Addendum on racial insults

Since posting on socially acceptable racism a few days ago, I’ve found there are some people who think it’s perfectly fine for them to engage in racial insults, because they aren’t really racial insults but code terms that mean something else entirely.

May I suggest the following guideline: If you’re using a term which a reasonable person, not familiar with your private in-group code, would take as reference to people’s ancestry or superficial physical characteristics, and you’re using it to insult or mock, then you should be very careful to use it only with people who speak your in-group language, and you should think about why you have to use such a term even then. Also, don’t ever count me as part of your in-group for that purpose, even if you’ve told me about your neologism.

There are ambiguous cases, since words have multiple meanings and shift over time, and insults can be in the eye of the beholder. What I’m talking about here is blatant special pleading, the notion that it’s OK because you’re different.

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