[LMB] Barrayaran cultural slurs - was "Maroon"

Gramina gramina at yahoo.com
Tue, 9 Apr 2002 11:14:11 -0700 (PDT)


Susan Profit <tinne at eskimo.com> wrote of the term
"maroon":
> It is a word used in the former French Colonies for
> mixed blood slaves... The prevailing attitude was >
that they were generally less intelligent [etc.], >
thus  "What a Maroon!" is a racist slam. 

This would probably explain where quadroon and
octaroon came from, too, yes?
 
> When Bugs Bunny cartoons started using the term, a >
lot of terms denoting racial heritage were in common >
use. This one may be getting past a lot of modern >
folks because it wasn't a term commonly used in the >
States. 

I hadn't thought of it before, but in trying to write
about a culture like Barrayar, in which there seems to
be quite a bit of prejudice (against Komarrans,
minority heritages like the "greekies", and the
physically variant<wry<g>>), it would be a challenge
to come up with terms that are recognizably
denigrating and yet seem natural to the culture.

I didn't recognize "maroon" as anything but a
mispronunciation of "moron" -- because I lacked that
context.  I wonder if there are similar things I'm
missing in fiction -- Bujold's and others -- because I
don't know enough to recognize an insult when I read
one.  (Though I suppose it makes for a more peaceful
life<s>.)

The only specific epithets I can recall being used by
Barrayarans are "greekie" and "mutie" -- both those
being recognizable insults because I interpret the
"-ie" ending as a dismissive diminutive.  But that's
culturally based too, and there are probably people
who would *not* understand those to be insulting,
except from context.

What other ways do we "build" epithets?  Given the mix
of cultures and languages on Barrayar, how might
*they* build epithets?

Anyone have any thoughts?

Peace be!

--Michele
p.s. I'm really, *really* enjoying this list, partly
because so many people here clearly know so much more
than I do about so many interesting things -- !

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