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How do we educate people with regards to appropriate use of words?

(154 Posts)
lou33 Thu 14-Jul-05 09:56:21

I'm getting more and more depressed at the use of inappropriate words , mainly in this country, but i hear a lot coming from the states as well through films.

Specifically this morning I am talking of the word "spaz", it's used in popbitch today allegedly used by people at brooklyn beckham's old school, but in fact there are many terms i find equally offensive and unnecessary.

Is there anyone out there who can explain to me why it is funny to take the pi*s out of people for things they have no chice about, like disabilities and skin colour?

I know background and education have a big part to play, but i come from the sort of upbringing that you could theorise would make me more likely to use these awful negative terms, yet i just knew they were wrong , even as a child.

It makes me both sad and angry that i still read, see, hear this all around me (and yes i do take people to task over it, and yes i do hear the word spaz used a lot)

How can this be changed, or do you think it can't?

WideWebWitch Thu 14-Jul-05 09:57:38

Yes it can be changed imo if we challenge people on use. There are plenty of words which used to be acceptable and aren't any more because people (quite rightly) objected.

oliveoil Thu 14-Jul-05 09:58:01

I hate mong as well . Schools play a huge part in this, there was a thread that someone started, sorry can't remember her name, and someone in her class used this word and she did a project on special needs etc. Fab idea.

lou33 Thu 14-Jul-05 10:00:46

yes i hate that word too, i hate all derogatory words based on the make up of that person, it's not a lifestyle choice

honestly it's a lovely sunny day and i am really depressed about this

how many of us have actually challenged people when hearing these terms?

I do

oliveoil Thu 14-Jul-05 10:02:07

I don't hear them that often tbh. I would have thought it is more young children that use them more than adults.

lou33 Thu 14-Jul-05 10:03:13

it's only ever adults i have heard olive

lou33 Thu 14-Jul-05 10:03:45

to me that makes it even worse, as you would think they would know better

oliveoil Thu 14-Jul-05 10:04:53

Really? That's a disgrace. It's no excuse at any age but you could maybe give children the benefit of the doubt as being too young to know the full meaning.

I would definitely pull someone up on this, I tell people off for swearing as well so I have no qualms about this.

lou33 Thu 14-Jul-05 10:06:47

yes really, i agree, if it's kids you could put it down to their age, although they still need to be told why it is not acceptable, but it has been 100% adults from my experience

Gobbledigook Thu 14-Jul-05 10:09:33

Must admit I never hear either of the words mentioned used. I couldn't even remember the last time I heard them.

Very sad if they still are. I think it would be very hard to change. Even the most uneducated, bigoted and stupid people can have children - they will use such language without a second thought and of course their children will follow suit. In these cases I guess it's education in schools that's key but if there is no parental support for this and kids still hear this in normal conversation at home, I can't see how it will really change

lou33 Thu 14-Jul-05 10:14:00

that's what depresses me gdg

fishfinger Thu 14-Jul-05 10:14:33

I saw the spaz coment and dislike dit
but popbitch is hardly the voice of reason

soapbox Thu 14-Jul-05 10:17:10

Lou I read PB as well this morning and was shocked at the use of that word.

Its not a nice word to usw in any way, but the context it was used in on PB was particularly upsetting.

I hope it is generational - none of us who are parents would allow our children to use that term, surely!

Freckle Thu 14-Jul-05 10:17:39

I think all you can do is to challenge the user whenever you hear it. To be honest, I feel that a lot of words have lost their "origin" and have come to be used as a generic term. The users often have absolutely no idea that they can cause offence (although there will be people who know only too well what they are saying). If you challenge it, it helps to educate that person and perhaps they will think twice before using that term again.

lou33 Thu 14-Jul-05 10:17:42

i know cod, but it's not just popbitch

Freckle Thu 14-Jul-05 10:19:08

But wasn't the word "spaz" used in Love Actually and, when taken to task by a large number of m/netters, Richard Curtis wrote to each complainant and apologised. I doubt very much that he would ever use that word again, so MN has been instrumental in educating that particular person.

Gobbledigook Thu 14-Jul-05 10:19:44

I think you are right Freckle - my dh remembers how he heard the word 'Joey' being used as a derogatory term at school and he just caught on and started using it. He didn't even realise it was in reference to Joey Deacon (?) who was a disabled boy that appeared on Blue Peter (I don't remember it so I'm going off his story).

I also remember hearing my cousins use the word 'paki' and I used it for a while (this is when I was about 8 or so) until I realised what it actually meant and I was pulled up on it

lou33 Thu 14-Jul-05 10:21:31

yes freckle that happened

gdg i remember those terms being used as well (still hear the latter),i never used them myself though, it just felt inherently wrong, even as a kid

Gobbledigook Thu 14-Jul-05 10:23:01

lou - I just had no idea what it meant - never heard it in my circles but my cousins lived in quite a different area (they openly used the term 'paki shop'). It wasn't long before I was told off for it and it never came out of my mouth again.

lou33 Thu 14-Jul-05 10:23:04

although re: richard curtis, he may not use the word again, but like i said at the time, he could be responsible for bringing its usage back into common language, seeing as it is still in the film and viewed by millions around the world

SaintGeorge Thu 14-Jul-05 10:24:04

It is shameful that people still use such terms but maybe the fact that you have only heard adults using them is a sign that the message is finally getting through, to the next generation at least.

lou33 Thu 14-Jul-05 10:24:22

that's good to hear gdg

my relatives don't seem to have the same sort of comprehension

i'm not talking about my immediate family btw

fishfinger Thu 14-Jul-05 10:25:58

have ameilaed popbitch

lou33 Thu 14-Jul-05 10:26:08

possibly, though i did have to tear a strip off dd1 (13), because i found a downloaded file, sent to her by one of her schoolmates via msn, called melted p*ki

i couldn't open it, but the title alone was enough to make me go ballistic.

she got my point

lou33 Thu 14-Jul-05 10:26:32

that almost made me hug you fishy, careful..

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