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A better term than "half" or "part" for biracial children... - Page 3

post #41 of 77

The only reason anyone still gets offended over words not said in hate, is because they somehow appreciate the division that it creates.

post #42 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

The only reason anyone still gets offended over words not said in hate, is because they somehow appreciate the division that it creates.

 


I don't agree. As I said previously, 'half-caste' is an extremely loaded racial term in Australia and you can say it with as much love as you want, it's still offensive. Which is why I posted in the first place because it makes me uncomfortable to use racist terms to describe my own children. I don't think it is being nit-picky or overly PC to choose your words with respect for everyone around you and not use outdated and ugly terms to describe human beings. 

 

post #43 of 77

That's fine, I come from a very diverse back ground, we refuse to give those words power.  I will not allow those words to control me influence me or hurt me.  Nor with they divide me.  I find the more people allow into their bag or unacceptable the more problems they allow themselves to face. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Logan View Post



 


I don't agree. As I said previously, 'half-caste' is an extremely loaded racial term in Australia and you can say it with as much love as you want, it's still offensive. Which is why I posted in the first place because it makes me uncomfortable to use racist terms to describe my own children. I don't think it is being nit-picky or overly PC to choose your words with respect for everyone around you and not use outdated and ugly terms to describe human beings. 

 



 

post #44 of 77

I say "I am Russian and his daddy is African". I don't like "half" or "part" either. I tend to never explain or justify his physical appearance or his skin color, but instead focus on the cultural merge. I never say "I am white and his father is black". 

post #45 of 77

Well, I'm sorry, but "not giving words power" in this case would be a lot like turning a blind eye (yours and your children's) to historical significance of language. If someone called my son "half-caste" in any context, I would probably lose it. It would be as bad as calling my son the n-word. I find that in my experience, people who "don't give these words power" are usually white advantaged people who don't want to leave their comfort zone. The contradiction is that they are sometimes responsible for raising children of color, who grow up unaware of how society truly sees and treats them, and unaware of a large part of world history. I don't know a single non-white person who would not take offense to a historically racist term because they choose to "not give those words power".
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

That's fine, I come from a very diverse back ground, we refuse to give those words power.  I will not allow those words to control me influence me or hurt me.  Nor with they divide me.  I find the more people allow into their bag or unacceptable the more problems they allow themselves to face. 

 



 



 

post #46 of 77
Thread Starter 

It doesn't really matter if you give the words power yourself, or what race you are, it only matters whether those words have the potential to cut someone else deeply. Or undermine any progress made towards moving away from racial discrimination. Its not about not offending yourself, its about not offending others. Or choosing to be racist because that kind of stuff doesn't bother *you*, it bothers others. And words can hurt. If you know that a term is considered offensive it's just common sense to choose a better word to use. Not very hard, if everyone made a little change it would make a big difference. 

post #47 of 77

You might get confusing replies here because in the US "half" does not seem to have the same loaded meaning that it does in Australia. So when people say that it doesn't bother them, it's not because they are saying you should allow your child to be called a bigoted term, it's because here it does not have that same connotation.

 

I personally prefer the term "mixed" for myself because half is not really accurate, but do not find half to be offensive. I am surprised to see that some think that mixed is offensive. I generally go by what people identify themselves as.

post #48 of 77
Thread Starter 

The problem is not the word itself, more the backwards idea that because something doesn't bother me I should continue to call people that because I don't feel the word has power. The 'N' word doesn't have power in my life, and I have heard plenty of African American people identify themselves using that word, but that doesn't mean I would ever use it to refer to another human being because I know it is offensive and hurts others- just cause it doesn't hurt me (being white and all *rolls eyes*) is completely irrelevant. What someone calls themselves is their own choice, but what we refer to others as requires some tact. For example the term 'colored' is widely used and identified with in South Africa. I would hope however that a South African person traveling to the US would be more sensitive to it being offensive to some people there and not use it when describing someone. Just because it feels perfectly acceptable to one person doesn't mean those around you wouldn't be offended. I think its good to be aware of the history of the words we choose to use when describing other people- especially when it comes to sensitive issues like race. And when we describe our own child in a certain way we are saying, not only to the child but to every stranger we meet, that the term we use is an acceptable one to use- so it makes sense to choose one that really is acceptable to the community you are describing- especially so if you are not a member of that community.

 

Of course if you want to describe yourself any which way then that's fine, but when you are talking about someone else why not find an option which is not inappropriate? Heaps of people have posted many great alternatives on this thread to using half. If my kids choose to identify as being 'half' when they grow up then that is their identity to choose. But until then I would prefer to model something which is not racist towards them or anyone else. I understand it's not racist there, but it's good to be aware that not everyone you will meet in your life is American, or doesn't know the history of certain terms.  

 

If a friend introduced you at a party and someone asked where you were from, would you prefer they said "oh she's half black and half white" or "she's Scottish/Namibian"?

 

I say all this as gently as possible as I never intended this thread to get so heavy, was merely looking for ideas :) 

post #49 of 77

I have to say whenever the subject of race comes up I feel sad because NOBODY questions The Hubby's, my own, or our children's backgrounds.  We're just "white", so why ask?  We're actually amazingly diverse, myself being mostly Scandinavian, German, and some Native American (we don't know which nation, there was so much shame attached to the fact that my ancestor married a Native American that they refused to record her tribe).  The Hubby is Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Scots-Irish, and African.

 

I don't know is that offensive of me to feel that way?  I just get the idea that my history doesn't matter as much as someone with darker skin because my diversity isn't as noticeable. 

post #50 of 77

For example the term 'colored' is widely used and identified with in South Africa. I would hope however that a South African person traveling to the US would be more sensitive to it being offensive to some people there and not use it when describing someone. Just because it feels perfectly acceptable to one person doesn't mean those around you wouldn't be offended. I think its good to be aware of the history of the words we choose to use when describing other people- especially when it comes to sensitive issues like race.

 


This is an excellent example. South Africans termed "Coloured" people as those of mixed background. They were mainly mixed from Africaaners (the while S.Africans of Dutch descent) and African. They usually speak Africaans with any African language long forgotten. They lived separately from both white and black people, under Apartheid, in conditions in between the two lifestyles.

 

It really irked my "politically correct" heart to see this kind of separation (which was still in effect post-Apartheid). 

 

One white South African even said to me years ago "You Americans can never tell the difference between Black and Coloured!" Ouch! Found myself in a very uncomfortable position of having to explain race-relations in the U.S. and a stern "If you ever visit the U.S...." Hopefully, her countrymen are bit more informed these days! 

post #51 of 77

i need to read all pages now and make a table with on one side the name of countries and on the other side one column with the words that are not acceptable in that country and another column with which words are acceptable ....

post #52 of 77
Thread Starter 

If you are going to address someone using a racial term then yes, you should probably know whether that term is considered derogatory in their country/culture. 

post #53 of 77
Yeah but this is about describing yourself and finding a way to do so without offending. I am Mexican, Puerto Rican from my mothers side. My father is Norwegian. DH is Native American and German. Why not just state that you're a wonderful mix. Both my brother and I get asked what we are all the time. Everyone thinks he's Asian and I get asked I "what the heck are you?"

A pretty awesome creation! I don't utilize words that I know will hurt others and I only address disrespectful words when used. We live in San Antonio and my kids just came to conclusion they're not full Mexican like all their friends. Of course they're now wondering what they are. So out comes the photo albums and I show them everyone. My great grandfather rode with Pancho Villa, my Dad's family came here in 1896 from Norway. Knowing your roots helps you realize you're not just what you look like. And knowing you're not just what you look like makes it easier to educate others who only look at your color.
post #54 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toposlonoshlep View Post

. I don't know a single non-white person who would not take offense to a historically racist term because they choose to "not give those words power".
 



 


I know quite a few who choose not to give words power and they are older generation. I work in an office of all men, I'm the only Caucasian looking person in that room. All of them say giving words power is petty. All of them are BLACK. And yes they all feel that is a perfectly fine term to describe them. This came up due to our newest employee who feels threatened about everything. Everything is a racial issue. He apparently hasn't realized that everyone in their is the same as him. He's constantly trying to insight some sort of uprising. He spent a good part of last week, spreading rumors that I the WHITE girl, (doesn't know me) is the highest paid employee. Since we're all IT professionals... We get paid by our education and I'm in the middle spectrum due to the all the Masters degrees and certifications that out rank my credentials.

This young man is a good kid. He's just blinded by injustices he feels he is being dealt. I'm sorry young man, you're getting paid 70,000 a year at 24 with a bachelors and one certification... the world has handed you a bad deal! At this point we've all decided he's just looking for a fight. Oh and loves to use the "N" word. He thinks it makes me uncomfortable... Very sad actually as it doesn't bother me and he really is making himself look ignorant . However if he makes one more beaner comment I may sink to his level and start a whine fest over the use of that word. I'm sure he'll appreciate that.
post #55 of 77

I don't have a problem with the word "black". I don't know any black people who take offense to it. I didn't even know that the term had historical connotation. As far as I know, it's acceptable and non-offensive. If you read my post, I was referring to the word half-caste, which DOES have that connotation. Saying that because you work with BLACK people and none of them have confronted you or told you that racial slurs offend them is like saying "I'm not racist, I have black friends!". I HIGHLY doubt you know all of your co-workers so personally that you've had intimate and honest discussions with them about the words each one chooses to give power to. I think that's probably best in a professional environment anyway, since you already see what can happen when people are honest about their personal feelings in a job setting.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post



I know quite a few who choose not to give words power and they are older generation. I work in an office of all men, I'm the only Caucasian looking person in that room. All of them say giving words power is petty. All of them are BLACK. And yes they all feel that is a perfectly fine term to describe them. 
post #56 of 77
When you're stuck in a small room without windows for 12 hours, you get to know everything about each other. EVERYTHING! We're all retired military. Having friends from different cultures is absolutely normal. Getting to understand those cultures is quite a journey. To say "I have black friends" well I do. And cousins and Aunts... shall I go on? We're all half something! Half caste... really? People still use that term? Where? I've been called Hapa, half breed so on so forth. I'm mixed, my family is mixed. While I don't think words should have half the weight they carry, you do and what you believe is what you believe. I will not generalize and state that anything is a fact, however I will say there are people who will not be defined and will not allow others to define them.

Is that wrong?
post #57 of 77
Also just because I don't give those words power, does not mean I use them. I don't. I know that they are offensive to some people. I would never go out of my way to offend. That's not the kind of person I am.
post #58 of 77


I highly recommend this book, to you and anyone else: http://www.amazon.com/Mixed-Anthology-Fiction-Multiracial-Experience/dp/0393327868/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316187338&sr=1-3

 

It creates a very HONEST discussion of the underlying societal and personal issues on the subject. When I posted my opinion of the term "half-caste", it was in response to the discussion earlier in the thread. I didn't bring up the term, it was already being discussed. There is a difference between having negative feelings associated with how others refer to you, and "letting these words define you". Just because some people are more "immune" (which is arguable) to these terms, does not make them ok to use, as you yourself pointed out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

When you're stuck in a small room without windows for 12 hours, you get to know everything about each other. EVERYTHING! We're all retired military. Having friends from different cultures is absolutely normal. Getting to understand those cultures is quite a journey. To say "I have black friends" well I do. And cousins and Aunts... shall I go on? We're all half something! Half caste... really? People still use that term? Where? I've been called Hapa, half breed so on so forth. I'm mixed, my family is mixed. While I don't think words should have half the weight they carry, you do and what you believe is what you believe. I will not generalize and state that anything is a fact, however I will say there are people who will not be defined and will not allow others to define them.

Is that wrong?


 

post #59 of 77
Thank you. I may read it someday. Though, I would like to say one last thing. One day this entire country will wonderfully be woven together. Beautiful people, mixed beautiful people.
post #60 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

Yeah but this is about describing yourself and finding a way to do so without offending. 


Actually it was about how to describe your kids when someone asks you about their background. In my case I am a different racial background to my kids and it makes me uncomfortable to perpetuate the use of certain words so I came here looking for alternatives.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post
 Half caste... really? People still use that term? Where? 


In Australia. In a derogatory way. Thus why Half makes me so uncomfortable- its a shortened form of half-caste, well that is how it comes across.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

Also just because I don't give those words power, does not mean I use them. I don't. I know that they are offensive to some people. I would never go out of my way to offend. That's not the kind of person I am.


Ah okay, this wasn't clear from your previous posts. It seemed as if you were saying because you didn't give them power then you would continue to use them since it didn't bother you. Thanks for clarifying.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

Thank you. I may read it someday. Though, I would like to say one last thing. One day this entire country will wonderfully be woven together. Beautiful people, mixed beautiful people.

 

I agree and I hope so too :)
 

 

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