Author Topic: Accidental Racism  (Read 22682 times)

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Offline famicomplicated

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Accidental Racism
« on: March 01, 2009, 07:04:42 AM »
http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/blogArt.cfm?artid=17846

  There's a little secret I'd like to share with my fellow online readers here, something that many people are not aware of when posting comments online: every time you type the word "Jap" you sound like a racist.    


I see it often on message boards and comment threads.  I know these people don't say it to be offensive; it's just a convenient way to write three letters instead of eight, right?  Well I'm here to tell you that laziness isn't an excuse for dropping the J-bomb.  It's never acceptable to do so, and there are other ways to type it!    


Take the recent Olympics for instance.   Did you hear the announcers commenting on how fast the "Japs" were at swimming?  Or about how the "Japs" were doing on the leader boards?  No.  That's because the abbreviation used is JPN.  That is not accidental.  If the tournament organisers used the other abbreviation, it might have caused an international incident!    


Accidental racism is not confined to message boards either.  The last time I was back in the UK I stepped into a bakery and saw a "Jap Biscuit" (a cookie to US readers).  None of my friends seemed bothered by it, but when I asked "What if it was called a Chink Cookie?" they suddenly got my point.   Some people don't realise that both of those terms are equal in their disgusting bigotry.    


Living in Japan I am made more aware of this of course, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to stop this kind of accidental casual racism so prominent back in my own country -  and on the web.    


In fact, if you trace the origins of the term "Jap" it's an outdated derogatory World War II term.  It's something an old bigot might use when talking about the Japanese, but hardly something appropriate for a message board comment.    


There is some good news, however.  Certain online gaming stores have recently changed their game labelling from JAP/USA to NTSC-J/NTSC-U, a positive step indeed.    


  In closing, the next time you want to big up a new Japanese game or comment on how crazy the Japanese are, try these accepted abbreviations:    


Japan - Jpn, Jp
 Japanese - Jpse, Jpnse
 Japanese RPG - J-RPG, Jpse RPG
   


Let's show our love of Jpse games without hating on the people of Jpn!

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Offline Dasmos

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2009, 08:30:37 AM »
wow
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Offline Plugabugz

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2009, 08:48:37 AM »
So can i call it the land of the rising sun?

RPG from the Land of the Rising Sun, etc?

Offline Tanookisuit

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2009, 09:27:15 AM »
Nice, thoughtful essay. 

Offline KDR_11k

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2009, 09:38:59 AM »
yap yap yap

:P

If people don't understand that it's an insult then it isn't one, language changes. People here think "Neger" (negro) is an insult because it sounds somewhat like "******". And hell, ****** isn't even an insult between blacks.

Offline Dasmos

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2009, 09:52:20 AM »
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Offline vudu

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2009, 10:18:20 AM »
What brought this on?  I can't remember the last time I saw the term used here on NWR.  Have a little faith that your readers are smarter than that.

... ’ ... ’ ... ’ ... ’ ... ’ ... ’ ... ’ ... “ ... ” ... “ ... ” ... ’ ... “ ... ” ... “ ... ” ... ’ ... “ ... ” ... ’ ... ’ ... – ... – ... – ... ’

I think you're having a little problem with your apostrophe key.
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Offline BarryH

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2009, 11:54:46 AM »
Nonsense. It's a simple abbreviation, like using Brit for British, or Aussie for Australian.

Offline Jonnyboy117

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2009, 12:23:25 PM »
Nonsense. It's a simple abbreviation, like using Brit for British, or Aussie for Australian.

Spelling-wise, you're right.  The fact that it's derogatory has to do with historical usage and cultural elements.

I think the point of James's blog is not to call people racist; it's to help you avoid saying something that might inadvertantly insult a friend or acquaintance and thus break down communication, online or off.
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Offline NWR_Lindy

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2009, 01:00:49 PM »
Nah, "Jap" definitely has negative connotations.  Even as a kid I remember watching old movies set during WWII and they'd refer to "Damn Japs".  Now if we're talking British, "Limey" would be the equivalent to "Jap" if you want to go all WWII on it, or "kraut" for Germans.  Not that any of these words have as much stigma with the younger generation (as evidenced by the replies so far in this thread), but that doesn't make them any less derogatory.

Cultural context is an interesting thing.  In fact, when I was editing this piece I wanted James to censor "Ch*nk" because I know it as a derogatory term.  My rationale was that everybody (i.e. everybody that I grew up around) knows "Ch*nk") as a bad word, but "Jap" doesn't have the same stigma to me.  I pretty much proved James' point right there.
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Offline walkingdead

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2009, 01:27:36 PM »
were not racist any more we have obama as a president now.  and before any one gets all pissy with me or tries to get me suspended that was a joke.

the problem that most people have with racism, or at least should have is intent.  its all well and good for a black guy to throw the N-bomb but if a white guy does it than he's racist.  sorry, i wont let it work that way.  what the average pc jerk fails to realize is that when you get rid of a word that is derogatory all you are doing is setting up the new word to be derogatory.

take midget for example.  years ago this word was used to describe people with dwarfism.  then they felt that it was derogatory so now you are supposed to use "dwarf" or "little person".  im going to tell you what i think little person is more condescending that midget.  and what are we supposed to do 20 years from now when dwarf is considered derogatory... then we just call them the underdeveloped, or the chronically short.  it has to end somewhere, we have to lighten up as a society and not see every description turn to a racial attack.


now i understand where your coming from and what you are trying to say.  however, you also need to understand that intent on a word is far worse than the actual word. 

and now that i think about it, you should also realize that i used the word midget freely however i also used the word n-bomb instead of the actual word.  that should go to show that we all fell (and wrongly so) some racial and derogatory terms just dont hurt like others. 

its got to be fair across the board or just taken off.  thats the long and short of it.  its got to be fair game for all or for none.  so when the gansta rappers stop using it i will to.  cause i have just as much hate behind my jokes as they do in there songs.


and thats a real dialog about racist language.

i await your criticisms and what nots.

Offline Stogi

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2009, 01:34:02 PM »
I only think it's racist if it has a racist connotation,, if the user intends for it to be racist.
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Offline Kairon

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2009, 02:15:49 PM »
I only think it's racist if it has a racist connotation,, if the user intends for it to be racist.

I understand that, but there's still the potential for misunderstanding on the part of the hearer, and whether something was intentional or not misunderstandings can be very damaging, nor do you get a second chance at first impressions.
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Offline NovaQ

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2009, 02:16:46 PM »
I only think it's racist if it has a racist connotation,, if the user intends for it to be racist.

I thought the danger of racism was its subjugation of one group by another, more dominant group. By saying that a comment is racist only if the speaker intended it to be allows that person to be perfectly innocent as long as s/he is ignorant of the comment's implications. Hopefully this isn't taking things too far, but decades ago when public transit was segregated, I'm sure there were plenty of white folks that didn't see anything offensive is forcing the colored passengers to the back of the bus. That's just how life was when they grew up so, they figured, why question it? Does that mean that these white people weren't being racist?

Racism (and, more generally, the interaction between different groups of people) is really complex, though. It's hard to tell if there's a clear-cut right and wrong amidst the tangled mess of group dynamics, world history, and language. I suppose as long as we try to keep our ears and minds open, we should hopefully be alright...
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Offline D_Average

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2009, 02:34:15 PM »
Maybe its a generation thing.  I concur with Lindy, I know he's a bit older as I am, and I've known this term was derogatory since elementary school, so I've always avoided it.
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Offline Kairon

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2009, 04:18:48 PM »
I once e-mailed a guy in Italy with a helpful reminder about just this very thing.
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Offline nickmitch

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2009, 04:39:52 PM »
Quote
There is some good news, however.  Certain online gaming stores have recently changed their game labelling from JAP/USA to NTSC-J/NTSC-U, a positive step indeed. 

That actually looks a lot more complicated and a lot less short.  Also, if you're gonna abbreviate "Japanese" to 5 letters, you might as well write out the damn word out.  It's a terrible abbreviation and hardly one at all.  Only 3 vowels were removed. THREE!

And as far as how you use it goes, if you say a word with hate, then it has hate.  If you say a word with love, then it has love.  If you say it without anything, then it's just an empty word.
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Offline Mop it up

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2009, 04:48:09 PM »
I've never used "Jap" before because I don't like to shorten names or words; to me that seems like lazy writing. I didn't know it was racist though, so maybe I'll keep that in mind.

If you learn to type fast then you shouldn't be bothered by typing out an entire word as opposed to an abbreviation. How much time is it going to save to leave out five letters? A small fraction of a second. Besides, a reader will have better comprehension if a writing piece has proper spelling and grammar.

Offline oohhboy

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2009, 05:03:10 PM »
"Chink Cookie".

ROFL  :D

The teacher was right when they told you to ignore the bully. Words only have power if you respond to them in a negative fashion. A person can load a word with enough malice to fire their heart at you, but if you simply marginalize them, they have nothing.

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Offline Stogi

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2009, 05:53:40 PM »
I once went up to a group of people outside a local bar....well let me back up. I needed a lighter because someone had stolen mine. Realizing that, I went up to a group of (white) people and very seriously asked if someone had said the word "Nigga." I asked again "I heard somebody say it. So who said it?" They looked like they all were about to **** their pants. I started to smile then began laughing and said I was only fucking with them and that I actually needed to use someones lighter.

At first, they said it wasn't funny, though they started to lighten up and crack jokes like "Holy ****! I thought you were pissed off! I was about to leave my wallet and run!" We all started laughing and then we laughed some more.

huh.
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Offline GoldenPhoenix

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2009, 06:09:31 PM »
I think this blog illustrates something that I've seen in our culture, usually the ones that are offended are not even apart of that ethnic group. When you have to explain to people why it is offensive, that tells me that it isn't as huge of a deal anymore. Historically you can go throughout history and find terms that were once derogatory but are no longer. My guess is that the term holds far more importance to those from that generation, the ones who were fighting in WW2.

With that said I try to avoid shortening Japanese.


http://members.jcom.home.ne.jp/yosha/race/Jap_jappu_zyappu.html

There is an interesting article on the complexities of the term. There are various countries who don't think of it as offensive, and I also heard that most Japanese who live in Japan don't really care.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2009, 06:21:28 PM by GoldenPhoenix »
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Offline EasyCure

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2009, 06:16:30 PM »
*looks in the mirror* don't forget the spics

I haven't heard that word said from anyone that wasn't hispanic in a looooong time. It's weird actually.. Cuz i knew a ton of people that were offended by that, and knew people that used it the way someone would use "jap" as an abbreviation, not knowing it was hurtul to some. Now i ONLY hear hispanics saying it, with a myriad of connotations behind it.
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Offline BeautifulShy

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2009, 06:38:50 PM »
I'm half hispanic EasyCure and that is the first time I heard that term.

About this topic:I agree with GP.These terms are really only relivent in the time period that spawned the word.Sure there are cases where it is used now but those are few and really only used by people that want to keep the derogatory term around.
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Offline GoldenPhoenix

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2009, 06:50:40 PM »
I find the term "jap' to be the most interesting in regards to racial slurs. At its core it is really only an abbreviation, in fact before WWII it was used quite often but it didn't hold any negative connotation. Really I cannot think of any other racial slur that is just an abbreviation.
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Offline EasyCure

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Re: Accidental Racism
« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2009, 07:27:11 PM »
I find the term "jap' to be the most interesting in regards to racial slurs. At its core it is really only an abbreviation, in fact before WWII it was used quite often but it didn't hold any negative connotation. Really I cannot think of any other racial slur that is just an abbreviation.

I've often thought of that too, since it really is an abbreviation and wasn't considered a slur until it was used in the context of hate during WWII. There might be another word or two i can think of that is, somewhat, of an abreviation that can be used as a racial slur. But like other words, it really depends on how you use it. I don't want to delve into this further though, before you know it someone will stumble in here and use the topic at hand as an excuse throw out all the slurs and offensive slang they know. This will be my last visit to this topic just in case.

I'm half hispanic EasyCure and that is the first time I heard that term.

About this topic:I agree with GP.These terms are really only relivent in the time period that spawned the word.Sure there are cases where it is used now but those are few and really only used by people that want to keep the derogatory term around.

You better start throwing some espanol into our AC/Wiispeak chats, we can start a club with Pap :-D
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