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09 July 2018

More "Dirty" Words That Soil Identities

I posted previously about how we often stigmatize labels like "Jew" and "Puerto Rican" when we confuse the structural racism and implicit bias (as well as lingering bigotry) that befalls these groups for the supposed derogatory nature of the terms associated with the groups. In other words, we mistake words to be dirty if they belong to identities we've been taught are themselves dirtied.

I caught a new example recently as I was revisiting The Office on Netflix. It falls at about the 14:46 mark of episode 2 in season 1, titled "Diversity Day." Here is my transcription of the exchange:

MICHAEL: Um, let me ask you, is there a term besides "Mexican" that you prefer? something less offensive? 
OSCAR: "Mexican" isn't offensive.
MICHAEL: Well, it has certain connotations. 
OSCAR: Like what?
MICHAEL: Like--well, I don't--well, I don't know.
OSCAR: Well, what connotations, Michael? There must have been something? I'm just curious.

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