Social Question

lloydbird's avatar

Is it fair that 'whites' don't have a word that they can feel offended by?

Asked by lloydbird (8730points) September 16th, 2010

I came across this and thought that I spied an imbalance. Is there an equivalent or not?
And if not, why not? If so, what is that word?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

36 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Well, there is “cracker” and “redneck.”

jrpowell's avatar

Get back to me after black people bought and sold white people.

poisonedantidote's avatar

If you are white you cant say that word or any variation of it, even if others said it first. it’s just that simple. however, as chris rock explains there is one exception jk

as for an equivalent for white people, no there is none. as louis ck explains here

DominicX's avatar

Neither do straight people and neither do men. Hmm. I think I see a pattern here. :)

TexasDude's avatar

I don’t feel like I need or want a word to be offended by. Hell, it’s nearly impossible to offend me anyway.

muppetish's avatar

I don’t understand why a group would want a word to be offended by… what exactly would be the point of that?

And I just need to note… in my area, “white” is more or less a negative word altogether. You certainly don’t want to be told you dance like a “white” person or talk like a “white” person and you should just be ashamed of yourself if you look like a “white” person. I hate the blanket term “white” and how the people in my community are outright racist against “white people” and then play the Poor Me card because they identify as part of an ethnic group. It’s one more reason why I tick “Decline to State” off on all government documents. I could not possibly feel less attached to racial identity.

Facade's avatar

Nope, not fair at all. I’ll go work on that for you.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

I also wanted to add that I would feel VERY insulted being called racist. I think that goes for all people though.

Blackberry's avatar

Oh my gawd that is so funny! We were laughing about that at work last week. “Can you lend a nigga a pencil?” LOL!!!

In all seriousness, I think the word ‘whitetrash’ is pretty offensive.

“I like to add the -ah at the end, like ‘niggaaaahhh’” LMAO!!

robmandu's avatar

There’s actually more slavery in the world today than back before the US Civil War.

Human trafficking and the sex slave trade crosses all national, religious, ethnic, and (yes @johnpowell) racial boundaries.

To answer the question, though. Life is full of unfair. Too bad if terms like “honky” just make me want to laugh.

I’m not advocating derogatory racial terms; just saying there’s more important things I’d prefer to focus on.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

White trash is pretty offensive.

Vortico's avatar

“White trash” and “cracker” don’t offend me, so would I be offended by other racy terms if I was of another race?

Jeruba's avatar

Almost any epithet* can sound like an insult, depending on how it’s spoken. “Lady” can sound like an insult. So can “boy,” “you,” “friend,” and even “sir” and “madam.”

And once you get into terms that make reference to someone’s size, coloring, age, position, etc., it can really get nasty, even without venturing into “whitey,” “honky,” “white devil,” and a whole lot of other less kind expressions. So I don’t know where you get the idea that there are no words of offense for whites or any other group. Every group takes it on the chin from somebody.

*epithet: a term or label used descriptively for a person or thing, especially when it refers to some characteristic of that person or thing, such as “Gandalf the Grey”

wundayatta's avatar

Lot of honkeys around here. Makes it hard to keep it real.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’m sorry – this is what you think is unfair? That you can’t have a word to represent centuries of your oppression? oh wait…what centuries were those again?...listen, if you’d like, I’ll gladly call you an asshole.

MacBean's avatar

@DominicX Straight people: breeders.

CyanoticWasp's avatar


wetback (a lot of Mexicans and Hispanics from other places are white)

Those aren’t offensive? When did that change take place?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

This question reminds me a little bit of that email that was passed around for a while, something to the effect of “why don’t we have white pride month?” Made me want to rip my hair out every time someone forwarded it to me.

ETpro's avatar

~ See how unfair it all is, @lloydbird. Just look at all the criticism you got for asking a simple question about just one of the unfair treatments we white people in America must endure. It’s not just the lack of a real racial taunt with any zing to it. Yeah, every other race and minority has ones that really sting, and we don’t. But we have to make more money, have better health care, live longer, run all the fortune 500 companies, get better educations and own almost all the nation’s wealth too.. The list of indignities heaped on us just never seems to end. When will reverse racism finally kick in enough to end our suffering? ~

Austinlad's avatar

Cowboys don’t like to be called White. We’re all tan from riding the range all day.

Mom2BDec2010's avatar

My mom is puerto rican and is really offended by the term “Spic” like @CyanoticWasp said.

Jabe73's avatar

It comes down to ethnicity when you are (white). Italians, Poles, Irish and many others all have their own offensive names.

TexasDude's avatar

I’m half Italian and I my friends call me guido and wop all the time. Even if it was in the perjorative, I probably wouldn’t be offended at all. Some might, though, so it’s whatever.


I’ve always wondered——do any of the white people here feel offended by the word “honkey”? Or is that is not derogatory enough?

ETpro's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES I personally don’t. But I do dislike racism, and I dislike it whether it is the white ruling class of America expressing it, or some minority. I have been treated unfairly by others solely because I am white. I don’t like that.

ratboy's avatar

Fuckin’ crackers feel entitled to everything!


@ETpro It has always been my belief that you can never really experience real racism and the hurt that comes with it unless you are a member of a visible minority. It’s like being a man or a woman——you never know or feel what the other has experienced or undergone unless you’re that other gender. Being the victim of racism because you happen to be someone who is highly visible among whites is a unique, indescribable experience. And even that, it is a different experience among blacks, Asians, etc. But I think blacks and Asians, being visible minorities, can relate with one another better in terms of what they have experienced. It’s hard for most white people to know, let alone imagine.

muppetish's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES So… I suppose I only half experience “real racism” because I am only half-Mexican and not a full-fledged minority? Or is this one of those one-drop rules? Because along the same lines as @ETpro, I have experienced racism because I am half-“white” far more than I have experienced racism for being half Mexican. Both are vile and stupid

Racism is racism – it doesn’t matter who it is directed toward or who is doing the directing. Anyone can comprehend that.


@muppetish I disagree. There are degrees of racism. And the “whiter you are”, the less racism you experience. Just ask a more darker skinned black person vs. a lighter skinned black person. And yes, if you are Asian, you are not only a member of a highly visible minority, but also a minority who has certain historical angsts heaped upon them (when Japan fought the U.S. in WW 2, the Korean and Vietnam Wars all “contribute” to the racist attitudes that some whites in America still have towards Asians as a whole——they don’t differentiate Japanese, Chinese, Korean, etc.) So no, the experience you experience is NOT the same as the kind I experience. With all due respect, I believe a black person in America or an Asian has had a worst time than you my friend. That doesn’t mean that I don’t deny you have experienced racism, just not to the same degree and hurtfulness because of your “whiter genes” (hate to use that expression, but it’s true).

muppetish's avatar

Of course there are degrees of racism. When my mother was beaten in high school by women who were “darker” for the sole reason that she was “whiter” than they were, that was a far higher degree of racism than my being told at the bus stop that I am “lucky [I] got my father’s genes!” because he is Mexican so I won’t look like my “white” mother. Of course my younger brother being referred to as “Hitler” for being part German is more disconcerting than my being asked “You speak Spanish, right?” I am not denying in any way that some people will face crueler forms of racism than others. I don’t think it is fair, however, to suggest that I do not understand because I am different.

My community has a high percentage of families from a variety of Asian backgrounds (Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, and Laos being the most prominent) as well as a strong Fillipino community and a full-spectrum of families from various nations in Latin / Central America. I know their history. I know the kind of bullshit racism they have to live with every day. I am not one of those people who lump everyone together, brush aside their histories, or belittle their experiences. I empathize with every person – and I don’t think it is too much to ask that they understand where I come from, too.

To even pull in the “we’ve had it worse” argument is entirely condescending. You don’t even know me. I never once said you haven’t experienced worse racism than I have. I never once suggested that you do not have a right to voice your concerns or complain about the racism you have witnessed or felt. And I certainly have not made it seem any smaller than it is.

Because ALL racism is wrong. It doesn’t matter if it’s a passive-joke or a hatred-fueled attack. I don’t think there is a place for either.

ETpro's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES I have been beaten up for the crime of being white. I had a bike stolen as a kid because I got caught in the wrong neighborhood, which I had to come through to get home from elementary school.

More recently, my son won a Scholarship for a summer Gifted and Talented program at a traditionally black university. A group of the parents of other kids in the program tried to have him thrown out because he wasn’t black.He was only 12 years old and all the other kids were 14 or so. He was 2 years ahead in school. How safe do you think he felt living on campus for 2 weeks? How worried do you think we might have been as parents?

Racism stinks. It hurts anybody it is directed at. Being white doesn’t make me immune. Now grant you, I can chose to keep to my own kind, stay on the good side of town. But doing that won’t solve racism, it will perpetuate it.



Sorry guys, but I find it really difficult to sympathize with white people who say they have experienced the vileness of racism to the same degree as black or colored people. It is not the same. White people are the majority in America. As such, they are in a much more privileged position than people of color. They ordinarily enjoy better treatment in terms of job hiring, income, and how they are represented in the media, in commercials, on television, and in the movies. I am sure you two have felt the evils of racism, but your cases are not as common as what MILLIONS of colored people experience each and everyday of their lives. It is all-encompassing for them. It is strongly and stubbornly knitted in the social fabric, in the workplace, in government, and in the media. With all due respect, yours is the exception, not the usual, relative to what nearly ALL colored people have experienced.

ETpro's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES wrote: “Sorry guys, but I find it really difficult to sympathize with white people who say they have experienced the vileness of racism to the same degree as black or colored people.”

I do too, as I clearly stated here. That does nothing to change the fact that racism can be directed at any race, and that it stinks no matter who is singaled out by it.

As hard as it may be to let old hurts go, that must happen before we can move beyond racism.


@ETpro True, it is important to let old hurts go. However, as a person of a visible minority group, racism has and will continue to plague me all my life, whereas a white person who has experienced racism can more or less easily blend back into the larger, white community where he will be protected and where he will feel at home. Minorities really don’t have that luxury. They live scattered among the dominant white culture, where they experience endless racism. :(

lloydbird's avatar

Thanks for the responses, everyone. I do feel a need to explain how I came to ask this ‘question’.

I was saddened by the video clip in question for a number of reasons. To see the teacher squirming defensively and trying to justify his use of a word that he is not allowed to use. And this, because of the colour of his skin! Isn’t there a freedom of speech issue here ?

I found it sad to see the young student having to make such a big issue (Propelled, I suspect, by the media) out of the situation. And being manoeuvred, by the reporter, into calling for the teacher to lose his job! And by how an apology was not good enough.

I was also saddened by the fact that the story was assigned to a ‘black’ reporter. And by the grave warnings that she gave of potential offence that might be caused to viewers, because a word was going to be used. It called to mind The Daily Show, with its Correspondent for Black Issues. I wonder how comfortable she was in being assigned this story.

I find it very sad that this special word (The original meaning of which is: A shade of the colour brown) has acquired such power. So much so that it has come to represent the identity of a whole section of the population. And the awe in which it is held by another section of the population, so that its non-use has come to somehow be linked to an atoning for past wrong doings. As evidenced here by the response to @johnpowell ‘s comment.

I am also saddened ( and more than a little amused, in a Monty Python kind of way) at how this word has become so powerful, that it can only be referred to by it’s initial letter! This then lead to an amusing thought of a couple of ‘white’ people feeling aggrieved,after having watched the clip, that they didn’t have a word to describe them that was so insulting that it too could only be referred to by it’s initial letter. ”Hey,that’s not fair.” And hence this question.
The C-word is already taken and the R-word doesn’t really cut it, does it? @marinelife

So folks, to those of you that took my ‘question’ literally, I didn’t mean it so.
I was using irony (The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning) Watch out, I may use it again. ;-)

Oh, and @Simone_De_Beauvoir I think that your use of the A-word is a bit harsh, don’t you?

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