Comment 76022

By Brandon (registered) | Posted April 18, 2012 at 09:28:16

There are a number of words that are used innocently that have negative meanings to small groups of people.

The "paddy wagon". I used this term for years to describe police vans without ever realizing that it referred to a truck to take Irish drunks to jail.

"Gypped" is a term my sister used to me not too long ago. Means being taken advantage of by Gypsies. Hardly flattering.

I was having an argument with someone years ago and referred to a "slavish devotion to rules". He freaked out because he was of Slavic descent and assumed I was insulting him. I wasn't even aware that there were "Slavs" at that point in my life.

The point is that if you look for it you can be offended by anything you really want to be. Should we be more careful with our language? Probably. Can we go too far? Easily. What's the right answer? Not a clue.

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