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Justin Timberlake found himself the target of widespread Twitter outrage this weekend when he allegedly sent Madonna a birthday tweet calling her his "mother chucking ninja." Followers quickly pounced on him for his use of the phrase, which is sometimes understood as an alternate way of saying "mother f---ing n---a."
To me, it's more about intent, then the word itself. So I guess if you use the word as it was originally intended (Japanese assassin), then no problem, but if you are using it specifically to get away with saying "ni**a", then that is what is upsetting these people?
If, however, Timberlake used it towards a black guy, and the obvious intent was to insult them by using ninja as a code word for ni**a, then maybe I could see someone being upset by it.
Maybe it's kinda like the word trash. When that word is used for actual garbage that goes to the dump, no problem. But when you use the word to describe certain kinds of people, it can be used as an insult to someone. Words with innocent original meanings that have been hijacked to mean something else entirely.
Thought number two. Why talk about juries? Are we at the stage where, if you insult someone, you should go to jail?
I can think of words that are treated as justification for violence in most circles. Words against Blacks, and Muslims are obvious to almost everyone. There is society wide disgust for words against women. Are there any words which can be used against White men that society completely rejects and are justification for violence? Are they any that apply to White males? If not, why not?
Are White males supposed to be able to control themselves from flying into violent rages, while Blacks and women are not? Is White males the one group that isn't hated by anybody?
You mention that it should be OK if we use the words in their original meanings. What do you think would happen if I wore a T-Shirt with the message "Let's put all the faggots in a pile and get some gasoline and a match?" Who could ever prove what my intent was? How would my intent be "Obvious?"
You mention the word "trash." Assume I'm walking by a trailer home with 6 adult men and women sitting around a beer cooler. At my end of the trailer home, there are bags of trash which have been torn open and have begun to rot. As I walk by, I say "Man, that's some of the worst trash I've ever seen." Assuming that I survive the beating, how is my intent obvious.
Finally, why is it so terrible to insult people? There are many who deserve it. There are some who should be insulted as a matter of pride and honor.