(I’d like to state that I ultimately didn’t even give a shit about JonTron’s original tweet; it was obvious he was just trying to be insulting to a business model he disagreed with and used the harshest term he could with no consideration that it was a derogatory insult toward the handicap. As you’ll see going forward, I have my own personal reasons for not getting up in arms over that. It was his followup response where he was flippantly insulting to one of his fans that bothered me, but ultimately, I think he was just trying to be funny and fucked up. Which, y’know, happens. Whatever.)
I understand the social ramifications of using a derogatory term in a manner that could misrepresent or misinform people; especially on a large scale, as with a popular internet icon (i.e. JonTron). The idea is that, through his use of the word “Retarded” he not only perpetuates the use of a word that is derogatory toward the mentally handicap, but he possibly implies his own personal prejudice towards that group.
However, the truth is that context matters.Even if it’s not the end all, be all of the situation, the kind of vitriol and abuse that has been lobbed against JonTron (and many others) for not constricting their language to the most progressive of the social system has been highly detrimental to the understanding, progressive environment everyone wants.
I try and watch what I say most of the time because I don’t want to offend people; I’m proactive about the words I use, the way I refer to my transgender friends, my “horizontally challenged” friends (I didn’t even know “midget” was a derogatory term until I was informed by a dwarf friend of mine, but the moment I did I dropped it from my vocab), and I sure as hell know better than to use the N-word in any context beside intellectual, social deconstruction that is inherently designed to explore the word itself.
But some individuals don’t necessarily feel as inclined to do so. Not everyone is as careful, or careful at all. While I would prefer we all try and consider each others feelings, and push a more progressive mindset, you cannot just systematically and thoughtlessly condemn and persecute someone for not fully believing in that kind of social discourse.
Yes, we need to change minds. But if we alienate everyone who doesn’t rigidly conform to every single social guideline people put forward, we’re going to lose valuable allies and friends.
Let me just put it this way: I want the guy who will fight for my rightsin my corner over a guy who’s just worried about not offending me.If I can have both? Fantastic! That is the ideal that we should all strive toward. But I’m sure as shit not going to kick down the door or burn down the house of the first guy if at least I know he’s still trying to look out for me, even if he does use the word “fag” to refer to someone finds unruly, ala South Park. I may offer him my personal opinion on the manner, in a way that is mature, informative, and considerate, but that’s all one can really do.
Screaming, insulting, giving ultimatums, and acting like children does absolutely nothing with most people other than make them feel attacked. I understand righteous anger, but vitriol and mob mentality does absolute nothing but hurt you when trying to have an informed conversation.
Either act like adults or let people who can have the important conversations.