BekkaPoo, I'm with you on the PC thing.
I don't think saying African-American and Caucasian is PC. PC as opposed to what?

Examples of language commonly referred to as "politically correct" include: When I use PC I refer to terms like these.

Thelio, I don't know how old you are, but you sound like a lot of people I know who are really young, and who have convinced themselves that ethnic slurs are just words that have no power / have come up with rappers and others in pop culture constantly using them so they think it's normal. I hear white teens calling each other the n-word all the time and laughing. Then they go say it to someone of African descent and wonder why the person goes ballistic.

I think that yes, ideally and intellectually, there is a big difference in using a slur the way your friend did with the intent to belittle, degrade and hurt, and in using it more casually. And in a perfect world, we'd know that and it would be obvious when to let it slide and when not to. However, this is far from a perfect world, and because context is always open to interpretation, any time you use a slur, there is the possibility of someone being hurt or offended. Even if you're using the word to a very close friend, if you do it in a public forum like on a facebook wall or on public transit, someone else just hearing that can cringe and feel uncomfortable and feel violated.

I have never shouting slurs in public places. And I have never encountered my friends doing it. It always occurs when we are at a private gathering or some sort. But hearing slurs so much in a ďjust jokingĒ way, it never clicked that someone I know would use it any other way. I did feel violated.

I don't think that your casual use of slurs means you can't still call out your friend who used one, but as you can see, it complicates the issue from what should be a simple matter of saying you are offended to feeling that you first have to justify yourself or that he can use your use of language as an out.

Thatís the thing. I feel I should tell him, ďHey we all have freedom of speech, but that just came off as hateful and mean for no real reason whyĒ. But as you mentioned, my use of such words makes me feel as if Iím a hypocrite. Iím also in the dilemma that his wife is my best friend, and I go to visit them every time Iím on Baltimore. I donít want things to be awkward. But then I feel I have to speak up for sake of the children and ending the ignorance cycle. I feel so conflicted.

I think what is more important though is that, whatever happens with him, his behaviour was a springboard to a learning experience for you. As wild hair said, you have now grown wiser - so in a way, he did you a favour because in the future, you will be more careful about how you use slurs.

This is true. I guess I can thank him for that.

The other thing to think about is the origin of the actual slurs being used. For example, "cracker" actually insults Black people just as much because it comes from the term "whip-cracker", for slavedrivers, so it is continuing to speak of people as if they are in that position over us. "Mutt" is a derogatory term about "race-mixing" implying that "purebreds" are on a higher footing. Are these really the ideas you're intending to get across? I find that some people are really weird about having friends of another group. I have tons of white friends and have never felt the need to draw attention to it by calling them "crackers." It's obvious to all of us we are from different ethnic backgrounds - so what?

I learned about the history of cracker in African American History. And Iím not sure if ďmuttĒ offends me or not. I think mullato offends me more because he is derived from mule. I donít want to put across any idea that one group of people is better than another. I grew up in a diverse environment all my life. I knew people were different, but they are still people. I was also raised to that words are words and donít let them bother you. My family is like this; my familyís friends are like this. I have heard slurs about every group come from that group. And my friends are of different ethnic backgrounds, I donít greet them with a slur, but there are times when we will say a term in referring to each other. After this incident I know I will be mindful of what I say, if I ever even use a slur again. Iím also not sure how I will react if I hear a slur. I think I should mention something to him, I donít want to fly off the handle towards a friend if they use a slur in a joking way.
Originally Posted by Amneris

WTH does "jew him down" mean? her computer is "being jewish". I grew up around jewish people as well, Baltimore has a big community. i know the stereotypes, but I would had been totally clueless of what they meant.
Originally Posted by thelio
I'm in the Baltimore area now and I don't hear it here, either. But the phrase "Jew him down" and what that woman said in my dorm room lo those many years ago, it's a reference to the stereotype that Jewish people are cheap, which I had literally never ever heard before. Had no idea.

Sent from my phone, please excuse typos or brevity.
Originally Posted by MichelleBFT
yeah I have heard of this stereotype. my dad does home improvement and house painting. Are you familar with the mt. washington or roland park area? there is a big jewish population there. my dad has done work there. Once when i was a little girl i went with him to a job. he told the homeowner the cost. my dad asked him something like, "does that seem fair?" the guy laughed and said,"yeah, it seems kinda cheap though, and thats coming from a jew". i was too young to get it. but didnt see anything wrong. he told a joke and they laughed. i got older and discovered that is was a stereotype.

But "jew him down"? really? it makes it seem as if being a jew is something bad.