Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Nigger Isn't Always Meant As A Racial Epithet:Tourettes Syndrome Needs Understanding

I was sent a link from Bossip by a regular reader. I have long since lost any hope of finding anything worthwhile on this site.  Obviously the young woman in question suffers from Tourettes Syndrome.

According to the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada, Tourettes is, a neurological or "neurochemical" disorder characterized by tics -- involuntary, rapid, sudden movements or vocalizations that occur repeatedly in the same way.
The cause has not been established, although current research presents considerable evidence that the disorder stems from the abnormal metabolism of at least one brain chemical (neurotransmitter) called dopamine. Very likely other neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, are also involved.

Clearly it is upsetting to hear racial epithets in use, however in this case, this poor young girl cannot control it.  The lack of malicious intent should be enough to garner sympathy, but once again the readers of BOSSIP must show their ignorance to the world.

go beside that burb hos head a cupol of times will brake that habit.

Tourettes or not, my (white) momma would have backhanded my ass if I ever talked like that.

That fucking retard bitch. Her ugly ass mother taught her that. I got the cure real quick and it would be these hands administering her a can of whoop ass!!

hat stank hoe needs 2 come 2 my hood with that mess!

THIS BITCH WILL EVENTUALLY GET SLAPPED UP. I BET U THEN HER ASS WILL STOP THAT FAKE SH–!!!!!!

If this chick REALLLLY had Tourette’s, her “tics” would not only include sticking up her middle finger and profane words. Bottom line, all this lil fass ass girl needs is a good OLD FASHIONED ass whoopin. And her mama too, hell. That’s all.

I won't torment you by adding anymore commentary, I trust you get the level understanding in the comment thread.   Notice that for these people the way to combat "perceived" racism is to immediately descend into sexism.  They threaten violence against the young woman and immediately slut shame her.  How do these things intersect in their minds?  The way to fight racism (which is clearly non existent here) is not to counter with another ism.

What people continually fail to recognize is that isms work in tandem to create people as "other". If you are living as a marginalized body and engage in ableism, ageism, sexism  etc., you are supporting the very same line of thought that perpetuates inequality.  Perpetuating marginalization despite being marginalized means that to some degree you do not believe in the common humanity of all.

I am also highly disturbed  that violence is suggested as a solution.  The majority of these readers are POC, who as we know have been historically subject to violence.  What good has this ever done for society?  As a POC I find this behaviour shameful.  When POC are killed we cry out in righteous indignation and to wish that on another person who suffers the same sort of social stigmas is inexcusable.  No matter what they did to this young woman she could no more make her Tourettes disappear, than anyone could change the colour of their skin. 

I most definitely concur that the word nigger needs to go.  I see no excuse for anyone not stricken with this syndrome to use this word.  There are simply times when we all need to recognize that there are extenuating circumstances and offer the same kind of human empathy and compassion that we would like given to us,.

Finally to the author of  Bossip, commentary like the following, is exactly why you are shame upon the black blogosphere.."We know the cure to that sh*t and it’s found inside of a brick. It’s a very delicate procedure in which you crack it over her head and voila. Racism in check." It hardly comes as a surprise that your comment section commonly looks like a congregation of ignorance when this is the message you choose to present them. It is not acceptable to promote any "ism", no matter who it comes from.


13 comments:

Coolred38 said...

Just curious here...but what "bad" words did Tourettes sufferers shout out before bad words were invented...I mean...most sufferers that I have ever heard routinely use slurs and foul language...they cant help it for sure...but why are slurs and foul language the words they routinely shout out? Just curious.

Renee said...

We have always had a way of disciplining language and such there has always been "unacceptable" terminology. Keep in mind Tourettes also comes with ticks, and "odd" sounding noises.

Thutmose Fela KMT said...

What if we were all held responsible for our unconscious verbal thoughts?

Tourettes is such a complex disease and we often get caught up sympathizing (as we should) however we often forget about the parents and the environment that has been created for someone who suffers from Tourettes. A child who grows up in a "prosocial" environment will have fewer "unacceptable" outburst.

Valerie said...

@Thutmose

Hmm, that sounds like the beginning of yet another excuse to vilify mothers.

Thutmose Fela KMT said...

Not at all. We have to think protective factors when we discuss incurable pathologies. i didn't say it was anyones fault and if i was going to blame someone it would be her father because i didn't see him in the small portion of the video that i watched. i would have appreciated it if you would have made that comment a question. ;)

Danyell said...

What I find disturbing is that anyone thinks the answer to offensive language is offensive physical assault. Even if this girl were not sick, yes, her language would be foul and offensive. But does that permit violence? And since she IS sick, would these commenters feel better if she were using different slurs? If she went around calling everyone a cunt, I bet they'd think that was funny.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many of the commenters get upset and casually advocate violence when they hear the n-word used by some African American comedians, friends, family members, people on the street, etc. I just heard a group of teenagers in my largely African American neighborhood screaming it at each other a week ago. How many of those kids know the horrific history behind that word? How many of them know that Marian Anderson and Paul Robeson lived in our neighborhood, or who they even were?

Again, I blame our system of education that teaches conformity and rote thinking and reinforces white privilege, an insidiously individualist consumer culture that glorifies the rich and famous, a political and economic system that shuts out the vast majority of us and plays on our (mostly white) fear and hatred to pit us against one another while they laugh all the way to the bank, and a lack of knowledge, respect and appreciation for all those who struggled against injustice and the isms in our society.

All of this results in disrespecting ourselves and others, whatever our color, race, gender, religion, etc., and none of us are immune. This poor young woman with Tourettes is not the problem.

polerin said...

I'm working on a site that references bossip, and I hadn't really spent the time go find out what it was really. I'm sorta glad I haven't yet.

Valerie said...

@Thutmose

Well, I didn't have a question for you so why would I ask one?

In fact, I wasn't concerned so much about your personal beliefs on the subject, but in the context of greater society, this is the sort of reasoning that people who look for reasons to pile on mothers will use.

Anonymous said...

Psychology major checking in--

The verbal tics of Tourette's work in a such a way that the person often yells words they KNOW are bad and feel bad for speaking. The kind of foul language this girl uses means that she believes she's saying something awful. "Bad" words are stored in the part of the brain where emotional reactions are, and somehow that short-circuits.

The verbal foul language tics exist in all languages.

Renee said...

@Psychology major

Thanks for weighing in...that is interesting information.

Joan Kelly said...

That's what I had learned about Tourette's also - that verbal tics actually are somehow activated by/associated almost solely with words the person does *not* want to say, considers taboo, etc. Sort of a verbal translation of that whole tell-someone-not-to-think-of-a-banana (or whatever) thing, where you then can't not-think of the thing you're trying to not-think about.

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