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exotic = offensive? - Page 7

post #121 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by futurmama8 View Post
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?
This is the part I don't get either. Barring random pop quizzes with people I meet, I don't understand how one would discern this.
post #122 of 165
MusicianDad I really don't understand why this word is so important for you to use I really don't. Did you see ALL the other words I listed that can be much more effective than exotic? How hard is it to use those?
post #123 of 165
Everyone is telling me I should be offended by the word because of reasons X, Y, Z.

I have said that I don't use words around people if they find them offensive. I respect that they find them offensive. I am not going to do a complete 180 when someone tells me something is offensive when other people, who by all logic should be offended because of reasons X, Y and Z, are saying they aren't offended.

I don't get why I can't just respect each individuals preferences. Why do I have to remove something from my vocabulary just because it's something that could be done.
post #124 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
Why can we compliment people who are the same as us but not people who are different?

Are people who are different not as deserving of compliments?
You can compliment people without using the word 'exotic', surely.

I really do not understand how you can read either thread and come away with the idea that people are saying that you can only compliment people of the same background as yourself.

Or is the only compliment you can think of for someone who looks different from you "exotic"?

As I've said in the xpost, if you think someone is beautiful, if you appreciate a certain feature, whatever--why not just say that instead of insisting on using a word that may or may not have colonialist/racist/weird connotations for that person (especially if you don't know that they would appreciate it).
post #125 of 165
I may have missed it, but I haven't seen anyone tell you that you have to be offended.

I've seen people explain why THEY are offended.

How can you tell if someone is offended unless you first use the word and see if it causes offense?
post #126 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by futurmama8 View Post
MusicianDad I really don't understand why this word is so important for you to use I really don't. Did you see ALL the other words I listed that can be much more effective than exotic? How hard is it to use those?
I'm not saying it is important.

Cripes... I will try and word this as simply as possible.

There are people of all races who find the word offensive.
There are people of all races who don't find the world offensive.
I choose to respect the individual I am with, rather then making a blanket judgement.
post #127 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
You can compliment people without using the word 'exotic', surely.

I really do not understand how you can read either thread and come away with the idea that people are saying that you can only compliment people of the same background as yourself.

Or is the only compliment you can think of for someone who looks different from you "exotic"?

As I've said in the xpost, if you think someone is beautiful, if you appreciate a certain feature, whatever--why not just say that instead of insisting on using a word that may or may not have colonialist/racist/weird connotations for that person (especially if you don't know that they would appreciate it).
People have said it's rude to make a comment that differentiates people from the norm.
post #128 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Purity♥Lake~ View Post
Your compliments you illustrated in your posts are just compliments. They are not stereotyping comments, or offensive words. There is such a difference between what you are talking about and what this thread is discussing specifically about the words exotic, jewed, gypped (and those seriously piss me off!) because saying you have beautiful hair is nothing like saying you're exotic. It really truly is different.
I went on a tangent with something EdnaMarie said about not giving ANY compliments to strangers, and/or minorities. I wasn't talking about the word "exotic" anymore. Just compliments, which she and others agreed are rude (Beautiful blue eyes. Lovely smile. Gorgeous hair.)
post #129 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
I may have missed it, but I haven't seen anyone tell you that you have to be offended.

I've seen people explain why THEY are offended.

How can you tell if someone is offended unless you first use the word and see if it causes offense?
If it were just people saying they are offended then it wouldn't have turned into this kind of discussion.

People are telling me I should be willing to stop using the word all together because they find it offensive.

I am not willing to put their opinions over the opinions of every one else.

They are both equally valid.
post #130 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
If it were just people saying they are offended then it wouldn't have turned into this kind of discussion.

People are telling me I should be willing to stop using the word all together because they find it offensive.

I am not willing to put their opinions over the opinions of every one else.

They are both equally valid.
I am officially done, since people can't seem to understand that I don't use the same vocabulary with all people.
post #131 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
If it were just people saying they are offended then it wouldn't have turned into this kind of discussion.

People are telling me I should be willing to stop using the word all together because they find it offensive.

I am not willing to put their opinions over the opinions of every one else.

They are both equally valid.
See, that fascinates me, and I guess is where I have trouble seeing your point of view. I personally would not use a word that could be construed as being offensive, especially given the fact that there are so many more accurate words to use. I would put others opinions above my own "right" to use the word in this case.

It's always interesting to get a window into how other people's minds work.
post #132 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
See, that fascinates me, and I guess is where I have trouble seeing your point of view. I personally would not use a word that could be construed as being offensive, especially given the fact that there are so many more accurate words to use. I would put others opinions above my own "right" to use the word in this case.

It's always interesting to get a window into how other people's minds work.
I put other peoples right to be or not be offended above my own preferences. That is why I don't focus on my own want to avoid offending people.
post #133 of 165
okay, it is time for a word from our friendly neighborhood moderator. i would like to remind everyone of the premise of the Multicultural Forum. this is a place where we can safely express our concerns, questions or feelings. please be respectful of one another when posting and post with genuine interest in the subject matter. please keep it civil or i will have to look into whether the thread is to be pulled.
post #134 of 165
Here is another example of a word like exotic. The word ethnic is totally offensive to some and it doesn't truly represent the person just that they look different from the white norm. No you shouldn't take words out of your vocabulary that you don't want to BUT understand that there are better words in the english language that you can use to get your point across without possible offending.

If you see a person with almond shaped eyes and a reddish brown skin tone why not say, "wow your eyes and skin are magnificent!" rather than, "wow you are so exotic". That word doesn't say much to me.

What does the word exotic mean to people who like to use it on this board?
post #135 of 165
People have said, back on the first page or so, what they feel the meaning of exotic is.
post #136 of 165
Quote:
If you see a person with almond shaped eyes and a reddish brown skin tone why not say, "wow your eyes and skin are magnificent!" rather than, "wow you are so exotic". That word doesn't say much to me
But even on this thread someone has said that commenting on things like eyes and skin, even positively, is rude and offensive.

*Anything* can be construed by *somebody* as offensive, which is why eliminating all speech still wouldn't get rid of the problem of people being offended. :
post #137 of 165
Quote:
The "what CAN I say" reminds me of my father and how he reacts to conversations like this...when I pointed out that "jewed" was not a good way to say "bargained," he threw up his hands and acted as if I was trying to take away 20% of the English language. Please. You can find plenty of words to describe what you want to say without resorting to a stereotype. You just don't want to.
Hmmm...I was referring to the idea that any comment about appearance at all is rude and offensive, which is something that was put forth in this thread.

I'll happily avoid using "exotic" when I know it will offend someone. I don't normally use it in daily language, though I think it sometimes. I've heard it used in reference to my husband () and it didn't bother either of us, and it wouldn't bother either of us if used in reference to our children. While it doesn't mean "beautiful" according to the dictionary, it *can* mean "strikingly beautiful" in common parlance. Depends on who's talking, the context, etc. Neither does it refer to any specific race in a derogatory way (unlike "jewed"), but rather is normally used as a compliment in reference to a person's beauty and not their particular race. Which is why I don't think it should be banned as universally offensive.
post #138 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawningmama View Post

Are those of you who really want to use this word suggesting that those of us who find the word offensive just suck it up? Do you not see the cultural implications the word brings or do you just not think they are important enough to cause you to make a small shift in word choice?

I don't assume negative intent from people who use this word to describe me. But, if I explained to them why the word is problematic for me, and I am met with the kind of dismissive and condescending "well, what CAN I say then?" attitude---well, that would be where I'd start wondering how much of a relationship I'd like to pursue with a person so unwilling to consider my feelings and position on the matter.

I really don't understand the need to hold on to a word once a number of people explain that it offends them. Our language is enormous, even-growing. There are so many other words to use to compliment people.
dawningmama, I think I love you. This is exactly how I feel. Thank you for writing it so well, and so kindly.
post #139 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
Hmmm...I was referring to the idea that any comment about appearance at all is rude and offensive, which is something that was put forth in this thread.
Sorry, I misinterpreted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
Neither does it refer to any specific race in a derogatory way (unlike "jewed"), but rather is normally used as a compliment in reference to a person's beauty and not their particular race. Which is why I don't think it should be banned as universally offensive.
But see, it does refer to specific races. Several of them. All of the races that have been exoticized historically. Some of them in incredibly racist, demeaning ways.

From Encyclopedia of Race and Ethnic Studies (you can read it here:
http://books.google.com/books?id=61d...esult&resnum=1)

Quote:
Race and Beauty:

Beauty is an historically specific evaluation of physical attrativeness that expresses prevailing racialized social heirarchies. In most cases this has meant that the facial features, body type, and coloring of a society's culturally dominat group set the standard against which others were judged. Women of color were either categorically excluded form the possibility of being considered beautiful by dominant standards, or were beautiful only to the extend that they shared the features of the dominant racial or ethnic group, or were considered beautiful in particularly eroticized and exoticized terms.
Quote:
Exoticization:

Historically exoticization has taken different forms. When exoticization meant that racialized women were seen as grotesquely sexual, it was a form of exclusion from beauty ideals. In the early twentieth century white showmen organized touring displays of South African Sarah Baartmann in Paris and London. Her protruding buttocks were the focus of the exhibitions. Called the "Hottentot Venus," she was displayed not as a beauty but as an oddity, and simultaneously as an example of the Otherness and hypersexuality of Africans.

At other moments exoticization meant representing particular groups of women as sexually inviting and seductively mysterious. Nineteenth-century white illustrators frequently depicted Asian women as grotesque and akin to animals and thus excluded them categorically from beauty. By the 1920s, however, Hollywood movies began to portray Asian women as mysteriously alluring and dangerous. After World War II dominant representations of Asian women shifted again. Asian women were depicted as highly sexual but pleasingly submissive. No longer a threat, they became objects of desire. Latinas were represented as beautiful by "hot-blooded," "spitfires," an image establised in Hollywood films of the 1930s. White beauties were represented through a wider range of images. Some white beauties were sassy, others dangerous, but many many were the chaste but appealing girl next door.

Evan as Asian, Latina, and Jewish women were valued in the dominant culture as exotic beauties, particular ethnically specific features were seen as deviant. As a result, Jewish women turned to rhinoplasty to have their "flawed" noses reshaped and Asian women submitted to blepharoplasty to create upper eyelid creases.
Honestly, with a history like this, and all the hurt and racism exoticizing has encouraged, I don't see how people can object to requests that the word not be used. I have an Asian daughter. She's going to grow up in a country where a great many people will still exoticize her, fetishize her, and treat her as foreign. She has a lifetime of it to deal with. If you're a nice, well-intentioned person who wants to call her beautiful, CAN YOU PLEASE NOT USE "EXOTIC"?!?
post #140 of 165
Thread Starter 
ROM, thank you so much for digging all that up. Once I decided to stop banging my head against a brick wall over this thread, I started to really enjoy hearing all the discussions about why this word is offensive. I started out with a sort of vague feeling of ickiness about the word, but wasn't really sure why, but I've learned a lot from the information you and others have shared here, so thank you.

I do understand that some people use the word to mean "uniquely beautiful", but that isn't really what it means. kind of like people used the word 'jewed' to mean 'ripped off' when that isn't what it means. The moment I realized what that word actually referred to (unfortunately the realization hit me as I said it to my very good Jewish friend and she replied with "what did you say?" -- I think she could tell by my face that I had no idea until that moment what it implied, and she was very forgiving) I stopped using it. Now that we've all had a little history lesson on the true meaning of the word 'exotic' I would assume that anyone who used it would think twice about what it really means, and whether they want to continue to use it incorrectly or just use a more accurate word or phrase to get their sentiment across.

Oh, and something else... I was one of the people who mentioned that I don't like being complimented on my looks, and I wanted to address the concept of compliments being offensive or not. I don't mind comments about what I'm wearing, or my hair, or my decorating tastes, etc, but *I personally* don't like having attention drawn to my actual physical appearance -- I wouldn't call it offensive at all (though it depends on how a person is drawing the attention, I suppose ) but I don't personally like it, it makes me uncomfortable. I don't tell others they're pretty or have pretty eyes (unless it is somehow a relevant part of a conversation), or other things about their actual looks, but I will compliment a new haircut or new glasses or how amazing they looked in that photo of them at their brother's wedding (you know who you are! ) things like that. I don't figure we have much control over our physical looks, and I always hated being verbally set apart from the crowd as a teenager/twentyager -- but that's just me, lots of people like that kind of attention. I wouldn't be angry with the complimenter, but I would be embarrassed, and would usually tell them to shut the he!! up!!! I have been told many times that "thank you" is a more appropriate reply.
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