-fucker" if you're up to it.

I was going to try and take everyone in order but some of the points overlap so for brevity I will simply write this:

The problem of the use of diminutives is an excellent example of the hopelessness of attempting to define racism. Why? Because it all depends on context. In the British army, the Irish Guards are known universally as 'the Micks'. There is no insult intended or taken. Were I to meet 'Trey', up above, and perhaps casually ask him on account of his accent if he was a Paddy and he instantly took umbrage along the lines he describes, I would equally instantly apologise because, as I have made quite clear, I do not think it right to insult individuals because of their country of origin. I must add that I would go to some lengths to avoid 'Trey's' company again because it would be obvious to me that he was a complete pillock with several tons of chips on his shoulders! Those sort of people who go through life looking for insults and slights can never be assuaged so the best thing is to avoid them altogether.

The other diminutives, and we really do not have the time to go throught the entire lexicon, have meanings that vary with their history and with the particular context in which they are used. To employ another army example, a black 'Tom' might well be referred to by his mates as 'Nightfighter' without any offence offered or taken. Just today, I had a conversation with an old trader friend of mine who is a Sikh. He mentioned that he had a cousin and I told him that 'you bloody Indians always have a hundred cousins' and he returned the banter in like mode. Context is everything.

I may have antipathy to one or more groups of people, as *groups*, because I perceive (rightly or wrongly) that they threaten me or mine, and that is a universal human condition. Individual to individual is a different matter, and under those 'rules, I would not wish to insult anyone - unless they gave me reason to!

It is the attempted (and partially successful) seizure of language by the political Left that I object to. In any discussion they use it like a weapon to browbeat and bully their opponents. They are clever with it, too, because they regularly change what is acceptable and what isn't so as to catch out the unsuspecting. If you doubt this, look at the changing fashion in words to categorise negros/blacks/coloureds/people of colour (delete as necessary and just hope you're right otherwise the language commissars will be on to you!)

Finally, can some-one tell me if Larry and John Band are romantically attached? I think if I wrote a post on photons or futons, Larry would somehow contrive to get John Band a mention. Perhaps he's just his agent - who knows!

"...look at the changing fashion in words to categorise negros/blacks/coloureds/people of colour"

Hey, you mean niggers, right?

In response to Randall, above: speaking as a latino, "spic" is okay. But if you ever call me a wetback or a greaser I'll kick your ass, you feelthy gringo.

I must say, Mr Duff, this post is not looking very good for you.

So you are introduced to a complete stranger who upon hearing them speak you determine to be from Ireland, and you ask them "So you're a Paddy?"

We can infer from your writings on this page alone that the person you are addressing is a man. You do not have a "habit" of using such terms, you use them deliberately. Your use of the term Paddy in the case above is clearly a device by which you attempt to establish superiority over another male as is your remark to your Sikh friend. If the newcomer accepts your term you have been successful. If instead you are challenged then you feel threatened and will flee the scene, defensively rejecting your opponent.

All of the discussion over racism and nicknames is a distraction in this case. You would use similar language if the male in question were English himself, perhaps disparaging their home county or city. The reason you do this is not because you are a racist but because you are afraid.

Get over your fear David. Move on.

"Hey, you mean niggers, right?" No, Juan, I mean what I wrote, that is, examples of supposedly acceptable terms to describe negroes which have passed in and out of fashion according to the dictate of the self-appointed language commissars.

"I must say, Mr Duff, this post is not looking very good for you." I'm comfortable in my skin, even for a "feelthy gringo"!

Trey, I'm not sure if you're male or female but whichever, you seem to have difficulty reading. The Sikh is a *friend* of mine. In the army I had mates who were Irish and who were mostly called 'Paddy'. If I unwittingly give offence (which everyone does at some time in their life) I do the proper thing and apologise - I don't "flee the scene, defensively rejecting your opponent". As for "disparaging their home county or city", have you ever heard a 'Yorkie' talking about 'soft southerners'?

Let me repeat for the last time, *context* is everything. The terms we have discussed can range in meaning and intent from banter to deadly insult depending on the *context*. The banter is important because it smooths the way to friendship, and whilst you may attempt to ban the use of certain terms, it will never be possible to ban the way people think.

And, please, Trey, no more of the psycho babble, I beg you!

David, this is a very interesting thread, and I am of the opinion that there are a great deal of issues raised by your commenters that you have not addressed, particularly those of Simon, Trey, Larry and myself. Some other commenters have raised interesting points also, even if the manner in which they have done so has been somewhat crude.

You have not addressed Larry's contention that it is not only the language that you use that has raised the suspicions of your critics, but also the sentiments you have expressed.

For my part, I think there is much more to the language issue than you are prepared to admit. Your admission that you would not, under any conceivable circumstances, use the word 'Nigger' is significant, because it creates problems with your oft-stated "context is everything" defence.

As I have said before, this issue goes beynd what you refer to as the "seizure of language by the political Left". It is about the casual use by a white male of words and phrases that CAN AND DO cause offence to minority groups, and which have their origins in often brutal mistreatment.

You state that "[t]he problem of the use of diminutives is an excellent example of the hopelessness of attempting to define racism". I would submit that, in fact, the problem of using diminutives is that they *tend to diminish*. They diminish and dehumanise entire racial, cultural and ethnical groups in the most historically offensive way possible, and as a consequence those people, by and large, DO NOT LIKE IT. This is what you must understand, and Trey's point about your own group's traditional role in racist behaviour is pertinent here. The backlash against such language is not a matter of restricting your right to use whatever words you like, rather it's about the ethical treatment of groups that have long been persecuted. Surely you can see that the latter is a much more important consideration than what words you feel you should be able to use on your website.

(At this point it should be noted that nobody is stopping you using these words. You are of course free to do so, and indeed you have done. However, you should not be surprised when people draw the inevitable conclusions.)

I understand that it would be time-consuming to respond to all of the issues raised by your post and the responses, so I will try to condense my own queries here:

What is the difference between the words 'Paki' and 'Nigger' and how, as a white caucasian and member of the dominant race, can you justify using one and not the other? Additionally, *why* would you feel the need to use 'Paki' in the first place?

(If your yardstick of acceptability is "vicious connotations", I should remind you of the long tradition of 'Pakibashing' among the National Front and white supremacist movement in Britain.)

I hope you will find the time to address some of the queries raised here. As it stands, it appears to me that your critics might have a point, however crassly expressed.

Hi David

"Context is everything"

This was the point of my post, when I finally got round to it. You are right, context is everything, but your problem is that you take it upon yourself to define the context. This is not for you to do.
The context is defined by the person you encounter, not you. As a result of your attempting to define the context you use the derogatory terms first and await the response. Then berate those who take offence, adding insult to insult, so to speak.

Here's an old common law rule as an analogy: "The eggshell skull plaintiff". If I throw a paper ball at you and you happen to have a skull like an eggshell that breaks, I'm still at fault no matter how harmless I thought the object was. I shouldn't have thrown anything at you.

Sayign you should have had a thicker skull or in this case, thicker skin, is no excuse.

"Context is everything"

Indeed.

The usage of the word "Mick" may or may not be racist, subject to context. When it's used in good-natured badinage among friends, it is probably not.

But when it's used publicly by someone who deliberately, repeatedly prefixes it with the word "thick", who believes that "the Irish are really part of Britain, a fact that constantly and stubbornly evades them, and which can only increase suspicions concerning their general level of intelligence", and by someone who believes that the Irish have "enthusiasm for being bossed about by foreigners", then it undoubtedly is.

Who are teh "langauge commisars"? Do tehy have a newsletter or somethign?

Peter, Simon and Larry,
Thanks for your comments which are, quite properly, putting me on the back foot and making me think. If I may, I will reply in seperate comments to each of you in turn, but there will be a pause in between whilst my 'corner' mop me down, slap on the vaseline and fan me with a towel!

Peter first. If I read them right, your first three paras *imply* that perhaps I am not coming clean, or perhaps, not facing up to the the true meanings behind my words. Let me try and clarify. I *do* have feelings of antipathy (ie, a generalised dislike, falling far short of active hostility) towards several *groups* of people based on their *group* origin or their *group* culture. I am not in the least ashamed of it because it is common to all Mankind, some saints excepted. Marxists, of course, dislike the group they call 'the middle-classes', the Fascists dislike any group that is not indigenous to these islands, what I call loosely the 'Trot-lot' dislike the group known as 'Zionists', and so it goes on. It may well be that in certain circumstances I would use the diminutives we have touched upon as a deliberate insult aimed at a particular group. It would be a perfect example of 'do unto others as you would be done by', in other words, if I perceived them to be a threat, I would respond. So far, so human!

The question then arises as to how one would deal with social intercourse with another *individual* of the 'opposite' group. I am not avoiding anything when I point out that there is an almost infinite number of circumstances in which that would occur and I cannot cover them all. I would hope that in general I would remember my humanity, and that of the other individual, and act accordingly.

You then bring in the historical background of the British treatment of various nations and peoples, and I can only tell you that far from being ashamed, I am exceedingly proud of the way my nation behaved. Before Larry has heart failure let me quickly say that I recognise many of the cruelties and stupidities that my ancestors perpetrated but I also know two other things: first, they brought enormous benefits to off-set against their wrongs; and second, *most* other countries would have behaved considerably worse than the British. Should you doubt it, sit quietly for a moment and contemplate Germany over-running Europe in 1914, sinking the British fleet at Jutland and instituting a Pax Germanica on the world! Do you think the average 'Paki' would have enjoyed life more under a Prussian military regime rather than the Indian civil service and the excellent system of District Officers? There is a third point which is obvious but should be made and that is, that were the Asians or the Africans to have achieved the sort of technological advances that we enjoyed in the 17/18th centuries, so that it was *they* who over-ran *us*, do you think they would have behaved better, worse or the same as us? So, in a nutshell, I have nothing to apologise for on behalf of my ancestors, anymore than I expect apologies from young Germans who come from a 'group' that killed my father!

Finally you asked a specific question regarding my use of either 'nigger' or 'Paki'. As I wrote earlier, the first has a history going well back into the 19th century as a term of abuse towards negroes. Any affectionate or bantering meaning has long since disappeared. Consequently I would never use it, any more than I would use the term 'black bastards' because there is no doubting the meaning. (The same applies to the various slang expressions for Jews whose insulting meaning is all that is left.) When it comes to 'Paki', this is literally a diminutive and whilst it *may* be used as a term of abuse by the addition of an expletive, it is almost universally used as a general categorisation, as in, say, 'the Paki shop on the corner', or 'the Paki supporters at the Test Match', or whatever.

Anyway, I insist on my right to use any words I find suitable for any occasion. When they are banter, that will be clear; when they are aggressive, that will be even clearer - it will all depend on the context. If I make a mistake then I will instantly apologise. I hope that answers you even if it fails to convince you.

Thanks for your reply, David, but I think you've missed my point again.

I think your problem might be that you have completely failed to imagine life in the shoes of those on the receiving end of your curiously mixed bag of diminutives. You are only considering half the issue, and your entire argument appears to be based on what *you* think is proper, or rather, "banter". I suggest you ask the 'Paki' in the corner store if he enjoys being referred to as such. If he responded that he found it hurtful and demeaning and not at all harmless "banter", regardless of whether you use it to his face or not, would you continue to use it so flippantly? I'd like to think you wouldn't. I would also wager that his reply to you would be along those lines.

You talk about how context is everything, but your admission that you would not use the word 'Nigger' in any circumstances shows that some considerations trump context. You appear, in this one instance, to have grasped that this particular word is grossly offensive. I wonder what stops you from realising the equally real offense caused by your other pet epithets?

Further, this argument of yours based on the age of the word 'Nigger' is self-defeating, because, as I'm sure you are aware, if you trace the etymology of many of the other words you happily toss around you will find that they are of similar vintage.

It would be interesting to know which particular groups you find "threatening", although I don't suppose you would be inclined to divulge such information. I find it hard to believe that you are threatened by the Irish or the French, for example, or even the 'Pakis'.

No, David, after all this discussion you have yet to confront the actual problem: that these words you insist on using cause *real offense*, and have been used for centuries in service of the demonisation and victimisation of the minority groups to which they refer. Your continued use of such words demands a more convincing justification than the spurious reasons you have offered above.

Yours,

Peter

And if I may add one more point. Of 'Paki', you say "it is almost universally used as a general categorisation".

Firstly, I have never heard the word used this way other than by people that I knew, for reasons other than their choice of phraseology, to be racists.

Secondly, and more significantly for the purposes of this discussion, the word 'Nigger' was once used in exactly the same manner centuries ago (presumably before the "self-appointed language commissars" passed their judgment).

Such words often fall out of respectable usage, and usually for very good reasons.

What is this power you hold over me David? I've been unable to resist, again:

http://tamponteabag.blogspot.com/2005/11/duffwatch.html

Simon's turn next!

You tell me that it is not my perogative to decide on context. Whose is it then? You suggest my interlocuter, but why should it be his exclusively? It seems to me that in a conversation both parties set the context between themselves. One thing is for sure, it should not be set by the 'language commissars'!

"I shouldn't have thrown anything at you." Quite right, but people *do* throw things, sometimes harmless things, sometimes deadly things, but that is the stuff of life. I can only repeat myself, if I get it wrong, then I apologise, but I will not accept that a third party should lay down arbitrary rules to cover my private conversations. That way leads to far worse problems than upset temprements.


Now to Larry! He points to several disparaging remarks I have made in the past directed at the southern Irish in general, and one native of the 'Emerald Isle' in particular. Let's get him out of the way first. I was referring to 'Sir Bob' Geldof (but you can throw 'Bono' in as well!) I called Geldof a "thick Mick" because, er, well, he is! To fill the Swiss bank accounts of the gangsters running one particular African country might be called a misfortune, but twenty years later to whip up enthusiasm to fill every other African gangster's accounts is sheer stupidity.

Up above you will see that I have openly admitted that there are certain *groups* I view with antipathy. Peter was curious as to who they were, so I can tell him that the southern Irish are one of them. The reason for my feeling of aversion is that for some thirty years a minority of them spent a great deal of time killing and dismembering British people - men, women and children. The actual killers were a minority but my suspicion is that a significant percentage of the citizens of the Republic sympathised with them. Larry can call me what he likes but personally, I take the wholesale murder of my fellow countrymen, and women, and children, fairly seriously. I don't like it! It does *NOT* mean that I want to go and murder citizens of the Republic, and nor does it mean that I want anyone else to do such a thing. However, I reserve the right to make clear my less than admiring opinion of them - *as a whole*. None of that would stop me making friends with some-one from Eire.

Perhaps all that is too complicated for the simple minds inhabiting the 'Trot-lot Tendency', who never cease to bombard me with vile and filthy insults but who need smelling salts if anyone calls an Irishman a Paddy.

Bloody kids, who'd have 'em?!

DAVID DUFF HE SAY: "I will not accept that a third party should lay down arbitrary rules to cover my private conversations"

Right on, brother. But you put them on your weblog and they are no longer private, right? You gots no control over what kind of Micks and Pakis and Wogs and whatever are reading your words, so when does this "do unto others"/"talk softly"/"do not be provocative" part come into it, I wonder?

And if you use Mick because you hate the Irish, and you don't use Yid because you like the Jewish, then I guess we can presume that you also hate the Welsh, the Americans, the Asians and the French as well then.

I mean really! Have you ever, ya know, considered the possibility that these Trotters might be right? What you're saying here _does_ seem awful racist, and it just keeps getting worse every time you comment. Smoke/fire and all that. No?

And there's more: "I take the wholesale murder of my fellow countrymen, and women, and children, fairly seriously. I don't like it!" Okay, but Peter has demonstrated above that you don't seem to give two stuffs about what other people dislike, so I don't understand why we're supposed to care what your feelings all of a sudden. That doesn't seem fair to me.

You're still avoiding Peter's points. Why are you doing that? Why do you insist on using words that you know cause offence to millions of people?

And who teh hell are the language commissars?!?!?!

The language commissars are the thickheads who tell us to say "gender" rather than "sex". My employer has them: hasn't yours?

Ah. Do they come to your office and tell you not to say Paki and Mick, too?

Duff, through your short-sighted and ill-informed eyes, you can't even be rascist about the right people.

I take from your "reason for my feeling of aversion is that for some thirty years a minority of them spent a great deal of time killing and dismembering British people - men, women and children." that you are referring to members of the paramilitary organisation the IRA (whether it be provisional or real or whatnot).

You may have to get down to the post office and redirect that aversion to them "Micks" north of the border.British Micks. That's right, David ,you have an aversion to your own countrymen and women. All that was David, the last thirty years, was just a glorified domestic. Their methods were just a tad more drastic than punching the little "Memsahib" in the kidneys if your dinner's cold.

Try http://cryptome.org/ira-names.htm or http://www.cryptome.org/ira-names2.htm, and if you don't care to do the stats, then no worries, I've taken care of that.

The stats say you're a cunt.

Bryan,
You make a point but not, alas, a sound one, I guess because you haven't taken my meaning - perhaps my fault. I have made clear that I, and everyone else in the world, have feelings of antipathy towards certain groups (not necessarily based on race or skin colour) and I enjoy the right to express that dislike - and by the way, I do not "hate" the southern Irish, I merely view them with less than admiration and total trust. In expressing my antipathy I almost certainly will use words intended to insult or offend. However, in dealing with an *individual*, asuming the circumstances are benign, or at least, neutral, I would, as I made clear, try and remember our mutual humanity. Equally, if we were old mates, I might well call him a 'thick Mick' if he was Irish. If he took offence at that, in those circumstances, we wouldn't be mates.

"Language commissars" are any of those *self-appointed* busybodies who, claiming spuriously to be speaking on behalf of, er, "millions of people", wish me to conform to rules of language with which I disagree.

If Hugh could point to any statement of mine in which I even *hinted* that the British were the sole possessors of virtue in the world, he might have a point. He can't, and he doesn't! And his final sentence tells us all we need to know concerning his ability to enjoy a civilised discourse.

I think asking the corner store Paki what he thinks of all this business was a good idea. Maybe he thinks being called a Paki is sweet enough, but I'm guessing he prefers, oh I don't know, Mr Sangheera perhaps.

Also, I'm interested in a good reason why "nigger" is out of bounds. Haven't seen a reason given yet that doesn't stink of hypocrisy and desperate back-pedalling.

Otherwise, this sounds like that old standard "So what if I'm racist? Everybody's racist" defense to me. Fair enough then, you cheeky old racist you.

If David could point to any statement of Hugh's in which he even *hinted* that David even *hinted* that British were the sole possessors of virtue in the world, he might have a point. He can't, and he doesn't!

Try paragraph #3, Preston, and whilst you're here, please define what *you* mean by 'racist'.

"And his final sentence tells us all we need to know concerning his ability to enjoy a civilised discourse".

What's wrong with the word "cunt"? Are you some kind of language commissar?

Nice try, Bryan, but I'm not telling him *not* to use the word, merely hinting at the probability that any discussion with him would probably not be worth pursuing.

Third paragraph? Okaaaaay...

'You may have to get down to the post office and redirect that aversion to them "Micks" north of the border.British Micks. That's right, David ,you have an aversion to your own countrymen and women. All that was David, the last thirty years, was just a glorified domestic. Their methods were just a tad more drastic than punching the little "Memsahib" in the kidneys if your dinner's cold.'

Ummmm. David this paragraph doesn't say anything about the British being "the sole possessors of virtue in the world", nor accuse you of hinting the same. It says that the IRA were mostly brits, so hating on the southern Irish doesn't make sense. Then it says some stuff about you punching a "Memsahib", but I don't think that means anything about British virtue either.

It must be past your bedtime or something.

I would say that a racist is someone who deliberately uses racial epithets which demean entire cultural and racial populations with wilful disregard for the feelings of those people, and I think most people would agree. If that's no good, I would say that a racist is someone who judges entire cultural and racial populations of people based on the actions of a minority of those people. Like, say, some black guys stole my friend's bike, so now I hate all black people and I think they are all bike stealers. Or maybe, for example, some Irish guys were responsible for terrorist attacks against my countrymen so now I hate all Irish guys and think they're all terrorists.

Something like that, maybe.

Nice try yourself, David, but nobody here is telling you not to use any words either, merely hinting at the probability that any discussion with you is going to involve you being accused of racism.

"It must be past your bedtime or something."

Dead right, there! I'm off. "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow ...."

Good night, David! Try not to bash any Pakis on the way to bed! Hee hee!

Your buddy,

Nick G

Oh dear. What a mess!

David, I think the source of your trouble here is two-fold. Firstly, your admission that you would never use the word 'Nigger' has left you somewhat exposed. It's an acknowledgement on your part that there are some words which go beyond matters of "context", and beyond the dictates of the so-called "language commissars", and as such it deals a crippling blow to your two main defences. Honestly, David, your argument would be in much better shape if you had just told us all that you use the word 'Nigger' as often as any other epithet on your list.

The second problem is your apparent failure to consider the feelings of the targets of the words in question. As a white British male, this is a significant (altough historically understandable) error in judgment. The corner shop 'Paki' does not care to grasp the nuances of your "context" arguments, nor does he receive the memos from the language commissars - he just doesn't want to be called a 'Paki'. It really is that simple, and no discussion of "primitive" peoples or savage tribes is required.

Most of my readers are fairly bright but for the sake of the odd dimwit, "Nick Griffin" above is a hoax.

A faint apology to Hugh, up above. Exhausted by my single-handed cut and thrust against all-comers yesterday, I misunderstood his post. To tell truth, my heart sank reading his post because I thought it was leading us into that never-ending landscape of Irish history from which no man ever returns because they can't find the exit. I *assumed* he was directing me towards the evils of the Protestant para-militaries. Thanks to Preston for putting me right, but alas, Hugh still lacks a good point because all Ulster-born members of the IRA consider themselves to be Irish not British. I have the cheek of the Devil but even I would hesitate to look into the pitiless eyes of Martin McGuiness, the well-known 'non-racist peace-campaigner', and tell him he's British whether he likes it or not.

Not a "mess", Peter, just a muddle because that's how human affairs are. Any attempt to impose absolutes on people are doomed to failure.

There is no particular difficulty in my decision not to use 'nigger' in normal discourse. The meaning is clear and unambiguous. It is an insult and should only be used as such. The other words have shades of meaning and, sorry to repeat myself, the context will usually give you the meaning intended. In urging me to confess that I do, in fact, use the word 'nigger', you come perilously close to inciting me to tell a 'porky', and that wouldn't do, would it? Not only a "racist" but a liar, too!

However, I will ask you something. You seek to speak for all 'Paki' shopkeepers. What are your qualifications for this onerous task? Personally, I try very hard never to speak for anyone other than myself on the rather sensible grounds that I have enough trouble sorting out my own thoughts and feelings, let alone a zillion people I have never even met.

I'm not urging you to use the word, David. I'm merely suggesting that your position would be far more consistent if you did.

I'm confused as to what you mean by "normal discourse" however. It's a strange qualifier. Do you mean face-to-face with a (black) friend, with a (black) stranger, or on your website?

You seem to be saying throughout this discussion that you of course would not use such language ('Paki', 'Taffy' etc) in normal every day conversation. It seems strange to me that you would then use such words without hesitation on these pages.

As for my status as spokesperson for 'Paki' shopkeepers, that was what you might call an educated guess. I have been aquainted with enough Asian people to know that 'Paki' is a long way from being the preferred nomenclature, and I am sufficiently certain that your shopkeeper would tell you the same thing.

But don't take my word for it: ask him yourself. If he objects to the phrase, would you reconsider your use of it?

If you balk at the idea of asking him, why not take a guess yourself? How do YOU think he feels about the word?

If your answer to that last question is "I don't know", then wouldn't it be prudent to refrain from using the word in the absence of that knowledge? If you have absolutely no idea of the offence (or otherwise) engendered by that word (and I suspect you do not), then why use it at all?

David, RE that last paragraph, what if Peter Blapps is Pakistani shopkeeper himself? Does that qualify him to speak for other Pakistani shopkeepers? How about if you met someone who doesn't mind being referred to as a nigger? Would you still refrian from using the word?

Perhaps each of us should type up a list of words we find unacceptable on a sheet of A4 paper, laminate it and wear it on a string around our necks.

Now we'd have a simple choice. We could simply avoid speaking to people who's lists include our own favourites. Or we could try to avoid using those words out of politeness. Or we could even feel the need to criticise the length of someone's list, self-righteously lecturing them on the evils of the politically correct language commisars. Because after all, an individual person can't have decided they don't like a particular word all on their own through their own particular experiences, can they?

NIB, I guarantee you David doesn't know whether the shopkeeper in question is actually Pakistani or not. 'Paki' just means he's a *brown-skinned* guy. He might be Indian, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi or who knows. Shit, maybe he even prefers 'English'.

Hi again David.

Why this aversion to being called a racist? Because the "language commissars" say "racism" is bad? Or because you know, and you know damn well, that it is, in fact, appalling and you want no association with it. That's it I think.

Otherwise you would simply say, ok, I'm a racist, so what? Because in the hundreds of words you've used to avoid this admission above, that's all you've actually said. You haven't denied your racism, just sought to justify it. That's a significant difference.

Your reply will ask what my definition of a racist is. Well, here it is, from the language commissars at the Oxford English dictionary:

Racism: "discrimination against or antagonism towards other races"

But you said "antipathy" not "antagonism" surely that means you're not a racist!
Here's their definitions:
Antipathy: "A strong feeling of dislike"
Antagonism: "open hostility or opposition"

I would certainly say you are openly hostile to, say, the Irish, as a group, regardless of the reason behind it i.e. terrorism (another jutification). You certainly have a strong feeling of dislike for them. As a race. As you said yourself. By that reasoning you probably have issues with "towel heads" too, right?

Germans killed my greatgrandmother in the Sachsenhausen death camp after 6 months of torture. I visited there this year. Worst day of my life. But I have no feeling of distrust or antipathy towards Germans as a race, and it's not because I'm holier than thou, all forgiving and benevolent. It's because that would be ridiculous. It makes no sense.

You are, David, a racist. You just don't care that you are. That's all. If that's it, ok. Crappy, but ok. I'm sure you're not the violent BNP type of racist, just the "doesn't know any better" type. You should admit it though, because your position otherwise is untenable and dishonest.

Kind of sad, too. You seem like a clever bloke

Sorry, chaps, busy day yesterday - trying to tidy my study under orders from the little 'Memsahib'. *So* many books! And every time I picked one up I had to start reading it!

I will respond later today, but in the meantime Pootergeek at http://www.pootergeek.com/
employs 'racist'(!) language towards his *own nephew* - SHOCK-HORROR. If you can bear it, read the post for 29 Nov on teh subject of Dulux paint. But remember, context is everything! (Now where have I heard that before?)

Also, for a giggle at the expense of Indians try http://www.pickledpolitics.com/ entitled "The Indian way to do business" written by 'Sunny', an Indian, on 30 Nov.

I think the 'Language Commissars' have been wasting too much time on harmless old farts like me, it's time they sorted out all these, er, 'Persons of Lighter Hue than Black but Darker Than White'. (Was that all right?)

Pootergeek is always good value (pity we fell out) but Pickled Politics is a new one to me and is worth watching from a quick glance this morning.

Christ on a crutch, David. If you don't comprehend the difference between a black man and an Indian man each ironically employing diminutives or racist stereotypes for their own people on one hand, and you - a caucasian male - employing diminutives for practically everybody else who *isn't* white, then I don't know why we're even bothering to have this discussion with you.

Hey, Duff man, I'll define racism for you, seeing as you seem to be having problems with what is a relatively simple concept: its the act of ascribing any quality, good or bad, to a racial group as a whole. Now, seeing as you 'like and admire the jewish people as a group', you are by definition a racist. Ok? Hope that's clear. If it's any consolation, I would like to mention that I think all women are wonderful, which makes me a fully-fledged sexist.

The joke on Pickled Politics was actually quite funny. Maybe you should try doing jokes?

Does anyone remember the drunken major from Fawlty Towers:

"And the funny thing was, she kept referring to the Indians as 'niggers'.

No! No! No! I said. 'Niggers' are the West Indians.

These people are wogs!"


Remind you of anyone?

Well, where to begin?

Bryan - "nobody here is telling you not to use any words". Oh yes they are!

Peter - "I'm confused as to what you mean by "normal discourse"". Come off it, Peter, it means any normal conversation outside of a screaming row in which insults might well be used.

Peter - "You seem to be saying [...] that you of course would not use such language ('Paki', 'Taffy' etc) in normal every day conversation." No, I'm saying the exact opposite, I *would* use such language as and when appropriate, and as the number of circumstances is almost infinite, I can't spell out each and every one. Sometimes they would be insults and sometimes affectionate bandinage.

N.I.B. - "if Peter Blapps is Pakistani shopkeeper himself? Does that qualify him to speak for other Pakistani shopkeepers?" No!

N.I.B. - "Or we could even feel the need to criticise the length of someone's list [of unacceptable words], self-righteously lecturing them on the evils of the politically correct language commisars." But that happens already, except in reverse - the 'language commissars' (ie, many of you above!) self-righteously lecture me.

Bryan - "I guarantee you David doesn't know whether the shopkeeper in question is actually Pakistani or not." Wrong again, Bryan, this is becoming an embarrassing habit from you. I have lived in a mixed-race Asian country and am well aware of the differences, and also the differences *within*, say, India.

Simon - "Why this aversion to being called a racist?" I do not have such an aversion. I am a 'racist', so are you, so is everyone.

Simon - The definition of racism in my OED (1998) is this: "[T]he belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races." I think that is a true statement. I also think that at the beginning of the 21st century, the English are far from "superior" compared to some other races.

Simon - "I would certainly say you are openly hostile to, say, the Irish, as a group". If your definition of "antipathy" is correct then perhaps I inadvertantly chose the wrong word but I certainly do have less than a warm regard for them *as a group*. That will fade as long as they stop bombing us, much in the way that my similar feelings towards the Germans has faded. (By the way, Simon, I have appreciated your coments on this ticklish subject - made me pause and think.)

Preston - "Christ on a crutch, David". Were I a committed Christian, Preston, I would have been upset by that remark - you really must learn to be more careful of the language you use! (But there again, it's always open season on Christians!)

'Yoyo' - "you [David Duff] are by definition a racist." I agree, and so are you, and so is everyone except the occasional saint - and I don't know too many of them!

N.I.B. - "Maybe you should try doing jokes?" perhaps but Larry thinks I am one anyway!

Larry - last but not least. Yes, I remember that character and in my time I have either met or read about some who bore a remarkable resemblance to him. No doubt, humans being human, some of them were nasty bits of work but they were, from my studies of, say, British India, Burma and Malaya, far outnumbered by men of great integrity who loved the peoples and the countries in which they served.

Gentlemen - I think we've flogged this poor old horse as far it's going to go. On the whole it has been conducted at a pretty high level of courtesy without losing the 'punch and crunch' that any good argument needs. Thank you. Feel free to carry on but I cannot promise to respond.

But that happens already, except in reverse - the 'language commissars' (ie, many of you above!) self-righteously lecture me.

Well, quite. I'd like to point out that in *my* experience, people who use the word 'paki' are the type who turn violent after five pints and therefore decide to avoid. Wheras people who use the word 'cunt' I tend to get on with. It works both ways.

After 5 pints all I want to do is go to the lavatory!

David Duff spake: "I am a 'racist', so are you, so is everyone."

Geez. Halfway up this page I said this of David's arguments: 'this sounds like that old standard "So what if I'm racist? Everybody's racist" defense to me.'

This whole business would have been a lot easier (and quicker!) if you had've just agreed with me then, David. Anyway, glad we've got that settled. You're a racist, fine. So stop your complaining.

David, I suspect that maybe in your haste to find a quote of mine to disagree with, you forgot to read the rest of the paragraph to which it was attached. My query about your definition of "normal discourse" was whether or not it included these weblog entries of yours.

But I raised that question as an aside, and I now regret doing so as it appears to have afforded you the opportunity to once again avoid addressing my two main points - firstly, that some considerations clearly trump your "context" crutch (e.g. with reference to 'Nigger') and second, that you have failed to consider the possibility that those who are targetted by these phrases do not consider them "banter" or "affectionate bandinage" at all, but grossly insensitive racial slurs (just ask your shopkeeper). Instead, you quite tellingly chose to focus on minor issues I might have raised along the way.

It's a shame, therefore, that you consider this particular horse dead and flogged already, as I am far from convinced that you have justified your usage of these terms in any kind of consistent manner. And should be noted again, that despite your protestations to the contrary, nobody here has asked to *stop* using such words, simply taken you to task for doing so. The difference is significant, although you will doubtless attribute this fact to more nefarious "language commissar" trickery.

For my part, all I wanted to do was establish whether or not you have any idea what you are doing by using such language. I'm afraid my conclusion is that you do not.

Yours,

Peter

David,

I appreciate this thread is closed, but I couldn't let it end it with you telling me I'm a racist without any supporting evidence. It's not the claim itself I find offensive, it's your thought process. A brief summary of the basic principles of logical reasoning might help here: you made specific claims about people from a racial group all possesing the same quality, therefore you are exhibiting racist behaviour. I didn't write anything on the subject myself, so to call me a racist (or for that matter, a non-racist) is to make an a priori assumption that I think and act like you.

If I may be so bold, you seem to be wielding the power of extrapolation a little too freely. Your argument is 'David Duff is a racist, therefore so is everyone else in the world'. Might I respectfully suggest that this is a little egotistical? If we were to follow this line of reasoning, in which you are the template for humanity, surely everyone on the planet would, for example, would be the proud possesor of an upper-cranially mounted penis?

"After 5 pints all I want to do is go to the lavatory!"

Good news for all teh pakis, i geuss!!!

David,

"Oh yes they are!"

Oh no they're not.


Glad we've managed to reduce this discussion to a level you're able to cope with.

In reverse order ....

Larry - that was a corker, made me laugh out loud. You win my Riposte of the Month Award.

Yoyo - everyone in the world, including you, has opinions on the characteristics of other *groups* of people. That is wise and sensible providing, of course, that the analysis is shrewdly based rather than stupid. (To say that a certain group is feckless, or treacherous, or anything, simply because of the colour of their skin, is infantile.) In the real world, we have to deal with groups, particularly in the political world. It would be as stupid as the colour-based prejudice above, to simply refuse to recognise some particular characteristics that emanate from a group. For example, the Germany of 1914 was Prussian-led and dominated, and as a result, was exceedingly militaristic. In fact when we study history, we attach characteristics to groups of peoples all the time from an analysis of the behaviour. Is that morally reprehensible? None of the above means that you will find thses characteristics in each and every *individual* - hence my efforts (wasted alas) to point out that how you respond to groups may (or may not) be different from how you respond to individuals.

Peter - your two main points which you accuse me of avoiding. First, some words are clear and unambiguous, such as 'nigger', an obvious insult; and other words depend on a context to make their meaning clear. All that is quite apart from the obvious fact that words change their meaning over time. Second, you stand in danger of being accused of the very 'racism' that I admit to, and which 'Yoyo', above, abhors; that is, of attaching characteristics to a group of people, in this case 'Paki' shopkeepers. You claim that this group, as a whole, dislikes the term 'Paki'. You may well be right, but your thought processes in coming to that conclusion are exactly in line with mine! Sorry, and all that ....

Preston - I'm not complaining about people labelling me a 'racist', as I wrote above, it makes me smile because they demonstrate a certain mind-set, or perhaps lack of mind-set, to put it politely. I only object when they start telling me what I can or cannot say.

This thread sprang from David Duff's criticism of the "Trot-lot Tendency" and their habit of dismissing him as a racist. David accused them of not really understanding the term, thereby implying that the TT are using it incorrectly and, furthermore, by so labelling him they are allowing the "undiluted vitriol of pure racism" perpetrated by others to go unchallenged.

As a result of the comments generated by his first post, David has ended up by admitting that he is, in fact, a racist (although possibly not a "pure racist", whatever that means). The effect of this admission on the validity of the central premise of his original post hardly needs pointing out, except insofar as to note that the net effect of all this discussion is that the Trot-lot Tendency can continue to dismiss David Duff as a racist without risk of error.

Excellent work, comrades.

Either Frank takes his textual analysis too far, or perhaps, not far enough. Either way he gets in a tangle and takes an appropriately named pratfall. I said that *everyone* is a racist with the possible exception of the odd saint. I have looked long and hard at the 'Trot-lot' but so far I haven't spotted any. On the contrary, what I have seen in abundance is plenty of wickedness.

Racist.

Er, yes, Francis; or on the other hand, er, no.

Dumb racist.

David, you are to be congratulated for your bravery in tackling this most thorny of topics. Racism, or at least what the Trot-lot call racism, is the only remaining sin, a concept otherwise long abandoned by so-called 'progressives'. The Victorian notion of respectability involved professing adherence to a roster of Christian precepts. What one actually did in private was another matter. In much the same way, professions of anti-racism in the mouths of many of the far left are just so much humbug. It's quite clear that most of your interlocutors here simply fail to grasp the point you are making, whether through obtuseness or malice. Of course context is everything - there is no meaning independent of it. This is also why you are right to challenge the use of the term 'racist', as lobbed about by the born-again cretins of the far left. In the context in which these creeps use it (no direct reference to anyone above intended, except possibly the gnomic James Francine), it is simply a word used to put you beyond the ideological pale. It has no actual connection with any objective reality. How could it? Your accusers live in a fantasy world in which they, alone amongst the unwashed hordes, are the only ones free from the taint of sin. As they gather round to stone yet another hapless sinner to death, there is, unfortunately, no one who can stay their hand by questioning their own spotlessness. For to admit that racism is an inescapable facet of human nature would mean that they themselves would have to admit their own weaknesses. Being essentially a gutless and sanctimonious lot, most of them find this impossible. Far simpler to just ban the use of certain words outright, and ostracise anyone who dares suggest that reality is a little more complex, shifting and multi-faceted than the banal prescriptions of the PC police.

Ho hum. Looks like Lenny Bruce really did die in vain.

If everyone agrees to stop shouting 'racist', can we also agree to stop peppering the debate with equally lazy, thought-smothering phrases such as 'Political Correctness', 'PC Brigade', and 'PC Police'?

They get used so much in this kind of debate that one has to wonder if some sinister 'politically-correct language police' haven't made them a legal requirement, lest people start thinking for themselves...

Sorry, gentlemen, been away!

Andy, you are right (well, you agree with me, so you must be!) that all humans behave similarly in grouping their fellow humans together and then stereo-typing them. This is not 'sinful', it is a useful short-hand for getting through life, provided, of course, the assessment is accurate! For example, in the previous century it was a useful short-hand to refer to the Germans as 'war-mongers'. It only becomes wicked when you shift your gaze from the general to the particular, that is, if you meet a German individual and immediately assume *he* is a war-monger. The Left, of course, have their own version of it. They simply write off the 'bourgoisie' as a "class" and then liquidate them!

"...it was a useful short-hand to refer to the Germans as 'war-mongers'..."

What was wrong with "Germans"?

Did we get a go/no go on 'jungle-bunny'?

The comments to this entry are closed.