Members Log in
Last 5 Exhibitions
Just need to talk?
UK: Childline on
US: Trevor Project on
Blog Entry: The History of Reclamation
The History of Reclamation Since the beginning of the spoken word, insulting slurs have been used to distinguish and demean people for who they are. These words and phrases all seem to go through a common cycle that may or may not eventually lead back to the insulted group reclaiming the word as their own.
A prime example of this reclamation being used in a racial context is the use of “the n-word.” I realize that such self-censoring is often looked down upon, but I don’t feel that it’s my place to use the word; I cannot reclaim something that I don’t identify with. It doesn’t work that way. Originally, the word was used by slave traders and masters as a word that was intentionally used to harm and dehumanize. As time passed and slavery was outlawed, the “n-word” began to fall out of style, being replaced with the more “politically correct” word “negro.” The word almost sounds sickly-sweet. The insulting connotation behind the word was still there, hidden under the logic that “that’s their proper name.”
More recently, there has been a wave of reclamation among modern feminists. With events such as “slut walks,” women are taking full control of their own sexual liberation. The word “slut” has not fully been reclaimed just yet, as it is still an area of high sensitivity for many people.
The word of reclamation in the LGBTQ community is most likely “queer.” What was once a homophobic slur is now a self-proclaimed identity. People are now proud to call themselves queer.
To point out the parallels between racism and homophobia, is it fair to say that the word “homosexual” is our “negro?” It seems all a bit too sweet – trying far too hard to be politically correct to the point where it makes a full circle and nearly becomes offensive again. No one wants to be called a “homosexual.” If they identify as gay, call them gay. Even better, just call them a person, but that isn’t my point.
Another note on reclamation: I’ve seen a lot of white people who complain to their black friends, “You’re allowed to use [the n-word] but I can’t.” This is why. One cannot reclaim a slur that was never theirs. If it has never been used to demean you or a group of people with whom you identify, it was never your word to reclaim.
And that’s all I have to say on the matter. Cheers!
views: 236 responses: 3
posted by lawofmoriarty on Monday 16 July 2012 at 10:38PM
Last 15 mins: 35 guests, 9 members: emmapeelgirl, James2367, paulfrumkin, giodude, Shy_Blossomer, 9thEcho, ThePhoenix, OMGAPenny, Venemous
Last 6 Blog Entries
Events and promos