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exotic = offensive? - Page 6

post #101 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
The use of the word "exotic" to describe "acceptably fascinating characteristics of an otherwise unacceptable 'other'" does have a history.
Love your phrasing; I hope I can remember your exact phrasing next time I have to explain this.
post #102 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by abimommy View Post
The thing about synonyms is that a word means all of those things simultaneously one doesn't pick and choose which meanings they want to use and which they do not.

One cannot say the word without also implying the other synonyms. It doesn't just mean beautiful. One can't just decide what they want a word to mean for everyone and insist they take it that way
We choose what we want a word to mean every single time we use it.

I can mean something.

I can be mean.

I can figure something out.

I can worry about my figure.

Language doesn't work so well if aren't allowed to choose which meaning we are assigning a word.
post #103 of 165
The thing I am getting from many people here is that the word is "bad" because some find it offensive. I don't get how that is not telling people not to use it.
post #104 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
From the thesaurus.

Quote:
alien, alluring, bizarre, colorful, curious, different, external, extraneous, extraordinary, extrinsic, far out, fascinating, foreign, glamorous, imported, introduced, kinky*, outlandish, outside, peculiar, romantic, strange, striking, unfamiliar, unusual, way out, weird*, avant garde, enticing, peregrine
Alluring
Glamorous
Romantic
Striking
Enticing

Why can't people be happy to have a word that is synonymous with these words used to describe them? Why does your dislike of the word over rule that?
What about the other synonyms listed there?
bizarre
extraneous
imported
kinky
peculiar

The words listed is sort of the point. "Exotic" means a lot of things. Not all of them are "beautiful."
post #105 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawningmama View Post
I did not say one overrules the other. Although, in this context, I think the fact that many people find the word offensive is a good reason to use it with caution. There are plenty of words that some people find offensive and others consider a compliment, and plenty of words some people have chose to reclaim while others still find quite hateful (and, of course, context is everything). Instead of making assumptions and forcing people into accepting those words or our positions on them, is it really asking too much that we all take a moment to discuss it or err on the side of caution and use "beautiful" or "gorgeous" or "lovely" or thousands of other words over "exotic?"

If you are talking with a friend, you can probably judge by social cues and just past conversations whether or not this word will be well-received. If you misjudge, a friend will likely tell you if she is offended, and hopefully you will hear that with grace and compassion. When complimenting strangers, I think it's often best to go with broad strokes and use words that are as universally well-received as possible. I don't understand why this would be a large imposition.
See right there. You are saying "just don't use the word because someone might find it offensive." Why? No one is forcing you to use it, so why do other people have to not use it?
post #106 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
From the thesaurus.


Alluring
Glamorous
Romantic
Striking
Enticing

Why can't people be happy to have a word that is synonymous with these words used to describe them? Why does your dislike of the word over rule that?
Your point is? Because there are synonyms that are positive, the word does, in fact, mean "beautiful" and we should overlook the negative race/gender/colonial implications that it holds? No thanks.

Look, it's not and never will be on the level of the racial and gender epithets that most people recognize immediately as offensive. It's in a grey area, as others have pointed out. Use it if you'd like. From my perspective, its use does tell me something about the person who uses it, especially after I've pointed out that, at least for some (myself included), it doesn't have positive connotations.
post #107 of 165
Language doesn't work so well if we forget it's transactional. Words have dictionary meanings, yes. They also have connotation and other baggage attached. I don't understand digging in your heels and insisting you're going to use a phrase some people find offensive.

And I'm sorry for dipping my oar in. I've been reading, but have hesitated to say something, since the only thing "multicultural" about me is that I am Welsh AND Irish. So I apologize if my opinion is out of place.
post #108 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawningmama View Post
What about the other synonyms listed there?
bizarre
extraneous
imported
kinky
peculiar

The words listed is sort of the point. "Exotic" means a lot of things. Not all of them are "beautiful."
Love:

Quote:
adulation, affection, allegiance, amity, amour, appreciation, ardor, attachment, case*, crush, delight, devotion, emotion, enchantment, enjoyment, fervor, fidelity, flame, fondness, friendship, hankering, idolatry, inclination, infatuation, involvement, like, lust, partiality, passion, piety, rapture, regard, relish, respect, sentiment, soft spot*, taste, tenderness, weakness, worship, yearning, zeal, amorousness, ardency, cherishing, devotedness, mad for
I am not refering to each and everyone of those when I say love. Why should exotic be any different? If we can pick and choose what idea to convey when using one word, we can do the same with the other words too.
post #109 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
Language doesn't work so well if we forget it's transactional. Words have dictionary meanings, yes. They also have connotation and other baggage attached. I don't understand digging in your heels and insisting you're going to use a phrase some people find offensive.

And I'm sorry for dipping my oar in. I've been reading, but have hesitated to say something, since the only thing "multicultural" about me is that I am Welsh AND Irish. So I apologize if my opinion is out of place.
So now we aren't going by dictionary meaning? Well the general idea among many is that "exotic" is a form of beautiful. You can read back through the thread to see that. Why does the negative get the spotlight but the posative gets the old "well just because some people see it that way doesn't mean it's a good thing"?
post #110 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
From the thesaurus.


Alluring
Glamorous
Romantic
Striking
Enticing

Why can't people be happy to have a word that is synonymous with these words used to describe them? Why does your dislike of the word over rule that?
Because that same word also means:

alien, alluring, bizarre, colorful, curious, different, external, extraneous, extraordinary, extrinsic, far out, fascinating, foreign, glamorous, imported, introduced, kinky*, outlandish, outside, peculiar, romantic, strange, striking, unfamiliar, unusual, way out, weird*, avant garde, enticing, peregrine

And your denial of reality doesn't make reality go away.
post #111 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
We choose what we want a word to mean every single time we use it.

I can mean something.

I can be mean.

I can figure something out.

I can worry about my figure.

Language doesn't work so well if aren't allowed to choose which meaning we are assigning a word.
That's apples and oranges-- you gave examples of homographs, and she's talking about layered meanings of one word. "Figure" and "Figure" are not the same word. "Exotic" and "Exotic" are. They mean the same thing. One is not a verb or a noun or something-- both are adjectives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
The thing I am getting from many people here is that the word is "bad" because some find it offensive. I don't get how that is not telling people not to use it.
The word has a history and certain connotations that you should be aware of, because using that word in certain ways could be held against you or affect your social reputation, your job, cost you a friendship, etc. It's just good to know.
post #112 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
So now we aren't going by dictionary meaning? Well the general idea among many is that "exotic" is a form of beautiful. You can read back through the thread to see that. Why does the negative get the spotlight but the posative gets the old "well just because some people see it that way doesn't mean it's a good thing"?
General where? To me, it's not beautiful. To me it's "slightly odd in an intriguing kind of way". To a lot of people here, it seems the same way. It almost feels like we're reading two different threads, because I see just as many people saying it leaves them feeling yucky. I wouldn't want to be called "exotic". It would really bother me. If someone called my kids exotic, I would probably wonder what was wrong with them and get my kids away.

The negative gets the spotlight because it's NEGATIVE. It hurts people. It stops people from hearing what you're really trying to say because they're too busy thinking "WTH is wrong with this person?"

Personally, I feel like the purpose of communication is to, you know-- communicate. I would not choose a word that had the potential to be hurtful just because I was getting into some kind of conversational spitting match. Why use exotic when you can say what you mean-- beautiful, lovely? Just because you can?
post #113 of 165
OT:

Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
since the only thing "multicultural" about me is that I am Welsh AND Irish.
Works for me! Thanks for the giggle . . .
post #114 of 165
I am aware that some people prefer I don't use certain words. I am aware that I don't say certain things at work. I am aware that not everyone has the same rules.

The last boss I had had a sense of humour much more similar to my own then the boss I had before that. I treat them each differently even though they are in the same station over me.

It's not all or none. People are able to censor themselves.

I will say this one more time on MDC because I am starting to feel like a broken record.

The way I talk and the words I used are chosen based on the people I am with not what some person over there on the other side of the room, or a friend who isn't even with us thinks it should be.

I adjust my vocabulary based on who, what, when, where, and how. I have no hard and fast rules for how I talk. That is far to rigid to be truely functional in the real world.
post #115 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
The thing I am getting from many people here is that the word is "bad" because some find it offensive. I don't get how that is not telling people not to use it.
But none of us wrote the dictionary or the thesaurus.
post #116 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
So it's perfectly fine to say something nice when someone is just like the minority, but rude to say something nice if they are different?
Minorities have things in common but they all don't view things the same. The point is don't comment up someone with a darker skin tone as "other" or "foreign" since this is what exotic means.

Quote:
To be honest, it sounds like being the majority is ok but being a minority is not. Everyone has eyes and everyone has skin, why is it rude to make a nice comment just becaue the skin is different from your own or their eyes aren't the same shape as yours?
Of course in this country it is better to be white since that is the supposed "default" here. You can comment on someone's eyes and say "wow your eyes have a beautiful color and shape" or "you skin is so smooth and brown" but saying "wow you are so exotic looking" has a negative connotation to some that they are some foreign oddity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by abimommy View Post
I am finding it a bit odd that there is an argument about whether or not people have a right to be offended on the Multi-Cultural board.

The word doesn't mean beautiful. It just doesn't.
You know this is so true. This board was meant to show respect for many different cultures which also have many different views so why can't these just be seen as valuable as what you may believe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
I guess my question is: are there people on this thread who really imagine that, given the historical and ongoing "Bluest Eye" type global epidemic of holding up light-skinned, blond haired, blue eyed people as being the paragons of beauty, leading to active trades in things such as permanently damaging caustic skin bleaches, any cultural trend toward looking at those characteristics as unusually beautiful is the same thing as the trend towards "exotification" which has so often been used to lay a fantasy culture upon a real culture for a kind of voyeuristic amusement? I'm not even all about "exotic=offensive" ... but that the blonde/blue thing is related to a history that is the flip side of, not the same as, the history that results from European/American fascinations with "those exotic savages," "that exotic near and middle east," "exotic India," "exotic China," etc, is really quite obvious.
Very good way to put this, I loved your post .

Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
Not every place in the world has America's idea of beauty.
But the majority does. North America, South America, Australia, Africa, Europe and Asia all have people/places who have dealt with colonization and this left wounds that still haven't healed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
Why should your offense over the history of a word overrule, say, Bad Mama Jama's feeling that it is a compliment?
Why should yours overule mine, or EdnaMarie's or Liquesce? Isn't this slight hypocritical? As a black woman I find this term exotic offensive but bad mama jama doesn't and it seems like you are trying to say since one minority doesn't feel offended that all of us don't. We are individuals and have individual views so please don't put us in groups.

How hard is it to take this word out of your vocabulary since it may offend some people? There are many other words that can replace this one and will leave a lasting effect. Beautiful, gorgeous, sexy, appealing, dazzling, magnificent, radiating, ravishing, stunning, marvelous etc.

Can you not see how exotic may be offensive?
post #117 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Purity♥Lake~ View Post
Because that same word also means:

alien, alluring, bizarre, colorful, curious, different, external, extraneous, extraordinary, extrinsic, far out, fascinating, foreign, glamorous, imported, introduced, kinky*, outlandish, outside, peculiar, romantic, strange, striking, unfamiliar, unusual, way out, weird*, avant garde, enticing, peregrine

And your denial of reality doesn't make reality go away.
Thank you!!!
post #118 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by futurmama8 View Post
Can you not see how exotic may be offensive?
I see how it is offensive to some people. I also accept that it's not univerally offensive, the reason that I don't take it right out of my vocabulary.

It is offensive to tell others what they should be offended by.
post #119 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
I am aware that some people prefer I don't use certain words. I am aware that I don't say certain things at work. I am aware that not everyone has the same rules.

The last boss I had had a sense of humour much more similar to my own then the boss I had before that. I treat them each differently even though they are in the same station over me.

It's not all or none. People are able to censor themselves.

I will say this one more time on MDC because I am starting to feel like a broken record.

The way I talk and the words I used are chosen based on the people I am with not what some person over there on the other side of the room, or a friend who isn't even with us thinks it should be.

I adjust my vocabulary based on who, what, when, where, and how. I have no hard and fast rules for how I talk. That is far to rigid to be truely functional in the real world.
How would you know if you saw me (or anyone) that using exotic or any other term would be offensive? If it is not wrong to say (your opinion) why not use it with any and everybody?
post #120 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
I see how it is offensive to some people. I also accept that it's not univerally offensive, the reason that I don't take it right out of my vocabulary.

It is offensive to tell others what they should be offended by.
I haven't seen anyone here mandate that everyone needs to be offended by the word.
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