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Inappropriate Language - Sexually and Racist based Epithets?

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I have been amazed to see the condoned usage of 'dick' and 'douche' on my local board lately. The Moderators finally responded to my complaint with a version of this:

"Our policy on incidental vulgarity, obscenity, and general offensiveness in otherwise chow-ful postings is that anything is OK so long as it's not said in anger or is clearly intended to stir up trouble. Our role as moderators is not to shield all users from anything they might find offensive. If we tried to do so, there'd be literally no end to it, because many different people are offended by many different things. We ask that everyone show tolerance for different sorts of voices in our huge community. The alternative - a group with homogeneous ways of speaking and thinking - would not be good for this resource."

My strong belief is that a public forum that purports to want to have an open and positive profile in the larger web community- is degrading itself by condoning use of language that is unnecessary, inappropriate and completely unprofessional.

I do not believe that 'there would be no end to it' if the CH- allowed language rule were that no sexually or racially based epithets could be used. What do you think?

  1. If the language on these boards bother you, the best remedy is to stop reading the boards.

    1 Reply
    1. I think Chowhound's policy is correct. And I'm racking my brain trying to figure out how "dick" and "douche" could possibly be construed as "racially based."

      I've reported posts I thought were over-the-top offensive (not many - it takes a lot to offend me), and sometimes the moderators agreed and removed them, and sometimes the moderators disagreed and the posts stayed. Because it's not up to me, nor should it be.

      1 Reply
      1. When you see the word "douche" just think of "Irma la Douce" (alt. spelling) and when you see "dick" just think of "Jane" and "Spot." Now I don't know about you, but I feel better already...

        1. Are you seriously suggesting that Chowhound would be a better place if it were **more** heavily moderated? IMO the consensus swings the other way. (And no, that was not a sexual reference. Although I suppose ... never mind.)

          This isn't a newspaper or a blog. Chowhound isn't "condoning use of language that is unnecessary, inappropriate and completely unprofessional." As you note, it's a forum. A place that's open to the public where people can come and voice their opinions.

          The Powers That Be aren't advocating anybody's choice of words (or restaurants). They're hosting a discussion that is open within limits. Anybody whose sensibilities are too delicate to withstand exposure to the fairly mild stuff that goes on around here - well, it makes me wonder how they can get through daily life.

          But then again, your daily life may be very different than mine. No doubt my experiences are tainted by the fact that ... well, sometimes I can be kind of a dick.

          ;-)

          6 Replies
          1. re: alanbarnes

            ROFL!!! ab, that last line was brilliant :)

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                But anybody who reads my stuff here on Chowhound knows it's true.

                1. re: alanbarnes

                  i appreciated the honesty of it! i [usually] do a decent job of keeping her in check here on CH, but those who know me well are quite familiar with my inner bitch...she's a feisty, opinionated one :)

                  1. re: alanbarnes

                    I disagree, alan.

                    You're not "kind of a dick". You are a dick ... but only sometimes.

                2. re: alanbarnes

                  good one alanb, I too can be one and on occasion sadly culturally insensitive (out of ignorance not malice, no epithets) - those comments were rightfully deleted. I try to be a good person, I'm just not always successful. but I say let people blather and either get deleted or ignored. talk too much sh!+ and sooner or later folks will just scroll past you.

                3. I had to get over that my attempts to discuss the racial meaning of "kaffir" in reference to the ingredient kaffir lime leaf were all removed by the moderators. I get your point, but such language, and the reluctance to discuss it critically, is just part of the "culture" here. You either get used to it, stay open minded enough to discuss it openly, or you stop coming here to read or post. In my experience, it's largely worth the occasional offense, but you'll have to make up your own mind.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: amyzan

                    If you lived in a neighborhood and didn't like what all the neighbor's were doing, would you expect all the neighbor's to move? Of course you wouldn't! You would pack your things and move to neighborhood more suitable for you.

                    I am not faulting you. There are some places that I wouldn't wouldn't want to hang my hat at either because of the neighbors.

                    1. re: Robinez

                      That's pretty much what I was saying to the OP, Robinez. Thanks for putting it another way.

                    2. re: amyzan

                      Seriously? So because a word **can** be used in an offensive context, it should be banned from use in every other context?

                      Yes, the word "kaffir" can be used a racial slur. When used to describe a lime tree, it's not. I like to think of myself as progressive, but where will it stop? Do we have to quit calling shovels "spades"? Should the AKC come up with a new breed name for the Black and Tan Coonhound?

                      You're right that the critical discussion of language isn't part of the culture here. More specifically, it's a distraction from what we're all here to talk about - food. There are plenty of posts I disagree with, and a few who I find outright offensive. But the good outweighs the bad, so I keep coming back. It's the price of free speech.

                      1. re: alanbarnes

                        You're extrapolating WAY beyond what I was saying, but got pulled by moderators. I've come to expect that here. People jump to conclusions, and generally make massive assumptions about others and their opinions, without any real basis. sigh No, I don't think "kaffir" should be banned from CH. Not in the least. I merely was interested in how it got attached to a particular variety of lime leaf. Yeah, it's perhaps a more etymological discussion, but it definitely relates to food, IMHO.

                        I don't think that language as it relates to food is a distraction. We'll just have to disagree on whether or not that is an appropriate discussion for CH, and clearly the mods agree with you, alanbarnes. I find such discussion interesting, as long as it doesn't get personal or insulting.

                        I should note that I've edited this because the county tornado sirens went off and I posted before I had completed my thoughts. Sirens will make me hit "enter" apparently! As to your last three sentences, alan, I think we are more in agreement than we disagree on our conclusions about these boards. I choose to take CH with a grain of salt.

                        1. re: amyzan

                          Thanks for clarifying. Other posts here seem to advocate censorship, and I attributed that position to you even though you never took it. I apologize for not reading more carefully.

                          I totally agree that discussions about language are fascinating. And I for one would be interested in a discussion about the word "kaffir" and whether it might be considered offensive when used to describe a species of citrus.

                          In my experience, the mods tend to permit broader-ranging discussions when they don't distract from a more intensely food-oriented discussion. This thread is a good example - from what I can tell it's being fairly lightly moderated. But if any of us were to start one of these discussions as a sidebar to a thread about the best XXX restaurant in YYY city, it'd be gone in a heartbeat.

                          So sometimes it isn't so much a question of appropriate or inappropriate so much as whether a certain discussion is on-topic. I love an interesting tangent as much as the next person, but am used to seeing those offshoots pruned away with some regularity. Don't take it personally.

                          Ahhh, spring in Tornado Alley. I have many fond (?) childhood memories of the whole family huddling in the closet under the stairs in our house in Tulsa...

                    3. I'm not sure I understand the moderation either. I'm okay with the words you mentioned because, sometimes, those words are how adults show their frustration or humor. I found it odd that they deleted my post that was in response to a question about double dipping. I was being honest and based my response on actual scientific research. Maybe it was because I used the word herpes? I just don't like double dipping, there! I'm not sure who they were helping by deleting that.

                      But, I do think I understand why they don't delete the words you mentioned. Now, if they did not delete the word that is usually spelled @#$!, well, that might be a bit odd.

                      Were there racial statements? I think I'd be against that too. But, not everyone realizes that some of what they say is racially charged...it might not be deliberate. I can't say because I haven't seen any racially charged statements here.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                        Potty mouth is never acceptable behavior and should definately be stricken from a food related forum! period!

                        1. re: Jeff Avis

                          "Potty mouth?" What are we 10 years old?

                          1. re: Duppie

                            If "we" can't handle adult conversations, "we" apparently are not.

                            Milk and cookies anyone?

                            1. re: linguafood

                              Alas.. none for me, I've got Potty Mouth, A bar of Dove perhaps?

                              1. re: Duppie

                                Mmmm, Dove Bars - drool (I like the dark chocolate ones best) ;-D>

                          2. re: Jeff Avis

                            I find the term "potty mouth" offensive.

                            Please replace it with "ca-ca word hole." Thank you.

                            1. re: monkeyrotica

                              But what about "monkeyrotica"? Gasp! I'm having naughty thoughts!

                            2. re: Jeff Avis

                              "Potty mouth" is a lot more disgusting a phrase than any you might use it to describe.

                          3. Well, being one of the parties guilty of writing utterances that some would find sexually referential, this is a little difficult to respond to. Re: the Kaffir reference, I've never heard it used and wouldn't have thought of it as derogatory until right now when I read it. I'm sure I'll be aware of it now, though. : ) As far as the occasional obscenity is concerned, yep, I do go there. And the great and sometimes not-so great thing about CH is that if I do go past a certain pale, other CH-ers or mods will be certain to let me know. The post will be locked, or removed, or whatever. It's not up to me. And I'll just say this: what people post about in general terms, with swearing or whatever, it's pretty okay. As far as the racial slurring, I'd be offended and be all over it, but racism and swearing are two different animals. I have certainly seen the second example here, but honestly not the first. At any rate, personal attacks here are NEVER okay. I'd call anyone out in a heartbeat for doing it. The rest? Grain-of-salt tactic. Read-and-ignore, or don't read at all.

                            63 Replies
                            1. re: mamachef

                              I agree -- I've seen a couple of questionable ethnic references, but nothing truly racist...I'm pretty sure the mods are on those pretty quickly. I'd never heard of Kaffir as anything but a leaf, either.

                              As far as obscenity, there's an old Southron (yes, Southron) saying: If you can't run with the big dawgs, keep yer ass on the porch. (i.e., you're not really going to change the tenor of the tone of the boards, but you have the option of not participating.)

                              I have to say that CHers keep it pretty above-board...the blue language is used pretty judiciously and it's usually appropriate within the context.

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                These are judgment calls. I think the Chowhound Team does a good job of making those calls. I say, let it be.

                                1. re: DPGood

                                  We're in full agreement...just for the record.

                                2. re: sunshine842

                                  i rcvd a moderator letter when i used 'dragon lady' to refer to a witchy woman who sold me a banh mi.

                                  but 'dick' and 'douche' are ' pretty judiciously used' and allowed? if i can find another word to describe a dragon lady, because it offended someone(it did and I did), why can't someone else be asked to replace 'dick' and 'douche' in a post? They are unnecessary and unprofessional. Will 'c_nt' and 'mother f_cker' be the next I will expect to see being 'judiciously used'?

                                  as to those of you who say "if you don't like it, leave" or "it is not a CH's place to contribute to CH policy", I say you are renigging on your duty to make CH the best possible dicussion/learning forum that it can be. "CH Official Policy" can change. This is not nor should it be an oligarchy. If you believe something should change, take responsibility and write the moderators and suggest said change, etc. Of course they will decide what they decide, but feedback from the community is essential, always.

                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                    Although we don't normally respond to discussion of specific moderation incidences, we do feel that reprinting the entire email we sent you about the "Dragon Lady" post is useful here, to help people understand our policies in general. Here's what we sent you:

                                    "Although we're fine to leave the reference to "Dragon Lady" in your post (we're not here to shield people from every conceivable word or phrase they may find offensive), it does seem to be distracting some hounds from the helpful elements in your post. If you'd like us to edit the phrase to something else, please let us know and we can make the change for you."

                                    We're certainly willing to make that change for any poster who posts something and later decides they'd prefer a different word choice after the editing window has passed.

                                    1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                      It does put a different spin on it, in context. I didn't know that the mods. were willing to edit post-window, and I find this to be useful information since I am certainly guilty of writing in haste and repenting on my coffee break. I did know that I could snitch myself out and have the whole thing removed (and I know it 'cause I've done it) but I didn't know you'd correct w/ changes, so thanks for that. Good to know.

                                      1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                        CH Team: so the potentially racially offensive interpretation of Opchef's tragic misspelling of 'reneging' is somehow acceptable, but comments gently correcting such usage are not? (referring to a coupla deleted comments downstream)

                                        Just asking!

                                      2. re: opinionatedchef

                                        Although I am in agreement with Alan (Is my Dickey on straight, dear?) Barnes, I'm drawn to sympathize with you for taking your stand. It is difficult to be at the edge of a groups self definition. Anything stated from borderland, always lots of roughnecking at the margins, tends to be seen as an attack on the core which evokes a less than welcoming responses.

                                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                                          that changes the context pretty significantly.

                                          You want the policy changed to what YOU want (hey, doesn't everybody?) -- but YOUR standards are not MY standards...and while there's no way that the Mods will EVER make everybody happy...it would seem from the discussion on this thread that there are a lot of other people who don't share YOUR standards.

                                          If you were at a party and people were dropping f-bombs everywhere, would you stand up and tell them all to clean up their potty mouths, or would you just quietly walk out with a mental note to think about not socializing with these people again?

                                          (and on the sliding scale of profanity, dick and douche are a long, long way from the c-word. Even *I* would flag that one.)

                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                            sunshine: "(and on the sliding scale of profanity, dick and douche are a long, long way from the c-word. Even *I* would flag that one.)"

                                            Cilantro?

                                            1. re: Jay F

                                              Yeahhhh...that's the one.

                                              Cilantro cake crackers celery cookies cashews

                                              STOPPPP!!!! MY EARS!!!!!

                                              Carlin's Seven Dirty Words, indeed. :)

                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                No, cilantro's not an obscenity on Chowhound. I think sunshine842 means Chili's.

                                              2. re: sunshine842

                                                sunshine, i do not think you argue rationally. SOMEBODY'S standards are what is represented in CH policy. It appears that you would want to flag the 'c' word but not dick and douche. Now THAT kind of response is what makes policy so difficult. My suggestion is that policy of unallowable language on CH posts should be by category, not individual word. Sexual or racist based epithets should not be allowed.Pure and simple.

                                                A party w/ people is not what CH forums are. They are directed; they are monitored/ censored. A body of CH managers/people decides what language is allowed or not allowed, per the CH Policy quote in my opening post. "Offending" posts are removed, or posters rcve letters, as I did. So whether you like it or not, CH does censor language. My 'dragon lady' usage prompted a CH monitor letter to me, based upon a complaint. But my complaints of 'dick' and 'douche' usage- prompted no such letter or pulled post. I am simply urging that the censoring policy(my phrase) be broadened to include sexual or racist based epithets. That way, I'm not going to see 'd' or 'd'; you're not going to see c_nt', and no one is going to see 'dragon lady' or 'w_p' or 'motherf_cker' etc etc etc.

                                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                  What you want is more moderation (although I am certain that there would be nothing pure or simple about trying to decide what constitutes sexual or racist epithets when it comes to language). Others here want less (or even no moderation). So it all boils down to what you want vs what I want (or what other posters want).

                                                  What I want is for the moderators to handle it as they see fit. Since there will be no complete agreement here no matter what gets decided, that's the best our poor human decision making can do. Will it always satisfy me? No. Will it always satisfy you? No. But it will usually satisfy most of the board users. And that is as close to Nirvana as we are going to come in this world.

                                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                    OC, the entire argument about what constitutes porn and offensive content has been argued ad infinitum in the legal system, and I have neither the academic qualifications nor the patience to delve into that conversation here.

                                                    It comes down to community standards...and since this is a global community, the standards are pretty loose. What's offensive to you and in your community isn't offensive and all to someone else in another community (the grocery store here played Lily Allen's "F**k You" over the PA system frequently. I'm still not offended, but it does make me pause as it's so out of sync to my ears).

                                                    I think it's pretty unanimous that racial epithets aren't welcome anywhere, and that if someone inadvertently makes one, giving them a chance to clean it up is MORE than fair. You were NOT censored in the D-L kerfuffle...it was pointed out that this might not have been the greatest choice of words, and you were given the opportunity to change it. Since it seems you didn't respond, they took the distracting post out. They didn't even tell you that your choice of words was wrong...just that it seemed to be causing a problem in the discussion. What more do you think that the mods should have done?

                                                    The mods try to find a standard that's acceptable to the majority...if that standard isn't up to yours, then it's up to you to figure out how to coexist with that. Or not.

                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                      if this were a different forum I'd 'like' ya s842

                                                  2. re: sunshine842

                                                    Haha the "c word" is just about the only swear word that still carries some weight. All the others are used so frequently they are in one ear and out the other. If I use or hear someone use the c word I know they truly deeply dislike someone. Therefore I love the word :P

                                                    All of that goes out the window when talking to a lot of british folks though. I dont think the C word carries the same weight to them as many use it frequently.

                                                    1. re: twyst

                                                      In my cirles the 2-D's and the C are not "used so frequently" and they by no means go in one ear and out the other.

                                                      All three are derogatory and carry the stigma not associated with good form and manners.

                                                      1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                        Then I assume you don't live on a city, or watch television or movies. For the majority of the population D & D are heard daily. The C word does not get thrown around lightly and I can go weeks without hearing it.

                                                        1. re: twyst

                                                          I live outside a major city, watch TV every night and go out to movies 3 times a month and watch lots on TV.

                                                          And no, I do not hear the Ds daily, maybe it is just the shows I watch since I do not watch those retched Housewives, Reality or low-brow shows that seem to permeate the cable stations.

                                                          1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                            D & D can be heard quite frequently during prime time on the major networks during the major shows.

                                                            http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/14/bus...

                                                            1. re: twyst

                                                              Thank you for the link.

                                                              Looking at the math. It was written in mid November so about 8 weeks into the season. Four major networks from 8-9 so 5 hours per night for 7 days for 8 weeks equals 280 hours. 76 incidents over 56 nights so about 1.4 per night. So one on Monday and two on Tuesday with the same pattern repeating itaself (and that includes Fox).

                                                              I would not place that in the "quite frequently" category. And it is probably on shows that I do not watch so less than non-frequently.

                                                              1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                That article is a couple of years old. The amount of usage had been doubling itself in frequency every two years so its pretty safe to assume thats its used twice as frequently now as it used to be.

                                                                100 years ago it was considered rude to say "that guy is a jerk" but now people don't even bat an eye. Language evolves over time. Its also a matter of where its used and knowing when its acceptable and when its not. Now, if Im in a retirement center or a church Im not going to say "that guy is a douche", but at a board meeting or a business luncheon? The d words would be considered mild compared to what I usually hear. Its a matter of context, and this is the internet, the most informal of any setting.

                                                          2. re: twyst

                                                            all this "D&D" talk has me picturing a bunch of Chowhounds huddled around a board game in someone's parents' basement...

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              I'm so glad I'm not the only one with that image! :)

                                                          3. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                            MANNERS! ah, the long lost concept, custom and word . sigh. i've read it purported that the anonymity of the internet -fosters certain language,tone and lack of manners
                                                            that would not be/ are not practiced in face-to-face interchanges.

                                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                              O

                                                              I think we are slowly losing the battle to keep manners and respect in society.

                                                              1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                Hesiod agreed with you. In 700 BC. Maybe you (and he) are right. But if so, the battle is being lost verrrrrry slowly.

                                                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                  I think the losing battle is increasing at an exponetial pace since the days of Hesiod.

                                                                2. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                  Just out of curiosity, I'd be interested to know if opinionatedchef and nobadfoodplz are over 60 years old. Just wondering if this is a generational thing.

                                                                    1. re: thegforceny

                                                                      I have a 5 handle to go with my love handles.

                                                                      1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                        ummm, what is a 5 handle? Is that like my fore head being so gigantic that I really have a five head? I kind of like my fore head, actually, but it is pretty high up there :)

                                                                        1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                                                                          Yeah, I had no idea what that meant either.

                                                                          1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                                                                            considering that it was a reply to the age query, i assume it means the poster is 50-something...

                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                              I kind of figured that too but the handle part threw me. And, it lead me right to my five head!

                                                                              I get it now, I think it means handle as in name, like a CB radio handle. fifty something?

                                                                        2. re: thegforceny

                                                                          *snerk* My mom is going on 65 and can drop F-bombs with impunity. And does. Regularly.

                                                                  1. re: twyst

                                                                    Great article on just this word in today's NYT magazine.

                                                                3. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                  Since others have stated that "Your standard are not MY standards," add me to your side of the discussion as My Standards ARE YOUR standards.

                                                                  I do not like the D&D inputs on the site. Since there is a list already, it is just a matter of adding dreck words onto the list.

                                                                  And the old if you do not like it go home is exactly the point of another of my posts on another thread that the exclusiveness of certain cliche is very disturbing.

                                                                  1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                    "And the old if you do not like it go home is exactly the point of another of my posts on another thread that the exclusiveness of certain cliche is very disturbing."

                                                                    I don't fully understand your logic here. If most people are OK with it, why should the majority cave to the minority? If something is so egregious to a small number of people that it makes them uncomfortable, perhaps it is in their best interest to go elsewhere. That applies almost everywhere in life, not just on the internet.

                                                                    The beauty of the internet is that no matter what your thing is, there is a group for it. Ive been a member of several forums where I was revolted by the political or religious views of the majority of the members. I simply moved on and found a place that was more my style. I don't see what the problem with that is.

                                                                    1. re: twyst

                                                                      The flip side of the positives of the internet, where one can find like minded people easily, is that we're losing the ability to have civil conflicts. It's becoming a rare skill to disagree or argue without resorting to insult and contempt. Public discourse is disappointing at best, in short. Any minority should be able to broaden a discussion without being disrespected.

                                                                      1. re: amyzan

                                                                        Well said. When a majority is not challenged by the minority, bad things occur.

                                                                      2. re: twyst

                                                                        If there is an equivalent to CH I don't know about it.** Equivalent**

                                                                        p.s. this is an individual thread, on a CH forum not frequented as much as others- BY A LOOOOONG SHOT. Peoples' opinions on this particular thread> I do not take them to reflect the CH community majority, nor should you. And the Official Policies of CH also do not necessarily reflect the CH majority because they were not derived democratically.

                                                                        1. re: twyst

                                                                          I think nobad meant cliques.

                                                                          When these 'appropriateness' issues arise I see two camps: lovers and users of nuanced and descriptive language and those who take offence at the inoffensive.

                                                                          Guessing this thread gets lock pdq and/or that this post gets trimmed.

                                                                          1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                            Thanks MM. Sometimes cliques are based on cliches.

                                                                          2. re: twyst

                                                                            T

                                                                            I guess it is the pull vs the push. Of course everyone makes the choice of where to live, what to read, who to date, etc. But it reminds me of days of yore when certain people were told to go elsewhere vs my decision on where to live.

                                                                            When I start reading a post where the primary purpose is to shock with foul language I just hit the Pg Dn key.

                                                                            But as a community we should discuss the ground rules and then CBS makes the decision and then we make the decision. But when posters tell others to pound sand, it is disturbing.

                                                                            1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                              <When I start reading a post where the primary purpose is to shock with foul language I just hit the Pg Dn key.>

                                                                              I have read Chowhound pretty thoroughly for years, and I can't recall ever seeing such a post. Can you provide a link to an example? Maybe some of the regional boards I don't frequent are rife with shocking-ness. Thanks in advance.

                                                                                1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                                  Those posts are asking legitimate questions. The language used may be shocking (to you), but the primary purpose isn't to shock with foul language, it's to get information.

                                                                                  1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                                    Just out of curiosity, do you know what someone means when they say something is "douchey" or are you still associating the word with its original meaning?

                                                                                    1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                                      I'm not getting the "primary purpose is to shock" vibe at all. But I am getting a "primary purpose is to ask a question using language that is easily understandable to the average reader" vibe. And I'm well familiar with the second thread - I contributed to it. With helpfulness!

                                                                                      1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                                        you find the phrase "a-hole" shocking? holy fuck.

                                                                                        1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                                          Stop press.

                                                                                          The last post on the first link you mention was made in early September 2010.
                                                                                          The last post on the second link you mention was made in mid-May of 2010 -- a full year ago.

                                                                                          Your first post on Chowhound was in April 2011 -- six months AFTER either of those threads went dormant. Are you actually searching out the usage of words you might possibly object to?

                                                                                          I agree with you wholeheartedly that CH can be a tough crowd, especially when you first get started. But dude -- you can't really complain about getting darts thrown at your head when you buy everybody a set of darts and paint a fucking bullseye on your forehead! (a quite amusing corollary to 'if you don't wanna get hit by the train, don't stand in the middle of the tracks!')

                                                                            2. re: mamachef

                                                                              Mamachef, on "kaffir," I don't think it's largely considered a slur in the US. But, people here at CH have all kinds of backgrounds, and many have lived and worked all over the globe. My stepmother was raised in post colonial India, which may have influenced my usage. I was unaware of the discussion on "dragon lady," but it's a similar issue, I think. I want to reiterate I wasn't trying to get posts removed. I merely posted trying to get a discussion started on how that plant got "kaffir" attached to it, and suggesting other terms that had been mentioned in I think it was one of Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid's books. (It's been a while, i could have the book wrong.) But, apparently, the mods thought my post was inappropriate, which I found a quirky bit of irony. So be it.

                                                                              1. re: amyzan

                                                                                amyzan, none of my post was pointed your way at all, and I do thank you for the information. I didn't even stop to consider that you may or may not have been trying to have something removed. Wasn't going there atall. : ) And re the regionalisms, you are more than right; things frequently mean something entirely different to another culture, as I found out when I made the "A-ok" sign at an Italian butcher. Bad move.

                                                                                1. re: amyzan

                                                                                  FWIW, a similar issue has come up on gardening forums and in magazines. I think it's good to know how words are perceived in different contexts.

                                                                                  "The Kaffir Lily is an undemanding and easy-to-grow bulb. While it is generally a slow grower, the plant will eventually become quite large, reaching around 2 feet tall. Native to South Africa and belonging to the genus Clivia, Kaffir Lily was named after Lady Charlotte Florentina Clive, Duchess of Northumberland, and granddaughter of Robert Clive of India.

                                                                                  Some other common names for Kaffir lilies include Bush Lily, St John’s Lily, and Fire Lily. Clivias enjoy much more popularity in Europe, Japan, China, and Australia, where they are commonly known as the “Queen of Houseplants.” Clivia miniata is the most commonly found Kaffir lily in cultivation within the U.S."

                                                                                  A word of caution, in many parts of Africa (especially South Africa), the term “Kaffir” is considered extremely offensive, used to denote people of African origin."

                                                                                  1. re: Glencora

                                                                                    okay...accepted.

                                                                                    But I don't see how something like this could earn a viable place on a food thread other than "be careful how you use the word as it can be a derogatory term for people of African origin."

                                                                                    That's it...if your post (which I didn't see) went too far beyond that, my guess would be that it was taken down for being off-topic rather than offensive.

                                                                                    1. re: Glencora

                                                                                      As I was reading the posts, I was thinking to myself that I don't know of any Americans who find "kaffir" offensive. The only people I ever knew who knew of that " bad" word were my South African friends. Indeed it is as bad there as the "n-word" is here in the US. But in this context, I would think the word only applies to food related things- such as kaffir lime. On a food/dining website, why would it be issue?

                                                                                      1. re: MRS

                                                                                        On a food/dining website, why would it be issue?

                                                                                        Because we are on the web. The planet is getting smaller in a sense. BTW, in parts of India, "kaffir" is a derogatory term on par with the n word in the US. It's rarely a bad thing to become aware of other people's culture, even as it relates to food.

                                                                                        1. re: amyzan

                                                                                          My point was that food or food related topics should be the only reason one would use the word" kaffir", b/c it is a derogatory word in other cultures. I didn't articulate it in writing as well as I had in my head.

                                                                                          1. re: MRS

                                                                                            As for mildly offensive terms; some resided in official names for animal, plants, etc. I am sure any Florida fisherperson can tell you about the "official" change of a grouper formerly known as a Jewfish until 2000, The Atlantic Goliath Grouper or itajara (Epinephelus itajara) is a large saltwater fish of the grouper family. It is commonly known as the jewfish; however, in 2001 the Committee on Names of Fishes, a seven-member joint committee of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists and the American Fisheries Society made the decision to change the name to "goliath grouper". Genus Epinephelus also includes the Pacific goliath grouper.

                                                                                            1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                              well I'll be damned if I DON'T learn something new every day, shit yeah. (I'll have to research why the hell it was ever called that in the first place, fuck yeah)

                                                                                            2. re: MRS

                                                                                              btw, there is a thread on(finding) kaffir lime leaves, currently on the Boston board.

                                                                                  2. What about Chow articles like "You’re Lame If You Use Briquettes"? Aren't they potentially offensive to the less-abled?

                                                                                    http://www.chow.com/food-news/45273/g...

                                                                                    1. Folks, our policy on offensive language is pretty clear.

                                                                                      It seems like everything there is to be said on this subject has already been said, and now the conversation is just going in circles, and growing increasingly unfriendly. We're going to lock it now.