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Term of abuse
Related: term - verbal abuse - abuse - slur - disparagement
Terms of disparagement are pejorative terms such as yid, kike, nigger, whore, slut, fag and queer whose use usually arouses painful feelings in the target, members of the targeted group or sympathizers. They may also signify derision for people of specific geographic areas, such as Mick, Kraut and Jaffa.
Etiquette experts recommend that these insults should be avoided in polite society. Even used in impolite society they could cause friction, and even violence. Sociologists point to derisive language as an indicator of flawed reasoning about the character or motivation of others. Though insults are common, and often used in jest, a fundamental axiom of sociology recognizes that derogatory forms of speech make erronious attributions about the character of a person. Scholars classify the erroneous assumptions as the fundamental attribution error.
Terms of disparagement may or may not be fighting words.
See also: List of ethnic slurs, List of sexual slurs --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Term_of_disparagement [Oct 2004]
Verbal abuseVerbal abuse: the use of foul language, obscenities or demeaning talk directed at another. See abuse --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abuse [Jul 2004]
Insult2. Gross abuse offered to another, either by word or act; an act or speech of insolence or contempt; a deprecatory remark; an affront; an indignity. --Webster's 1913 Dictionary
Reclaimed wordsA reclaimed word is a word that was formerly used solely as a slur but that has been semantically overturned by members of the maligned group, who use it as a term of defiant pride. Queer is an example of a word undergoing this process. For decades queer was used solely as a derogatory adjective for gays and lesbians, but in the 1980s the term began to be used by gay and lesbian activists as a term of self-identification. Eventually, it came to be used as an umbrella term that included gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people. Nevertheless, a sizable percentage of people to whom this term might apply still hold queer to be a hateful insult, and its use by heterosexuals is often considered offensive. Similarly, other reclaimed words are usually offensive to the in-group when used by outsiders, so extreme caution must be taken concerning their use when one is not a member of the group. The American Heritage® Dictionary
To reclaim is to bring a word back to a more acceptable course. This can have wider implications in the fields of discourse, and is often used described in terms of personal or socio-political empowerment.
To reclaim something is the political process and strategy consisting in re-evaluating and re-appropriating terms that in the dominant culture are used to oppress minorities. Similar to the 'pride' movements, this process differs because of its provocative elements: derogatory terms come to acquire positive meaning in the tight circle of the literati, while they keep their negative connotations outside of it. Michel Foucault discusses this idea as a 'reverse discourse' in his History of Sexuality: Volume I.
The use of these terms by people who are not members of that group tends to remain viewed as strongly derogatory.
Reclaimed words include
'Nigger' by the black movement 'Bitch', 'cunt' and 'feminazi' by the feminist movement 'Slut', and 'slag' by promiscuous, sexual liberation, polygamous and polyamorous affiliates. 'Dyke', 'poof', 'queer', and 'faggot' by the LGBT movements 'Crip' and 'gimp' by people with disabilities 'Redneck' by southern political movements, especially conservative movements 'Jesus freak' by Christians, and especially Christian teens --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reclaiming [Mar 2006]
UndergroundAn alternate usage of the term "underground" is in reference to something that is illegal or so controversial that it would be dangerous for it to be publicized. Or it's so controversial (as in, offensive to societal norms) that it will never be mainstream. Some authors/artists use this as a badge of pride. --http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underground_culture [m2004]
AnarchismPierre-Joseph Proudhon became the first person to call himself an anarchist, a word which had previously been used as a term of abuse during the French Revolution. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proudhon [Oct 2004]
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