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#1 Posted by RE_Player1 (7558 posts) -

So recently I started hanging out with a bunch of guys I had met through a class in university. My first impression was that these guys, 3 of them, were pretty average down to Earth dudes so I saw no problem befriending them and hanging out occasionally after class. Recently however I guess they felt comfortable around me and started using some terms they must use when in casual conversations with friends like referring to black people as n**gers and gay people as fags and other unsavory terms... I'm not going on this forum to seek advice, I've already decided I don't feel comfortable with that type of casual talk so I'm going to shy myself away from them, I just wanted to know if you have been in a similar situation and what did you do in the face of it?

Also sorry for the weird, vague title for this thread. I wasn't sure how to sum up my question with the character limit and had to figure out a way to get the message across.

#2 Posted by BonOrbitz (2184 posts) -

I've been lucky enough to have never been friends with people like that. If you aren't that close to them and feel that you can't talk to them about it, then you may be doing the right thing by shying yourself away from them (hopefully to friends who aren't bigots). Talking to them might work, but I don't know these guys. Depending on what they are like, you could be just setting yourself up for harassment. They wouldn't be friends anyway if they did that.

You could try taking one of them that you feel may understand your point of view and explain the situation to him/her. Maybe they can help with communicating the message to the rest and help to set an example?

#3 Posted by DeF (4863 posts) -

Throw shit in their face. Verbally or physically.

Stuff like that won't fly...

#4 Posted by RE_Player1 (7558 posts) -

@bonorbitz: If I felt strongly about these guys and I had known them all my life I would probably talk to them a bit about it. These guys however are just people I met in the last month and a bit and don't feel that I'm missing out on anything by just not hanging out anymore. I just think it's more of a shame that people could appear one way and be totally different when in a relaxing environment.

#5 Posted by Pezen (1594 posts) -

I am not particularly sensitive towards mere words, and as such the language people use that they feel reflect them is their business, there are more factors to someone than random word usage. But at the same time, I have opened my mouth when I felt it wasn't said with enough.. distance. Because the last thing I want is listening to people believe in the dumb shit they say. But so long as it's said with a hint of self-awareness I don't care. I got bigger issues in my life than someone wanting to use "bad" words.

#6 Posted by VoshiNova (1677 posts) -

Gotta let them know how you feel. It helps solidify your sense of dignity,

Too easy to not say anything, your doing them a favor by being direct.

#7 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

I'm assuming that they're not black and not gay? For an actual answer, though, I'd have no idea.

#8 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -

That reminds me that i use the word "nigga" a lot.

#9 Posted by RE_Player1 (7558 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: Yeah they are 3 white dudes who are straight.

@Pezen: Yeah I don't want to condemn them or anything because hey maybe they are self-aware, I'm just not comfortable with it and don't feel it's right to impose myself on a group I've known for a couple of weeks so I'm just not hanging out with them anymore.

#10 Posted by mlarrabee (2927 posts) -

What I usually do in those situations is act as though I've never heard the term before. Not antagonistically, but inquisitively.

"I'm sorry? What was that you said just now?"

It nearly always leaves them red-faced and stammering to explain.

Then, once they've "explained" themselves - "You know... 'cause... they're... like, black/gay and stuff." - I explain my viewpoint as I would to a child - "Well, I don't see how their skin color or sexual alignement should affect the level of respect due them."

They usually figure out at that point just what an idiot they've been, or they get angry and refuse to speak to me again. Either way, I don't have to expose their prejudice to them again.

#11 Posted by BonOrbitz (2184 posts) -

@msavo: People let their guard down and let their true colors show in an environment that's safe and familiar to them. Considering how long you've known them, it sounds like you've made the correct choice. Go hang out with the positive people who make you comfortable in your life instead.

#12 Posted by jozzy (2042 posts) -

@mlarrabee said:

What I usually do in those situations is act as though I've never heard the term before. Not antagonistically, but inquisitively.

"I'm sorry? What was that you said just now?"

It nearly always leaves them red-faced and stammering to explain.

Then, once they've "explained" themselves - "You know... 'cause... they're... like, black/gay and stuff." - I explain my viewpoint as I would to a child - "Well, I don't see how their skin color or sexual alignement should affect the level of respect due them."

They usually figure out at that point just what an idiot they've been, or they get angry and refuse to speak to me again. Either way, I don't have to expose their prejudice to them again.

I applaud you for doing that, +1 respect.

#13 Posted by Kyle (2323 posts) -

If you've known them for a while, tell them it's not acceptable, and if you've just met them recently (like these people in your post) just stop hanging around them. I suppose you could try sticking around and the next time they use some bad word, stop them and say something like "hey man, that's not cool to say" and see how they react. Sometimes people just grow up in weird communities and don't realize how offensive words like that are until they start meeting more people as they get older, but then again if they're partaking in casual use of the N word, there's probably not much to be done besides staying away from them.

#14 Posted by BonOrbitz (2184 posts) -

@mlarrabee said:

What I usually do in those situations is act as though I've never heard the term before. Not antagonistically, but inquisitively.

"I'm sorry? What was that you said just now?"

It nearly always leaves them red-faced and stammering to explain.

Then, once they've "explained" themselves - "You know... 'cause... they're... like, black/gay and stuff." - I explain my viewpoint as I would to a child - "Well, I don't see how their skin color or sexual alignement should affect the level of respect due them."

They usually figure out at that point just what an idiot they've been, or they get angry and refuse to speak to me again. Either way, I don't have to expose their prejudice to them again.

Damn. That's awesome... I love this. Props to you, sir.

#15 Edited by Icemael (6317 posts) -

I only have one friend who uses such words, and I don't mind in the least. I use them myself when speaking with people I'm pretty sure won't take offense, and we are both aware that neither of us actually hates negroes, homosexuals and so on so there's no problem.

#16 Posted by BrockNRolla (1702 posts) -

CALL THEM OUT. If they are your friend, then they'll understand. If they don't respect you for it, then maybe you ought to look for better friends.

#17 Posted by fox01313 (5069 posts) -

Tell them what you think, if they don't take your advice then ditch them as there's plenty of other people out there to be friends with.

#18 Posted by PeasantAbuse (5138 posts) -

I run away holding my ears and crying.

#19 Edited by gakushya (66 posts) -
@Pezen said:

I am not particularly sensitive towards mere words, and as such the language people use that they feel reflect them is their business, there are more factors to someone than random word usage. But at the same time, I have opened my mouth when I felt it wasn't said with enough.. distance. Because the last thing I want is listening to people believe in the dumb shit they say. But so long as it's said with a hint of self-awareness I don't care. I got bigger issues in my life than someone wanting to use "bad" words.

Well, I understand your thinking here, but I have to say, some words are chosen for their semantics, and semantics can hurt. I feel like your trying to downplay the diction. But, to admit something here, I use the word nigger with my friends, even though I'm white. Nigger is kind of an internet meme thing, so I just use it with my close friends when I know no one else is within earshot. And I use it under the awarness of its potential risk for unintentionally and unwhittingly  insulting an eavesdropper. But if that ever happens, ie I call my asian friend a nigger  and some blackguy overhears, not only would I be really really embarresed, I might possibly be provoking some serious aggro. So, I use the word carelessly and in a cavalier way, and that may come across as irresponsible and immature to some ppl (and it might be). I don't even use it ironically, I just use it with my friends because it is a word that has alot of power. In other words, I use it in isolated contexts and for specific purposes (mainly emphasis or as an interjective). 
 
So the reason I say this, is because its not only the usage thats important to consider, but its the intent behind its usage. You need to assess whether your friends have true malicious evil in their intentions, or wether or not they are using the would nigger like I do, in a careless crude kinda of way, but no intent to harm. For example if my friend eats my sandwich in the fridge, I would say "You nigger!". As stupid as that may be, there is no malicious intent. But if, say, some black dude ate my sandwich out of the fridge, and I turn to my friend and say "A nigger ate my sandwitch, lets go nigger hunting" then that is kinda cruel. And its this latter intent that you should not be associating yourself with.
 
But whatever you do, dont chastize them, bcuz I it doesnt seem you are in a place to do so.
#20 Posted by Lunar_Aura (2779 posts) -

I'd think they are cool and join in. You don't want them to think you're some kind of pussy, do you?

#21 Posted by TobbRobb (4603 posts) -

Meh, as long as they aren't in fact, racist or homophobic, there really isn't a problem. I mean two white boys jokingly calling each other niggers isn't really a problem. It's when someone is serious it starts going bad.

#22 Posted by believer258 (11808 posts) -

Are they joking or are they being totally serious? People, especially young college kids, love to make offensive jokes so this isn't really out of the ordinary. If, however, they begin talking in an actual hateful way - you'll know it if they do - then just pull yourself away from the group. That's not a group you want to hang around with.

#23 Posted by actionTACO (498 posts) -

anytime some pc libtard tries to sass me about using racial slurs i pull out my pocket constitution and point them to a little thing called the 1ST AMENDMENT. if they continue to give me guff i give em a stare and point them to the 2nd amendment.

#24 Posted by Winternet (8014 posts) -

Either talk to them about it or go "meh".

#25 Posted by Vodun (2370 posts) -

In my experience, everyone's a racist. The ones who are problematic are those to live by that sentiment, words AND action.

Equally problematic are those who lack self-perception. Once you realize your own prejudices you can work against them.

#26 Posted by ShadowConqueror (3050 posts) -

That kind of stuff doesn't bother me when it's used jokingly amongst friends.

#27 Posted by JasonR86 (9659 posts) -

It really depends. I used to go to high school in a very multi-cultural school. I was also on the football team. The thing about guys on a football team is that we teased each, and ourselves, a lot. It was a way of bonding that didn't make us feel weird. SO, what happens on a multi-cultural football team? Stereotypes, racial slurs, swear words, sexists words, etc etc etc are used to tease and poke fun! I didn't say racial, sexists, or bigoted things while on the team. I was more of the 'make fun of your behaviors' kind of guy. But, between guys (especially in the right setting), everything is often permitted. I understand getting offended. If a tape recorder was in our locker room recording our conversations all sorts of terrible things could have been said about us. We were hateful, we were spiteful, some were racists, some were sexists, etc etc. BUT, the intent of the teasing was never based on hate. I think that is important. If the guys mentioned in the OP were basing their statements on hate, or if they were around people who were offended by such statements, they should have stopped (granted the OP was offended but he took care of the situation himself). But often the intent is just to tease. Saying racial slurs, sexists and bigoted statements is almost always a bad idea no matter the intent. It is something that I'm never around now that I'm an adult. But...I guess I can see where it would be relatively inoffensive based on a number of variables.

Anyway, that's my long-winded two cents.

#28 Posted by verysexypotato (214 posts) -

I don't think its a big deal at all, but you completely left out all racial context. Are you black or gay? Are any of them? I had the same thing in high school and it was totally cool. Though, I hung out with a few black kids, gay kids, and gay black kids. It's just another term of endearment, really.

#29 Posted by Bruce (5264 posts) -

@msavo:

If they're joking, I don't really have an issue with it. My Mexican best friend calls me a Kike sometimes, and I call him a Spic in return. But we're just playing around. If these guys are using those words because they actually are prejudiced towards gays and black people, then I wouldn't hang out with them either.

#30 Posted by Godlyawesomeguy (6398 posts) -

@msavo said:

referring to black people as n**gers and gay people as fags

Do you see what's wrong with how you typed this out?

Also, in my opinion, it's all about context. If it's not in a derogatory context, then I don't mind when people use such words. However, of course, there is a line to be drawn.

Also also, I feel obligated to throw this video into this thread.

#31 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -
@msavo said:

So recently I started hanging out with a bunch of guys I had met through a class in university. My first impression was that these guys, 3 of them, were pretty average down to Earth dudes so I saw no problem befriending them and hanging out occasionally after class. Recently however I guess they felt comfortable around me and started using some terms they must use when in casual conversations with friends like referring to black people as n**gers and gay people as fags and other unsavory terms... I'm not going on this forum to seek advice, I've already decided I don't feel comfortable with that type of casual talk so I'm going to shy myself away from them, I just wanted to know if you have been in a similar situation and what did you do in the face of it?

Also sorry for the weird, vague title for this thread. I wasn't sure how to sum up my question with the character limit and had to figure out a way to get the message across.

Think up something even worse and call them that. 
#32 Posted by SockLobster (456 posts) -

Are you sure they weren't talking about that film with the homosexual black men from outerspace? Ask them if they were.

#33 Posted by beej (1674 posts) -

@actionTACO: UH I DIDN'T MEAN IT IN A BIGOTED WAY ARE YOU SAYING I'M RACIST? THAT'S LIKE BEING RACIST AGAINST ME! AND DUH, EVERYONE KNOWS IT'S ONLY THE INTENT THAT MATTERS, WHO CARES ABOUT THE FEELINGS OF MARGINALIZED PEOPLE? NOT ME!

#34 Posted by the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG (4308 posts) -

Tell them you dont like what theyre saying?  Or just dont hang out with them at all

#35 Posted by Spoonman671 (4604 posts) -

I get on with my life and continue not giving a shit.

#36 Posted by Vinny_Says (5700 posts) -

@msavo said:

@Video_Game_King: Yeah they are 3 white dudes who are straight.

Who secretely wish they were black homosexuals....isn't that how these things always go?

Hey if you're not comfortable around that then you did the right thing; moving on.

#37 Posted by MysteriousBob (6272 posts) -

Call them gay niggers and see how they like it!

#38 Posted by Animasta (14675 posts) -

@Godlyawesomeguy: uh, he's definitely distanced himself from those sorts of acts last I checked...

also real talk just say that it's not cool and if they respond saying you shouldn't be so sensitive than just stop hanging out, but if they stop than continue; you never know, they might actually stop and it's not like it's a super big deal to you to keep them as friends so what's the harm?

#39 Posted by PrivateIronTFU (3874 posts) -

It would be one thing if they were making an occasional off-color joke. But using it in everyday language seems a little odd, seeing as how I've never been around people like that before. Besides my racist uncle in North Dakota.

#40 Posted by DukesT3 (1910 posts) -

Tell em how you feel. Solved.

I think the only time I use the N-word is when someone pisses me off pretty bad. Then again I say racial slurs about every race when they piss me, especially when I'm driving.

Am I a racist?

#41 Posted by NTM (7344 posts) -

I've never had friends like that, and never plan to.

#42 Posted by Jeust (10555 posts) -

I would try to reason with them.

#43 Posted by MariachiMacabre (7077 posts) -

Call them out as being assholes.

#44 Posted by GunslingerPanda (4712 posts) -

I'd tell them I was gay and had a black father, and that they're a bunch of cunts.

#45 Posted by _Zombie_ (1462 posts) -

Depends if I know they're joking or not. For instance, me and my friends use terms like that rather often.. but we're not serious. None of us are actually racist, we just find them funny. If they were serious? I'd debate smacking them upside the head, tell them to shut it, or just plain leave.

#46 Posted by beej (1674 posts) -

@LooseChange said:

Tell em how you feel. Solved.

I think the only time I use the N-word is when someone pisses me off pretty bad. Then again I say racial slurs about every race when they piss me, especially when I'm driving.

Am I a racist?

Yes.

#47 Posted by CookieMonster (2416 posts) -

Never came across people actually like that.

#48 Posted by RollingZeppelin (1958 posts) -

I used to not care, but now I feel like that sense of humour is just not funny. What I find much funnier than me and a bunch of other white guys making stupid racist jokes, is me and my multi-cultural friends calling each other out on being racist when we say things that are clearly not racist, like how Will and Norm do.

#49 Edited by Mahonay (828 posts) -

Growing up I had a close group of friends I used to game a lot with. They were also my skateboarding crew. I eventually figured out they were extremely homophobic. Looking back now I wish I had said something. I was only in high school though and they were friends I had since middle school/freshman year. I transferred schools my senior year when I moved out of the district and never talked to them again. I'm fairly certain they have no idea why. I still feel pretty shitty about it.

Now I'm living in NYC and my roommate, who's also one of my best friends, is opened minded enough to make a toast to gay marriage when the law was passed here. What a difference a change of setting can make (I was living in Lancaster, PA previously).

#50 Posted by Agent47 (1895 posts) -

@gakushya:Eh I just feel it's so stupid in general when people say nigger in a casual sentence it sounds so dumb,odd and primitive.I guess it's just a european thing.I mean obviously there is that kind of stuff in the U.S. but it's usely always hateful while europeans always seem to use it as just another from of "stupid" or "ignorant".Ugh I guess maybe just cause I use nigga alot it sounds weirder but I dunno.I just feel like punching somebody anytime I hear someone use it in any context.Not cause of racism but because it just bothers me like nails on a chalk board.Where do young white kids even learn to use words like that?