Ways to Spend Your Privilege #25
If your income and job are secure, don’t try to get out of jury service. People of conscience who willingly serve on juries are very, very important, especially because juries are usually making judgments about the fates of people with a lot less power and privilege than the jurors themselves have.
Indeed, the data presented here confirm that dude is an address term that is used mostly by young men to address other young men; however, its use has expanded so that it is now used as a general address term for a group (same or mixed gender), and by and to women. Dude is developing into a discourse marker that need not identify an addressee, but more generally encodes the speaker’s stance to his or her current addressee(s). The term is used mainly in situations in which a speaker takes a stance of solidarity or camaraderie, but crucially in a nonchalant, not-too-enthusiastic manner. Dude indexes a stance of effortlessness (or laziness, depending on the perspective of the hearer), largely because of its origins in the “surfer” and “druggie” subcultures in which such stances are valued. The reason young men use this term is precisely that dude indexes this stance of cool solidarity. Such a stance is especially valuable for young men as they navigate cultural Discourses of young masculinity, which simultaneously demand masculine solidarity, strict heterosexuality, and non-conformity.
In addition to the overwhelming predominance of male-male uses of
dude in these data, it is important to note that the second most common speaker-addressee gender type is female-female, while in mixed-gender interactions there were relatively fewer uses of dude. This correlational result suggests that dude indexes a solidary stance separate from its probable indexing of masculinity, unless for some reason women are are apt to be more masculine (and men, less masculine) when speaking to women.
More clues to the solidarity component of dude’s indexicality can be found in the actual tokens used by women speakers to women addressees, however. The all-women tokens were not used in simple greetings, but mostly in situations where camaraderie was salient: only 1 of the 82 woman-woman tokens (1.2%) was a simple greeting (Hey dude or What’s up, dude), as opposed to 7.6% (25/329) of the men’s tokens. The women tended to use dude (1) when they were commiserating about something bad or being in an unfortunate position, (2) when they were in confrontational situations, or (3) when they were issuing a directive to their addressee. In these last two uses by women, dude seems to function to ameliorate the confrontational and/
or hierarchical stance of the rest of the utterance.
Wanting to take privilege away from those who have it cashes out to exactly the same thing as punishing those with privilege for having it.
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