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Every Minority Has a Word

I am going to warn everyone that today’s blog I am going to use words that most people consider horribly offensive. I will however not be using them in an offensive manner, but I don’t think it is appropriate to use a euphemism instead. Louis C.K. put it best when he said that the “N-word” is offensive to him (as it is to me). So I will not be using it.

It seems that these days every minority has a word that is theirs alone. What I mean is that there are words which it is only acceptable for those within that minority to use. It started with the word, “nigger.” Black people can use that word freely, but only black people. I get that it is an offensive insult and I would never call anyone a nigger. I don’t think black people should call each other niggers either.

Then Sarah Palin stepped in to the game and insisted that no one use the word, “retarded.” As a retard herself, I am guessing she wants exclusive rights to that word. That is where I started to get uncomfortable. But since Sarah Palin is… well… retarded, I didn’t think much about it.

Recently however I was listening to one of my favorite radio talk show hosts and he (as a gay man) took ownership of the word, “faggot.” He puts this word in the same category as the word, “nigger.” I can see his point of view here. I would never call a gay person a faggot just as I would never call a black person a nigger. I still will call Sarah Palin retarded however. But why can’t we use these terms in a more clinical manner like I am using them here? Why is it that some people can use these terms and some people can’t? It is in these aspects that I take some disagreement.

However my disagreements aside, why can’t atheists join in this game too? What word can we own exclusively? Obviously we use the term “atheist” already and we often also use terms like “godless” and “heathen.”  Should we insist that only atheists can call each other atheist and everyone else must call us something else? Or maybe atheist is equivalent to “black” or “gay” and we should get offended by being called, “godless” by anyone except ourselves of course.

I want to point out that offense is taken and not given. So in my mind, we choose what words offend us. However, as it is with all things it is the thought that counts. So obviously if someone intends offense it is more likely that I will take offense. In other words, almost any time a religious believer refers to us by any name with the intent of being offensive or mean, we would be well within reason to take offense. Still, I want a word just for our community that no one else can call us. I want to join in these reindeer games. 😉

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