Comments From The Chemo Couch: Class, Race, Gender, And The Offensive Language Of Power


Words can hurt.  They can inflame, they can wound, they can lead to violence.  Often we use words intended to do all of those things.  It makes us feel that we have power over those we speak or write the words against.  A legal definition of hate speech, according to online US Legal, is a communication that carries no meaning other than the expression of hatred for some group, especially in circumstances in which the communication is likely to provoke violence. It is an incitement to hatred primarily against a group of persons defined in terms of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and the like. Hate speech can be any form of expression regarded as offensive to racial, ethnic and religious groups and other discrete minorities or to women.

At the risk of being offensive myself, let’s look at some of the offensive words used by middle class white men to describe the Other:

Women:  chick, broad, babe, c-nt, pussy, piece of ass, c-ckteaser, ditz, squaw, bossy, hormonal, bird, bitch, witch, drama queen, hysterical, ball buster, doll, diva, high maintenance, amazon, arm candy, hooker, bimbo, girlie, MILF, skank, whore…the list goes on.

African Americans:  N—–r, coon, spade, darkie, mammy, boy, jungle bunny, black bastard, ape, blood, boogie, buck, poontang, monkey, jigaboo, sambo, mud people, pickaninny, nappy, spear chucker, tarbaby, wool head, jig, you people…and this is only a partial list.

Hispanics:  spic, wetback, illegal, beaner, border jumper, marine tiger, chili-shitter, chico, nacho, tacohead, greaser, brownie, you people…and more.

Asians:  chink, dink, slope, gook, rice-eater, celestial, Chinaman, jap, nip, yellowman, buddhahead, dog-eater, coolie, wog, you people…and yet more.

LGBTQ:  fag, faggot, queer, dyke, butt-f—ker, c—ksucker, muffdiver, pansy, sissy, butch, rug-muncher, lezzie, ass bandit, bum boy, fairy, fruit, fudge packer, limp wrist, nancy, poofter, queen, tranny, etc. etc.

Native Americans:  injuns, redskins, bushn—-r, featherhead, chief, redman, savage, squaw, Tonto, brave, Indian-giver, BFI, blanket-ass, cowboy-killer, maize muncher, tee-pee creeper, scalper, Pocahontas…and so on.

Poor Whites:  trailer trash, white trash, retard, pig-dog-cow-f—ker, hick, hillbilly, redneck, shit-kicker, night-rider, cracker, bumpkin, peckerwood….the lists get shorter now.

Rich People:  crony capitalist, plutocrat, snob, Mister Charlie…not much to work with here.

Middle Class White Men:  honkie, whitey, gringo, massa…this is the short list.  There’s a reason for that.

These words, and those in the same vein, are not like getting mad at someone and calling them an “ignoranus,” a stupid a–hole.  An ignoranus can be of any race, gender or nationality.  They target what the person did, or said, not what they and their ancestors are as human beings.  These offensive words assert the power and superiority of those who say or write them over the person or persons being demeaned.  They are power words meant to tell the Other that they are inferior, unworthy, less than, beneath us.  They are hate speech, not free speech, because they have a cost, they take a toll.

Now it is true that among those races, genders and nationalities many of those same words are being used regularly among themselves.  Part of that is to de-stigmatize the words, taking the sting out so they don’t hurt so much.  And part is that the dominant culture, which seems to be represented in large part by white middle class males, has told them that they are inferior for so long that some have come to believe it.  But their using those words does not make it okay for others to join in.

My father’s parents came from Italy, my mother’s from Finland.  The Italian side of the family was close by when I was a kid, they were warm and loving, and the food was far superior to the Finnish boiled fish and potatoes I had heard about.  So I identified as of Italian descent as a teenager, and among others of Italian descent we freely called each other dago, wop and guinea.  But if some non-Italian, some outsider, used those words, it was a street fight on the spot.

So why is it this way?  I think that white middle class men have been bamboozled into believing that they are the dominant culture in America, superior to all those Others.  I think that this has been a deliberate move going back to the Industrial Revolution by the real power structure to keep people apart.  By teaching us that some are better than others pay inequity on the job is justified, and supported.  The Queen Mine in Bisbee had 35 nationalities with differing rates of pay.  Women today are still paid less than men for identical work.

Keeping people apart served, and continues to serve, the crony capitalist class’s profit interests.  Unions were harder to organize.  If one group protested another would be elevated to take their place.  Irish immigrants, for instance, went from being “n—-rs turned inside out” facing “No Irish Need Apply” signs at factory gates to becoming the dominant law enforcement group in many cities.

Giving white middle class males the illusion of power blinds them to their own real powerlessness in so many things that matter.  The Poor People’s Campaign launched by Martin Luther King just before his assassination was in large part to show different groups that they had more in common than they have in real differences.  It’s the same with white middle class males and those they denigrate.  Instead of competing for jobs with those told they are worth less and will be paid less, wouldn’t it be better to have a level playing field where jobs and pay depended on a person’s work and not the color of their skin or the language that they spoke?

It’s not about stoking some sense of “white guilt” for the possible crimes of our ancestors.  We’re not them. It’s about confronting those attitudes, and the words that express them, that tell the Others that we are somehow superior, that they are less than fully human, less than us – attitudes that have been instilled and perpetuated to the degree that we do not even see them as harmful.

In some states Green Tea Coalitions have formed joining Tea Party activists, the African American community, and environmentalists to counter the political strength of large power companies.  That is a model that should be looked at.  Let us look for and find that which we have in common.  The old watchword of a now-beat-down labor movement had real meaning:  In Unity There is Strength.

We can start with a simple New Year’s Resolution.  While we are not responsible for the thought that comes into our heads, we are responsible for what we do with it.  Let us, going forward into 2018, resolve to banish hate speech, those words so offensive to women, people of color, gays, immigrants, etc. from our lips and writings.  We can still insult each other in ADI’s comments section if we must, but let us do it based on honest differences of opinion among equals.  Let’s try arguing with facts instead of venom.

NOTE: Comments from the Chemo Couch will now appear in the Arizona Daily Independent  monthly on second Sundays.  Thank you, ADI.

22 Comments on "Comments From The Chemo Couch: Class, Race, Gender, And The Offensive Language Of Power"

  1. The Oracle of Tucson | January 7, 2018 at 1:41 am |

    Albert, are you trying to convince us, or yourself?

    The Oracle

    • Albert Lannon | January 7, 2018 at 6:49 am |

      You, Oracle, and anyone else that refers to a woman as a “crooked c-nt.” That should not be taken as defending Hillary — I didn’t vote for her. But being female is not the issue, it’s the politics, the payoffs, and the cynicism. You don’t make points by insulting half the population.

      • What, Again | January 7, 2018 at 7:53 am |

        But insulting “white middle class men” is noble, to an American hating communist.

      • So how should the left’s code words “Black Lives Matter” dead pigs now references… just some casual resistance? Terms of endearment? No enticement implied or intended… who’ interprets what they want to hear is far more dangerous than any words used – they lead to laws and persecution innuendo and lies with words like impeachment – which is the end goal in this game of power, if you think not… you’ve missed the boat. Next up to bat – Christians using words like Jesus being the only way to salvation; such called a hate term that others are left out.. on the way to our society – just over the horizon in the militarization of speech watch

      • The Oracle of Tucson | January 7, 2018 at 9:59 am |

        Actually Albert, I don’t surround myself with inferior losers, it’s a birds of a feather thing.
        So I’m safe in my assertions, after all most women in my peer group would full heartedly agree with my terminology or say something far worse.
        Never confuse brutal honesty for caustic abrasivenesss.

        The Oracle

  2. What, Again | January 7, 2018 at 5:05 am |

    So much HATE for “middle class white men”. The comrade from the Commie Couch fits the definition of hate speech perfectly.

    Is the only reason he accuses “middle class white men” of hate speech is because that’s all he knows living in lily white Picture Rocks? And asking “to banish hate speech” while using ‘hate speech’? Yes, the Marxist on the Commie Couch is in full swing, spreading the misery of Communism until his last breath.

  3. Politics: Nazi, White Nationalist, Racist, Republican, Conservative, Christian. Fascist, Deplorable, Climate Change Denier; the list keeps getting longer.

  4. I forgot one Lasely’s Art hater.

  5. Albert Lannon | January 7, 2018 at 7:08 am |

    A P.S. I wrote this article before I saw Guillermo del Toro’s amazing film, The Shape of Water, considered a frontrunner at tonight’s Golden Globes Awards. It is probably one of the best movies I’ve seen in my 80 years, and it speaks to the issues I raised in the article. Here are a mute Latina and an African American woman — working class cleaners — a gay artist, a Russian spy, and a “monster,” uniting against white male power, American and Soviet, that is out to destroy them. It is these “deplorables” that embody the best of humanity in this visually stunning film.

    Like another great film this past year, Get Out!, The Shape of Water is a powerfully subversive antidote to labeling people as inferior or less than the dominant culture.

    • Albert, you use the term dominant culture but seem to not understand the meaning of the word dominant or culture. In the context of your article, dominant means those in control but obviously, white middle class men are not in control of our culture, as you state. If any groups are in control of the culture (watch the Golden Globe Awards tonight,) they are white, black and Hispanic men and women in entertainment and sports and indeed, those in every other walk of life of every economic strata in America, but all controlled by the “media,”, the propaganda arm of the Democrat Party.

    • SilverTones | January 7, 2018 at 10:43 pm |

      Here’s to all those White Males (including Jewish White Males) working day and night along with thousands of others to find a cure for the too-many types of cancer that exist and who treat and are for those who have this awful disease.

  6. What, Again | January 7, 2018 at 7:09 am |

    Been a long time since I’ve read or heard someone so bigoted, assigning the use of “hate speech” to an entire group of individuals. Is he insinuating they are “reactions BRED into them” like the racist Obama described his white grandmother? So let’s play the Bigot Game by simply replacing the author’s hate for middle class white man.

    His words;
    “used by middle class white men to describe the Other”

    “I think that white middle class men have been bamboozled into believing that they are the dominant culture in America, superior to all those Others.”

    “Giving white middle class males the illusion of power blinds them to their own real powerlessness in so many things that matter.”

    “It’s the same with white middle class males and those they denigrate.”

    Now, replace “white middle class men” with your choice of;
    Black, poor, women
    Black poor men
    Hispanic rich men
    Hispanic poor women
    Gay black women
    Transgender hispanic “who knows what”

    Elimination of free speech is an essential with communism and this commie provides a great illustration of the bigotry that the majority of Americans do not share. Let’s call out these bigots for what they are.

  7. I heard a lot of these some 40 + years ago but have not heard them used in some time. I do know as stated the ‘minorities’ use them and them seem to be used with some pride. So as to say that its ‘middle white men’ who use these, it probably is, but lets make a correction here, most of them are from the left and use them to try an convince the ‘minorities’ that these are used regularly by white people. A lot of WOMEN have dirtier mouths than men, but I guess they get a walk because they are women.

    So dont limit your attack to “middle class white men”, define in actuality who you are attacking, and its not necessarily men only, white, red, black, brown, yellow. Expand your life views go out to the neighborhoods, the reservations and listen to how they speak.

  8. What, Again | January 7, 2018 at 9:07 am |

    Albert is towing the party line perfectly.


  9. Ugliness, like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you think racism and hate are so rampant in white men but not others maybe you should look in the mirror. I am an unrepentant white male, and racism and hate and some sense of self superiority have not been my experience in life. Not in myself or in others. I have seen racism in white males, and ALL others as well, but it is not in any way a dominate characteristic. Maybe I live in a small world, or maybe I just look for the beauty in others.

    • SilverTones | January 7, 2018 at 10:32 pm |

      Maybe we should just concentrate on the “Human Race”. No one is without sin including every man, woman, and child (regardless of color, ethnic group, or religion) who ever walked Earth.
      Who enslaved the Jews during the biblical days of old?
      Who caught and sold Africans into slavery for hundreds of years before operations ramped up to supply slaves to America?
      Why did Native Americans take slaves long before Columbus or the Vikings ever showed up in North America.
      What color were the machete-murdered Hutus and Tutsis in the DRC and who was to blame?
      Which group had a “convert-or-die” mentality that did not respect the religion and beliefs of indigenous people they encountered in northern Africa?
      Why are there an estimated 14.3 millions enslaved today in India?

  10. SilverTones | January 7, 2018 at 10:07 pm |

    Wow…how did the author forgot to mention all the racial/national slurs “whites” have been called by themselves and others? Dagos, Goombahs, wops, wogs, Micks, Paddy, dumb pollacks, Limeys, Poms, Krauts, Gerries, Russkies, etc.

    Every group looks outward and calls everyone else some derogatory slur. What do the Korean Americans call the African Americans? What do the Greeks call Macedonians? What do Native Americans call other Native Americans (Apples). What do African Americans call other African Americans (Uncle Tom, Oreos, Aunt Jemima, Ann). The list of slurs used by one group against another is nearly limitless and has little to do with being white.

    What’s the ONLY takeaway of this article? Live by the Golden Rule and treat others as you would be treated…that is…with kindness, respect, and courtesy.

  11. For the love of God Loretta what in the h** were/are you thinking!!

Comments are closed.