Advanced search

How do I tell them without sounding offensive?

(153 Posts)
SwampyArmpits Fri 04-Dec-20 12:37:59

Help me out, oh wise Mumsnetters!

Someone I know has been unknowingly - I think! - and repeatedly using a derogatory term when referring to someone else, and it makes me cringe every time I see it happen (these incidents are happening online). I don't think this person has bad intentions, and I know I'd want to be told if it were me making the same mistake, so I'd like to send them a quick message - but how to word it without sounding offensive?! I want to tread carefully, this person and I have interacted before but we're not best friends.

Should I say something - and, if so, what and how? - or should I stay out of it? What say you, Mumsnet?!

OP’s posts: |
anotherwinkywinkybumbum Fri 04-Dec-20 12:39:56

We need more context really.

hopeishere Fri 04-Dec-20 12:41:52

It would be easier if you said the word they are using.

Myneighboursnorlax Fri 04-Dec-20 12:44:39

“Hey! I saw on Facebook that you referred to X as (insert term here) a couple of times. I just wanted to check you actually knew what it meant, as I know you’d hate the thought of offending someone accidentally! (Insert link to urban dictionary etc)”

VettiyaIruken Fri 04-Dec-20 12:49:35

Depends on the word.
There are some that everyone knows are unacceptable so they'd likely bang on about pc gorne mad or do a wide eyed innocence routine.

And there are some that people do use ignorantly and would be horrified to learn were offensive.

wimhoffbreather Fri 04-Dec-20 12:55:32

Need more context really but I’d just say it bright and breezy in a message or a comment right after they posted - just a quick “do you mean xx instead of (offensive word? 😅😅”

SwampyArmpits Fri 04-Dec-20 12:58:05

For more context: the term that's being used is a fairly recent slang term, and it's being used by an older person. Don't want to share the actual word for fear of outing myself, but I do think it's unintentional.

@Myneighboursnorlax I've drafted something along those lines, but still worried it sounds a bit rude...!

OP’s posts: |
StrippedFridge Fri 04-Dec-20 12:59:17

I would not mention it online. Only when I saw the person in real life.

It also depends on the word. Not everybody has the same view on which words are offensive.

SockDrawer Fri 04-Dec-20 13:01:27

It’s really difficult to tell without knowing the word.

StrippedFridge Fri 04-Dec-20 13:02:08

If it is a well known slang term then that's hardly going to out you is it?

ivfbeenbusy Fri 04-Dec-20 13:02:24

I'm guessing it's referring to someone as "Karen"

Viviennemary Fri 04-Dec-20 13:02:56

It's better not to mention it IMHO.

PurpleDaisies Fri 04-Dec-20 13:03:05

Can’t tell without the word.

Janaih Fri 04-Dec-20 13:04:17

Are you friends with them at all? "This person and I have interacted before" doesn't imply closeness at all.
If they've said it online then I'm surprised nobody else has corrected her.
I'm guessing it's a slang term for a gay person?

BecomeStronger Fri 04-Dec-20 13:04:36

If it's someone you're genuinely close enough to to care about how they're being perceived by others, call them. If not leave well alone.

Delicate matters requiring tact are very rarely dealt with successfully by text

GreyishDays Fri 04-Dec-20 13:04:41


It’s really difficult to tell without knowing the word.

It is. Depending on what it is you might be able to fluff up your message with a bit of historical context or something. In a ‘I recently found out that this word came from xxx and that it’s offensive to yyy so I’m trying not to use it any more’

I doubt they’re on mumsnet so you’re probably ok to say what it is? smile

PegasusReturns Fri 04-Dec-20 13:07:24

It really depends on the word and in part where the user is from - offensive is definitely a spectrum and can be very country specific.

I’m constantly astonished by woke Silicon Valley types who don’t think twice about using the words handicapped or retard.

Miip Fri 04-Dec-20 13:11:25

Is it MILF?

I would tell them what it means

SockDrawer Fri 04-Dec-20 13:12:30

It's better not to mention it IMHO.

I disagree. Sometimes it may be better to leave it but more often it’s the right thing to do to say something. If someone’s being racist for example then people should step up and put a stop to it.

WhySoSensitive Fri 04-Dec-20 13:17:43

What’s the word?

Hayeahnobut Fri 04-Dec-20 13:20:06

It's better not to mention it IMHO.

This is the kind of attitude that means we'll never have an equal society, turning a blind eye to bigotry is complicity.

NoSquirrels Fri 04-Dec-20 13:20:49

You’re not going to out yourself by telling us the word, really.

If you’re sure it’s unintentional then just say something like ‘Hope you don’t mind me mentioning but I noticed you called X a Y, and it’s best to avoid doing that because...

itbemay1 Fri 04-Dec-20 13:21:44

A recent Instagram post from my hairdresser had a clip from someone saying 'thanks for the do I no longer look like a mong.

I sent a DM to them regarding the use of this word and they removed the post and apologised saying they didn't consider it.

You have to speak up in some circumstances

AnneLovesGilbert Fri 04-Dec-20 13:22:29

Boomer? Karen?

NoSquirrels Fri 04-Dec-20 13:23:00

You’ve got no reason to worry about being rude if you are not rude about pointing it out.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in