Culturally Acceptable Slurs

Terms like ‘Oreo’ and ‘jungle fever’ get passed along like a joke. A person of color talks ‘white’, so they are an Oreo. A white individual falls for a person of color, so they must have ‘jungle fever.’ Race structures a lot more than physical features in society. It controls the way we also categorize people.

So, what is talking black then? Speaking uneducated and sounding ignorant?

Jungle fever references the romantic partner of color as being wild, untamed and not cultured.

Society enjoys intertwining race with behavior. However, there should be no correlation. Despite the skin color, the nature and co-culture an individual relates with will project through how they talk, act and behave.

‘Ghetto’ and ‘ratchet’ is just a code word for black. In the service industry, it is common to hear fellow co-workers moan when having to serve a person of color. The tags difficult, poor tipping and cheap are automatically tacked on. They pass along the word ‘ghetto’ unknowingly realizing that they would never use this word to describe a non-black person/family.

Combating this common way of thinking, starts with accepting race as a social structure to differentiate ancestral background. It is nothing more, and nothing less. Secondly, adapt the idea that each individual deserves a chance to introduce who they are as a person. Avoid instinctively making claims based on ethnicity and schemata. Do not project biases onto a person based on personally formulated labels. Yet, base your opinion on behavior.

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