Problem

Ethnically discriminatory language

Other Names:
Racial stereotyping in language
Offensive ethnic jokes
Racist language
Racial epithets
Racism embedded in language
Incidence:
One example of racism embedded in language is the use of the zero plural as a grammatical construction as in "reburial of 500 Huron". The zero plural is used in order to speak only of abstract categories without reference to any individuation which might occur within the category. Hence, the term is most commonly used in hunting and fishing, as in "hunting rabbit", "fishing for pike". With regard to human beings, there is a tendency to use it only with reference to so-called tribal peoples. Such use has also been studied with reference to "Jew" ("The construction of 'the Jew' in English literature from 1875 to 1945"). Very few Jews speak that way about themselves.
Claim:
There are a series of such grammatical constructions which help to embed racism into language and the zero plural is the foremost among these.
Broader Problems:
Offensive humour
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
05.09.1999 – 00:00 CEST