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IS "MURZYN" word RACIST?


JonnyM 12 | 2,627    
12 Mar 2012  #181
Nothing sudden about it. And easier to feel decent if language works towards that not against it. Al living languages are always changing so let them change for the better rather than allow whinging about 'perfectly good words' to cloak some of the less desirable attitudes of the past.
gumishu 11 | 4,850    
13 Mar 2012  #182
What isn't derogatory about associating a group of people with basic grunt work. If you disagree, why not propose that factories should henceforth refer to workers doing the most basic, repetitive unskilled jobs as 'Poles'. Would you consider that derogatory or not?

Come to think of it.......

you are just simply oversensitive - murzyn in a figurative meaning is not derogatory either, the point of the criticism in the word is towards those who use those murzyni

(like in a saying - Im się chyba wydaje że sobie murzyna znaleźli. They probably think they have found some slave for the job.)
JonnyM 12 | 2,627    
13 Mar 2012  #183
the point of the criticism in the word is towards those who use those murzyni

This is the point really. When I used to do factory work back in the eighties, the crappest job in the factory was always called the 'Irish job'. A similarity in many ways.
grubas 12 | 1,392    
13 Mar 2012  #184
the point of the criticism in the word is towards those who use those murzyni

No it's not.Murzyn or murzyni may sound a bit offensive to Africans when used in Sto lat za murzynami indicating low (lowest) level of development or zapierdalam jak biały murzyn as clearly nobody wants to be biały murzyn.
Ironside 47 | 9,261    
13 Mar 2012  #185
Nothing sudden about it. And easier to feel decent if language works towards that not against it. Al living languages are always changing so let them change for the better rather than allow whinging about 'perfectly good words' to cloak some of the less desirable attitudes of the past.

In short I see it as a social engineering. :)To really change people attitude there is no need to change words. Changing words according to one given measure is a manipulation.

I agree that it is easer to manipulate or trick people into something than fundamentally change their attitude/mind.
One may say - whats the difference if the final result is the same.
It is not ! You can manipulate people into some kind of behavioral pattern but it is not a real change.
polishmama 3 | 280    
13 Mar 2012  #186
you are just simply oversensitive - murzyn in a figurative meaning is not derogatory either, the point of the criticism in the word is towards those who use those murzyni(like in a saying - Im się chyba wydaje że sobie murzyna znaleźli. They probably think they have found some slave for the job.)

Why would it be appropriate to use a word in the figurative sense only if it is used in singular form, but if used in plural form, it's inappropriate? That makes absolutely no sense. I'm going to conclude that, given certain points made on this thread, I will henceforth make a conscientious effort to no longer use the word as it seems to be offensive.
gumishu 11 | 4,850    
13 Mar 2012  #187
Why would it be appropriate to use a word in the figurative sense only if it is used in singular form, but if used in plural form, it's inappropriate?

who said inapriopriate in plural - Poles say often about themselves : 'Białych murzynów z nas zrobili' - They made white slaves of us. (slave is just the most appriopriate translation into English and not a literal one)

No it's not.Murzyn or murzyni may sound a bit offensive to Africans when used in Sto lat za murzynami indicating low (lowest) level of development or zapierdalam jak biały murzyn as clearly nobody wants to be biały murzyn.

but it doesn't make a word murzyn dismissive even not to say derogatory - it just comes from the observation black Africans were backward

gumishu:
the point of the criticism in the word is towards those who use those murzyni

This is the point really. When I used to do factory work back in the eighties, the crappest job in the factory was always called the 'Irish job'. A similarity in many ways.

one big difference is there were no actual 'murzyns' black people doing those 'Irish jobs' in Poland- and in Polish also it bears a connotation that ;murzyn is a over-exploited (slaved) with no hint to their inferiorness or lower capabilities - as I said figurative meaning of 'murzyn' has a definite point of criticism toward those who are using the 'murzyn's' work
JonnyM 12 | 2,627    
13 Mar 2012  #188
one big difference is there were no actual 'murzyns' doing those 'Irish jobs' in Poland

No difference at all. The phrase is still used.

it bears a connotation that ;murzyn is a over-exploited (slaved) with no hint to their inferiorness or lower capabilities

Nonsense and double nonsense!

as I said figurative meaning of 'murzyn' has a definite point of criticism toward those who are using the 'murzyn's' work

Which proves my point perfectly. That it is a word with no positive connotations.
polishmama 3 | 280    
13 Mar 2012  #189
who said inapriopriate in plural

Then I'm simply not understanding anything that you wrote, it seems.
gumishu 11 | 4,850    
13 Mar 2012  #190
JonnyM

ok, suit yourselves - after all you know some Polish - (I doubt you can get humour from Polish cabaret shows, but hey nobody's perfect - to put it straight I meant who are you to judge what connotations verbs and phrases have in Polish with your level of Polish)
JonnyM 12 | 2,627    
13 Mar 2012  #191
after all you know some Polish

More than some, thank you very much.

I doubt you can get humour from Polish cabaret shows

There would actually have to be some humour in the first place, beyond slapstick and hackneyed political satire.

who are you to judge what connotations verbs and phrases have in Polish with your level of Polish

Now what would you know about either my level of either Polish or any other language as well as my ability to feel a nuance in that language?

After all, if you think the word 'murzyn' is inherently positive you can't be a very good judge of language, can you?
gumishu 11 | 4,850    
13 Mar 2012  #192
gumishu:
I doubt you can get humour from Polish cabaret shows

There would actually have to be some humour in the first place, beyond slapstick and hackneyed political satire.

so you just simply don't get Polish humour and are being defensive about it on top of that

we'll make some test? OK? - it;s a test on your knowledge of Polish more than your sense of humour to be sure : ...

After all, if you think the word 'murzyn' is inherently positive you can't be a very good judge of language, can you?

I never said 'murzyn' is some superlative - it's a regular neutral word in the literal meaning and not in the slightest derogatory, or dismissive for someone who is called 'murzyn' figuratively (at least by those who are on the same level - perhaps those 'murzyn' exploiters use it in dismissive ways)
Ironside 47 | 9,261    
13 Mar 2012  #193
Unless of curse you are interested in changing people's attitude and not in herding them into a path of your choosing.
:)
JonnyM 12 | 2,627    
13 Mar 2012  #194
Or simply using language as positively as possible, to affirm not condemn.

And no 'Gumishu' the word murzyn is not neutral, especially with the connotations you describe.
gumishu 11 | 4,850    
13 Mar 2012  #195
And no 'Gumishu' the word murzyn is not neutral, especially with the connotations you describe.

said an English guy, who can;t follow a Polish cabaret sketch (so he tell's it is not funny - yeah sure those bloody Poles don't have a pinch of sense of humour - 90 per cent of Poles laugh their heads of watching the sketch) - you sure have studied Polish philology, haven't you? or just transplanting your perceptions of the word negro to the word murzyn, huh?

first of all 'murzyn' is not racist
JonnyM 12 | 2,627    
13 Mar 2012  #196
Actually I haven't watched your link, since the staff at Starbuck's in pl. Trzy Krzyzy might not appreciate it competing with their background music, though you may sleep safely in your bed knowing I've seen enough live to know how weak it generally is.

However you are trying to sidetrack since your examples of usage of the word murzyn clearly show that it is far from being complementary - and for that reason it is best avoided.

I'm surprised you haven't used the expression 'PC Brigade'!
gumishu 11 | 4,850    
13 Mar 2012  #197
I'm surprised you haven't used the expression 'PC Brigade'!

it's because I like to talk matter not call names - and I still am of an opinion you are not in a position to judge on more or less subtle connotations of words used in Polish especially in their figurative meanings - btw there are no good replacements for murzyn in Polish language especially for colloquial language
JonnyM 12 | 2,627    
13 Mar 2012  #198
And that's so much of the issue - colloquial words describing races or distinct groups of people are rarely positive. As far as judging nuances is concerned, the examples you gave are so obvious that there is no great subtlety involved.
dojuan - | 9    
13 Mar 2012  #199
My friend told me, that this word is rather friendly :)
polishmama 3 | 280    
13 Mar 2012  #200
Just because a word has not yet been invented, doesn't mean that the word used is OK. For example, in American history, what was a black man called for a shamefully long time? The "N" word or a varient of it, Negro. The terms African American and Black person were later created and are considered the acceptable terms. I hold faith in Polish people that they, too, will find a replacement word for Murzyn which is deemed acceptable.

I really wish a linguistics expert were here regarding this.
gumishu 11 | 4,850    
13 Mar 2012  #201
I really wish a linguistics expert were here regarding this.

I think why black people in Poland (I would think only those who were not born here into the Polish language) don't want to be called Murzyn/Murzynka (or find it derogatory) is the dictionary tranlastion they can find of the word (which is I guess negro) - in all truth Polish Murzyn doesn't have any derogatory or dismissive connotations of English 'negro' - it just leads to misunderstandings - while Polish people mean no harm, no scorn and no belittling using words Murzyn and Murzynka, Black people still think they are slighted
isthatu2 4 | 2,710    
13 Mar 2012  #202
yes,but Mama, the " N" word was not a "hate " word in its day was it? It was turned into one later. And the N word is just a Southern pronunciation of negro....or was,now its obviously been twisted as a term of abuse.

Negro is simply Spanish for black, suddenly using the English term for ,erm,black ,was that really an improvement ?
Its still technically as wrong as calling us "white" people white rather than caucasian( but some smart arse will tell us thats greek for white lol) "black " people are brown......

Its all a bit silly really, most of the harm is in intent rather than the word itself.

Edit, guessing Murzyn comes from Moor? ie, Black a Moor ...
polishmama 3 | 280    
13 Mar 2012  #203
Some interesting points made.

OK, let's say the term Murzyn is not racist. That those who are creating the dictionary translations are people who have a poor grasp of both the English and Polish languages (or have some sort of agenda for doing this, or even, perhaps just copying and pasting from the same answer). In that case, one of two things need to be done. Either linguistics experts orchestrate a correction of this and clear the air once and for all. Or the word is deemed racist and we use a different word from now on.

Side note: There are some who want to portray Poles as being a racist people, perhaps to rewrite history or to keep political ties with other nations strained. In my opinion, to rewrite history since there were some who published books and presented themselves as sociological and historical experts in an attempt to rewrite history, as early as during WWII. That effort to rewrite history has not yet ended. Examples: Particular newspapers continually using the term "Polish concentration camp". I don't feel like going into detail about that as it's off-topic.

Also, the term Caucasian is not really being used anymore since Blumenbach's term was deemed as not quite correct.
straightdope.com/columns/read/2041/why-do-we-say-caucasian-to-mean-a-person-of-european-ancestry

Regarding America's use of the "N" word and Negro, my own glances around linguistics history books & sites have shown that it was offensive as early as the 1800's. When America was developing her own version of English. And when we were using blacks as slaves.

I found a book about it called A Little Book about Racism ("Mała książka o rasizmie") by Mamadou Diouf, which might prove to be an interesting read.

Last point, regarding the dictionary translations of Muczyn. Some come up, not with Negro or a version of that, but with Blackamoor, which from what I see in the definitions, is considered offensive.
modafinil - | 421    
13 Mar 2012  #204
Last point, regarding the dictionary translations of Muczyn. Some come up, not with Negro or a version of that, but with Blackamoor, which from what I see in the definitions, is considered offensive.

The omnipotent Google Translate also gives translations that have more derogatory connotations than not. I partly agree with Ironside on #182 if he meant that racism is a lot more than name calling.
zenn    
19 Oct 2012  #205
Murzyn is definitly NOT rasist. Professors Bralczyk and Miodek agree with it. It has neutral mening in Polish. You can check it by making phrases like: "dobry (good) Murzyn", "miły (nice) Murzyn" etc. It doesn't sound strange (like eg. "dobry (good) nazi" sound strange becuse "nazi" has negative meaning. Murzyn is from Maur that is from Spanish "Moro". In literature there are are lot of examples that "Maur" has a positive meaning. There were no black slaves in Poland nor Poland had colonies in Africa, so Murzyn was brought from Maur->Moro (Moros are noble and brave in literature). Only politically correct idiots (who are very often rasists trying to hide their real thoughts) say that "Murzyn" is negative. They try to copy Americans so they say that everybody should say "Afroamerican".

So, you can say "Murzyn" or "Czarny" and it is no offense. Offensive words are "czarnuch", "asfalt", "brudas".
pip 11 | 1,660    
19 Oct 2012  #206
it is offensive. and it is always said in an offensive manner by uneducated idiots. it is a name- used to describe a black person much like any offensive east indian, asian or other gypsy words. It is a word used to describe the colour of skin.

There is nothing wrong with saying "black".

so what if the word comes from spain. it is still offensive. and it is always said when describing a black person in a negative light. Much like Polak is used when describing stupid Polish people who live abroad.

and it is stuff like this that will always keep Poland as Europe B. Thinking this word is ok is wrong.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837    
19 Oct 2012  #207
It is a word used to describe the colour of skin.

There is nothing wrong with saying "black".

Haven't you just contradicted yourself there a little bit?

Also, "murzyn" originally describes a place of origin (Maghreb), not skin colour.
grubas*    
19 Oct 2012  #208
Oh, so now we have a Canadian lecturing us about nuances of Polish language?Get out of here pip and try to stick to topics you actually have any clue about.

There is nothing wrong with saying "black".

Ok you say "black" but I will stick to "murzyn" if you don't mind too much as "black" is surely not a Polish word.

Black people still think they are slighted

You got it right.Blacks suffer from a very deep inferiority complex.I mean if I call black a n i g g e r he will be freaking out but when a black calls me a cracker or a honky it doesn't upset me at all and I don't feel offended.I am just like "Yeah,whatever".Seriously it doesn't offend me a bit.
pip 11 | 1,660    
19 Oct 2012  #209
Haven't you just contradicted yourself there a little bit?

no I haven't because not all blacks come from the same location. I have a Jamaican friend in Canada- when the whole "african american' thing came about we were chatting. I asked her point blank- do you want to be called african american or african canadian--she said no. She is Jamaican. Black will do.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837    
19 Oct 2012  #210
"Czarny" sounds much more racist in Polish than "murzyn", which is absolutely neutral. Murzyn is an old word, filtered through Latin and Spanish, and simply means "coming from Maghreb", which of course is an anachronism, but because most people don't even know about this etymology, it's no big deal.



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