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Yorkist
09-14-2013, 02:32 AM
Coonass. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coonass)

I thought so when I was a teenager, changed my mind as an adult, and am now considering changing my mind again, but I'm really not sure. (I used the word today and it made me ponder.)

When my husband, who hails from Miami, first started hearing the term used aloud, I had to explain to him that it had nothing to do with black folks, and in fact referred to white people pretty much exclusively.

I guess when I was growing up, I heard this term bandied about for "people a lot like us, except on the other side of the river, who for some curious reason wear their football colors to church." I never, or rarely, heard it used like an epithet. And in fact one of my favorite cooking websites is www.coonass.com (http://www.coonass.com/index.html). (Yeah, it looks like it was made in 1994, but trust me, the recipes are good.)

I still don't really think it's used to "other" people, at least not here, and not usually - but the etymology of the term, which just may be horrifically sexist, gives me concern.

Thoughts?

shakeysix
09-14-2013, 02:35 AM
My brother in law uses it for a cajun. We don't hear it in Kansas. He is from Arkansas but I believe he picked it up while working on a drilling platform in the gulf. He doesn't use it disparagingly but he isn't the brightest bulb in the marquee, either. --s6

Yorkist
09-14-2013, 02:40 AM
Yeah, I was wondering why people didn't refer to them (or themselves) more often as just Cajuns, but then I wondered if it was like me with black folks - I use African-American to describe a church, literature, or food, but generally use "black folks" for black folks. So maybe "Cajun" springs to mind more as an adjective, for say a recipe, while "coonass" is the individual? I dunno.

katci13
09-14-2013, 02:44 AM
It doesn't sound racist, but I've never heard this in my life.

Yorkist
09-14-2013, 02:48 AM
I think you kinda have to be in the southeast to get exposure, katci.

RubySlippers
09-14-2013, 02:50 AM
Irish: have no valid opinion on social minorities unless they're travellers or Protestants!

Rachel Udin
09-14-2013, 02:53 AM
I've only heard it as a derogatory term, though I've not been to the Southeast.

J.S.F.
09-14-2013, 03:01 AM
According to Wikipedia--every scholar's choice--it's considered a derogatory term for a non-Cajun to use against a Cajun. Middle/upper-class Cajuns would not like the term whereas a lower-class Cajun (on the economic scale) wouldn't care. It isn't anti-black in spite of the name itself although I could well understand how someone black might take offense (and probably would).

Cranky1
09-14-2013, 03:02 AM
Racist? No. Maybe classist.

Much like HillBilly.

Yorkist
09-14-2013, 03:10 AM
Cranky, that may be true. That would also make it logical that it may not be offensive if an Old Miss fan used it to describe an LSU fan, but taken differently if a Yankee said it.

JSF, yeah. I did ask a friend with a PhD in computer science who is Cajun. Like, his grandparents' first language is French. He worked really hard to eliminate his Cajun accent, but when I asked him if it was derogatory to use the term, his answer was an immediate no.

Also black folks in these parts would not make that mistake. Could be mistaken but I think they are just as likely to use the word as white folks. The terms really have entirely different etymologies and connotations.

Cyia
09-14-2013, 03:55 AM
I've only heard it as a derogatory term,

Ditto.

Ari Meermans
09-14-2013, 03:55 AM
Coonass is not racist and the derogatory use of the word is not as pervasive as it was even fifty years ago. It's a descriptive term we descendants of a hardy people who had to learn to survive in a world that didn't want them wear with pride, as is Cajun. Almost all of us--all walks of life, all socioeconomic levels.

Torgo
09-14-2013, 05:05 AM
Gudgeon, huh? Interesting etymology.

EDIT: Oh, that isn't in the Wiki page. My slang dictionary (Cassell) says it's from fr. conasse, the female genitals, then conassiere, slang for the gudgeon fish (fr. femelots), which was fished by the Cajuns. But then Google gives 'femelots' as meaning gudgeon in the sense of part of a rudder, rather than the fish, so it implies either Mr Green has it wrong somehow (which is relatively unlikely, but still very possible) or it's a pun.

Kim Fierce
09-14-2013, 05:09 AM
I've never heard it at all. I'm from Indiana, and have heard some people use just "coon" in a derogatory, racist way so around here I'd say adding "ass" to it wouldn't make it any more popular or acceptable lol.

Ken
09-14-2013, 05:18 AM
... seems similar to the term, "redneck."
Some find it offensive: me;
and others are perfectly okay by it.
Bumper stickers, etc.
It's a two-sided issue, without any ultimate resolution.
Personally, if I was Cajun I'd just call myself "Cajun."
Fine enough term, w/o any need for embellishment.

Rachel Udin
09-14-2013, 05:39 AM
I'd take it this way, from the reports posted:
To Cajuns to other Cajuns, fine. It's a reclaiming. Some might be ignorant of that.

To outsiders to Cajuns, not fine.

Personally, as a non-Cajun and a Non-black with the only lame line heard by every PoC ever, "But I like the food." *cough* I wouldn't use it.

See, when I talk to other Asians about derogatory terms used about Asians, it's totally fine, because we understand the shared history of the C word, the J-word, the word that means country in Korean or what a food term for yellow on the outside, white on the inside. But someone without that deep understanding, I'd be really, really offended at.

Same reason I never ever say or write out the N word unless I'm pressed and I need it for a story setting and I have no choice. (This includes the version with that a. 'cause while I understand the history it makes it just ten times worse coming from me. Especially sometimes people use that as an excuse to delight that they can suddenly use it typed out. No.

Oh and Yorkist, I get that you get that, but I thought I'd just pound it one more time for those who don't get that. ^^;; 'Cause I've had White people to my face say about other peoples they have a right to use intra-group terms because their friends previously accepted it. And I have to explain to them why it's loaded.

Yorkist
09-14-2013, 06:09 AM
Yeah, Rachel - it's not like I would use the term in reference to a complete stranger. But as for epithetery, I am going over every use I have heard of it ever, and the absolute worst was, "Gah, he's such a coonass!" in reference to a dude whose Cajun accent was completely uninterpretable even to people used to hearing Cajun accents.

Maybe Ari can settle this (or at least further the understanding). When I use the term, it's something like, "Oh, I am having dinner at Chad's house, and he is a coonass you know, so I'm hoping we'll have some po-boys or jambalaya or some such." (ETA: Sorry for the food reference. Food is a big part of our lives and cultures down here.) Or, "Irene makes a special trip back home to go to Mardi Gras every year. Why? Oh, it's a coonass thing, it's just off our radar."

I am wondering if there is a difference in use by someone just across the river that is using it either matter-of-factly or gently teasing. Obviously my friends are not the only word on the matter, but I've never run into anyone who found it problematic. Someone from Mississippi is not going to get all classist to someone from Louisiana, I can tell ya that much.

Ari Meermans
09-14-2013, 06:10 AM
I'd take it this way, from the reports posted:
To Cajuns to other Cajuns, fine. It's a reclaiming. Some might be ignorant of that.

To outsiders to Cajuns, not fine.

Personally, as a non-Cajun and a Non-black with the only lame line heard by every PoC ever, "But I like the food." *cough* I wouldn't use it.


Yes, that's a good rule, Rachel: If, for you or for those whom you describe, a term carries a pejorative connotation, then don't use it. Be aware, though, that Cajun was once a pejorative, too. It's a bastardization of Acadian. Reclamation is interesting, isn't it?

Ari Meermans
09-14-2013, 06:17 AM
Yeah, Rachel - it's not like I would use the term in reference to a complete stranger. But as for epithetery, I am going over every use I have heard of it ever, and the absolute worst was, "Gah, he's such a coonass!" in reference to a dude whose Cajun accent was completely uninterpretable even to people used to hearing Cajun accents.

Maybe Ari can settle this (or at least further the understanding). When I use the term, it's something like, "Oh, I am having dinner at Chad's house, and he is a coonass you know, so I'm hoping we'll have some po-boys or jambalaya or some such." (ETA: Sorry for the food reference. Food is a big part of our lives and cultures down here.) Or, "Irene makes a special trip back home to go to Mardi Gras every year. Why? Oh, it's a coonass thing, it's just off our radar."

I am wondering if there is a difference in use by someone just across the river that is using it either matter-of-factly or gently teasing. Obviously my friends are not the only word on the matter, but I've never run into anyone who found it problematic. Someone from Mississippi is not going to get all classist to someone from Louisiana, I can tell ya that much.

I wouldn't have a problem at all with that, Yorkist. If you were to say, "Ari's a coonass and she makes the best damned gumbo" I'd be gratified that you're acknowledging the why of my knowing how to make the dish. Were you to say, "Ari's an ignorant coonass", then you're going to have to defend "ignorant", not "coonass".

Yorkist
09-14-2013, 06:37 AM
Whew, Ari, that's good to know.

My gumbo is okay, but my real skill is sauce piquante (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8127783&postcount=5). It kicks ass. Even real coonasses have told me so. :P

ETA: I grew up with Creole-Cajun food (which is basically a love child of Cajun, African, and Spanish cuisines), so that is where my expertise lies. Though we even made beignets at home. It's my opinion that Cajun food is too conservative with the cayenne, but MMV.

Ari Meermans
09-14-2013, 06:40 AM
:D

nighttimer
09-14-2013, 02:28 PM
Coonass is not racist and the derogatory use of the word is not as pervasive as it was even fifty years ago. It's a descriptive term we descendants of a hardy people who had to learn to survive in a world that didn't want them wear with pride, as is Cajun. Almost all of us--all walks of life, all socioeconomic levels.

I used to be a member of another debate board (yes, such things do exist outside of Absolute Write. Wild, aint it?) and there was a guy who was an old military guy. Ex-Army, a full-bird colonel and as hardcore as the day is long. His board name was "Jeep."

I can't recall what the discussion was, but one day, ol' Jeep drops "coon ass" into it. Man, you would have thought my shoes were on fire as fast as I rushed to report this BIGOTED/RACIST/HATEFUL/FILTH-FLARN-FILTH!!!!

Jeep very calmly and rationally explained the origin of the phrase and much to my relief and great embarrassment informed me there was nothing racist or bigoted or hateful about it.

It wasn't even filth-flarn-filth (http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/6ed4154f2a/eddie-murphy-raw-bill-cosby-from-classicstandupfan). :e2tomato: So I apologized. What else could I do?

Jeep and I became buddies. We agreed on almost nothing at all, but until he passed away from cancer he would keep me in the loop of how he was doing.

It's not what you know that gets you in trouble. It's what you think you know that you really don't know anything about that does.

Yorkist
09-14-2013, 02:32 PM
That's pretty funny NT. Thanks for sharing your embarrassment. :)

The similarity to another vile word used as an epithet for black folks is indeed unfortunate.

usuallycountingbats
09-14-2013, 02:50 PM
That's pretty funny NT. Thanks for sharing your embarrassment. :)

The similarity to another vile word used as an epithet for black folks is indeed unfortunate.

This is interesting - it's not a word I came across when I was living in the US for a bit. Thanks for sharing.

On a similar note, a friend of mine's surname is in fact said vile word. And he's from South Carolina. And white. Apparently he got really good at replying to 'name' with 'C---andheresmypassport' without taking a breath!

shakeysix
09-14-2013, 03:19 PM
I remember a Vietnamese kid that I had in school back in the nineties. His name was Phuc which I pronounced, very carefully, as Phooc on the first day. He raised his hand and said "Teacher, they call me FuckyFuck." --s6

Yorkist
09-14-2013, 04:05 PM
This is interesting - it's not a word I came across when I was living in the US for a bit. Thanks for sharing.

On a similar note, a friend of mine's surname is in fact said vile word. And he's from South Carolina. And white. Apparently he got really good at replying to 'name' with 'C---andheresmypassport' without taking a breath!

:roll:

Yeah, this is why I don't use the term without a preloaded explanation to anyone outside of the southeast.

___Mag
09-14-2013, 05:20 PM
If you're even asking, doubting, wondering, then something inside of you is telling you not to use it. So don't.

Just reading it, and not knowing what it means, made me shiver, frown, become upset.

This word feels wrong, like it has a history of pain.

Ari Meermans
09-14-2013, 05:47 PM
Coonass is not racist and the derogatory use of the word is not as pervasive as it was even fifty years ago. It's a descriptive term we descendants of a hardy people who had to learn to survive in a world that didn't want them wear with pride, as is Cajun. Almost all of us--all walks of life, all socioeconomic levels.

I used to be a member of another debate board (yes, such things do exist outside of Absolute Write. Wild, aint it?) and there was a guy who was an old military guy. Ex-Army, a full-bird colonel and as hardcore as the day is long. His board name was "Jeep."

I can't recall what the discussion was, but one day, ol' Jeep drops "coon ass" into it. Man, you would have thought my shoes were on fire as fast as I rushed to report this BIGOTED/RACIST/HATEFUL/FILTH-FLARN-FILTH!!!!

Jeep very calmly and rationally explained the origin of the phrase and much to my relief and great embarrassment informed me there was nothing racist or bigoted or hateful about it.

It wasn't even filth-flarn-filth (http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/6ed4154f2a/eddie-murphy-raw-bill-cosby-from-classicstandupfan). :e2tomato: So I apologized. What else could I do?

Jeep and I became buddies. We agreed on almost nothing at all, but until he passed away from cancer he would keep me in the loop of how he was doing.

It's not what you know that gets you in trouble. It's what you think you know that you really don't know anything about that does.

You know, nighttimer, I think something like that has happened to most of us at one time or another. Thanks for sharing. :)

Also? Those last two lines are priceless and I'm going to "borrow" them for my siggy for a while. With proper citation, of course.

Jehhillenberg
09-14-2013, 07:12 PM
I think you kinda have to be in the southeast to get exposure, katci.

I've never heard this word really used before either. I live in the Southeast. But I have heard "coon" used.

Yorkist
09-14-2013, 08:47 PM
Just reading it... made me shiver, frown, become upset.

That's how I feel about the word "moist."

Seriously though, there's nothing remotely similar about the etymology with the epithet other than that they both refer to raccoons. The dominant thought regarding the origin is that it is based on the raccoon fur hats the French fur trappers and traders used to wear.

I did hear a much nastier potential origin of the word that still isn't racist but is horribly misogynystic. Wish I knew one way or other.

As Ari pointed out, the term "Cajun" has a problematic history as well. There aren't any words left, not that I know of anyhow.

Chris P
09-14-2013, 09:16 PM
People in Mississippi used it to describe anything Cajun, and the only mild connotations were that the people were poor, and perhaps slightly backward but in lovable ways.

I was at a meeting where the speaker was giving her address, and she said she lived at "123 Deedo" road. We asked her to spell it, and of course it was D-i-d-e-a-u-x. "Coonass as hell, but it's home," she said.

Probably not true, but the legend about the -eaux in the Gulf Coast area isn't pluralizing the French -eau ending, but because so many of the French Canadians who moved there were illiterate. County officials would write the person's name, then the person would sign with an X afterward. County recorders would enter the X as part of the name in the records.

Yorkist
09-14-2013, 09:20 PM
Chris P, I lived in Mississippi for all but the last two years of my life, and I never heard it used that way. We ain't got no business calling anyone else poor.

I'm going to defer to actual Cajuns on this one, y'all.

cornflake
09-14-2013, 09:50 PM
I thought this was some sort of weird joke as the only thing that sounds like to me is n___ass, as coon is equivalent and I've never heard 'coonass' nor would I assume it had developed some other meaning.

Ari Meermans
09-14-2013, 09:56 PM
The only thing that wiki got right about the term's etymology is that it's obscure. Honestly, I don't really know, either; but I can tell you that, as a kid growing up, the only explanation I ever heard was related to the coonskin hats. As far as that misogynistic supposed origin goes, it sounds completely made-up to me; and that wiki article is the first I've seen or heard of it. Why do I think it sounds "made-up"? For the simple reason that, unlike misogynistic terms, coonass applies across the board to both men and women of Acadian descent in South Louisiana without any modification. Does my take on that have any real value? Probably not, but that's the way I see it.

heh. I grew up among the poor (us), the well-to-do, and the very well-to-do (some of my family). Those of us who were of Cajun extraction were "Cajuns" and "coonasses" interchangeably. :D

Ah, the surnames. Well, my family is replete with such surnames as Darbonne, Carriere, Robichaux, Arceneaux, Richard, Moreau, Prudomme, and quite a few others come to think of it. I never gave any thought to the -eau or -eaux endings, so I'm certainly no authority on that.

A little sidebar here that I evidently need to address: Yes, I realize that some "Cajuns" might be offended if called a coonass. That's why I wrote "Almost all of us . . ." And I thought I was clear that what I was saying is my personal take on being called a coonass. Maybe not. I don't know anyone who would be offended; but, yes, that doesn't mean there isn't anyone who would be. As Yorkist has already mentioned, it's best to not use it when addressing a stranger. In any communication with people one does not know, common sense, respect, and care should be the order of the day.

Lavern08
09-14-2013, 10:09 PM
... Just reading it, and not knowing what it means, made me shiver, frown, become upset.

This word feels wrong, like it has a history of pain.

Ditto. :(

mirandashell
09-14-2013, 10:18 PM
What's 'Acadian descent'?

Kitty27
09-14-2013, 10:19 PM
"Coon" is a racist term in the South. It's very old and I've never heard it.

Coonass is brand new for me. I've never heard that term before. But I tend not to use words that a group I am not a part of uses. Whether they are joking or reclaiming,it's off limits to me.

Ari Meermans
09-14-2013, 11:04 PM
What's 'Acadian descent'?

Concisely: The Acadians were the first French settlers to North America (on the North Atlantic Seaboard), and came on the heels of the explorers and trappers. Their colonies were constantly bounced back and forth between French and British rule. At the beginning of the French & Indian wars, the British government demanded that the Acadians in Nova Scotia sign an oath of allegiance to the British Crown that included fighting the French and the native Indians--prior to that the Acadians had signed an oath of allegiance but refused to fight the French and native Indians--and when the Acadians refused to agree, they were expelled and their possessions confiscated, burned and destroyed. The Acadians fled to Quebec and other areas under French rule, or were deported to France and the Thirteen Colonies, or were killed or died at sea. Eventually, many made their way down the Eastern Seaboard (still mostly unwanted) to Louisiana as immigrants. They weren't particularly wanted there either, but somehow found a way to thrive.

ETA: I'm always thinking of something I wish I'd added: If you're not familiar with Longfellow's "Evangeline" about love and loss during the Expulsion, you might want to read it. Fair warning--It's a heart-breaker, though.

Yorkist
09-15-2013, 01:44 AM
Ari, that's a relief (the etymology bit), 'cause yeah, I don't want to use any words that refer to the size of a woman's rear.

It's possible that the term in question had different implications several decades ago? Words and their connotations do change over time. Like you, Ari, I've never met anyone who had a problem with it. But it's not like I'd shout, "Hey there, coonass!" to someone I had just met.

Hey, where's Haskins? We could use his input, too.

ETA: it wasn't until I heard about the questionable origin that I began to think the word might be terribly problematic. It really is used interchangeably with Cajun here, though it is obviously the cruder term, having "ass" in it. It's all context.

chickenma
09-15-2013, 01:58 AM
I've only heard it used as an epithet, but then I don't live in Louisiana. Surely, the combination of those two words can't have been a compliment. It's too bad people are so thin-skinned, such words certainly lend local color.

Where "rednecks" rule, they emblazon it on their t-shirts.

Ari Meermans
09-15-2013, 02:29 AM
Yes, that's a good rule, Rachel: If, for you or for those whom you describe, a term carries a pejorative connotation, then don't use it. <snip>


If you're even asking, doubting, wondering, then something inside of you is telling you not to use it. So don't.

<snip>


"Coon" is a racist term in the South. It's very old and I've never heard it.

Coonass is brand new for me. I've never heard that term before. But I tend not to use words that a group I am not a part of uses. Whether they are joking or reclaiming,it's off limits to me.

Take-away (mine, too): What I welcome or permit the person standing next to me may not. The above comments relative to that are the best way to proceed wrt "coonass", as with any other race/culture/ethnic term considered in any way, and by any reasonable person, to be right out. As I also said earlier, "In any communication with people one does not know, common sense, respect, and care should be the order of the day." (Respect, of course, being the operative word.)

Yorkist
09-15-2013, 03:00 AM
I'm not Cajun but I am with Ari. This isn't the sort of thing you say to people you don't know better than your CPA.

But I can almost guarantee that it doesn't have a history of pain or hate or whatever. Not down here. Maybe if it's used by an Ole Miss fan at an LSU football game, but then again, any random preposition at said football game would be infused with hate.

I think there may be some jumping to conclusions based on the word "coon" being a part of the term, because that word by itself does have a vile and horrible source. But I can promise that they are unrelated.

JBuck
09-15-2013, 03:50 AM
"Coon" is a racist term in the South. It's very old and I've never heard it.

Coonass is brand new for me. I've never heard that term before. But I tend not to use words that a group I am not a part of uses. Whether they are joking or reclaiming,it's off limits to me.

+1

'Coon' in Australia is a racist term. I would never feel comfortable using such a word and I recall, as a child, flinching whenever I overheard someone saying it. I haven't heard it used in many years, thankfully.
Any word that makes a human being feel like crap is out for me.

ETA: Yorkist, sorry, I just read your most recent post. I assumed they were one and the same.

Yorkist
09-15-2013, 03:57 AM
Oh yeah, JBuck, read the OP and all posts by Ari for more info. "Coonass" refers to (almost entirely) white people descended from French Arcadians in Louisiana and parts of Mississippi and Texas.

They were, at one time, a discriminated against ethnic group, but that's gone the way of the Irish.

Ari Meermans
09-15-2013, 04:09 AM
I'm not Cajun but I am with Ari. This isn't the sort of thing you say to people you don't know better than your CPA.

But I can almost guarantee that it doesn't have a history of pain or hate or whatever. Not down here. Maybe if it's used by an Ole Miss fan at an LSU football game, but then again, any random preposition at said football game would be infused with hate.

I think there may be some jumping to conclusions based on the word "coon" being a part of the term, because that word by itself does have a vile and horrible source. But I can promise that they are unrelated.Bold mine.

Ah, I see; and I certainly didn't make that clear enough to begin with. My fault for not recognizing the continued equivalency in the discussion. My apologies, folks.

So, here it is: The two terms are completely and irrevocably unrelated. Where "coon" is a horribly hateful and irredeemably repugnant racial slur on Black people, "coonass" is not a racial slur on any POC. Coonass is another name for Cajun and most if not all of us choose to own it proudly.

ETA: What Yorkist said.

Mr Flibble
09-15-2013, 05:19 AM
OK

I may get into trouble here but I have an honest q to ask (as someone who is not from the US)

Why is "coon" as in short for raccoon, used as a pejorative for someone who is not white? I never quite got that? ( I mean I know it's not a good word to call someone, I'm just not sure how that came to be? It seems a very US word -- not something I've ever heard here for instance). So I am puzzled? What is the connection?

Rachel Udin
09-15-2013, 05:26 AM
To answer Mr. Fibble: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=coon Third definition explains the origin.

Yorkist
09-15-2013, 07:23 AM
Rachel, I thought it was more like definition #4, but I could easily be wrong.


People in Mississippi used it to describe anything Cajun, and the only mild connotations were... perhaps slightly backward but in lovable ways.

Oh, ya, there is a bit of this. I wouldn't say "backward," more "eccentric." Like, there you guys go, merrily skipping off to church, in your purple and gold sweatshirts...

But for this I use the kick up/kick down rule. For example, rape jokes aren't okay because they're kicking down, at the victim, right? Well, Mississippi people aren't kicking down, but... sideways.

We ain't got no room to talk. We have Baby Deer Jesus nativity scenes*, FFS. I don't think even Louisiana has those.

*Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like. Around Christmastime, when many Christian people display nativity scenes in the front yard, we have them, too - but often with a Doe Mary, Buck Joseph, and swaddled Fawn Baby Jesus. I am not making this up. Nor will I confirm or deny if we had one when I was a kid.

Ohmygodwearesuchrednecks.

Ari Meermans
09-15-2013, 07:59 AM
:ROFL: er . . . no, I've never seen one of those, Yorkist. But, hey, we've got Zydeco (a blend of cajun music, blues, and rhythm and blues), which we teenagers called "chank-a-chank". Here's a YouTube link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NnQoBmc5sg), if anyone is interested in seeing Zydeco dancing. It's a brother and sister dancing in the kitchen and the sister is good. The brother has a little trouble keeping his balance in places, but he isn't too bad, none neither.

Yorkist
09-15-2013, 08:11 AM
Zydeco barbecue sauce is awesome, Ari. That's the extent of my familiarity with the subject. I am kind of obsessed with my cuisine though.

So you guys don't have Fawn Messiah, Baby Deer Lord of Lords, Savior of all Deerkind? Yeah, I thought that was rather unique.

The outdoor scenes were too gauche for my neighborhood growing up, but we had plenty of indoor deer nativity scene arrangements.

J.S.F.
09-15-2013, 10:19 AM
I watched the vid provided. Couldn't keep the smile off my face. That music really moves!

Robert McCammon wrote an excellent novel called Gone South and in one scene about three-quarters of the way through (it's a long novel, around 400 pages and none of them wasted, IMO) there's a scene where Zydeco music is being played. I think the song is Diggy Liggy Lo. Just YouTubed it and it is very cool.

Okay, olay olay olay, sidetrack over.

nighttimer
09-15-2013, 10:46 AM
That's how I feel about the word "moist."

Unless you're describing a piece of chocolate cake, "moist" certainly does have a porny sound to it. :censored



"Coon" is a racist term in the South. It's very old and I've never heard it.

Coonass is brand new for me. I've never heard that term before. But I tend not to use words that a group I am not a part of uses. Whether they are joking or reclaiming,it's off limits to me.

Q.F.T. I feel the same way about casually using "bitch" or "queer." In the right crowd, you're good to go. In the wrong crowd, you're asking to get your feelings hurt.

It's best to keep your lips zipped and not expose your appalling ignorance by guessing incorrectly about which crowd you're in.

Mr Flibble
09-15-2013, 02:43 PM
To answer Mr. Fibble: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=coon Third definition explains the origin.


Rachel, I thought it was more like definition #4, but I could easily be wrong.



Thank you both.





We ain't got no room to talk. We have Baby Deer Jesus nativity scenes*, FFS. I don't think even Louisiana has those.

*Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like. Around Christmastime, when many Christian people display nativity scenes in the front yard, we have them, too - but often with a Doe Mary, Buck Joseph, and swaddled Fawn Baby Jesus. I am not making this up. Nor will I confirm or deny if we had one when I was a kid.

Ohmygodwearesuchrednecks.

O.o

Ari Meermans
09-15-2013, 06:24 PM
"Coon" is a racist term in the South. It's very old and I've never heard it.

Coonass is brand new for me. I've never heard that term before. But I tend not to use words that a group I am not a part of uses. Whether they are joking or reclaiming,it's off limits to me.



Q.F.T. I feel the same way about casually using "bitch" or "queer." In the right crowd, you're good to go. In the wrong crowd, you're asking to get your feelings hurt.

It's best to keep your lips zipped and not expose your appalling ignorance by guessing incorrectly about which crowd you're in.

Yep. I've given a lot of thought to the too common propensity for wanting to be considered "cool" and being perceived as an insider. The thing is, that can't happen until and unless a better understanding is sought. That takes time and effort that folks too often aren't willing to invest. Being an insider is the wrong goal, anyway. A better knowledge that leads to understanding and acceptance should be the goal. First, though, we have to stop jumping to conclusions based on too little knowledge and also be receptive to having to sweep away our own preconceived ideas based on that limited knowledge. To do this, we must read, we must actively listen, and we must ask questions. Really, that's the only way to cure that "appalling ignorance" we all carry about so many things, mostly about each other. We can take so much joy in just knowing each other if we let ourselves.

Yorkist
09-15-2013, 08:11 PM
Wait a sec. I thought "queer" was the PC term for LGBT folks when you were unsure of your audience? I swear I read that on the Intertubes.

Am I outdated in my liberal cred?

`Raine
09-15-2013, 08:19 PM
Wait a sec. I thought "queer" was the PC term for LGBT folks when you were unsure of your audience? I swear I read that on the Intertubes.

Am I outdated in my liberal cred?

It depends upon the crowd. I think some younger people use it more and it is common in certain online spaces, but many LGBT people still find it offensive, especially when used by someone who does not identify that way (a recent thread about it on a FB page I am a member of had several LGBT people saying they were not comfortable with being called queer, even when it was not intended to be offensive).

There are people who identify as genderqueer (not conforming to the image of one gender exclusively) and LGBT people who self-identify as queer, but I still don't use it in reference to anyone who hasn't been clear about preferring the term.

Yorkist
09-15-2013, 08:23 PM
Huh. I thought it was weird when I read it, Ari, but I swear I read that "queer" was the absolute most acceptable word to use. Maybe that was written by a twenty year old?

I'm getting old and too easily confused.

(I swear guys, I wish that I wasn't, but Baby Deer Jesus is real. Er, not in the "real as in I believe in him as my personal savior" way, but real as in he lives on a lot of lawns in December.)

ETA: I don't need to feel like I'm part of the cool in-crowd. I say "coonass" out of linguistic habit. I actually looked up a couple of weeks ago what the proper adjective for LGBT is these days. LGBT just doesn't look right as an adjective. "Queer" is the answer I got. So... Really, what is the proper adjective?

Nonny
09-15-2013, 11:44 PM
Wait a sec. I thought "queer" was the PC term for LGBT folks when you were unsure of your audience? I swear I read that on the Intertubes.

Am I outdated in my liberal cred?

I'll agree with the above, that I see a lot of younger people reclaiming it, but it is something I wouldn't use if you're not queer yourself. There is definitely divided opinion on it within the LGBT community, so to be safe, I would just use something like LGBT or QUILTBAG or such.

Yorkist
09-15-2013, 11:48 PM
I see. LGBT just feels really clunky in certain contexts. Like, "I don't know what it means to be LGBT in America..." "LGBT pride parade..." I was hoping for a proper word. Oh well.

My social group is relatively young, twenties and thirties, so that may explain my WTF'ery.

Captcha
09-17-2013, 03:58 AM
There's Queer Theory as a school of criticism (literary/social/other), so I think that has legitimized the use of the word in many academic circles.

I'm comfortable using the word in a theoretical setting, but I wouldn't use it when describing an individual person, unless they'd clearly said that was their preference.

We also maybe should distinguish between using it as an adjective and a noun? "He's queer," might be okay, but "He's a queer," sounds problematic, to me.

Yorkist
09-17-2013, 04:51 AM
Captcha, oh, that makes sense. I frequent young academic circles so I've had more exposure.

Agreed that using it as a noun is more problematic than as an adjective. Also, when paired with a "to be" verb but not a specific person, might there be a difference? For example, "I don't know what it's like to be queer in America" versus "she's queer, and takes marriage equality very seriously, so no she will not consider voting for a member of the GOP." Or am I overthinking it? *scratches head*

ETA: And in the latter case, it's easy to be more specific, so that's what I'd do. "She's a lesbian, and takes..." etc. Is that the right way to go about it?

I have a brand new sympathy for someone who's older than Gandalf screwing up in a political setting and using a seriously not-okay term, like "coloreds," in a non-derogatory way. It's been hard enough trying to train my brain to say "marriage equality" rather than "gay marriage," and I'm friggin' thirty and definitely an ally.

Kim Fierce
09-17-2013, 05:33 AM
+1

'Coon' in Australia is a racist term. I would never feel comfortable using such a word and I recall, as a child, flinching whenever I overheard someone saying it. I haven't heard it used in many years, thankfully.
Any word that makes a human being feel like crap is out for me.

ETA: Yorkist, sorry, I just read your most recent post. I assumed they were one and the same.

The midwest is still full of old white people who use words like that.

Yorkist
09-17-2013, 05:48 AM
The midwest is still full of old white people who use words like that.

Yuck.

To its credit, I've been in Mississippi almost all of my life and Tennessee and Georgia for bits of it, and I've never heard that term used. Ever. (Though I have heard the n-word several times. Ugh.)

Kim Fierce
09-18-2013, 02:32 AM
As far as queer goes, I'm 32, lesbian, and published through a small press called QueerTeen Press, and just started being more comfortable with the word in the past few years. Generally, the more generic and less-inclusive "gay" is used for the G and L parts of the community, but doesn't include everyone so I can see why queer is getting more usage, but I know it doesn't work for everyone. I've been thinking of this recently because the initials can get cumbersome. The longest one I saw once was LGBTQIA hahaha.

Yorkist
09-18-2013, 02:44 AM
The longest one I saw once was LGBTQIA hahaha.

Awkward! LOL, yeah, that's a bit much for me to remember.

Rachel Udin
09-18-2013, 05:16 AM
As I understand it, QUILTBAG kinda covers gender identification/orientation, sexual orientation and sexuality. (I have a creeping feeling I'm missing one).

Some people want to include polyamory too... I have no feelings one way or the other...

Usually if I'm not sure and not part of the group, I avoid it 100%. There are always better terms out there.

Captcha
09-18-2013, 05:21 AM
As I understand it, QUILTBAG kinda covers gender identification/orientation, sexual orientation and sexuality. (I have a creeping feeling I'm missing one).

Some people want to include polyamory too... I have no feelings one way or the other...

Usually if I'm not sure and not part of the group, I avoid it 100%. There are always better terms out there.

But doesn't the Q in QUILTBAG stand for Queer? (I guess sometimes it's 'Questioning', but then the U makes less sense...).

So if QUILTBAG is inoffensive, then Queer on its own should be okay too, right?

And I don't understand how you can avoid it 100%... do you mean you avoid talking about sexuality? Or you just don't use a word for any of it?

I'm not sure about the "always a better word out there" part, either, actually - I guess your whole post confused me! I mean, if you're using the word the person you're talking about wants you to use, then... there's no better word out there, is there? The one the person wants you to use is the best word. Right?

Yorkist
09-18-2013, 06:21 AM
QUILTBAG is even less of an adjective than LGBT. It definitely falls into the "noun" category. That's where I'm running into trouble. I don't like the idea of using "queer" as a noun at all, so the others work, but the others don't seem to work as adjectives. Not even talking a specific person, because I'd be likewise specific in that case - lesbian, bisexual, etc. - but in general phrases like "what it's like to be queer." "What it's like to be Quiltbag" just seems... strange.

Anyhoo, I think we can go along way not being presumptive, not being a douche, asking questions, and listening. And I think that, for the alternative side, it's best to try to, to borrow a phrase from PC&E, assume good intentions as long as the clueless person isn't being intentionally derogatory. Everyone can be boneheaded when speaking/writing from privilege, yes? I can only relate to this as being a woman and having a mild disability, but I am doing my darndest to assume that, when a dude is clearly mansplaining at me, or it really looks like he is, he's just being a doofus, not necessarily a bigot. Same goes for using words like "pussy" to denote weakness, or talking about how I'm being irrational (this last one is very difficult to stomach, though).

For my part, I'll use "queer" if I know the person is comfortable with it, but not assume it is. Same with "coonass." I try to ask about that stuff. I think that a bit of open-mindedness and goodwill on all sides is ideal. Othering each other seems like the most likely alternative. JMHO.

Rachel Udin
09-18-2013, 09:00 PM
But doesn't the Q in QUILTBAG stand for Queer? (I guess sometimes it's 'Questioning', but then the U makes less sense...).

So if QUILTBAG is inoffensive, then Queer on its own should be okay too, right?

And I don't understand how you can avoid it 100%... do you mean you avoid talking about sexuality? Or you just don't use a word for any of it?

I'm not sure about the "always a better word out there" part, either, actually - I guess your whole post confused me! I mean, if you're using the word the person you're talking about wants you to use, then... there's no better word out there, is there? The one the person wants you to use is the best word. Right?

Q is for queer and questioning
U is for undecided (I thought)
I is for intersex.
L is for lesbian.
T is for transgender/transsexual. (I think transvestite in some circles too--and I'm not equating all three to be the same).
B is for bisexual.
A is for asexual.
G is for gay.

As I understand it.

Usually what I'm saying to avoid are words you aren't sure of because you don't belong to the group that you know wee once offensive. In the majority of cases, there is a word that was not reclaimed that can fit the bill.

For example, the N-word, African American or black works just fine. (if you want to be more nebulous, African Descent.)

J-word, G-word, C-word for Asians. Asians works just fine.

For QUILTBAG I tend to ask where they are on the spectrum if they don't mind, but most of the time I wait for it to be volunteered. Then I use the term that correlates. For reclaimed words they press me to use, I have that moment where I realize it's not universal, or simply set a boundary that I don't feel comfortable using it or forming the habit and ask if there is an alternative. The majority of people will agree and think on it.

Reclaimed words are difficult. I avoid them when I don't belong to the group. As a wordsmith, I should be able to figure ways around words. It's our job, isn't it?

Kim Fierce
09-19-2013, 05:58 AM
It seems like there are more and more initials and terms on the QUILTBAG list all the time so the whole mainstream ideas of gender/sexuality could maybe one day turn into everybody just being people or somethin! :D But for now yeah people's individual and "community" definitions are very important when there are still some people who aren't "straight" who fit into the "other" categories.

Yorkist
09-19-2013, 11:01 PM
It seems like there are more and more initials and terms on the QUILTBAG list all the time so the whole mainstream ideas of gender/sexuality could maybe one day turn into everybody just being people or somethin! :D But for now yeah people's individual and "community" definitions are very important when there are still some people who aren't "straight" who fit into the "other" categories.

QUILTBAGBDSM? I wonder, if we tried hard enough, if we could fit all the letters of the alphabet on there. :)

William Haskins
09-20-2013, 06:21 PM
the coonass that sleeps with me is not offended by it, but then she's been married to me for a quarter of a century, which is a strong indication that she lacks any capacity to be offended.

nighttimer
09-22-2013, 10:09 AM
It depends upon the crowd. I think some younger people use it more and it is common in certain online spaces, but many LGBT people still find it offensive, especially when used by someone who does not identify that way (a recent thread about it on a FB page I am a member of had several LGBT people saying they were not comfortable with being called queer, even when it was not intended to be offensive).

There are people who identify as genderqueer (not conforming to the image of one gender exclusively) and LGBT people who self-identify as queer, but I still don't use it in reference to anyone who hasn't been clear about preferring the term.


I'll agree with the above, that I see a lot of younger people reclaiming it, but it is something I wouldn't use if you're not queer yourself. There is definitely divided opinion on it within the LGBT community, so to be safe, I would just use something like LGBT or QUILTBAG or such.

So is "queer" is the new "nigga?" A generational thing with queer kids reclaiming a slur and turning it into a term of endearment and empowerment?

I find the whole "nigga" vs. "nigger" paradox completely pointless and I don't care how old it makes me seem. Whether you say "You're my nigga," or "Stop acting like a nigger" I don't draw a distinction. For my money, this is a vile and vulgar word that can't be redeemed, so it should be discarded. Even if you put a pretty pink bow around a turd, it's still gonna stink.

Kim Fierce
09-24-2013, 12:16 AM
I don't think queer would be quite considered the same as that. Now I'm all old and 32 so I don't know if the GLBT kids today are saying "What's up queer?" to each other, it may be just something they check off on a list of labels or something.

I hate the n word too and really can't even spell it out even just as an example. But I think even though technically the true meaning of the word was originally supposed to just mean "black", I think the history of the word is far more insulting than "queer" which means "strange or unusual." I think I see what you're saying but although queer used to be an insult and by some is now being used as a descriptive term I still think there's some better word out there we could find, too.

This again from someone published through QueerTeen Press! ;-)

Rachel Udin
09-24-2013, 09:56 PM
There is a great film called "The N-word" that I think is worth watching. Watching the film and having the history of that word described made me want to use the word even lass than before, and I was already opposed to using it as an out-group person.

Despite that, the film does allow you to form your own opinion, but it's worth watching.

Medievalist
09-24-2013, 11:35 PM
So is "queer" is the new "nigga?" A generational thing with queer kids reclaiming a slur and turning it into a term of endearment and empowerment?

No, it's really not. First, queer applied to non-hetero folks was was first used from within the subcultures without pejorative context. Faggot and dyke are (and were) typically used with more pejorative weight.

Secondly, queer was brought into standard register by academics in the 1980s, when feminist studies, women's studies, black studies, post colonial studies, LGBT studies and, most importantly, queer studies became widely recognized academic studies, specifically in terms of humanities/liberal arts.

Thirdly, many people who identify as non hetero and who are of an older generation, do not like either queer or gay. It's going to vary widely among individuals.

Queer is, at the same time, valued by many because it encompasses more than lesbian and homosexual.

Generally speaking, I'd not apply queer to someone else except as a quotation, personally, or outside of the academic context of queer studies.