They Call Each Other Names, Why Can’t I??

Yeah, they do. Why can’t everybody? Because not everybody is them. I can’t call a woman I don’t know a c*nt, I can’t call a Jew I don’t know a k*ke, I can’t call someone in a wheelchair a cr*p, and someone doesn’t get to call me a f+ggot unless we’ve at least been properly introduced and they’ve bought me dinner. Broad, indiscriminate diminution isn’t inclusion. It’s someone making very clear to the room, “I have the right to call everybody whatever the hell I want”. That’s ownership, not respect.
And really, it’s wanting all of the perks without any of the work. If I want to be taken seriously by someone, I have to get to know them, we have to discuss things, we have to reach common ground. That’s especially true if I’m a different color, or from a different culture, or crashing their birthday party.
If I just walk up to someone I don’t know and start giving out intimate details about my sex-life (and they’re in any way average), they’re going to get very uncomfortable very quickly. They don’t know where I’m coming from, and they have no way of knowing what would constitute ‘private’, if I’m willing to start talking about my favorite dildos with a perfect stranger. If they’ve got any sense they’ll worry that if a list of sexual positions my partner refuses to try is what I consider business card material, what in great google-eyed fanarkle spotted Hades do I keep back for later?
Walking up to a stranger, or even someone a little unfamiliar, and breaking out with the in-crowd lingo doesn’t bespeak a backstage pass. It clarifies for all to see that no matter what, this jackass thinks they own the place. And not by force of personality, not by ability, not even by wit, but by telling everybody “You’re mine, I will now call you what name I choose. Ya know, like a dog, or a houseplant.”
Of course, there’s always looming in the background the issue of ‘reclaiming’ words. Supposedly this is the process whereby if I call myself something often enough, and in mixed company, it takes away the teeth of it. Supposedly it becomes a form of empowerment. But the only way that works is if I’m acknowledging that the word is a slur and I don’t want it to be. When I use a slur among compatriots, it doesn’t suddenly, magically become a compliment. It’s a slur, the only thing that changes is it’s affiliation. It’s still derisive, and our laughter at it is also derisive. I’ve never heard someone actually use a common invective as a genuine compliment.
Can a word be truly reclaimed? I’m dubious. If I’m standing in a room full of people who are not like me, and they call me something that I have called myself to them, but which they are not connected to personally, I don’t suddenly feel a sense of belonging. Though I have now given them tacit approval to abuse me with my own vocabulary. In a way I’ve given them extra power in that now they can claim “Hey, you said it first.” How then can I justify, “Well yeah, but when you say it, it’s mean, and that’s not how I meant it.”?
It’s not actually reclaiming a word to use it among friends. It’s commiserating. Which is a form of liberation. It is also a diffusion of pain and acknowledgement of shared suffering. But it’s not empowerment.
“They call themselves redman, why can’t I?” Apart from sounding puerile, it’s because if they were talking to each other then we weren’t invited. It wasn’t meant for everyone. And more importantly, what’s the motive in trying?

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The Piebald One

The Dark Fool dances like a harlequin, like a rabbit in a field when no one is watching. His diamonds are so deep they’re embedded in his very skin. He spirals and hops and he makes jokes that hide and reveal more and less than he knows. Here he records some of what plays in his mind, his own little mark upon the stones, like those who came before and have left us with as many questions as answers. Oh, and there’s gonna be a lot of sarcasm, some irony, and way more than enough absurdity to go around.

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