The O-word, the Q-word and the N-word

My latest op-ed appeared in The Virginian-Pilot Wednesday. In it, I reject the notion that somehow embracing a word that has been used as a slur somehow takes the sting out of it. Not only have I seen little evidence of it, but what I have seen is that doing so gives license to those who would use the terms with their original intent intact publicly.

I’ve read all the arguments in favor of the president’s re-election campaign adopting the O-word. They all fall short.

I cannot think of a single word that has successfully made the transition from negative to positive.


5 thoughts on “The O-word, the Q-word and the N-word

  1. Was there an argument for using it about search engine optimization? Because in my opinion that’s what it comes down to. If Obama isn’t going to use the word “obamacare” to defend the legislation, he essentially cedes most of the internet to the Republicans when it comes to the issue of healthcare. Pejorative or not, the majority of lay voters are looking for that word in search engines when they look for information about the legislation.

  2. The feigned outrage among the hipocritical borders on humorous.. I hear “N” word on sattelite radio so frequently coming from “black” gangsta rap musicians that I have come to the conclusion that using it is fashionable because it helps sell music to their target audience. I do not buy the argument that it is kosher for people of one race to let it roll off the tongue in causal conversation or performing arts while condemning people of another race for doing the same. If it is really offensive then where is the outrage among musicians? Music is political activism and the adherents adopt much of what is disseminated.

    The “O” word is too valuable for Obama not to innoculate and make it his own. His tactics will be to make divisive language perpetuated by his opponents into marketable street language in order to disarm the sting of the right.. Alinsky as can be, yes, yet effective.

    1. You must be seeking out that kind of music, then, as I have never heard it on satelite radio. Even so, I think I was quite clear in the article that I don’t appreciate its use, period. No special circumstances.

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