Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Foreign Slurs Are Still Slurs

Today's Failbook fail: Network Names.

As is pretty common with Failbook fails, the real fail comes not in the status message itself, but in the comments. The original status message is some funny thing about a wireless network named "ILOVEBALLS." I actually have quite a soft spot for the original message, since our next-door neighbors have a network called "Hail-Satan."

But then some jackass has to comment and ruin everything, of course: "I changed mine to 'Police Surveillance Van 2' - keep the pikeys next door on there [sic] toes : )"

Are you unfamiliar with the word "pikey"? I was, too. But I had the sinking feeling it would turn out to be a word I would never want to use.

Lo and behold, I was right: according to Wikipedia, "Pikey is a pejorative slang term used mainly in the United Kingdom to refer to Irish Travellers, gypsies or people of low social class."

I'm sure most Americans have heard of gypsies, who I believe preferred to be called Roma, but I had never heard of Irish Travellers! One click on Wikipedia gave me this money quote: "The European Parliament Committee of Enquiry on Racism and Xenophobia found them to be amongst the most discriminated-against ethnic groups in Ireland and yet their status remains insecure in the absence of widespread legal endorsement."

Thanks for adding a nice little teaspoon of discrimination to the mountains' worth they're already enduring, Failbook.

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