Open Thread: On Language and Terms

by Latoya Peterson

So I noticed that one of the themes discussed on Joe’s Look Twice post focused around his use of certain terms. Specifically the words bitch and son of a bitch.

This isn’t the first post on Racialicious to spark some controversy over use of language. A while back, Fatemeh’s post on Halloween costumes prompted criticism for her use of the word slutty. I’ve had criticism leveled at me for using the words heifer and calling myself The Editrix.

Now, I understand the criticisms. But I’m coming at this from a slightly different perspective. So I am wondering…

1. Where in this is the author’s right to relate a story as they see fit?

2. At what point do the words used in the source piece encourage/discourage certain types of dialogue in the comments section? (For example, I’ve deleted scores of misogynistic comments [from men and women] on the Ciara piece and on the Esther Ku piece – though neither of those posts contained the type of gendered language that normally prompts an outcry.)

3. Is it possible for a place designed to encourage conversation to also be a safe space?