Graduation Year

2024

Date of Submission

12-2024

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Philosophy

Reader 1

Rima Basu

Rights Information

© 2023 John H Cho

Abstract

When we encounter hateful uses of language and slurs, some cases may be easy to identify as offensive and morally wrong. However, other contemporary cases seem to be more complicated than previously blatant uses of slurs. Specifically, with the integration of humor and other external motivations, our understanding of how slurs derogate their targets is significantly blurred. Additionally, as slurs become increasingly more taboo, some individuals are finding ways to maneuver around the social norms surrounding the use of slurs. In doing so, they attempt to cleverly avoid facing social repercussions that come with the harmful use of slurs, creating an endless list of complicated cases. Consequently, when we encounter these complicated cases in our day-to-day lives, it becomes harder to decipher why we may still feel hurt and make sense of what slurs mean. Given these uncertainties, this thesis attempts to clearly capture some of these complicated cases. It is important to note, however, that the scope of this thesis is not to determine whether certain slurs are good/bad nor to give a holistic account of slurs. Rather, in light of the complicated cases, this thesis proposes additional considerations to keep in mind when trying to better understand the meaning and offensiveness of slurs.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.

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