We live in a society where people of diverse backgrounds interact. In such a situation it thus becomes important that people are culturally and racially aware as well as sensitive.

It is not uncommon for people to make racially and culturally inappropriate jokes while conversing with each other at the workplace or otherwise, especially given our lexicon these days, sometimes inadvertently.

While some could be deliberate in the name of comedy.

Whatever the case is, racial jokes are neither amusing nor shall they be encouraged. And even in general conversations, one should know how to measure their words.

So how do you know ‘how not to use those politically incorrect words’?

Well here is your guide which can save you, well to some extent.

1. Negro/ Nigger/Nigga:

No, it’s not okay or even slightly cool to use that word. You simply don’t say it unless you are black.

The n-word that originated in 1600s at a time when Africans were enslaved in America was used by the ‘privileged white’ to dehumanise them. This was basically when the seed of racism was sown.

One can use terms like ‘black’ or ‘people of colour’ to refer to them, which are less offensive or not offensive at all to people.

racist and offensive words

2. Paki:

This word is an ethnic slur for people of Pakistani descent. The word has also been attributed to other south Asian people as well.

In the 1970s and 1980s, violent gangs opposed to immigration took part in attacks known as “Paki-bashing”, which targeted people and premises of any South Asian origin in the U.K.

The Advertising Standards Authority published research on the attitude of the British people toward pejoratives in December 2000 and ranked Paki as the tenth most severe pejorative in English.

Also read: Stop Supporting The “Bullied” Kid Keaton Jones: He & His Family Is Racist

3. Chink:

Chink or its various variations (chinky, chinkapoo, chigga etc.) are ethnic slurs used for people of Chinese ethnicity.

Chink has been compared to other racial slurs like nigger, paki, kikes, etc in terms of how offensive it is to people.

The use of the word dates back to the 20th century where North Americans felt a sense of threat due to Chinese immigration. The word is the result of the dislike for them.

In India, the word is often used and directed against the people of Eastern descent (North East-India, Nepal) for they are often confused to be Chinese.

In 2012, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs recognized the use of the term “chinki” to refer to a member of the Scheduled Tribes (especially in the North-East) as a criminal offense under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act with a punishment of up to 5 years in jail.

The Ministry has further issued a warning to review the performance of the police in this regard.

racist and offensive words

4. Kike:

Kike is an ethnic slur for Jewish people. The word was used by Jewish Americans to put down the Jewish immigrants.

Basically creating a divide among the same community into western and eastern jews.

5. Queer:

Queer is a blanket word used for people who are not hetero-sexual i.e referring to the gender minorities.

But queer means peculiar or strange and that is probably the reason why there is some controversy attached to it.

Many LGBTQ associations have refused to use that word. They consider it distasteful and self-deprecating.

The word also creates a rift between the community between those who consider themselves as ordinary and a part of society and those who think they are separate from them.

Instead of using this word or even homosexual use words like ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’. In place of homo-sexual relationships simple use ‘relationship’ and just say ‘sexual orientation’ instead of ‘sexual preference’.

Discard the use of phrases like; ‘That’s so gay’ from your dictionary. It conveys the message that there is something wrong with being gay and is literally very offensive.

Other words which you may not even know are considered offensive include, ‘eskimo’(eaters of raw meat) by using which we belittle their culture; the word ‘oriental’ used for Asian people which the Obama government struck down from being used in the federal law making it a racially charged word.

Next time you want to converse with people of other ethnicities, keep this guide handy!

Images: Google

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  1. Be aware of the reactionary Religious Right wingers who are the source of all racism, nationalism and ethnic wars because of their one sided negative prejudgements.

  2. John Cleese rightly means that nowadays people become oversensitive and call racism or white supremacy what never has been considered so in the recent past such as White Christmas, white bishop Saint Nicklas and his black servant Black Peter, etc.


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