2NiggerOriginDerived from the Latin word for the color black, nigerOriginally used in a non-pejorative manner to describe African slavesBy the 1900’s, “nigger” developed a negative connotation and “colored” becomes the acceptable usage in place of “nigger”The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)By the late 1960’s, “colored” and “negro” are also considered disparaging and are replaced by “black”By the 1980’s, “African American” is adopted in the same vein as “Irish American” or “Italian American”While some argue that blacks today “were not born in Africa or even to African immigrants”, others counter that “Irish Americans, Italian Americans, Polish Americans and any other group that has this type of label are not held to the same standard as African Americans in needing to prove connection to a homeland”
3Kike Origin Slur used against people of Jewish background Uncertain; early 1900’sSlur used against people of Jewish backgroundNever socially acceptable from its originJerome Chanes identifies six stages in the historical development of anti- Semitism:Pre-Christian anti-Judaism in ancient Greece and Rome which was primarily ethnic in natureChristian anti-Semitism in antiquity and the Middle Ages which was religious in nature and has extended into modern timesTraditional Muslim anti-Semitism which was nuanced, in that Jews were a protected classPolitical, social and economic anti-Semitism of Enlightenment and post- Enlightenment Europe which laid the groundwork for racial anti-SemitismRacial anti-Semitism that arose in the 19th century and culminated in NazismCurrent anti-Semitism is rooted in racial, political, social and economic thoughts
4CrackerOriginMultiple theories; 1800’s – 1900’s; possibly based on the sound of whips used to herd animals or based on cracked corn which was a staple food of poor rural whitesSlur used against people of poor whites from a rural backgroundHas been used self-descriptively by whites as a term of prideHas also been used in a racially charged manner as an attack on whitesMalcolm X in his “Ballot or the Bullet” speech stated:"It's time for you and me to stop sitting in this country, letting some cracker senators, Northern crackers and Southern crackers, sit there in Washington, D.C., and come to a conclusion in their mind that you and I are supposed to have civil rights. There's no white man going to tell me anything about my rights."
5Faggot Origin Slur used against homosexuals Multiple theories; late 1600’s; possibly a shortened form of “faggot-gatherer”, where a “faggot” was a bundle of firewood; the shortened “faggot” may be an attempt to emasculate men by comparing them to “faggot-gatherers” who were generally older womenSlur used against homosexualsSociologist CJ Pascoe has found that high school males use the word against one another to emasculate others to feel more masculine1969 – New York City’s Stonewall Inn, an openly gay bar, is raided by police and riots break out for 6 days in responseThe Gay Liberation movement begins and pushes for changeSlurs such as “dyke”, “fag”, “fairy”, and “queer” have been co-opted by LGBT people in an attempt to delegitimize them as slurs, much like the black community has done with “nigga”
6Wetback Origin Slur used against Hispanics, usually people from Mexico Early 1920’s; refers to Hispanic people crossing the Rio Grande illegallySlur used against Hispanics, usually people from MexicoOriginally used against illegal farm workersFormer farm worker Cesar Chavez forms the National Farm Workers Association to fight for workers’ rightsChavez fights for restricting immigration because it would undermine U.S. workers
7Retard Origin Slur used against intellectually disabled people Late 1400’s; a mentally handicapped person (often used as a general term of abuse)Slur used against intellectually disabled peopleFrom the Latin retardare (re-back + tardus-slow) to French retarder to English retard“Mental retardation” was formerly used as a clinical diagnosis, but this has changed to “intellectual disability”Used by many as an epithet towards others to say they or their actions are “stupid”Are people with an intellectual disability “stupid”?What if people started calling each other “cracker” or “nigger” to refer to “stupid”? Would that make a difference in how you use the word “retard”?The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 protects “qualified individuals with a disability” from discrimination in public and private arenas
8HajiOriginHajji is one who has made a pilgrimage to MeccaIn Arab countries, Hajji is used freely to refer to older peopleBeginning with the war in Afghanistan, U.S. soldiers begin referring to Afghans by using “Haji” in a derogatory mannerFollowing the U.S. entry into Iraq in 2003, U.S. soldiers use “Haji” to refer to Iraqis, Arabs, and those from the Middle East because of the religious definition of the root word “Hajji” and fact that Middle Eastern countries are predominantly MuslimAnti-Islam sentiments have increased in the U.S. since the September 11th attacks and have led to social acceptance of slurs against Muslims (“raghead”, “towelhead”, “sand nigger”) as well as conflating terrorism with non-fundamentalist Muslims
9Language in Civil Rights Homework Listen to the two songs from class (Randy Newman’s “Rednecks” and Johnny Rebel’s “Move Them North”) and answer the following questions:What are the similarities in message (e.g. “Move Them North” and its call to move “them” out of the South and “Rednecks” and its message that even though they have moved into the North, they are no more free than they were in the South because of their racially segregated ghettoes) and what is their intent?How is their intent different?What is the purpose of using the term “nigger” in the songs?What does it imply about the person singing the songs?Do you feel it’s justifiable to use the slur to make a political point like in Newman’s “Rednecks”? Why or why not?Do you feel it’s justifiable to use the slur in “Move Them North”? Why or why not?What are the key differences between the songs and their messages?