You’ve probably been unconsciously using racist words your entire life.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are guilty of harboring hateful views, but you may have been using derogatory slang without knowing it. There are countless things you say every day that were traditionally (and still frequently) used by members of one race to insult and demean members of another race.
Many of these words originated in sexist, racist or generally offensive circumstances and as language continues to evolve over time, it seems that many of us have forgotten their origins.
Or we never knew them in the first place. For example, were you aware that the cheering “Hip hip hooray!” used to be a Nazi war cry? Well it was. It was used to invade the Jewish ghettos during the Holocaust.
No, it doesn’t matter if you claim you grew up in an era and an environment in which the word was commonly used.
You might want to stop yourself next time you’re about to utter any or all of these 5 racist words.
Hey, watch your mouth! We heard that.
Gypped – This is arguably the most commonly used racist term in existence today. Let’s say you went out and bought the new Sony PlayStation 4 only to get home and realize it doesn’t work. You’re likely to complain, “I got gypped.” So, what is it that makes the term offensive? It equates the Gypsies with being thieves, cheats and con artists.
Mulatto – A term used to refer to a person who is born from one white parent and one black parent. Many people believe this is a racist term because who would “enjoy being called a mule?” We were taught that it was a derogatory term that came into use during slavery when referring to the bi-racial offspring of African slaves and most often, their white European slave masters. But it apparently only has a negative connotation in the United States.
Uppity – Once used by Southerners in reference to African-Americans that they deemed didn’t know their place in society, the word “uppity” has become adored by conservatives.
Ghetto – Obviously, using “ghetto” as an adjective to describe things or people that are of lower class has its racist origins. The term originated from the name of the Jewish quarter in Venice, established in 1516, in which the Venetian authorities compelled the city’s Jews to live. The current definition of “ghetto” is “a part of a city in which members of a particular group or race live usually in poor conditions.” Whether used intentionally or not, the person who uses this word is actually implying that minorities are low class.
Eskimo – This literally means “eaters of raw meat.” Additionally, etymological research suggests it could mean “snowshoe-netter,” too. But either way, when you’re referring to an entire group of people based solely on their perceived behaviors, you’re only belittling their culture and existence. It’s safe to say that we should all be using proper terms, like Inuit.