On Tuesday, we will be doing an activity with our students to help them frame the concepts of subtle pervasive prejudice and how it affects their educational opportunities a la the achievement gap, etc. We will also be discussing institutional racism in concrete terms.

Traditionally all of our students have been black, and the activity re: covert prejudicial terms centers around the word black. One of the two students doing this project(a short film about the gap et al.) is Spaniard and Venezuelan. I would like to incorporate Latino and Native American centered terms to make the lesson more poignant for the group as a whole.

I need help coming up with terms. why? Because of my own awareness growing up and my ethnic heritage(s) I have culled most of them from my vernacular and can’t bring them up right now. I will be googling terms, but thought I would ask you this question:

Please tell me a few words, that people use in everyday conversation, that are perceived or actual derogatory terms referring to Black cultures, Native American cultures and/ or Latino cultures? Tell me why it is offensive to you.

Ex: a term of this type used by people casually, often unaware of the origins would be the word “savages” in a sentence like: “The kids in my classroom were acting like savages. They were out of control.”

These terms do not always offend everyone, but often they have origins in a dominant segment of the community attempting to hold down/defame/shame another.

Tags: , , , , ,

10 Comments on Most Insideous Racial Terminology

  1. nebris says:


    I believe that the main thing to address here is that genetically there No Such Thing as Race. You, my dear, are living proof of that.

    However, ‘fear of The Other’ IS genetic. Babies have automatic fear reactions to faces that do not resemble those of their families etc.

    That’s the Cosmic Joke; Race is an genetic illusion, but Racism is genetic trait. lol


    • B.E.M. says:

      Re: Xenophobia


      babysteps darlin’…babysteps. These are middle school kids. The lesson is to prepare them for the discussion of prejudice.

      The context in which I am even addressing the concepts is in regards to education. I could talk all day about race being a concept created by the “master race” to keep us down, but their reality includes racial categories. That’s a much harder egg to crack. They are not psychologically able, at their ages(12 &13) able to process something that so potentially catastrophic to their worldview.

      • nebris says:


        I understand that…and yet if the roots are not pulled out, the plant will always grow back.

        Maybe you can begin to sneak the No Race message in slowly simply by discussing your own history.


      • nebris says:

        Re: Xenophobia

        Maybe you should bring me in to give my Oppressor Class lecture. lol


        • B.E.M. says:

          Re: Xenophobia

          *lol* EEK!

          • nebris says:

            Oppressor Class lecture

            I think it would quite salutary for them to hear these things from a truly radical, un-white guilted, White Male product of the Oppressor Class and besides, I put on a damn fine show. =)


  2. nebris says:


    The funny thing is when I re-read that word, I thought of my own Celtic ancestors, screaming, naked and painted blue, rolling logs with the sharped branches, their tips poisoned, down upon Roman legionaries…and feel that to be a Good Thing.

    The cultural perspective of The Ruling Class determines the value of all words.


  3. Anonymous says:

    web link

    a web link I used for a report on such a topic as this in college


Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge