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Tiger Woods says the "S" word

Tiger Woods Politically Correct S word Apology

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#1 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 12:57 AM

Here's the link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12303435/

Ok, this is PC gone way too far. Personally I don't think he should've apologized. Hell, it's getting to the point a person can't even have an opinion for fear of offending others.

Quote

In several countries, “spaz” is an offensive term for people affected with spastic paralysis, a form of cerebral palsy.

Well then IMO it's those countries that have the problem. Rather then try and correct their own ignorance, they want to ban the use of a word...a word THEY use to make fun of a group of people? My GOD...
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#2 QueenTiye

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 01:15 AM

If I find out that a word I used means something I didn't mean, I have no problem apologizing, so long as they accept that the meaning they heard isn't the one I intended to convey.... spaz does indeed originate from that offensive usage - it was short for 'spastic' iirc.  What I would probably take exception to is being forced to use another word even though modern usage has transformed the original into something else..

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#3 Niki Jane

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 01:31 AM

I need a "What QT said" button.

If I found out that a word I used meant something else in a context that I hadn't intended with my own usage and that in using said word I'd accidentally offended a group of people I would have no problem apologizing.

However, like QT said, modern culture has changed the usage/meaning of the word. I definitely use it, because I have a tendency to be a little clumsy. Spaz certainly doesn't have the weight that the terms I usually define as "offensive slurs" have. It's certainly much less offensive than some of the terms I've heard used to describe a certain racial/gender demographic. I equate calling someone a spaz with calling someone a dork or a nerd.

However, I suppose that's one of the risks of being a public figure. Even the most innocuous statement could offend someone coming from anybody but it seems as though it's always magnified tenfold when that person is a in the public spotlight.

#4 schoolpsycho

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 08:19 AM

Quote

Ok, this is PC gone way too far. Personally I don't think he should've apologized. Hell, it's getting to the point a person can't even have an opinion for fear of offending others.

Maybe he felt he had to. He was raised to be polite to and be considerate of others.

Especially with this:

Quote

In several countries, “spaz” is an offensive term for people affected with spastic paralysis, a form of cerebral palsy.

That I did not know. I won't use the term again.

Quote

Well then IMO it's those countries that have the problem. Rather then try and correct their own ignorance, they want to ban the use of a word...a word THEY use to make fun of a group of people? My GOD...

Maybe we're the ones with the problem, for not being aware of what some words really mean. I could've known, or should've maybe.

Spaz=spastic. Yep, coulda.

I have chronic spastic paralysis. From what I've read, I have the ataxic form, luckily for me, I have a mild form. I've seen those with worse.

So, in essense, Tiger was unknowingly, talking about me. And I unknowingly, could have been offended.

But, in this case, I've no right to be; due to my ignorance. If I had known, maybe I would've been upset.

But, back to Tiger.

Maybe that's why Tiger apologized. Not that he had to, but knowing what it means now, he felt, maybe, that it was the right thing to do, for those he did offend, wherever they may be.

sp
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#5 WildChildCait

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 08:34 AM

y'know, I'm starting to lose track of all the 'forbidden ' words, the s-word, the c-word, the f-word..it's like playing cryptograms trying to figure out which one it is for that particular letter...and sometimes there are multiple!

That said, while I don't agree with deliberately offending people, I do believe there is a strong case for calling things by their right and proper name. If someone has a medical condition like 'tuberculosis' I have no problem calling it that and not shortening it to 'tb' (a form of trying to pc'ify it).

Lets call a spade a spade (and that refers to shovel type spades, no other context - look up your entology before you slam me for being racist) when that's what it is and lets come down hard on those being nasty when they are.
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#6 Rhea

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 09:44 AM

View Postschoolpsycho, on Apr 14 2006, 06:19 AM, said:

Maybe we're the ones with the problem, for not being aware of what some words really mean. I could've known, or should've maybe.

Spaz=spastic. Yep, coulda.

I have chronic spastic paralysis. From what I've read, I have the ataxic form, luckily for me, I have a mild form. I've seen those with worse.

So, in essense, Tiger was unknowingly, talking about me. And I unknowingly, could have been offended.

But, in this case, I've no right to be; due to my ignorance. If I had known, maybe I would've been upset.

The word spaz was in general usage when I was growing up, and people used to say "I had a spaz attack." And it did indeed refer to spastic, as in cerebral palsy. It's a word I never, ever use for exactly that reason. I've volunteered in or worked in some form of special ed most of my life, and I've always been acutely aware of the etiology of the word (and I've seen kids hurt by it).

Edited by Rhea, 14 April 2006 - 09:45 AM.

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#7 Hibblette

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 09:54 AM

Personally to me this is one of the most ridiculous things I've heard in ... well a short time.

I think this is silly, a waste of time, and there are much more important things to be worried about then silliness like this.  There's things like the environment, the economy, wars that don't need to be waged and wars that need to be waged.

I have asthma.  I hear jokes all the time about people breathing heavy and people saying things about it.  Asthma is a serious disease.

But I do not get offended and I think people that do are just looking for being offended and to me that's offensive.

Edited by Hibblette, 14 April 2006 - 09:54 AM.

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#8 Cardie

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 12:25 PM

The word was in common use when I was growing up as well, and everyone knew that it meant you were comparing yourself to someone who was disabled and thus indirectly laughing at that condition.  One of my elementary school classmates had cerebral palsy, and people called him a "spaz" all the time.  They knew exactly what it meant, and they were being cruel.  

One of the reasons we don't hear it in the US much anymore is because several generations decided that it was offensive and didn't let their children hear them use it.  I also have a very close friend now who has cp and lives in the UK and believe me, she reacts to hearing terms like "spaz attack" just the way a black person would react to hearing the n-word.

I was watching the Masters and heard Tiger say that and I cringed, even though I realized he didn't understand the connotations.

Bottom line, if you unknowingly give offense, good manners dictate that you apologize.  Tiger was behaving like a gentleman.

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#9 schoolpsycho

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 12:57 PM

Rhea says:

Quote

The word spaz was in general usage when I was growing up, and people used to say "I had a spaz attack." And it did indeed refer to spastic, as in cerebral palsy. It's a word I never, ever use for exactly that reason. I've volunteered in or worked in some form of special ed most of my life, and I've always been acutely aware of the etiology of the word (and I've seen kids hurt by it).

And Cardie says:

Quote

The word was in common use when I was growing up as well, and everyone knew that it meant you were comparing yourself to someone who was disabled and thus indirectly laughing at that condition. One of my elementary school classmates had cerebral palsy, and people called him a "spaz" all the time. They knew exactly what it meant, and they were being cruel.

One of the reasons we don't hear it in the US much anymore is because several generations decided that it was offensive and didn't let their children hear them use it. I also have a very close friend now who has cp and lives in the UK and believe me, she reacts to hearing terms like "spaz attack" just the way a black person would react to hearing the n-word.

I was watching the Masters and heard Tiger say that and I cringed, even though I realized he didn't understand the connotations.

When I was growing up, I never heard "spaz", they'd always say "handicapped" or "crippled", which I hated, crippled shortened to "crip" in later years. Heck, "disabled" still bothers me. But, well, they have to call us something. *shrug*

So, "spaz" comes along, and I'm totally in the dark. Everyone started using it as slang in recent years; I just thought it was something that meant being nervous, or scared, not anything disparaging or mean spirited. But now I know it is, and well, let's just say using a derogatory term about myself, even in another context, is still unsettling. I'd been disrespectful to myself, and those like me, with CP.

Quote

Bottom line, if you unknowingly give offense, good manners dictate that you apologize. Tiger was behaving like a gentleman.

Exactly. And in that vein, I must also apologize for using that term, for my friends, in elementary school, like me, who have what I have.  I'll never say it again.

sp
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#10 Hibblette

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 03:29 PM

Actually the term should not be used to describe any sort of seizure.

The term is seizure not being spastic.

I still say there's a lot of people out there that should be upset over much more important things.
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#11 Cardie

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 04:07 PM

And who says they're not upset over those things, too?  I can be hurt if a slur is used to describe me and still be involved politically, in my community etc.  These things aren't mutually exclusive.

Sadly, many words we have that denote negative qualities are based on references to people viewed as different or inferior.  "Villain" comes from the French word for peasant and "sinister" derives from the word for left-handedness.  I guess every community has to work out when the original referent has been so completely forgotten that the term can enter general usage without apology.

I do know a number of left-handed people who bridle at sinister, however.

Edited by Cardie, 14 April 2006 - 04:07 PM.

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#12 Hibblette

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 04:26 PM

First off-he was degrading himself.

Secondly Spastic should never ever be used to describe someone with seizures.  People with that problem usually know that.

People that use that to make fun of people with a problem such as epilepsy or cerebral palsy are actually showing how stupid they are for using that term.

And to say it about ones self-well that's a possible issue for a psychiatrist.  But not one that everyone should be up in the air over.

It's silly.
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#13 QueenTiye

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 04:27 PM

View PostCardie, on Apr 14 2006, 05:07 PM, said:

Sadly, many words we have that denote negative qualities are based on references to people viewed as different or inferior.  "Villain" comes from the French word for peasant and "sinister" derives from the word for left-handedness.  I guess every community has to work out when the original referent has been so completely forgotten that the term can enter general usage without apology.

I do know a number of left-handed people who bridle at sinister, however.

But their bridling is really their own issue in that case, imho.  Its like - I don't find myself feeling a need to avoid "Geez" or "Jiminy Cricket" or "Egads" just because I know those terms used to convey blasphemies... they don't anymore.  Modern English speakers don't "think" Ye Gods when they say "egads" or "Jesus Christ" when they say Jiminy Cricket.  So they aren't committing blasphemy - which has to do with intent. Don't you think?

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Edited by QueenTiye, 14 April 2006 - 04:32 PM.

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#14 Delvo

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 05:43 PM

That medical condition is not the only legitimate use of the word, and trying to hijack it completely by saying its general meaning from which the medical term was derived is no longer "right" is ridiculous. A spasm is a spontaneous, sudden, possibly persistent, drastic action for no reason or purpose. My back seems to be spastic for the last few days, but I'll get over it because it's not a medical condition; it's a description of what's happening right now. That means that medical conditions that cause spasms can be named "spastic something" but so can anything else defined/characterized by spasms can too, even in people who don't have such a condition.

#15 Nikcara

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 05:55 PM

I have, in the past, reffered to myself or others as "spazing out" when they are getting freaked out by something.  I had never heard of it used in a derogatory way before and wasn't aware of that usage.  Sometimes things we say that we think are harmless can be very hurtful to someone else, so I'll probably avoid it in the future.  This doesn't strike me as being the overly-PC reaction you can get from other things, and if I were Tiger Woods I probably also would have apologized.  Simply because I didn't mean to hurt anyone.  If I'm going to be offensive, I want to know that I'm being offensive when I do it.
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#16 Hibblette

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 06:08 PM

View PostQueenTiye, on Apr 14 2006, 04:27 PM, said:

View PostCardie, on Apr 14 2006, 05:07 PM, said:

Sadly, many words we have that denote negative qualities are based on references to people viewed as different or inferior.  "Villain" comes from the French word for peasant and "sinister" derives from the word for left-handedness.  I guess every community has to work out when the original referent has been so completely forgotten that the term can enter general usage without apology.

I do know a number of left-handed people who bridle at sinister, however.

But their bridling is really their own issue in that case, imho.  Its like - I don't find myself feeling a need to avoid "Geez" or "Jiminy Cricket" or "Egads" just because I know those terms used to convey blasphemies... they don't anymore.  Modern English speakers don't "think" Ye Gods when they say "egads" or "Jesus Christ" when they say Jiminy Cricket.  So they aren't committing blasphemy - which has to do with intent. Don't you think?

QT

So true.

And honestly I cannot, and will not believe that Tiger was saying anything about people that have cerebral palsy.
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#17 QueenTiye

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 06:27 PM

View PostDelvo, on Apr 14 2006, 06:43 PM, said:

That medical condition is not the only legitimate use of the word, and trying to hijack it completely by saying its general meaning from which the medical term was derived is no longer "right" is ridiculous. A spasm is a spontaneous, sudden, possibly persistent, drastic action for no reason or purpose. My back seems to be spastic for the last few days, but I'll get over it because it's not a medical condition; it's a description of what's happening right now. That means that medical conditions that cause spasms can be named "spastic something" but so can anything else defined/characterized by spasms can too, even in people who don't have such a condition.

The medical condition is not necessarily the point here - but rather the hurling of the word at someone who can't help that they appear spastic to others... You have probably heard someone say "You spaz!" in a joking way - maybe to a friend who's being goofy or whatever.  But the term, in that sense, was not always friendly - the friendly usage evolved over time.

View PostHibblette, on Apr 14 2006, 07:08 PM, said:

And honestly I cannot, and will not believe that Tiger was saying anything about people that have cerebral palsy.

Nor do I.  But I do think it was the courteous and right thing to do to apologize - not because he did something wrong, but because he unwittingly gave offense.  Not dissimilar to apologizing if you accidentally bump slightly into someone passing them in the street.

QT

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#18 Themis

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 08:25 PM

View PostNikcara, on Apr 14 2006, 10:55 PM, said:

This doesn't strike me as being the overly-PC reaction you can get from other things, and if I were Tiger Woods I probably also would have apologized.  Simply because I didn't mean to hurt anyone.  If I'm going to be offensive, I want to know that I'm being offensive when I do it.

Exactly!!  

It is hard to keep up these days, but if you have inadvertently given offense, an apolgy is the right thing to do.

So, er, um, what is a correct pc slang term?  Lucy Lawless used to call herself "unco" for "uncoordinated," but I'm not sure anyone not a Lawless fan or maybe from Oz would get that!

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#19 Cardie

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 09:30 PM

Klutz always worked for me.

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#20 Rhea

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Posted 15 April 2006 - 12:02 AM

View PostHibblette, on Apr 14 2006, 07:54 AM, said:

Personally to me this is one of the most ridiculous things I've heard in ... well a short time.

I think this is silly, a waste of time, and there are much more important things to be worried about then silliness like this.  There's things like the environment, the economy, wars that don't need to be waged and wars that need to be waged.

I have asthma.  I hear jokes all the time about people breathing heavy and people saying things about it.  Asthma is a serious disease.

But I do not get offended and I think people that do are just looking for being offended and to me that's offensive.

Perhaps, as Cardie and I both said, you were never a child with CP ridiculed as a "spaz." I saw it happen a lot in the 50's, 60's and 70's.  In fact, children with physical defects being mainstreamed without teasing and insults is something that has only happened in the last couple of decades - and is sometimes still problematic because of name calling and fear of their "otherness."

It's not silly, as pointing out any word that is or was once used to denigrate a portion of the population is not - one cannot criticize a person for using it innocently, but it has as much a history of humiliation as does the word "n*gger" or "crip."  It has nothing to do with being "PC" - it has to do with trying not to hurt others. Tiger Woods is a gent for apologizing once he understood how hurtful the word could be to a segment of the population.

Frankly, I'm offended that you find it offensive.

Edited by Rhea, 15 April 2006 - 12:08 AM.

The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
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When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH


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