Taking ownership of the R-word

Warning: This powerful clip from the Showtime series “Shameless” includes an F-bomb.

It also includes other potentially offensive words, which is the whole point.




  1. The problem with political correctness is it only masks people’s thoughts. I’d rather people say what they want and then be the judge as to its intent. Who wants to react with someone you know is smiling at your face but slamming you when you’re not present.

    This is the first time I’ve ever heard the term the “R” word. I wonder if the “R” word is used amongst people who were called that word as the “N” word is used amongst Black people?

    Which leads me to ask if mean spirited words and terms are now becoming known by their first letter, why is Fag the most common slur still used on school campuses and in sports environments? I’ve never heard of any movement in the Gay community to turn it into the “F” word.

    In all honesty, I think this calling of derogatory names by their first letter is silly stuff. My opening sentence explains why.

    In my experience with terms meant to enflame or be hurtful, it’s not what you say so much but how you say it or use it that matters.

    I think minorities will tell you that what makes them a minority often times becomes the first defining feature of who they are, when someone in a majority status is describing them. Minorities want to be seen as something more than what makes them a minority. But sometimes that’s hard to overcome even by the minority person/group. Which reminds of a statement I heard that I will try to repeat in the best way I recall. It’s from the perspective of people who want to see minorities on an equal standing but sometimes minorities make it difficult. It goes something like this, “How am I supposed to see you for who you are when you keep reminding me your different?”

    Becoming comfortable with ones self is a lengthy process. Once your there, names don’t really have the same impact they did, because they reveal more about the other person.

  2. People who refer to euphemisms as “political correctness” are retarded.

  3. Maybe you could further expand on your comment Yeager? I’m not quite sure how to take it.

  4. thehereandnow1

    While possibly not applicable to the story at hand, I’d like to take a moment to thank and commend Mr. Patrick Cunningham for opening my eyes on so many things:

    Evolution vs. Creation. Man, I see it now. What a farce these so-called God-lovers put over on us. Imagine, if evolution wasn’t shunned, Jesus (probably pronounce hey-zeus) could have reached far more people with his sermon on the mount because he could have made it available for download on iTunes. The Disciples would’nt have had to live in fear of persecution if only they were able to podcast. And I’m sure that in and amongst the throngs of Islamic faithful chanting “Allah Akbar”, some of them are also chanting “Allah Apple”.

    The current federal shutdown. Yeah, it’s all the Republicans’ fault. I mean seriously, why should there be a delay on the individual mandate? The all-knowing and wise Obama already delayed the mandate for businesses. And the subsidy for Congress, their families, and their staff? Seriously, yes a family of 4 making a combined adjusted income of $94,000 should not qualify for any subsidy whatsoever. A congressperson has a base salary of $174,000 a year plus benefits, by all means they should qualify (and fight to maintain) the 76% subsidy they receive under Obamacare. Hey, it takes a lot of money for Harry Reid to look like a geeky cartoon character, he can’t go spending money on healthcare.

    And finally, the environment. I will now admit that we are on a ticking time bomb. This hunk of rock is on the verge of total and complete destruction, and it’s all thanks to man, that pitiful virus that’s been around for less than 1% of the planet’s existence. And it’s all the fault of evil America. All of us driving around in our fuel efficient cars. We should follow the model set be such environmentally conscious cities as Cairo or Mumbai or any major metropolitan city in a so-called developing nation on how to be better drivers for the environment. And our electrical usage? We need to follow the example of say Hong Kong, Beijing, or maybe even Tokyo; cities that show us they know how to exercise proper electrical use. I mean seriously America, we can’t all live like we’re the son of a wealthy tobacco owner, making false claims of creating the internet, starting up a cable network that was a miserable failure only to eventually sell it to an organization backed by an oil-rich nation for hundreds of millions of dollars. But Pat, I’d like to focus on a particular group of individuals, the radical Islamist. Do you know the environmental damage created every time a suicide vest or car bomb goes off? Think of all the harmful particulates that are thrust into the air every time there’s an explosion? I mean, what good are 72 virgins if most of them have breathing problems caused from all the junk kicked up by the explosions? Did you know that the environmental savings from reducing just a few suicide and car bombs would be enough to power a 2 day indie music festival by only using Al Gore’s recycled urine? Now come on, isn’t our planet worth that?

    Thank God (sorry, god), Allah, Steve Jobs, Obama for Pat Cunningham. He has shown us all the way. Obama be praised!

  5. thehereandnow1

    In fact, if I may add Pat, I’d like you to join me in making the following ‘Mother Earth-friendly’ pledge:

    Because I love this planet we’re living on I hereby promise to never blow myself or anything else up in the name of twisted view of a higher power. The Earth is too valuable to harm it by wiping out the non-believers.

    Together, we can win and save the blessed Mother Earth.

  6. Everyday citizens (not politicians) who choose to say “N-word” or “R-word” rather than saying the potentially offensive language they represent are using euphemisms, not being politically correct.

    The phrase “politically correct” means using language that is more neutral and less offensive so as not to alienate potential political allies (including voters).

    “Political correctness” only applies to political conversations. This is an apolitical conversation. So, using the phrase “political correctness” here either demonstrates a single-mindedness and desire to politicize apolitical issues or it demonstrates an ignorance of the true meaning of the phrase. In either case, that speaks to an individual having a “retarded” mental capacity for appropriate conversation and/or vocabulary. “Retarded,” of course, meaning stunted or lesser developed than it should be.

    Thus, I say again, people who refer to euphemisms as “political correctness” are retarded.

  7. Here’s the first definition I found of political correctness. And thank you for showing us who you are and proving my case and point.

    po·lit·i·cal cor·rect·ness
    noun: political correctness; noun: political correctitude

    1. the avoidance, often considered as taken to extremes, of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.

  8. Here’s another definition of political correctness. Maybe you can submit your definition of PC to be listed on the internet searches. Be sure to include the use of the word retarted for anybody who doesn’t see it that way.

    Political correctness (adjectivally, politically correct; both forms commonly abbreviated to PC) is a term that refers to language, ideas, or policies that address perceived or actual discrimination against or alienation of politically, socially or economically disadvantaged groups. The term usually implies that these social considerations are excessive or of a purely “political” nature. These groups most prominently include those defined by gender, race, religion,

  9. Here’s the first definition I found of political correctness. And thank you for showing us who you are not and proving my case and point.

    Political correctness is defined as language that is more neutral and less offensive so as not to alienate potential political allies (including voters).

    So, I do not really feel compelled to submit a definition that already exists.

    I can’t help but notice that the second definition you posted includes this sentence: “The term usually implies that these social considerations are excessive or of a purely “political” nature.” Maybe I’m just biased, but I’m having trouble seeing how that statement contradicts my definition.

    The thing is, Robert, I actually agree with the general idea of your initial post. I agree that the intent behind language is far more important than the symbol (word) itself. But words are not empty. Words have power. It is power that we as a society mutually agree to give those words, but it is power nonetheless. So, my issue is not with your use of the phrase “political correctness;” my issue is with your using the phrase in its loaded form.

    Just as the original dictionary definition of most derogatory words were neutral, but were subsequently converted to harmful language via how they were used, the term “political correctness” is no longer a neutral term. The language we use (and do not use) says more about our individual psychology than anything else we do. Using the phrase “political correctness” as you did tells me more about your psychology than you would imagine. Read “The Stuff of Thought” by Steven Pinker. It’s a good introduction to the concept of linguistic determinism.

    So, while you were clearly bothered by my deliberately button-pushing use of the word “retarded” to describe you (even though I used it in its purest and non-derogatory form), I was bothered by your use of the phrase “political correctness.” I called you retarded because I knew it would bother you and prove the greater point: that it’s much easier to say “it’s not what you say, but how it’s used,” but it’s pretty hard to actually live that principle.

  10. What bothers me about grown adults using the term “N word” “R word” or any other “alphabet word” term is that they’re usually NOT using it as an insult but to say how that word was used in whatever incident they’re talking about, and its use in that manner meant prejudice or hatred by the person they’re talking about. If it’s not being used as an insult but being used to explain a situation, the person providing the explanation shouldn’t have to worry that the PC police are going to destroy them.

    Like I said, it’s not what you say but how you say it or use it that counts. I’m reminded of another analogy that I think fits. Even a dog knows the difference when its been deliberately kicked or tripped over.

    You called me retarded. That crossed the line that I’ve adequately drawn.

    When I see adults saying N word or R word or whatever word, it reminds me of how adults speak in front of children when they don’t want them to know what they’re talking about. So they spell the word out. I’m an adult. I know when someone is using a slang term in a meant to be hurtful way and when they’re using it to explain a situation where hurtful/harmful language was used. It would be preferable that those kind of descriptive conversations weren’t necessary, but apparently they come up from time to time and people should be able to talk like adults when they do. That’s my point.

  11. “You called me retarded. That crossed the line that I’ve adequately drawn.”

    That was the point. I used it in the clinical sense and you still found it offensive.

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