Unkind Words: Ethnic Labeling from Redskin to WASP

By Irving Lewis Allen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
MEN . . . AND ONE HUNDRED EPITHETS FOR ETHNIC WOMEN

THIS CHAPTER REVIEWS and lists more than one hundred ethnic slurs that historically have been used against women of twenty different ethnic groups. These words, as their substance will soon make apparent, originate in both gender and ethnic conflict. The ethnic stereotypes carried by these terms of abuse indicate the pejorative images that most often have been used against ethnic women, as well as indicating the groups that most often have been abused with these words. Only a few of these pejorative names that men called women could be construed to be neutral to positive in sentiment, even considering all the possible situations that modified their meaning in actual use.


MALE SEX ROLES, ANXIETY, AND SLANG

Terms of abuse for ethnic women are chiefly a male vocabulary of slang. Slang in general also is mainly a male vocabulary, and its social referents tend to be stressful relations of all kinds. This prompts an elucidating analogy. Ethnic slurs in general bear a relation to ethnic conflicts and anxieties similar to that which words of sexual insult and sex

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