Dealing with sensitive racial issues at work

It’s a question of context. It makes me imagine something like a real-life version of this:

Why that?

It’s not only that it’s a stereotype, it’s generally meant to be an attempt to imitate Black speech. It’s mocking. I don’t necessarily mean that it’s a forbidden phrase, but absent other context the chances are it is condescension if not disdain.

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Because the justification offered by the guy in that thread doesn’t apply in the case of whites, imo. Minorities, especially minorities working in skilled professions and care work, will be well used to dealing with white people and will understand the ‘codes’ etc.

This is a bad thing because of how it’s been used and context. It’s a colloquialism that originated among poor people where out of wedlock childbirth (plus single motherhood) is very nearly the norm. It’s often used by whites to denigrate blacks relationships, which is itself really troubling because of a long history forcibly breaking up black families in this country.

It’s all about context… but the most important thing to know about the race situation in the US is that there’s a system of apartheid in this country that has been running in various forms for 400 years. Generally speaking the right take is almost never that black people are being oversensitive about what’s happened to them.

To really begin to understand what’s going on in this country you have to start all the way back at the beginning when these poor unfortunate people were sold into slavery, shipped as cargo to various hellholes, and then worked to death. Like your families experience under the Soviet Union except they separated everyone in the family from each other. Think about the people under Stalin whose parents got purged and they ended up being raised in state orphanages. It got pretty dark right?

In the US this happened and then they were traded and bred as livestock for 300+ years. They were treated in all ways as a commodity, and figuring out ways to break them psychologically so that they were more pliable was refined into damn near a science. During this period family separation was so common that the marriage vows slaves exchanged with one another were ‘till death or distance do us part’, which is a pretty obvious acknowledgement that one or both of them might end up getting sold because that’s what made financial sense to the white people who owned them.

So after this had gone on for 300+ years, they all got ‘freed’, but since then white society hasn’t ever stopped degrading them at every possible opportunity. They are born with two often crushing disadvantages when they are born: a lack of roots combined with a family legacy of trauma, and the burden of being black in America with all its racism (and it’s a lot of racism).

Like the scale and scope of it are hard to comprehend… what’s incredible (and absolute proof in my opinion of the inherent stupidity of racism) is that any of them have actually managed to succeed… but in fact a fairly large number of them have done just that. To be fair many of those people have several helpings less of those two crushing burdens from the paragraphs above (slavery was a system like any other in the sense that it had castes and status within itself even for slaves), but that’s just an argument that strengthens my other points.

Another crucial thing to remember is that a large part of the reason why this nation is as developed as it is (despite being a relative wilderness by European standards merely 400 years ago) that we stole an enormous amount of labor from several groups of people… none of these a quarter so much as African Americans, and the ways in which we prevented them from gaining status were particularly ugly.

So yeah, as a rule remember that the African Americans and Native Americans are to the USA as Jews are to Germany. Those crimes are absolutely on an equivalent level too, with the main difference being that the US hasn’t really grappled with the ramifications of our history.


Can I use “baby daddy” towards a white guy? With a disdain. Because he knocked-up a girl and decided that he isn’t ready to give-up his freedom and take care of the fam.

The word you’re looking for is “deadbeat,” if the name is meant to classify someone who doesn’t take care of his/her responsibilities.

I think it’s probably best that you avoid using any phrases that you now know are racially sensitive.

It’s liable to be interpreted as comparing him to the stereotypical black guy, so I’d avoid it.

So “baby daddy” is always black. Right?

I am asking because in the definitions that google and various dictionaries give, race is not mentioned at all.

Such usages would be unlikely in Jamaica, where baby-daddy has its roots. The OED lists baby-daddy and baby-mama as “colloquial, chiefly African-American” variants of the Jamaican terms baby-father and baby-mother ; its first citation for baby-mother hails from the Kingston Daily Gleaner in 1966. The terms probably arose in Jamaican Creole—where they would have been pronounced “biebifaada” and “biebimada”—before taking hold in standard Jamaican English.

It’s not applied only to black men, but depending on the context you might come off looking like a racist.

No but it implies blackness. So if you call this specific shitty white dad a baby daddy you’re actually saying that he sucks like black fathers stereotypically do. You may not mean it that way, but that’s the context.

The term is in wide usage in the American lower classes, it bears mentioning. I’ve definitely heard poor white women talk about their baby daddy’s without what I would perceive as racism.

It might be more accurate as I think about this to say that when you call a guy a ‘baby daddy’ you’re calling him a stereotypical poor (socioeconomically) father, which if not used by someone from that class/culture is definitely an attempt to call up a stereotype.

This is what you get for dabbling in colloquialisms :slight_smile:

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