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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Is "Goy" a slur?

I recently had a discussion with a fellow Jew about the terms "Goy" and "Goyim." He was of the opinion that both of these terms are derogatory slurs and that "Gentile" or "Non-Jew" is the preferred term to be used. Personally I've always thought that "Goy" and "Gentile" were synonyms and have used them interchangeably depending on who I'm talking to. I have heard "Goy" used in a derogatory fashion, but I don't think the word is inherently racist. Just as I have heard "Jew" used as a derogatory slur, but obviously don't think the word itself is a slur.

But I am curious to see what others feel about these terms. Please leave a comment with your opinions.

9 comments:

The real me said...

Its all the same, its mostly ignorant people who dont know what they mean who think that its dirgagitory, same ass shvartzeh.

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

It's all in the usage, and in my experience, people who respect Non-Jews as human beings generally don't use "goy". Similarly, almost every time i can remember encountering the word "shvartza" it was in a negative context.

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Actually, check that. Not 'almost', every time i can remember hearing the word "shvartza" it was in a negative context.

EMC said...

I wouldn't consider "goy" a slur in itself; doesn't "shaygetz" fill that role?

Shoshana said...

I have a very negative reaction to the word "goy" as I heard the word very rarely while growing up and when I did, it was usually used in a highly negative manner. I have been attempting to temper my negative reaction to hearing the word "goy" because many of those around me use it without the intent of it being negative, but honestly, I think it is usually used with negative connotation of a group of people who are not quite as good as the Jews. This would be my experience as people describe "goyish" culture as something they don't want to be part of, etc.

Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

Ultimately this is somewhat subjective and a "you know it when you hear it" kind of thing.

But outside of conversing in Yiddish where it really *is* the word for gentile, it would seem that its useage in English is generally given in somewhat of a derogatory manner. And even if that isn't always the case, the fact that its so often used in that way has kind of spoiled its use.

olympiada said...

Hi Eli
I have always felt 'goy' was a slur, Yiddish being my unknown first language you know. Why do you feel it is not?

Eliyahu ben Avraham vaSarah said...

Oly - I think because I've never really been around people who use it in a dirogatory manner. When I found that some see it almost exclusively as a slur I was a little suprised. Which is why I wanted to see what others out there thought about it. I'm not the most PC guy around, but I like to know what the general consensus is on things like this.

old carriage sports lounge said...

ironic that you bring this up. i got into an argument with a non-jewish friend about my usage of the word "goyishe" recently.
i had gone to a non-kosher restaurant recently and opted to order the "vegetarian" black bean soup. the waitress told me it was vegetarian. turns out it wasn't. there were large chunks of what i later found out was bacon floating around in my soup. i didn't eat them because they were suspect from the get-go, but still, it was in my soup. i lashed out anonymously at the restaurant in my blog, because i didn't do it while i was there (i'm the non-confrontational type). i referred to it as a goyishe restaurant, and nobody criticized me except this one non-jew who happened upon my blog.
i didn't know shvartza was a "bad word" til i got older, and the same with goyishe. political correctness is just outta control these days.

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