Avoiding slurs is not about sanitizing language

Cussing is important. Here are some uses:

  • Expressing boundaries in forceful language
  • Expressing emphatic contempt
  • Expressing distress

Sometimes it’s ok to insult people. Sometimes it’s important to be rude.

Slurs aren’t part of this, though. It’s not ok to insult someone by comparing them to an oppressed group. It’s not ok to insult someone by referencing their membership in an oppressed group.

Lists of things to say rather than “that’s so gay” or “that’s so r-word” tend to be long lists of big words that are clean and polite. They shouldn’t be, though. There’s no moral obligation to use long words. There’s no moral obligation to always use clean language.

The problem with slurs is that they help to keep marginalized groups marginalized. They hurt innocent people, and they hurt guilty people in ways no one deserves.

So, when the situation calls for cussing at or about someone, use swear words. Don’t use slurs.



Sometimes, when autistics try to be appropriate, they do what has been done to them that they’ve been told is a polite and appropriate way to interact with people.

Sometimes, that last part was a lie, so the autistic gets called out for being a hurtful person.

Be aware of that when autistics insult you.

I have mixed feelings about this.

So do I.

Because, read one way, it could seem like an excuse for autistic people to insult others. And like it’s saying that it’s ok for autistic people to act that way.

I don’t think it does, though.

It’s just that, past a certain age, most neurotypical people know that certain things are insulting, and intentionally mean them as insults. And many autistic people the same age do *not* realize that, because they’re been systemically lied to.

Which means the meaning behind it might be different. Or it might not be. But I think it’s an important possibility to be aware of. (Even though it doesn’t in any way mean you should tolerate the insult).