Targets and dehumanizes women, even if used towards men - including gay/queer men. Devalues women and femininity. Reinforces sexism.
Describes something or someone as cheap, worn out, poor, dangerous, etc. Reference to housing communities that are impoverished and disproportionately impact people of color. Associates people of color with these negative characteristics.
Reduces undocumented immigrants to something less than human. Fixates on legal status instead of people as individuals. Asserts that some people belong here more than others do. Ignores political, social, and economic factors that negatively impact people of color.
Stresses the speaker’s heterosexuality, masculinity, and/or other traits to avoid being perceived as gay/queer. Goes to great lengths to avoid association with anything queer. Reinforces that to be queer is bad.
Retarded & Lame
Targets mental, emotional, and physical disabilities as objects for ridicule. Used as synonyms for “worthless,” “bad,” “unintelligent,” “incapable,” etc.
That’s So Gay
Stigmatizes gay and queer people. Uses their identities to describe something as undesireable or bad. Replaces negative adjectives with words related to queer/LGBT identity.
Whore/Ho & Slut
Dismisses anyone seen as being “too” sexual - particularly sex workers, women, queer people, and people of color. Perpetuates negativity towards sex itself. Regulates who is allowed to have it.
WORDS THAT HURT and WHY
These words create an environment that perpetuates violence and discrimination against people of color, queer and trans people, people with disabilities, and other marginalized communities.
People can reclaim these words for themselves as a form of empowerment. This is a personal decision. Don’t reclaim words on behalf of others.
Sometimes we say words without realizing the impact they may have on others. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Take the time to educate yourself about languages and histories of oppression.
For more information contact the UC Davis LGBT Resource Center
I’d hang this on the wall of my future classroom, but I feel like people would take exception to it despite its educational purpose…