How to Fight Casual Racism

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Reader Comments (107)

It's amazing the number of people here who seem so desperate to continue to use a racial slur in their everyday language.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSean

Can someone give me some clue what the racist name for Brazil nuts is here, hopefully without offending everyone?

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

I thought you were going for "to welch" on a bet, which I assumed to be something about the the Welsh. Not that I"m saying anything about the Welsh, mind you. A lovely people.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSeth

I think the 'racial' term for Gypsies is probably 'gypo' not 'gyp', though I guess its the same root. I'm told that 'chav' is the Romani slur for themselves, that's in common use in the UK for what you USians call 'trailer trash'.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterConfused-Us

I already know what Brazill nuts were called. Family members will say that on purpose, then laugh hysterically when I react. "Noooooooooo! Stoppit! You'll make it a habit and then do it by accident when we have company!"

-.- --{...sigh...)

And I have to agree with Zak, actually.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEaglesQuestions

People don't think gyp is racist because they don't have much experience with Gypsies (who don't call themselves, that - by the way). It was a mistaken reference anyway - 'gyp' referring to Egypt when the Roma/ Romani were not Egyptian in any way. They are spread out all over the world now, but there are still groups of them throughout Eastern Europe.

Anyway - most don't like being called Gypsies.

Fun side note: Vlad Tepes is usually considered a national hero in Romania, even though he is often viewed a little more harshly elsewhere.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

I've only ever heard that Brazil nut term spoken once. I grew up in Alabama, and at a family gathering, my uncle J used that term to refer to them. Another uncle (H) heard and said, "That word is not in my child's vocabulary!"

Uncle J said, "It is now!" and laughed uproariously. I've remembered that for more than 30 years and feel ashamed of my uncle J for it.

My maternal grandfather used all those terms you mention and more, and there was nothing casual about his racism. It was a malicious, hateful thing.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGary H.

It's a comic strip people. Take it as it is intended.
Thanks for the laugh.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Wonderful. Hilarious. And other adjectives as well.

I seem to see this in the comments on pretty much every comic, but this is one of the best ones you've done I think.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJahi

My kids will only ever know Brazil nuts as "Tiger Toes".

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbigjimsmith

LOL @ Brazil nuts! I, too, thought my family was the only one who had the horribly offensive name for them! I would say I'm glad to know I'm not alone, but I guess I'm not really "glad"......

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJen

"...so the words just stick around like pollution."

And the Internet is their biggest library. Every bigoted rant, slur, and screed that was ever posted is archived someplace where Google can find it. This stuff will never go away.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDave H

Welsh/welch on a bet. Not as common as some of the others.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRocketDad

The only name I know for Brasil nuts is Brasil nuts. Now do I (discreetly) look around for the racist term?

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlan

Great comic! This is the reason I stopped using the term "nitty-gritty". I used to use it until I discovered its origin, and then bannished it from my working vocabulary.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

"Welsh on a bet"

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSome Guy

I was surprised one Sunday morning to hear someone use the term SNAFU from the pulpit of my church. Apparently, it's not common knowledge that it means "situation normal, all ****** up."

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Welsh. I think he meant welsh on a bet.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJim

I also have to disagree with this notion that words have intrinsic meaning. If a word changes or loses it's meaning due to use, then it effectively has lost whatever positive or negative charge it used to have. I hope we don't devolve into an Orwellian state of imposing ourselves a limited vocabulary for only historical reasons.
Of course you should be mindful of certain words or concepts in certain contexts, because in those contexts they DO mean something to those people. But if they don't mean something to anybody, then they just don't.
So, no matter how much I say "eating strawberries makes me gay", the word's previous meeting won't rise from the grave and reveal itself to my confounded interlocutor

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlexalcan

This is awesome and it's Indian Giver, idjits.

Don;'t know the brazil nuts one, thank goodness.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHoney

This is probably my least favorite comic. If I grow up using a word and then some PC human resources department goes around telling everyone "that word has racist origins" and now every idgit in the world gets offended by something like "that's a gyp" when no one got offended before because no one remembered the racists origins have we really progressed? This should have been a one panel comic "How to fight casual racism" Ignore it. Going around preaching to everyone about how evil they are because they've noticed people are different isn't going to change their views as much as make them think you're an asshole.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterScott

Here in México, reading today’s strip was kind of hard to figure out the meanings of those racial slurs, once I understood them, first l laugh, then I realize how offensive they are, then I laugh a little less, but I realize that the racial slurs are a twisted way of how the world was perceived by a certain sector of a society in the past, and here in México we are experts in such a political incorrect manners, for example we have hundreds of jokes against the Spanish people, after being, long ago, a Spanish colony, but ironically we have thousand of jokes and racial slurs about our ethnics groups. Apparently the slurs are part of any language, and language is another expression of how we see the world, so I’m sure some of us, sometimes, are seeing the world wrong, for ignorance or for decision.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos Castillo

I don't know how to tell you this but, uh, "Gypsy" is a racial slur.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfiercebadrabbit

I had to look up alternate names for Brazil nuts, because I'd never heard them called anything except Brazil nuts, even in Virginia and Florida. Gotta say, sometimes I'm glad I grew up relatively sheltered.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarol Elaine

I don't believe that Gypsy, Welsh, and even Jew are actual races. Point taken on Brazil nuts. But PLEEEASE, don't let this strip get political.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersnowdog

Love this editions comic. Although being a liberal type meant i didn't understand most of the words you are refering to in the comic and had to scrol down and look in the comments for clarification (still have no idea what other name there is for Brazil nuts. I can especially identify with this comic because i once had a blazing row with my late Grandfather over his use of the word 'Gypo' when refering to travelers.

In relation to Paul's comment Heeby-Jeebies isn't anti-simitic as far as i can tell.

http://msgboard.snopes.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=28;t=000942;p=1

I am also annoyed when people use words which are offensive to people with disabilities: i won't name them here but i can think of a lot.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

I had to google "other names for Brazil Nuts." Is that... is that true? I have never heard that.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEd

This is classic. Happily tweeted this.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristopher_T

A public figure got into trouble for the non-racist word "niggardly" (which means stingy, and is not based on race). That one should probably not be used, regardless of actual meaning.

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1725/is-niggardly-a-racist-word

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTom

As I'm Brazilian, I just had an unexpected surprise when I've found out there's a slur for the Brazil Nuts.

Just sharing some common knowledge, but here in Brazil there's no relation, whatsoever, to the name implyed on the comic and the ways we call the Brazil Nuts in portuguese.

Maybe that's something to think about... on the origin country no slur, but on our "customers" there were (hopefully not used anymore).

*sigh* Just sharing some thoughts...

Amorim

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmorim

For anybody unwilling to google it for fear of becoming a racist, the term he means for Brazil nuts is "Nigger toes".

Just saying what he means doesn't make me racist though. Being a racist makes me racist.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

Zak, I know some gays who are uncomfortable with the word faggot specifically because it impies they might be put in a pile and burned - which is where that additional meaning comes from I believe

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhil

I never heard that term for brazil nuts until I was in my 20s.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRob

What? What?? Why does everyone know something I don't??? What is the forbidden term for Brazil nuts???? What is the Australian cheese?????
Help me out here - I'm British.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaddy

Being a curious idiot, I googled Brazil nuts. Thanks Scott, just learned something I really didn't need to know. I suppose I shoulda known better.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjustruss

It's "welsh" that's the racist term for failing to honor a bet.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commenternominull

Okay, asdf, I'll bite;
"Perfectly tidy and clean"?

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDee

The name you have for Brazil nuts is what my mother called chocolate creme candies as a child, a lot of people did. When we found this out, it was the "word of the day" at Christmas.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHolly

Wow... Like another commentor, I too am surprised at how many people want to keep using a term that they now know is racist. :P

And to people saying that "x, y, and z are not actually races so these words aren't actually racist" Scientifically speaking, there ARE no "races," just the human race. Early (racist) anthropologists divided the world up into different "racial" categories based on obvious physical characteristics like skin colour, but when it comes to actual genetic make-up, there are more differences within these so-called "races" than between them. "Race" is a SOCIAL construct, when people start attaching (racist) stereotypes and traits and roles to different groups of people, not a biological one. So actually, scientifically, there are no "races," but socially, yeah, all these groups are different "races" because the rest of society treats them as such. So yes, those words are racist, because they perpetuate an underlying social acceptance of different racial roles.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChare

Man. The fact that so many people automatically leap to "The N Word" instead of thinking of an "Indian Giver" or being "Gypped" speaks worse for the readers than Scott's intelligence. Seriously; black people aren't the only ethnicity to be racist against - we're apparently the loudest about it, but there are other groups out there.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz Quinn

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