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The use of the term "slaves/slavery"

(12 Posts)
lampshady Tue 25-Apr-17 13:43:34

I'm having quite an impassioned debate regarding the political and economic system and am being berated for taking umbrage with the use of is being "slaves to the system". I find the terminology ethnocentric and alienating.

When expressing this I've been called a snowflake, asked if I've been triggered, told because I'm a feminist they can't win now, mansplained to and generally hounded.

This is my first experience of attempting an online debate with predominantly men, and I've found it really shocking. I don't want to live my life in an echo chamber but also, fuck me. It's genuinely shocking.

I don't know what I want from this thread, just offloading. I suppose I'll ask of you'd find that sort of terminology offensive or inappropriate? I likened it to click bait.

VestalVirgin Tue 25-Apr-17 14:18:59

Depends on the context. Sometimes, the word is appropriate and therefore must be used.
Example: It is not "forced sex work" it is "sex slavery". The word there serves to reveal the real horrors that others attempt to cover up.

Passionate communists who are planning a revolution calling the capitalist system one of slavery, while emphasizing the situation of the poorest 5%, fair enough.

Liberals who work in well-paid jobs and could choose from a variety of other jobs calling themselves slaves to the system because they are a bit unhappy with how things are (but not going to do anything about it except perhaps voting for a different party next time) ... there, I'd see your point.

DJBaggySmalls Tue 25-Apr-17 14:29:02

I agree with VestalVirgin. And I've seen the same reaction to use of the words 'colony' and 'colonize', which are also not exclusive to one specific context.

lampshady Tue 25-Apr-17 14:31:10

Yeah, it's the latter. A host of middle class white men who haven't got the jobs they wanted and pontificate how things could/should be different but with no actual ideas behind it.

I suppose my argument mainly comes down to the fact that it is an alienating word, and if someone is trying to "recruit" people to their cause, in terms of language slavery has a geographical, temporal and ethnocentric context, which they don't acknowledge.

Instead I'm told I'm having a tantrum, reactionary, they're not responsible for my emotions etc.

It's fucking absolutely bonkers. I'll step away from the internet!

lampshady Tue 25-Apr-17 14:32:41

I fully appreciate that there are different connotations to the word, and have acknowledged that. But the main thrust is that it can be off putting for people who need to be pursued.

PhyllisNights Tue 25-Apr-17 21:07:51

I used to use the slave/slavery without care or truly understanding what it meant when I was younger. I wouldn't use it so loosely now.

I also agree with what VestalVirgin said.

I don't think a lot of people really understand the history of slavery. A lot of people simply think of black people working in plantations, and not all the forms of modern slavery that are taking place right now.

BasketOfDeplorables Tue 25-Apr-17 22:35:32

I don't doubt they were frustrating to discuss anything with, but I do think that there is a current trend towards accepting a very American centric understanding of history in certain circles. Slavery in the US was a very specific kind of slavery, and to define it forever in those terms means it cannot be correctly applied - as, like Vestal said, to sex slavery. The Wikipedia page on slavery says that 45 million people are enslaved worldwide, so we should beware of confining it to history in our thoughts.

Miffer Tue 25-Apr-17 23:27:18

I would be annoyed if a discussion I was having was diverted like that. "Slaves to the system" is a common turn of phrase, it may be a shitty phrase that needs to die and it may be inappropriate in some cases but unless it directly relates to the topic at hand then I would have brought it up separately.

7Days Wed 26-Apr-17 00:39:06

Agree Basket. All history isn't American history.
There are more slaves extant today than there were throughout the US, I have read. Of course the global population has expanded. But still - how many lives?
The definition(s) are slippery, so there is always wiggle room for detractors. Goes to show how important language is

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Wed 26-Apr-17 00:51:01

I can't see a problem with the terminology 'slaves to the system'.

Slavery exists in many different eras, ethnicities and forms. There is not one definitive form of 'slavery'.

BasketOfDeplorables Wed 26-Apr-17 07:43:13

The tricky thing I suppose, is that a lot of the time the same ideas are used by people with a hideous agenda. There have been slaves throughout history so shut up about racism, why is there a Black History Month etc. From the other side of it all we're saying let's not forget that slavery wasn't defeated and isn't as easy to spot.

lampshady Wed 26-Apr-17 08:35:00

Thanks, I appreciate your thoughts. Despite the contents if the debate, I don't know why things like "snowflake" and "triggered" are bandied around so freely in derailment. I suppose that's why I posted on feminism.

Yes, I should have addressed it separately outside of the wider context. I fully appreciate psychology slavery, economic slavery etc, but in the context of university educated men not having the same opportunity as their fathers, it grated. They weren't talking about the 5% for example, they were talking about themselves.

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