You Don't Say?
January 20, 2015 8:45 PM   Subscribe

@YouDontSay

Duke student-athletes join forces with You Don't Say? campaign
You Don’t Say? is a campaign founded by senior Daniel Kort and juniors Anuj Chhabra, Christie Lawrence and Jay Sullivan that aims to raise student awareness about the offensive nature of phrases and slurs used in everyday conversation through photographs shared using an online campaign. Starting Jan. 7, the group began to roll out its second online push, only this time instead of 17 students, the project featured 41 Duke student-athletes.

“Sports are really integral to our campus culture, and with that comes a pretty big microphone around our athletic culture,” Kort said. “It’s easier to dismiss a message if it’s coming from a social justice-oriented group on campus…. By getting people who aren’t traditionally seen as the social justice kids on campus to stand up for this message, it carries a lot more weight. It’s also that these student-athletes care a lot about the issues.”

Duke Student Athletes Speak Out on the Power of Language
We could never have anticipated the tremendous turnout we received from our school's student-athletes. More than 40 members took time out of their hectic practice and academic schedules to stand up for causes they believe in and attest to the power of language.… I encourage you to check out this new installment of the You Don't Say? Campaign, which speaks to issues of racism, xenophobia, physical and mental ableism, sexism, homophobia, trans*-phobia, mental health, and sizeism. The views expressed don't represent those of a particular entity, rather those of the individuals depicted, as all athletes chose their own words and phrases.
posted by Lexica (14 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
I do say this is FANTASTIC.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:52 PM on January 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


I read about this earlier today and read some of the comments. You know the drill, do not do that.

We must continue to "un-coolify bigotry" in general as is happening with homosexuality in various contexts (perhaps not so much on the internet, but it seems to enjoy higher "status" than trans* people, "SJW" feminists, etc) when a bazillion young people seemed to simultaneously break away from the default "gay = bad" mental paradigm of their forebears, and I think peer pressure played in a role. Dude, it's not cool, don't be a dick just because those two dudes are into dudes. And sadly I think the wave of trans* folk who are suddenly a little more visible draw fire because the normalization and "legitimizing" of LGB folks makes it both slightly easier for them to approach the body of citizens and be counted among them, but more importantly is an opportunity, or rather a potentially lost opportunity with setbacks not to say "ahem, what about us again, before you go gerrymandering the boundaries of humanity and personhood defining who gets what rights, don't forget to include us in this fucking iteration" (and I am still pissed at Barney Frank for fucking over the T component back when I paid attention to congress more). Plus Obama made racism cool again for dog-whistle racist types while allowing them to pat on their backs for supposedly ending racism (and therefore opening the door for hilarious ironic casual displays of racism, funny right, ha ha, bone in nose, 'n shit) by letting a black president exist or maybe even voting for him just to "see what happens." And then feminists with their "what about wage inequality and this assault on reproductive freedom" likely draw some fire away from the gays who aren't {/} asking for more money to have sex or to murder precious miracles {/}

Naturally, many guys went from "I have no problem with gays" to "I will ironically use the word 'gay' and 'fag' all of the time because I'm not really homophobic anyway and it's just how I talk, bro." This is where this comes in, and it's going to be a tough pill for your average hardened a-hole to swallow, but maybe there's hope for the youngest of the bunch who haven't yet been indoctrinated into "binge-drinking + did I maybe rape that person, nah" culture and someone has to make the connection eventually that being a negging MRA douche is probably a horrible strategy for both casually hooking up with women and finding long-term partners, and perhaps it's just not cool to be a total creep who hates women before you've even become a fucking man.
posted by aydeejones at 12:33 AM on January 21, 2015


I love this with all my heart. There are some great lines but I think my favourite is "I don't say Femi-Nazi because it equates social justice with genocide" which is going right in my back pocket.
posted by billiebee at 2:04 AM on January 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


It's a nice idea, but it seems to me the campaign shoots itself in the foot (which I shouldn't say because shooting anthropomorphized things is bad) by including a number of phrases which seem perfectly fine to say. I suppose everyone will disagree on which ones. "Fat"? "Bossy"? "Illegal alien"? They seem a bit innocuously literal compared to the more deserving linguistic targets.

I'm slightly curious as to what they think the kids today think "what are you?" means.
posted by sfenders at 3:58 AM on January 21, 2015


It's a nice idea, but it seems to me the campaign shoots itself in the foot (which I shouldn't say because shooting anthropomorphized things is bad) by including a number of phrases which seem perfectly fine to say. I suppose everyone will disagree on which ones. "Fat"? "Bossy"? "Illegal alien"? They seem a bit innocuously literal compared to the more deserving linguistic targets.

I think that these are actually a great inclusion because they make us think more deeply. My guess is that virtually everyone reading this thread knows not to say certain words like racial or homophobic slurs, and most people, including sexists/racists/homophobes/transphobes/&c., know that they might get pushback if they use recognized slurs so they modify their behavior accordingly and use other words that can convey these sentiments without being obvious. There are also people (including me) who will use terms thoughtlessly because they're just normal phrases or standard ways of thinking even though these phrases both cause pain and normalize belittling certain groups.

I'm not 100% crazy about "It’s easier to dismiss a message if it’s coming from a social justice-oriented group on campus", although it might well be true, but I think this campaign is WAY better for including non-obvious options. We pretty much all know that we're not supposed to use slurs (even people who still think them), but many people don't know that these other words and phrases can be really hurtful OR know that these words are hurtful but hide behind the idea that it's not that bad. Saying "no, these words really are that bad, they hurt people" and bringing this issue out into the open is awesome and I really really like this.

Ugh Duke WTF why did you have to do something so good?
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 6:28 AM on January 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Really glad to see this, I'm sharing it with everyone.

I'd also like to see "dick" stop being used as an epithet because #notalldicks are bad

trust me
posted by sidereal at 6:57 AM on January 21, 2015


I'd also like to see "dick" stop being used as an epithet

I use "asshole" at all times because it's gender-neutral and there's something about the two syllables that allows for maximum expression of rage
posted by billiebee at 7:10 AM on January 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


One person involved reportedly said that the goal was to "help facilitate discussion about how language affects many social issues." So perhaps the inclusion of words that might be appropriate and non-offensive in many commonplace contexts was a deliberate ploy to get us to look more closely at the others and end up discussing the etymology of "pussy" and the strange way in which likening people to cats becomes gender-imbalanced in our sexist world.
posted by sfenders at 8:11 AM on January 21, 2015


It's not simply "likening," but specifically feminizing men, because it is very insulting to liken a man to anything womanly, in a culture in which women are (cast as) domestic, weak, easily frightened, etc.
posted by rtha at 8:19 AM on January 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think these are hit or miss.
"I don't say "kill me" because suicide is serious and should not be appropriated."
I'm not sure when people might say "kill me". "Oh crap, I missed the turnoff. Kill me." I guess. But it doesn't reference self-harm, and it doesn't "appropriate" suicide. I think the word she wants is "trivialize."
I think someone saying "I want to kill myself" humorously could be upsetting to a suicide survivor or someone who lost someone to suicide. No question. But I don't get that message from this tweet.
posted by Biblio at 8:27 AM on January 21, 2015


I'm slightly curious as to what they think the kids today think "what are you?" means.

I don't know what kids today think it means. I don't say this because apparently it's used by some people to make others feel like they don't belong (You're not "us," you're something else. WHat is that something else that you are?)

However, when I was a kid (and a teen, and probably even a university student), this was a question universally asked of new people you met. And at my first elementary school everyone was white. This was never a question for non-white people only, because it never occurred to use that white people didn't have ethnicities. So we asked each other "what are you?" and answered: Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Polish, Croatian etc. etc. It would never have occurred to any of us that this was being asked because someone looked different or because of their skin colour. It was just the kid version of "So, what do you do?"

That said, I think this question did bother people whose ethnic origins were long forgotten. Those people responded "nothing" or "just Canadian." and sometimes it was kind of awkward. Like we'd pointed out their sad lack of ethnicity. (yes, obviously "just Canadian" is an ethnicity, too, but we didn't think so as kids)

But anyway, the question seems to have wierd associations for Americans especially, but also other people who are not people I went to elementary school with, so I don't ask this question. Also, I'm an adult now, so I can ask "So what do you do?" as my go-to new person question.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:07 AM on January 21, 2015


Years ago I came across an interesting little item that's stayed with me and it fits well here: Take a sheet of paper, number it 1-25+, then answer this question with different answers, just as they come to you - no heavy thinking, just put down what comes to your mind:

What are you?
posted by aryma at 2:33 PM on January 21, 2015


Checking this out was awesome, until I read the comments on the FB page.

Then it got SUPER awesome, because they have broken one of the internet's oldest traditions and only seem to have a bunch of amazingly positive, supportive comments for the messages in the posters, and the students who feature in them.

So great.
posted by greenish at 5:29 AM on January 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Greenish: Whatever you do, don't search Google News for articles on this and read any of the comments there.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:39 AM on January 22, 2015


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