What did you call me?

Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
A blunder I committed in a recent MW report, for which I am truly sorry, has made me recall that years ago such words as midget, idiot, imbecile, moron, cripple, lame, blind and deaf, and others, were used in polite discourse without anyone batting an eye.

Nowadays, however, we have substituted euphemisms for many of the above -- but not all!

What does one do when one innocently uses a euphemism in an attempt to be polite, when the word for which the euphemism stands is really the preferred word to use?

And how does one correct someone who does so? "How dare you call me x. I'm y, if it's all the same to you" or "I know you meant well, but we x's really prefer to be called y's these days."
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Comments

  • Graven ImageGraven Image Shipmate
    edited December 27
    Please do not call me
    , I prefer to be addressed by my title which is Chaplain Image, or you may address me by my Christian name which is Graven. I said this in response to a visiting minister who addressed me as, "Honey."
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    Honestly, this calls to mind the way that blacks would invent elaborate hand greetings to spring on uncool whites in the 1960s. It was a game that was designed to make the object of the exercise feel excluded. Liberal sycophants will say that this is only just, as the people inflicting the abuse have long felt excluded, but I call "bullshit." My advise is to show the perpetrator the courtesy of treating them as an equal and tell them to shove it.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    tclune wrote: »
    Honestly, this calls to mind the way that blacks would invent elaborate hand greetings to spring on uncool whites.
    Since retiring, I have been taking courses at a local community college. Although older adult students are by no means a rarity, we are still regarded with a certain degree of curiosity by the students fresh out of high school.

    Sitting in the student union, I have observed black students greet each other with the elaborate handshakes to which you allude. When shaking hands with me, though, they use the standard handshake with which most of us are familiar. I have always interpreted this as a sign of respect, not as a sign that I don't belong to their group.

    If truth be told, I think some of the younger students are surprised that I understand some of the things they are talking about. I once overheard one boy talk about "dingleberries" with his friends. I asked him what his definition of dingleberry was, saying that I was curious to know if it was the same as mine. The look of surprise on his face was priceless. (The definitions were identical.)

    As for calling a woman "Honey," that is just downright forward, even rude. I think Graven Image's reaction is quite appropriate.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Unless it's a woman you've known for decades and always called "Honey" I'd call it downright rude. Even with that history, it would be better to quietly check that she was still happy with it.

    I was surprised with the reaction Miss Amanda received. I've never been pulled up using the term he did, and one of those suggested would be offensive. I wonder just how generally accepted the approaches suggested were.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    edited December 28
    Honey is dismissive and deliberately patronising, unless it is used as a term of endearment between spouses or lovers.

    Male impersonator Catherine Tate tackles this subject using her character Derek in a series of skits. They follow a pattern, which increases the humor. I don't *think* she's being homophobic, but I'm not gay or camp, and I've never been bashed or threatened because of my appearance or sexuality. I'm sorry if people take the view that the series of sketches is offensive. It's relevant I hope.

    Oh God, of course its homophobic. We are invited to laugh at Derek. Its his assumed sexuality and his attempts to hide it that we are invited to find amusing. I have deleted the link.

    See, what I do in the situation of the OP is talk at an increasingly faster rate and in an increasingly panicked way.
  • I do not use euphemisms (but will monitor what I say during the next week or two to check), particularly about death and dying. One of the regrets of my life is that I cannot use a casual 'darling', or 'love', in conversation and that is because my parents thought it was a bit common' or something and those words were therefore absent from our vocabulary! I love the way people in general will do so because it is the most natural thing.

    I was quite surprised at the comments about 'honey', since I think the English (in general), particularly those of my generation, simply think of it as a rather charming Americanism.
  • I found it interesting you were pulled up on using hearing impaired as hearing impaired (HI) is the formal term in education in England and Wales, along with visually impaired or visual impairment (VI). Students who need support with materials may not be deaf or blind, but have their hearing or sight impaired significantly. Those who are registered blind may have some sight. (Sometime earlier this year, I watched someone I know is registered blind squinting at a CD cover held up to his face trying to work out where to sign it, in the same way I look at things without my glasses.)
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    I found it interesting you were pulled up on using hearing impaired as hearing impaired (HI) is the formal term in education in England and Wales, along with visually impaired or visual impairment (VI). Students who need support with materials may not be deaf or blind, but have their hearing or sight impaired significantly. Those who are registered blind may have some sight. (Sometime earlier this year, I watched someone I know is registered blind squinting at a CD cover held up to his face trying to work out where to sign it, in the same way I look at things without my glasses.)

    Yes, many Guide Dog owners have a little sight - sometimes just a tiny bit that allows them to read their phone etc by moving their head/holding it close/whatever. But you would never be registered blind if your visual problems can be corrected by glasses or contact lenses.

    Some people are insensitive and say ‘s/he isn’t blind, why does she have a Guide Dog?’ They are ignorant of the nuances of visual impairment. They think blind - total darkness. If you need a long cane to get around then a dog is 1000 times better.

  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    In my experience, honey or hun is very context dependent. It can be used in a patronising way, an affectionate way, or a casual friendly way. It’s a class thing too, in the UK, at least where I am. Women who of a lower socioeconimic class often call each other ‘hun’ in a casual friendly/affectionate way. But an odd thing I notice is it’s used more in writing (texts, facebook, etc) than in speaking.

    When I lived in Surrey, ‘darling’ was used a lot. When I worked in care homes, it was used all the time between female colleagues, in a genuinely friendly way, though I know it can also be used in a patronising or snide way.

    In general, surely if you inadvertently use a term someone finds offensive, the courteous thing is to apologise, possibly explaining you didn’t intend it that way, and ask what term they prefer. There’s rarely a one-size-fits-all term that absolutely everyone is happy with. Unless it’s a term referring to yourself, and then you can politely but firmly assert your right to choose your own terminology.

    There’s quite a bit of disagreement in autism communities about whether ‘person with autism’ or ‘autistic person’ should be used, and same with ASC v ASD, and whether it’s okay to use the term Aspergers. I think it’s generally agreed people can use what they want to refer to themselves, but non-autistic people should be sensitive to what a person wants to be called, and aware that certain terms can be considered offensive.
  • SusanDorisSusanDoris Shipmate
    edited December 28
    On one of the In Touch programmes some years ago, there was a comment from someone that 'visually impaired' meant that there was something wrong with you generally speaking!! It is something I occasionally mention - true, at my age the wrinkles may well cause me to be visually impaired, but I admit it is certainly the easiest phrase to use. :)
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    The term 'impairment' is generally used in the social model of disability, to define a particular limitation/difference of the body or mind, and to contrast with 'disability,' which is seen as caused by society - society disabling the person by not being accessible. The social model is actually focused on not seeing the person as defective, and it is handy in drawing attention to how easily and unthinkingly society can make things more difficult for people with various impairments and differences, and that the difficulties are not, as often assumed, simply caused by the person being somehow defective. But it does have limitations too, as Tom Shakespeare pointed out in his book Disability Rights and Wrongs, as it doesn't account for physical pain. Pain is generally considered by those who suffer it as something wrong in the body, that they would rather not have, regardless of how society treats them.
  • Yes, I teach the social model of disability as part of a health and social care degree and impairment is usually the catch all phrase to describe a functional limitation (I used to be an ophthalmic nurse and have a visually impaired twin who attended a school for visually impaired children, so I’m definitely relaxed with the use of the term!). The social model does have other limitations in that it is too society focused and the emancipatory model of disability is popular in disability studies at present (I’m using it in my doctorate research into mental health - I have bipolar disorder).
  • A (female) organist and choir director friend loathes being called a "choirmistress": as she says, she's nobody's mistress and definitely not her choir's!
  • I tend to prefer and use ASC (autistic spectrum condition) rather than ASD (autistic spectrum disorder), but it is less widely recognised.
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    I don't mind disorder, as it describes the disorganised state of my mind quite well, but I know quite a few people who don't like it. Though I thought it had been changed from 'autistic' to 'autism' in both terms (ie. autism spectrum disorder/condition), as the spectrum itself isn't autistic - the person is autistic, and they are on the autism spectrum. It was changed, I believe, so it made more sense to literal minds. I haven't heard 'autistic spectrum' in ages, but maybe terminology differs around the UK.
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    Unless it's a woman you've known for decades and always called "Honey" I'd call it downright rude.

    My recollection is that "honey" as a friendly term of address to a stranger would be relatively common in parts of the southern US (but possibly only amongst a certain social class).

    In perhaps the same way that some Londoners might address strangers as "mate".

    Happy to take your word for it that in your culture this would be over-familiar.

    I tend to the view that if one person is saying something that is polite in their culture, and the other person is hearing something that is impolite in their culture, then neither is exactly at fault, and responsibility is shared.

  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    I tend to prefer and use ASC (autistic spectrum condition) rather than ASD (autistic spectrum disorder), but it is less widely recognised.

    At the same community college I referred to upthread, where I take courses, there is a boy who is clearly on the autism spectrum. Music seems to be his thing. He is a member of the chorus and is pleasure to watch on stage -- clearly into the music, no trouble memorizing. He is sometimes given solos -- give him a microphone and he is in his world.

    But to talk to him, as I do when I see him in the student union (and he seems to have taken a shine to me probably because of that), he cannot carry on a conversation and in fact is apologetic over that. I've had barely a conversation with him where he has not said, "I don't have a lot to talk about."

    He has introduced me to his parents and I am tempted to ask them if he is aware of his condition and how successfully he copes with it, but I really don't know how to approach the subject with them. I would certainly never talk to the boy himself about it unless I had an answer to the former.
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    He may have a diagnosis and may receive support from disability services. And it may not even be autism - other conditions can seem the same. Seems a kind of personal thing to ask him or his parents about, unless you are a lecturer observing he has particular difficulties on the course, and he's come to you about these difficulties, seeking help - and even then, it would be more appropriate to refer to disability services, rather than attempt a diagnosis yourself. Normally it's seen as a bit intrusive to comment to parents that their offspring has some kind of disability or condition - it's more the norm to wait until they mention it first.

    I work at a college, supporting students with disabilities, and I helped deliver some autism training to lecturers. The question arose of when/if a lecturer should suggest to a student or their parents that they may be on the autism spectrum. The consensus was that it wouldn't be appropriate unless the student has come to them expressing that they are struggling in certain areas - and even then, they would refer them to student services/disability services.
  • I found it interesting you were pulled up on using hearing impaired as hearing impaired (HI) is the formal term in education in England and Wales, along with visually impaired or visual impairment (VI).
    Schools in the US, I think, also use the term "hearing impaired," but the people it's being used about don't necessarily like it. Nearly all people who are Deaf (and some portion of people who are deaf or hard of hearing) object to the term hearing impaired, because it suggests (to them) that something is wrong that needs to be fixed. And people who are Deaf don't believe that there is anything wrong, and they don't believe that they need to be fixed. They view themselves as a cultural and linguistic minority.
  • I tend to prefer and use ASC (autistic spectrum condition) rather than ASD (autistic spectrum disorder), but it is less widely recognised.

    At the same community college I referred to upthread, where I take courses, there is a boy who is clearly on the autism spectrum.

    ...He has introduced me to his parents and I am tempted to ask them if he is aware of his condition and how successfully he copes with it, but I really don't know how to approach the subject with them. I would certainly never talk to the boy himself about it unless I had an answer to the former.

    I have had students at the college where I teach who are on the autism spectrum. They all knew their diagnoses, indeed, I would expect anyone who had gotten to the point of being able to function in a mainstream college-level course to have some awareness of how their experience varied from that of their peers. One of my students made a documentary about his experience.

    I would hate to talk about your friend with his parents w/o his permission-- it seems disrespectful to me to talk behind his back. I'd rather engage him in a conversation where I'd ask open-ended questions about his education, life journey that brought him to this point. I would expect he'd raise his diagnosis as part of that discussion.

  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    I have an American friend online who is Deaf, part of the Deaf community, seeing it as a positive thing, and would never call it a hearing impairment. I have another American friend who hears a little, and calls it 'hard of hearing.' I don't know what she thinks of the term 'hearing impaired,' but I've never seen her use that term.

    I don't know how it is here in the UK though. I'm part of a FB group for learning BSL, and the woman who leads it is deaf (she doesn't capitalise it - she seems to be involved in the Deaf community, but she is teaching BSL to hearing people, and she also speaks in English). She doesn't use the term hearing impaired from what I can see, but also doesn't correct people for using it - and she's quite forward when it comes to correcting attitudes that can be seen as offensive.
  • tclune wrote: »
    Honestly, this calls to mind the way that blacks would invent elaborate hand greetings to spring on uncool whites in the 1960s. It was a game that was designed to make the object of the exercise feel excluded. Liberal sycophants will say that this is only just, as the people inflicting the abuse have long felt excluded, but I call "bullshit." My advise is to show the perpetrator the courtesy of treating them as an equal and tell them to shove it.
    Seriously, WTF?
    Codes are invented to deal with power imbalances. In 1960's America, being black meant one was a third-class citizen. "Hey, you might treat us with social, political and economic disdain, but we've got the upper hand because we do cool stuff with our hands" You are equating the two?
    Black people: We are oppressed because we are not allowed to live in the same places, earn the same for the few jobs we are allowed to obtain and are not allowed the same voice in politics that white people are.
    White people: We are oppressed because we don't know that hand thingy you do.
    Yes, that might be a little hyperbolic in reference to what you actually meant, but you are still trying to control the engagement and limit it to your terms. Even if some meant it to be an in-your-face-exclusion, so what?

  • Good heavens, what a Thorny Thicket this all is.
    :grimace:

    A new neighbour of mine addresses me as 'Hi, lovely!' This, in Estuary English, I take to be both polite and affectionate (she is a Lady, quite a fair few years younger than I).

    YMMV.
  • josephine wrote: »
    I found it interesting you were pulled up on using hearing impaired as hearing impaired (HI) is the formal term in education in England and Wales, along with visually impaired or visual impairment (VI).
    Schools in the US, I think, also use the term "hearing impaired," but the people it's being used about don't necessarily like it. Nearly all people who are Deaf (and some portion of people who are deaf or hard of hearing) object to the term hearing impaired, because it suggests (to them) that something is wrong that needs to be fixed. And people who are Deaf don't believe that there is anything wrong, and they don't believe that they need to be fixed. They view themselves as a cultural and linguistic minority.
    I light of my recent post on this thread, and the conversation* fineline had with me, I will try to walk through this carefully. In the developed world, the bloke in your link has a point. However, in the rest of the world, the adaptation is not so easy. And this highlights how impairments differ from cultural and linguistic minorities. His view, understandably, has a very first-world centric blindness.
    Being deaf is an impairment. Though I completely agree with him in the problems that word has in our usage and in the implied value judgement. So using a term that the community itself prefers is going to be the more respectful route. (more when I have time. Probably to dig myslef a bigger hole.)

    *AKA, polite version of a trip to the shed out back :wink:
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    @lilbuddha said -
    White people: We are oppressed because we don't know that hand thingy you do.

    No, not oppressed, not in the least.

    But excluded.

    I really dislike any actions which deliberately exclude others. They may seem small things, but they matter imo.
  • Russ wrote: »
    My recollection is that "honey" as a friendly term of address to a stranger would be relatively common in parts of the southern US (but possibly only amongst a certain social class).
    Oh yes, though “shug” may rank ahead of “honey” or “hun,” at least among women of a certain age.

    As for the OP, I too was surprised at the response, both in content and in tone. Some googling turned up this. I have learned something and am glad to know it.

    My view is that if you can tell someone is trying to be respectful, or if there’s no reason to think they’re not trying to be respectful, any “educational response” should also be respectful. I think this is particularly true when the issue is use of a term that recently was considered the preferable term to use (like “hearing impaired”) or where there is lack of consensus (“Native American” and [American] Indian,” in my experience). Sincere attempts to be respectful and “get it right” should rarely, in my opinion, be answered with impatience or criticism for getting it wrong. A friendly corrective is preferable, I think.
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    I have googled 'trip to the shed out back' and am none the wiser, but I would point out that all my conversations with lilbuddha have been here in the forums for everyone to see, and have been polite from my perspective.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    "Trip to the shed out back" refers to a father (in years gone by, as spanking even by parents is a no-no these days) taking a misbehaved child (usually a boy) out back to the woodshed to give him a walloping, usually with his belt.
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    Boogie wrote: »
    @lilbuddha said -
    White people: We are oppressed because we don't know that hand thingy you do.

    No, not oppressed, not in the least.

    But excluded.

    I really dislike any actions which deliberately exclude others. They may seem small things, but they matter imo.

    Except when a group of people is being oppressed, they may need to create their own code to be able to communicate freely with each other without the interference of the oppressors. This is quite a natural thing, I think. Kids do it all the time to feel they can say things without adults understanding - not that adults are automatically oppressors of children, but there is a power imbalance, and if you are the people without power, you want to be able to have some kind of freedom and independence of expression that the powerful people don't have power over.
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    "Trip to the shed out back" refers to a father (in years gone by, as spanking even by parents is a no-no these days) taking a misbehaved child (usually a boy) out back to the woodshed to give him a walloping, usually with his belt.

    Okay, thanks. I wasn't giving lilbuddha a walloping, and I didn't go out back anywhere. I said right here on the forums that lilbuddha sometimes says things which can be ableist without realising, as can many people, and I explained I was saying it because lilbuddha frequently tells people here that they are guilty of various '-ism's without realising. We all are, but if a person sets themselves up as the pointer-outer of everyone else's '-ism's, I figured they need also to know of their own. But, lilbuddha, I didn't mean for you to feel walloped.

    I was actually thinking of comments expressing irritation with and judgment of people who take things literally. Such comments can make a person feel hurt and helpless if that's how their mind works and they can't just magically fix it. And they shouldn't feel they need to, because it's not a crime. Everyone's minds work differently, with different strengths and challenges.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    @fineline
    I was actually thinking of comments expressing irritation with and judgment of people who take things literally. Such comments can make a person feel hurt and helpless if that's how their mind works and they can't just magically fix it. And they shouldn't feel they need to, because it's not a crime. Everyone's minds work differently, with different strengths and challenges.

    Yes.

    I might start a thread in All Saints about being different and a little hurt when blamed.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    I have long (ever since I became a Legal Grownup) loathed being called a "girl," particularly when the corollary term for a male person of the same age is "man." It's an insulting putdown, and it's hard to believe that it's still happening in the Year of Our Lord 2018. When a restaurant server (almost invariably male) does it, the tip goes down - and I tell him why.

  • Around here, most servers address any group of two or more -- mixed gender or even two or more women -- as "you guys."
    :rage:
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    I don't like 'girl' either. I was recently talking to a priest about vocation and he was telling me about the differences in information available for girls discerning a vocation and men discerning a vocation. He was clearly referring to adults of the same age, so in my reply, I deliberately referenced what he'd just said, but I used 'women' and 'boys' where he had used 'girls' and 'men.' His eyebrows raised when I used 'boys', but then in his reply to me he then used 'men' and 'women' - though he paused a bit before saying 'women'. It didn't seem to come naturally to him.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    fineline wrote: »
    ...It didn't seem to come naturally to him.
    What a perfect New Year's resolution for him: to work on that until it does.


  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    Rossweisse wrote: »
    fineline wrote: »
    ...It didn't seem to come naturally to him.
    What a perfect New Year's resolution for him: to work on that until it does.

    It would be, but sadly, I very much doubt that's his New Year resolution! He probably just saw me as one of those hyper PC people to be wary of.

  • Russ wrote: »
    ...
    My recollection is that "honey" as a friendly term of address to a stranger would be relatively common in parts of the southern US (but possibly only amongst a certain social class).

    In perhaps the same way that some Londoners might address strangers as "mate".
    ...

    I'm not sure those are socially equivalent. Opposite-sex "honeys" can have a different - and possibly unwanted or inappropriate - connotation than same-sex "mates". Whatever the usage, most of us do things with our honeys that we'd never do with our mates, and vice versa. Do Southern men call each other "honey"?

    The only Southerner I've been around recently always calls me "Miss Soror". Personally, I find it charming - the right mix between affectionate and respectful.
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    Boogie wrote: »
    @fineline
    I was actually thinking of comments expressing irritation with and judgment of people who take things literally. Such comments can make a person feel hurt and helpless if that's how their mind works and they can't just magically fix it. And they shouldn't feel they need to, because it's not a crime. Everyone's minds work differently, with different strengths and challenges.

    Yes.

    I might start a thread in All Saints about being different and a little hurt when blamed.

    Thanks, Boogie. I am not sure what to say in an All Saints thread, as I am not at this moment looking to vent, but more to discuss and show different perspectives. I mean, I am discussing here with the purpose of hopefully saying something that might get people thinking 'Ah, I didn't think of that perspective' and so be more sensitive to people's needs/rights that they might not have previously considered, and also for me to see new perspectives myself. But if I become sad and need a virtual hug, I might post in your thread. Thank you for making it. :smile:
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    My view is that if you can tell someone is trying to be respectful, or if there’s no reason to think they’re not trying to be respectful, any “educational response” should also be respectful. I think this is particularly true when the issue is use of a term that recently was considered the preferable term to use (like “hearing impaired”) or where there is lack of consensus (“Native American” and [American] Indian,” in my experience). Sincere attempts to be respectful and “get it right” should rarely, in my opinion, be answered with impatience or criticism for getting it wrong. A friendly corrective is preferable, I think.

    I was corrected once in no uncertain terms by my (then) nine-year-old nephew for using "Indian" -- a term I tend to think of as being old-fashioned but not necessarily offensive.

    The approved terms in Canada ("aboriginal" or now preferably "indigenous", but definitely not "native") don't readily lend themselves to be used as nouns (which is why I think I landed on "Indian" -- that and the fact I underestimated my nephew's grasp of the terminology).

    It's interesting that "Native" and "Indian" don't seem to have picked up the same taint in the US.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    Pigwidgeon wrote: »
    Around here, most servers address any group of two or more -- mixed gender or even two or more women -- as "you guys."
    :rage:

    A usage that I absolutely despise, especially when members of an all-female group refer to each other as guys.

    Grown men often refer to each other as "boys" just as grown women often refer to themselves as "girls". Examples: "Tonight's my night to play poker with the boys" or "The girls and I go out for lunch every Tuesday." Many years ago I was at a Bette Midler concert where she introduced her back-up singers as "my girls -- where would I be without my girls?"

    I do agree, though, that it's rude to say "men and girls" when you mean "men and women." just as it would be rude to say "women and boys" when you mean "women and men."

    As for "honey," I think it depends on the context. A waitress -- oops, I mean server -- at a diner might say to a patron, "Give me your whole order now, honey; I don't get paid by the mile." But a parishioner saying to a female priest, "I loved the way you read the gospel, honey" I just can't imagine happening.
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    I do agree, though, that it's rude to say "men and girls" when you mean "men and women." just as it would be rude to say "women and boys" when you mean "women and men."

    Except the latter really doesn't happen, except when I did it deliberately to draw the priest's attention to the disparity of his wording. Which is why he raised his eyebrows - it was unusual wording, whereas the former is frequently done by men, and they don't think anything of it. It often tends to be a power thing, where men see women in a kind of belittling/dismissive way. Very different from women referring to themselves as girls.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited December 28
    American here. I would never refer to a Native American as a "native" simpliciter. It smacks of things like "the natives are restless" which strikes me as rather racist. Most of the American Indians I've known refer to each other as Indians. They have been OK with either term (American Indian or Native American).

    In my experience only waitresses -- which is to say, female waiters -- refer to strangers as "hon." But never as "honey." (Again, this is just my experience.) Sometimes but far less frequently "sweetie," and then I think only to regular customers. "Whatcha havin' today, sweetie? The yoozh?"

    Soror Magna, "Miss Soror" is in my experience a very southern thing to call someone. Which of course doesn't make it bad. But it is reminiscent of representations (movies, books) of how black slaves addressed their (female) owners (and their kin). So for that reason it makes me a little uncomfortable.

    Weighing in on the hand signal thing, I think it would be the height of presumption (and that's just the nicest word; there are also several others that describe it) for a member of an oppressing group to tell members of an oppressed group what words, signs, etc. they should or should not use. Other than handshakes, they for example get to call each other "Nigga" and I most emphatically may not call them that. And that's fine. It's not for me to dictate.
  • Do Southern men call each other "honey"?
    No. One hears “honey,” “hun” or “shug” almost exclusively from women, usually in two contexts—a waitress, cashier or the like, usually older, as in “what’ll you have today, shug?,” or a woman being sympathetic, as in “awww, honey, I’m so sorry!” The former will be used with complete strangers; the latter mainly with people of any age or gender whom the woman knows.
    Marsupial wrote: »
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    My view is that if you can tell someone is trying to be respectful, or if there’s no reason to think they’re not trying to be respectful, any “educational response” should also be respectful. I think this is particularly true when the issue is use of a term that recently was considered the preferable term to use (like “hearing impaired”) or where there is lack of consensus (“Native American” and [American] Indian,” in my experience). Sincere attempts to be respectful and “get it right” should rarely, in my opinion, be answered with impatience or criticism for getting it wrong. A friendly corrective is preferable, I think.

    I was corrected once in no uncertain terms by my (then) nine-year-old nephew for using "Indian" -- a term I tend to think of as being old-fashioned but not necessarily offensive.

    The approved terms in Canada ("aboriginal" or now preferably "indigenous", but definitely not "native") don't readily lend themselves to be used as nouns (which is why I think I landed on "Indian" -- that and the fact I underestimated my nephew's grasp of the terminology).

    It's interesting that "Native" and "Indian" don't seem to have picked up the same taint in the US.
    I was a bit surprised when I asked various friends and acquaintances who are enrolled members of tribes what term they preferred, and almost to a person they said “Indian.”

  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    mousethief wrote: »
    Soror Magna, "Miss Soror" is in my experience a very southern thing to call someone. Which of course doesn't make it bad. But it is reminiscent of representations (movies, books) of how black slaves addressed their (female) owners (and their kin). So for that reason it makes me a little uncomfortable.

    I'm glad you said that. I'm in some Bible groups on FB, and some Americans call me Miss Fineline (well, they use my Christian name, which is not actually Fineline, but with Miss in front), and it makes me uncomfortable too, for the same reason. I associate it with old American movies and novels where slaves address their owners in such a way. But I always felt that, being British, I was probably missing the point, so it is good to know an American feels the same way about it. When I ask why they address me that way, they just say it's a Southern thing and a respect thing. It always feels weird to me though.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    I had a first cousin twice removed (of fond memory, may she rest in peace) who was employed as lady's maid to the wife of a doctor who ran a private school for autistic children. I'll spare you her last name, but her first name was Margaret and my cousin always called her "Miss Peggy." As did my brother and sisters and I. And this was in upstate New York, decidedly not South.

    I know it's fiction, but in John Waters' movie Hairspray, friends of teenager Tracy Turnblad call Tracy's mother "Miss Edna." And that's Maryland, arguably on the border between North and South.
  • What does one do when one innocently uses a euphemism in an attempt to be polite, when the word for which the euphemism stands is really the preferred word to use?

    And how does one correct someone who does so? "How dare you call me x. I'm y, if it's all the same to you" or "I know you meant well, but we x's really prefer to be called y's these days."
    ISTM that what this thread has shown is that it is fairly easy to inadvertently cause offense with one's word choice.

    Assuming it is truly inadvertent (and one is not just being rude and intending to offend), then the proper response by the one who is offended (the offendee) is to politely correct the offender and explain why it is a problem. The appropriate response to such a correction by the offender is to say "thank you for explaining. Forgive me." And the proper response by the offendee is to forgive.

    But that does not happened in every case, of course. The problem is (1) when the offended person gets fed up with "everybody" (Note: not literally everybody, but we love hyperbole) doing the same thing and deciding to take out their grievances on the one poor sucker making the inadvertent mistake with rudeness and vitriol (the "you're a Nazi" approach); (2) when the comment is not inadvertent and the one making the comment knows or strongly suspects it is offensive and still does it with the intent to offend (known as the "Barack HUSSEIN Obama" approach); (3) when it is truly inadvertent but the offender is embarrassed when corrected by the offendee and gets defensive and harrumphs "that's not what I meant" and gets pissy about it (the "Never Apologize for Anything" approach); (4) any combination of the above. Probably there are many variations that are not occurring to me right this moment.

    Or perhaps it is simpler to say that the problem is when the offender is not willing to seek forgiveness and/or the offendee is not willing to extend forgiveness.
  • Please do not call me
    , I prefer to be addressed by my title which is Chaplain Image, or you may address me by my Christian name which is Graven. I said this in response to a visiting minister who addressed me as, "Honey."

    Round here many would call you 'Love'. Nothing sexist about it, the man behind the counter at the local newsagent, would call male brickie who came in for a cigarette and a Daily Mail 'Love' and the brickie would not take offence.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    American here. I would never refer to a Native American as a "native" simpliciter. It smacks of things like "the natives are restless" which strikes me as rather racist. Most of the American Indians I've known refer to each other as Indians. They have been OK with either term (American Indian or Native American).

    Curiously, "Native Canadian" has never really been a thing here (I would probably hear it at least initially as a slightly awkward way of referring to someone who happened to be born in Canada). To my ears "native" as an adjective is old-fashioned (though it is still used in the names of a number of Indigenous organizations); "native" as a noun is offensive. I suppose the problem is that it's very easy to switch between one and the other without realizing it.

  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    Hedgehog wrote: »
    Or perhaps it is simpler to say that the problem is when the offender is not willing to seek forgiveness and/or the offendee is not willing to extend forgiveness.

    I agree with this, and I'd say these instances seem to be the exception rather than the rule. Most people want to have good relations with others and to sort out miscommunication. But there are always a few who are determined to continue using whatever language they like and mock people who find it hurtful, no matter how rationally and courteously those people try to talk to them about it. And equally there are always a few who are determined to take offence and insist on the other person's malevolence, no matter how much the person tries to adapt and explain they meant no offence. To complicate things further, both those types can often be those who have difficulty with black and white thinking, and difficulty with social communication, so it is also not helpful to demonise them.

  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    Marsupial wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    American here. I would never refer to a Native American as a "native" simpliciter. It smacks of things like "the natives are restless" which strikes me as rather racist. Most of the American Indians I've known refer to each other as Indians. They have been OK with either term (American Indian or Native American).

    Curiously, "Native Canadian" has never really been a thing here (I would probably hear it at least initially as a slightly awkward way of referring to someone who happened to be born in Canada). To my ears "native" as an adjective is old-fashioned (though it is still used in the names of a number of Indigenous organizations); "native" as a noun is offensive. I suppose the problem is that it's very easy to switch between one and the other without realizing it.

    This is interesting. I studied in Canada twenty years ago, and then the term was Native - it's how the Canadian Indians referred to themselves. Both as an adjective and a noun, as I think back to conversations I had and the wording used. I had previously been unfamiliar with the term. I had grown up hearing 'Red Indian' in the UK, which horrified my white Canadian friends when I mentioned it, so I never said it again. I wouldn't have known Native had switched to Indian if it weren't for this thread.

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