October 16, 2006

Update on "squaw"

Squelching the S-Word

4 comments:

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
I wrote most of what I have to say on this subject earlier and in other posts on this website. However, I did leave one matter unsaid. Reverse the principle. Have Native men make routine and seemingly thoughtless reference to white men's wives or girlfriends or even just white females as a 'squaw' or 'squaws'. Then wait and see just how long such a situation would be seen as a harmless and acceptable referent, if at all. We all may be less than surprised at the results.
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

Good point. I think we know what would happen if someone from the lower class called a middle-class white woman a "ho" or "bitch." That's analogous to the historic situation re "squaw."

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Um, er, uh, when did 'class' make any entry into the colloquy? That's a whole other bag of gummi worms...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

I was just striving for an analogy to a white man calling an Indian woman a "squaw." I could've said a black man calling a white woman a "ho," but people of all races now use the pejorative "ho." These days, it's arguably more of an insult across class divisions than it is across racial divisions. It's the equivalent of calling a woman "slut" or "skank" or "trash," which is arguably a class-based designation.

We could get into the whole history of words used to diminish the worth and status of women. Suffice it to say that men have used such words widely: on their female peers as well as women of different races and classes. Okay?