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Political Correctness

F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
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5/13/2013 5:06:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Many people often look down on "political correctness" and pride themselves on being "politically incorrect." This is especially prevalent among the conservative community. Before I say anything else, it is important to clear up the definitions. There is no doubt that the fundamental problem is a misunderstanding of the definition. As a classic example, a "politically correct" individual may say "it is not okay to call a black person as the (n word)." Many conservatives often intentionally or unintentionally misinterpret this. It is common to see conservatives saying "I won't call a black person 'African American,' I will call them 'Black.' Look at me, I am so politically incorrect and proud of it." Clearly the disagreement here is based on definition.

The Free Dictionary defines "political correctness" as: avoidance of expressions or actions that can be perceived to exclude or marginalize or insult people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

Meriam Webster's dictionary defines it as: conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated.

http://www.merriam-webster.com...

The underlying interpretation that I get from these definitions is that political correctness is designed to not offend people. In other words, the active avoidance of racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination.

To not be politically correct then, is to not actively avoid offending people whether this means making implicit or explicit discriminatory remarks against groups of people based on race, sex, etc. When someone proudly displays "political incorrectnes" the implication I draw from it is that they either don't care about offending people or actively seek to do so. I fail to understand the underlying moral basis on which they make their claims. Part of it has to do with misunderstanding the definition (see example regarding blacks). I consider myself "politically correct" yet the only time I have referred to a black American as "African American" was on a research paper I wrote in an African studies class.

Other forms of "political incorrectness" could be the following (correct me if I am wrong as I don't want to make the same mistake that the other side makes of political correctness.

1) Referring to Americans of Hispanic/Latino descent as "Mexicans."
2) Referring to Native Americans as "Indians."
3) Referring to disabled people as "handicapped."
4) Referring to undocumented workers as "illegals."
5) Referring to Americans of Asian descent as "Chinese," "Chinks," or "Orientals."

If I am wrong about these interpretations, please feel free to correct me and provide your interpretation.
YYW
Posts: 36,271
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5/13/2013 5:16:11 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
As best I can tell, the reason why people (especially conservatives) pride themselves on being politically incorrect is because they think subconsciously that by being politically incorrect somehow gives them an "upper hand" against their own invented alienation. Conservatives (culture warriors, lol) always and especially now think that their value structures, their moral principles, etc. are under attack from "liberal elites" who impose political correctness on conservatives, at conservatives expense. The reason for their perceived alienation is because conservatives regard change of any kind as something that undermines "what they stand for" so, they "stand their ground" in defiance as a consequence. It comes down to power, though. The choice to actively offend people by using words is a petulant way that those who choose to do it "strike back" in the only way they can -with language.
Tsar of DDO
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
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5/13/2013 5:54:06 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I generally dislike political correctness as you define it because of the euphemism treadmills which it sometimes create. I try to choose word that makes the most sense to me regardless of whether it's offensive. For example, I'll call a handicapped person either handicapped or disabled because, really, that's what they are. What sets them aside is their lack of an ability or capability which the average person possesses. I don't see a point in using ridiculous words like 'handicapable' because the puerile people who turn such words into hurtful schoolyard taunts will just seize on the new word and do the same with it. Unfortunately, part of that condition is going to be living with dolts who use the terminology which defines your groups as an insult. I think we can give them a bit of credit here and expect them to survive without everyone walking on eggshells around them. The same goes for the 'r-word'. Retardation is a fantastic term. It etymologically describes the condition very succinctly: the state of being late, or delayed. What do we gain by calling them special? Is that not now also a schoolyard taunt? Just as 'differently-abled' is? We're just watering down the language in a quixotic attempt to escape the unavoidable fact that there are a lot of infantile people in the world. Idiot, imbecile and moron were all once similar medical terms. You're not going to come up with a magical word which is immune to being twisted into an insult.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
ConservativeAmerican
Posts: 1,676
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5/13/2013 6:16:55 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I think there is a fine line.

Of course I am not going to call a black person a nigger, or a latino a wetback, or a asian a chink, or a white person a cracker. That is offensive.

But sometimes 'political correctness' deviates from the truth.

I.e When the latino lobby frowns upon politicians who call illegal immigrants just that, illegal aliens or immigrants. That is technically correct, alien is someone who is from a different place, and it is against the law to come here illegally, so they are illegal immigrants. I don't think many people frown upon media using black anymore, the african-american-black thing has kind of died out. Another example of political correctness is frowning upon calling the 'mentally challenged' retards. Retards is a technical name and measurement on the IQ chart. Retardation is the process of slowing or delaying, and we are assuming a mentally retarded person's mental progress and learning is slowed or delayed. That is the political correctness I despise, not being a dick to other people and calling them slang words is different, but I am not going to call change the name of what I call someone because they deem it offensive, if it is a technical term people should leave it alone.

So ultimately I think your argument was straw manned, and you knew the obvious (that conservatives aren't mad because it's now offensive to call blacks niggers or latinos wetbacks), the obvious is that modern political correctness sometimes deviates from the truth, and it is just an immature, petty game.
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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5/13/2013 6:17:12 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Skepsikyma, I don't call disabled people "handicapable" which I find to be a fairly unnecessary, euphemistic term. This is primarily what I was referring to regarding definitional debate. What politically incorrect people deem to be politically correct is not always an accurate representation of the views of people who actually are politically correct. For example, I prefer using "disabled" to "cripple" or "handicapped." I don't believe we should refer to disabled people as "differently-abled."

Regarding the word "special," the way I have seen it used is to refer to "special needs" and "special education." The people with developmental disabilities have extra or "special" needs and need more or "special" education designed to help them. The people themselves are not called "special" but rather their educational needs. I agree that calling them "special" as a reference to the individual is rather pointless. Again, our dispute seems to be definitional i.e. do politically correct people refer to people with developmental disabilities as "special" or merely as disabled? I think the latter.

"Idiot" and (r-word) are no longer appropriate for referring to people with special needs since it has become a derogatory term. You make very good points with regard to the fact that we can't change a term everytime it is used in a derogatory fashion. But language needs to evolve and once a term is used more in derogatory ways than any other way, it only makes sense to change the wording.
ConservativeAmerican
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5/13/2013 6:22:17 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 6:17:12 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
Skepsikyma, I don't call disabled people "handicapable" which I find to be a fairly unnecessary, euphemistic term. This is primarily what I was referring to regarding definitional debate. What politically incorrect people deem to be politically correct is not always an accurate representation of the views of people who actually are politically correct. For example, I prefer using "disabled" to "cripple" or "handicapped." I don't believe we should refer to disabled people as "differently-abled."

Regarding the word "special," the way I have seen it used is to refer to "special needs" and "special education." The people with developmental disabilities have extra or "special" needs and need more or "special" education designed to help them. The people themselves are not called "special" but rather their educational needs. I agree that calling them "special" as a reference to the individual is rather pointless. Again, our dispute seems to be definitional i.e. do politically correct people refer to people with developmental disabilities as "special" or merely as disabled? I think the latter.

: "Idiot" and (r-word) are no longer appropriate for referring to people with special needs since it has become a derogatory term. You make very good points with regard to the fact that we can't change a term everytime it is used in a derogatory fashion. But language needs to evolve and once a term is used more in derogatory ways than any other way, it only makes sense to change the wording.

This is where we are going to butt heads. Change the person, not the word. People will always have nasty slang words for the down trodden, but changing the word is a cheap, temporary solution. We need to change how society looks at the down trodden, and frown upon satire shows such as south park and family guy constantly picking on these down trodden groups. That will help, not changing a word.
EvanK
Posts: 599
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5/13/2013 6:22:45 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 5:06:50 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
Many people often look down on "political correctness" and pride themselves on being "politically incorrect." This is especially prevalent among the conservative community. Before I say anything else, it is important to clear up the definitions. There is no doubt that the fundamental problem is a misunderstanding of the definition. As a classic example, a "politically correct" individual may say "it is not okay to call a black person as the (n word)." Many conservatives often intentionally or unintentionally misinterpret this. It is common to see conservatives saying "I won't call a black person 'African American,' I will call them 'Black.' Look at me, I am so politically incorrect and proud of it." Clearly the disagreement here is based on definition.

The Free Dictionary defines "political correctness" as: avoidance of expressions or actions that can be perceived to exclude or marginalize or insult people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

Meriam Webster's dictionary defines it as: conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated.

http://www.merriam-webster.com...

The underlying interpretation that I get from these definitions is that political correctness is designed to not offend people. In other words, the active avoidance of racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination.

To not be politically correct then, is to not actively avoid offending people whether this means making implicit or explicit discriminatory remarks against groups of people based on race, sex, etc. When someone proudly displays "political incorrectnes" the implication I draw from it is that they either don't care about offending people or actively seek to do so. I fail to understand the underlying moral basis on which they make their claims. Part of it has to do with misunderstanding the definition (see example regarding blacks). I consider myself "politically correct" yet the only time I have referred to a black American as "African American" was on a research paper I wrote in an African studies class.

I think people try too hard to be politically correct. I can understand avoiding the words niqqer, chink, etc, but there's a point where you simply try too hard. The only time I would refer to someone's race would be to describe them, and the only thing on my mind is to be descriptive enough so that people know who I'm talking about. If I was talking about a black man, I would simply say so. If I was talking about a white woman, I would say so. If I had to, I'd describe their hair color. I don't see why it's offensive to call black people black, but it's completely ok to call a white person white. If someone gets offended, that's their problem, not mine. I did nothing wrong.

Some try too hard not to offend people. Some try really hard to be offended. I simply ignore all of that BS and go on with my life.


Other forms of "political incorrectness" could be the following (correct me if I am wrong as I don't want to make the same mistake that the other side makes of political correctness.

1) Referring to Americans of Hispanic/Latino descent as "Mexicans."

I say Hispanic.

2) Referring to Native Americans as "Indians."

I call people from India "Indians", and American Indians, American Indians.

3) Referring to disabled people as "handicapped."

Depends, but handicapped is accurate, is it not?

4) Referring to undocumented workers as "illegals."

I would consider it even more politcally incorrect to call them "aliens". But again, calling them "undocumented workers" is simply trying to hard not to offend people. If an illegal alien is offended by that phrase, then they can become either legal immigrants or legal citizens. Otherwise, illegal alien/immigrant is an accurate description.

5) Referring to Americans of Asian descent as "Chinese," "Chinks," or "Orientals."

I simply say Asian. Descriptive, no reason to be offended.


If I am wrong about these interpretations, please feel free to correct me and provide your interpretation.

For me, I can understand being offended by being called niqqer, chink, spic, wetback, etc. But simply refering to race or skin color to describe a person shouldn't be offensive at all. If you are offended at being described, that's your problem. If I call a black person black, it's because I need to describe him accurately. It's not because I'm trying to offend him. If he is offended, that's his problem. No offense intended.

So if I am politically incorrect, I do so unintentionally. I don't do it to be "different" or to offend people, but simply because I do things that are classified as "politcally incorrect".
The problem with socialism is that, sooner or later, you run out of people's money."_Margaret Thatcher

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."_Thomas Jefferson

"The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it."_Thomas Jefferson

"It is easier to fool someone than to convince them that they have been fooled."-Mark Twain
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,244
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5/13/2013 6:23:41 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I think a word should be used as how it's expected another will receive it. If a word technically means X, but has evolved to mean Y, the only sensible use of the word is one in which Y is the desired effect.
ConservativeAmerican
Posts: 1,676
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5/13/2013 6:25:32 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 6:23:41 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
I think a word should be used as how it's expected another will receive it. If a word technically means X, but has evolved to mean Y, the only sensible use of the word is one in which Y is the desired effect.

You are assuming a person should have to carefully contemplate everything they say so they don't offend other people.
dylancatlow
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5/13/2013 6:27:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 6:23:41 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
I think a word should be used as how it's expected another will receive it. If a word technically means X, but has evolved to mean Y, the only sensible use of the word is one in which Y is the desired effect.

It's the same for the reverse: if a word used to be offensive, but is now commonly understand to mean something not offensive, the use of the word should not be chastised.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,244
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5/13/2013 6:31:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 6:25:32 PM, ConservativeAmerican wrote:
At 5/13/2013 6:23:41 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
I think a word should be used as how it's expected another will receive it. If a word technically means X, but has evolved to mean Y, the only sensible use of the word is one in which Y is the desired effect.

You are assuming a person should have to carefully contemplate everything they say so they don't offend other people.

This is quite true, but people are usually offended only by words which they think the other person knowingly uses as an insult (it's the thought that counts).
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,244
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5/13/2013 6:34:48 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Also, if you are so out of the loop that you don't know which words will illicit a vexed response, you will probably be offensive anyway ;P
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
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5/13/2013 6:36:12 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
ConservativeAmerican, the reason I made definition such an integral part of my post is precisely because of misinterpretations from both sides. With conservatives saying "I won't call a black person African American" and politically correct people saying "you can't call a black person the n-word," the entire disagreement comes down to how you define political correctness because there is no disagreement at all on what word is appropriate.

Do you consider it okay to call Americans of Mexican descent "Mexican?" I think that is a more fair area of disagreement.

Regarding your next post, consider the practical implications of trying to continue to use "idiot" and "retard" as medical terms. The language has changed so much that it would be very difficult to do this. If it were possible to hold accountable everyone that uses words derogatively, we could do so. Yet, when wide-scale changes occur and "idiot" and "retard" are universally used in derogatory ways, the practical solution is to define formal medical terms that no longer use these words. The word "negro" means "black" in Spanish. What is your issue with this word if you believe that people should change and not the words. You have to be consistent in what you are proposing.

EvanK, you obviously haven't read the OP. I specifically wanted to discuss the definition because of comments like yours "I don't see why it's offensive to call black people black, but it's completely ok to call a white person white."

I don't claim that it is offensive to call a black person "black." I have said this in the OP and made a big point about the definitions.

Regarding immigration, the term "illegal immigration" is perfectly legitimate. "Illegal" refers to an act, not a person. Would you call a shoplifter or a speeder "illegal?" They have broken the law and have therefore committed an illegal act. Yet, referring to a person who committed an illegal act as an "illegal" is inappropriate since it is the act that is illegal and not the person. Immigration can be illegal. An immigrant cannot be.

Referring to Native Americans as "American Indians" makes little sense. If you are trying to go by what is accurate, this most certainly is not.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,244
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5/13/2013 6:36:59 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 6:31:13 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 5/13/2013 6:25:32 PM, ConservativeAmerican wrote:
At 5/13/2013 6:23:41 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
I think a word should be used as how it's expected another will receive it. If a word technically means X, but has evolved to mean Y, the only sensible use of the word is one in which Y is the desired effect.

You are assuming a person should have to carefully contemplate everything they say so they don't offend other people.

This is quite true, but people are usually offended only by words which they think the other person knowingly uses as an insult (it's the thought that counts).

Not that they think the person is necessarily trying to be insulting.
ConservativeAmerican
Posts: 1,676
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5/13/2013 6:43:45 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 6:31:13 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 5/13/2013 6:25:32 PM, ConservativeAmerican wrote:
At 5/13/2013 6:23:41 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
I think a word should be used as how it's expected another will receive it. If a word technically means X, but has evolved to mean Y, the only sensible use of the word is one in which Y is the desired effect.

You are assuming a person should have to carefully contemplate everything they say so they don't offend other people.

This is quite true, but people are usually offended only by words which they think the other person knowingly uses as an insult (it's the thought that counts).

That is fine, but a person shouldn't have to think. "This person is more easily offended then another person, I have to call them african american instead of black".

That is the kind of mentality that limits free speech without the government even having to do it for us.
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
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5/13/2013 6:49:19 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
First off, as far as illegal immigrants go: you don't call a thief and 'illegal thief' because it is redundant. There is only one kind of thief: an illegal one. The act of thievery is crime in and of itself, immigration is not. There are both legal and illegal immigrants, and the modifying term serves to distinguish between them.

As to the Mexican question, yes, considering it describes their country of origin. I would not describe a Guatemalan, Belizean, or Puerto Rican a Mexican, I would use the proper demonym. And I wouldn't purport to know their country of origin unless they told me or otherwise announced it by displaying a flag or other cultural artifact.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
EvanK
Posts: 599
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5/13/2013 6:51:18 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 6:36:12 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
EvanK, you obviously haven't read the OP. I specifically wanted to discuss the definition because of comments like yours "I don't see why it's offensive to call black people black, but it's completely ok to call a white person white."

I did read it, but I didn't quite get your point. Could very well be me, and I apologize. I simply wrote my opinion.


I don't claim that it is offensive to call a black person "black." I have said this in the OP and made a big point about the definitions.

I know you didn't, but there are many who believe it is completely offensive to refer to a black person as black. It is very politically incorrect to do so, but I simply ignore what is "politically correct" and simply say what I need to say, so long as it isn't blatantly offensive, which calling a black person black shouldn't be.


Regarding immigration, the term "illegal immigration" is perfectly legitimate. "Illegal" refers to an act, not a person. Would you call a shoplifter or a speeder "illegal?" They have broken the law and have therefore committed an illegal act. Yet, referring to a person who committed an illegal act as an "illegal" is inappropriate since it is the act that is illegal and not the person. Immigration can be illegal. An immigrant cannot be.

Instead of calling someone an illegal immigrant, some say he's an illegal. It's simply shortened. I can see where you're coming from, but I don't see any reason to make an issue out of it.


Referring to Native Americans as "American Indians" makes little sense. If you are trying to go by what is accurate, this most certainly is not.

If you want to be accurate, I am a Native American. Why? Because America is my native country. Someone born in Canada is a Native Canadian. Someone from Africa is a Native African. I agree, American Indian makes little sense. It makes as much sense as African American, but it's simple and it gets my point across. I would just as soon say Indian, but I suppose I just go by what I grew up around. But I really don't care because as I said, everyone I know who claims "Native American" descent, are white.
The problem with socialism is that, sooner or later, you run out of people's money."_Margaret Thatcher

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."_Thomas Jefferson

"The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it."_Thomas Jefferson

"It is easier to fool someone than to convince them that they have been fooled."-Mark Twain
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
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5/13/2013 6:53:19 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
As far as Native Americans go, I prefer actual tribe names. It's an area in which I have limited knowledge, but from what I have learned they were/are very distinct entities, culturally and politically. Referred to collectively I guess the term is okay, but when I'm talking to an individual and it comes up I usually try and talk specifics as 'Native American' doesn't tell me much of anything about their heritage.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
ConservativeAmerican
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5/13/2013 6:53:26 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 6:36:12 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
ConservativeAmerican, the reason I made definition such an integral part of my post is precisely because of misinterpretations from both sides. With conservatives saying "I won't call a black person African American" and politically correct people saying "you can't call a black person the n-word," the entire disagreement comes down to how you define political correctness because there is no disagreement at all on what word is appropriate.

Do you consider it okay to call Americans of Mexican descent "Mexican?" I think that is a more fair area of disagreement.

Well, that might actually be a compliment for some, that person is recognizing their culture outside of America. If someone could take one look at me and say I'm a Hungarian-German, I might be surprised and happy to see that person knows that I am not just 'american'. In my opinion, only overtly antagonistic and paranoid people would be angered at someone calling them by their native heritage.

Regarding your next post, consider the practical implications of trying to continue to use "idiot" and "retard" as medical terms. The language has changed so much that it would be very difficult to do this. If it were possible to hold accountable everyone that uses words derogatively, we could do so. Yet, when wide-scale changes occur and "idiot" and "retard" are universally used in derogatory ways, the practical solution is to define formal medical terms that no longer use these words.

You obviously can't stop every ignorant and angry person from distorting a term used to define someone who has a mental disorder, but if society frowned upon it more in general, it would make it so the vast majority don't use it negatively.

The word "negro" means "black" in Spanish. What is your issue with this word if you believe that people should change and not the words. You have to be consistent in what you are proposing.

I have no problem with using negro, except that we live in America, not Spain. I wouldn't be offended if someone called me blanco (Spanish for white), so who cares?

EvanK, you obviously haven't read the OP. I specifically wanted to discuss the definition because of comments like yours "I don't see why it's offensive to call black people black, but it's completely ok to call a white person white."

I don't claim that it is offensive to call a black person "black." I have said this in the OP and made a big point about the definitions.

Regarding immigration, the term "illegal immigration" is perfectly legitimate. "Illegal" refers to an act, not a person. Would you call a shoplifter or a speeder "illegal?"

The media and myself would call them a suspect until proven guilty in a court of law, then a criminal. I don't see why calling illegal immigrants illegals is much worse then calling someone who has been confirmed in a court of law to break the law a criminal. If it makes society happier I will call illegal aliens Criminals instead, but I think most would agree that sounds even more derogatory, 'now they aren't even illegal immigrants, they are just criminals'. I can see it now.
They have broken the law and have therefore committed an illegal act. Yet, referring to a person who committed an illegal act as an "illegal" is inappropriate since it is the act that is illegal and not the person. Immigration can be illegal. An immigrant cannot be.

Once again, most people who commit a crime are called criminals, if you want me to start calling illegal immigrants criminals instead, then I will, I could care less on that issue because both are technically correct.

Referring to Native Americans as "American Indians" makes little sense. If you are trying to go by what is accurate, this most certainly is not.