33

In the question

How does reporting to muggle Prime Minister not violate International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy?

I used the word mudblood.

This was later changed to muggle-born (with edit Summary: changed an objectionable word).

What was wrong with me using "mudblood", which is only offensive in-universe?

  • 3
    It's just the opinion of one editor and two reviewers. I don't think changing it back would be an issue. – SQB Jul 18 '17 at 10:58
  • 25
    I mean, it seems a bit odd to want to use an in-universe slur, rather than a correct in-universe term. Are you going to refer to centaurs as "filthy half-breeds," too? – Adamant Jul 18 '17 at 11:03
  • 6
    @Adamant filthy and half-breed both are not nice word in real world. Grab an example if that word is truly fictional which doesn't exist in real world dictionary. – S S Jul 18 '17 at 11:12
  • 1
    It just seems odd to use it. – Adamant Jul 18 '17 at 11:22
  • 5
    @SachinStark why muggle-born is improper? – witchy Jul 18 '17 at 13:37
  • 16
    @SachinStark "Mudblood" is a slur; "Muggle-born" is definitely a proper term. Why is it important to you to use the slur? This is really weird. – MissMonicaE Jul 18 '17 at 14:20
  • 11
    'Normally,’ said Snape. ‘But you’re Muggle-born, so someone from the school will have to come and explain to your parents.’ Lily's letter from Hogwarts, from Deathly Hallows – Longshanks Jul 18 '17 at 16:09
  • 10
    muggle-born is used all over the place in the novels – NKCampbell Jul 19 '17 at 16:17
  • 6
    I think if "Mudblood" is part of a direct quote from one of the Potter books than it should be allowed. I personally think it is absurd to apply the Be Nice policy to "Mudblood", which is a fictional word. Yes, there is an alternative -- "Muggleborn", another fictional word -- but flagging a post for "Mudblood" seems rather unnecessary. The application and context of "Mudblood" is not incorrect. – Slytherincess Jul 23 '17 at 19:17
  • 2
    Does this mean we should call Voldemort he who must not be named instead of The Dark Lord because that's what the death eaters call him? – user13267 Jul 24 '17 at 2:10
  • 2
    Wow. I must say that this is all rather trippy, folks. I'm going out on a limb to say that this word is quite an interesting slur because nobody here, or anywhere on this spatial planet, is eligible to be a ‘pure blood’, much less a ‘mudblood’ or ‘muggle’. I guess it is all in the connotation. (Warning: Link is to Perry Bible Fellowship) – can-ned_food Jul 24 '17 at 12:07
  • 4
    “Mudblood” is frakking offensive dude. – Paul D. Waite Jul 25 '17 at 7:57
  • 4
    Also: "Muggle-Born" is not only a more precise term than "mudblood", "halfblood", etc., but it's used many times in canon. Even after Voldy seizes control of the MoM, he orders the setting up of the "Muggle-Born Registration Commission" (and not the "Mudblood Registration Commission", which he very well could've done at that point). It seems even Death Eaters want to maintain a facade of propriety. Perhaps you should as well. – Deepak Jul 28 '17 at 3:25
  • 5
    Holy crap, even I think this is political correctness run completely off the rails. – barbecue Sep 19 '17 at 1:28
  • 7
    Interestingly, since words like "muggle" and "squib" are used by the main characters, nobody minds their use on here - even though a minimal amount of thought would suggest hat calling a magically handicapped wizard a name like "squib" is probably rather hurtful. But since we're not told to be offended by them, we don't question it. An excellent illustration of the way slurs often work in real life. – Misha R Dec 3 '17 at 23:30
14

'Mudblood' is used in the books quite a lot, mostly by characters who define themselves as blood purists. It is a word used by characters who hold a certain set of opinions about the importance of the purity of magic blood, so if you're neutral on the subject, better use 'muggle-born' else you'll probably confuse people who read your question.

Clarity above niceties

There are, however, cases when you probably should use the infamous and oh-so-nasty M-word, even risking to offend the muggle-born wizards amongst us:

  • When you're interested in said word's etymology, usage etc.

  • when you're quoting from the books or book-related material (for example: Why did Draco call Harriett Potter 'my cute little mudblood'?)

  • if you really, really want to use it.

  • 5
    If you are doing an analysis or a research paper, perhaps this perspective could be considered valid. But since we are not, as a rule in the business of using slurs, even ones created in fictional universes, it is probably best to err on the side of caution. "Clarity above niceties" may be an interesting perspective but here we prefer "Civility First." There are too many of us who recognize the power of cultural defamation and the use hits home even if it is "just a made up term." Intent matters. – Thaddeus Howze Jul 18 '17 at 23:20
  • 2
    @ThaddeusHowze - I don't think they're really disagreeing with you (despite the header). They're saying it doesn't make sense to use fictional slurs/insults except in discussion of etymology or direct quotes. – Adamant Jul 19 '17 at 4:20
  • 1
    The answer says it doesn't make sense to use except in discussion of etymology or direct quotes, or "if you really, really want to use it." – phantom42 Jul 19 '17 at 12:03
  • 1
    There are a few words I would really, really want to use but I won't for the sake of "niceties". – Skooba Jul 19 '17 at 12:59
  • @phantom42 - Ah, my mistake. I thought that was a footnote to the preceding two points. – Adamant Jul 19 '17 at 18:49
  • 8
    It has nothing to do with niceness or civility, of course. The word does not actually describe the condition of the object: it describes the attitude of the speaker or writer employing the word. That is — or should be — the only condition which qualifies a word as a ‘slur’. Excepting the ultimate line, that is what this proposal says. – can-ned_food Jul 25 '17 at 9:47
13

Even though it is a made up word, it does not follow the Be Nice policy. This policy also applies to public figures.

In specific I think this hits the nail on the head:

Don't be a jerk. These are just a few examples. If you see them, flag them:

  • Name-calling. Focus on the post, not the person. That includes terms that feel personal even when they're applied to posts (like "lazy", "ignorant", or "whiny").
  • Bigotry of any kind. Language likely to offend or alienate individuals or groups based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. will not be tolerated. At all. (Those are just a few examples; when in doubt, just don't.)

Even though they are fictional, you are name-calling and using language designed to offend. You know this because you know what the word means in-universe and are specifically asking for "permission" to use it ...

When in doubt, just don't.

  • 8
    Noting that the word has much the same in-universe connotations as the n-word. – Valorum Jul 18 '17 at 17:20
  • 3
    What do "public figures" have to do with it? Also could the OP actually be in danger of being flagged for violating Be Nice? Because that wasn't implied by Dheeraj's edit. I also don't see where they're asking for permission to use a term. – Z. Cochrane Jul 19 '17 at 11:31
  • @zabeus - 1) There is an author who wrote the books and actors who portrayed the characters. It wouldn't be nice to direct this fictional slur toward them. - 2) The edit may not have stated that danger, but the OP is admitting this is an "objectionable" and "offensive" word. - 3) Yes, the OP is asking permission for the term to stay in the post. – Skooba Jul 19 '17 at 13:08
  • 5
    I don't see the OP "admitting" anything or asking for permission. I think it's a reasonable question any of us might ask about an edit, but your answer seems to be answering a different hypothetical question. (insulting JKR has nothing to do with it...) – Z. Cochrane Jul 19 '17 at 13:35
  • 2
    @zabeus The OP admitted that the word is offensive in-universe; it is the whole crux of the question. They are also asking "why can't I", so they want to use the word, but are seeking consensus before they reverse the edit. – Skooba Jul 19 '17 at 13:41
  • 7
    Meh, to me "offensive in-universe" is identical to "not offensive", but I agree it would be better not to use the term here now that a consensus is forming. I just hope any previous in-context uses of fictional terms aren't considered in violation of "Be Nice". – Z. Cochrane Jul 19 '17 at 13:44
  • 3
    @zabeus I agree, for me "offensive in-universe" made up words or phrases can't be considered in the same way as real world offensive language. No-one can claim to be offended by the made up phrase "mudblood" and expect to be taken seriously. I was reading an old 50s sci fi novel the other day which used the term "Connies" (for "Confederated Alliance" or something like that) in a pejorative way, much the same as "Commies" was used about Soviets in the real world. By the same logic as above, this word should also be stricken from any post I might make in regard to this novel. – Nathan Griffiths Jul 24 '17 at 9:22
  • 2
    The Be Nice policy is intended for actual people. As there are no real wizards or witches, there are no mudbloods either. Getting offended on behalf of another race is bad enough, but getting offended on behalf of a fictional person? It makes no sense. – forest Mar 15 '18 at 5:01

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .