TRIGGER WARNING: For the sake of journalistic integrity, we will be using the term “Kurd” uncensored in certain places throughout this post, while making a conscious (and valiant) effort to limit its use by supplanting it with “k-word” or “k-slur” where possible.
It’s 2014. We’re all clear on that, I think. And if there’s one overwhelmingly apparent truism of our modern time, it’s that being racist is bad, and not good. It’s not cool to be racist and it’s not funny, and it’s one of the worst things you can possibly be, and therefore, if you are racist you should be fired. Even if your racism is unintentional.
That’s why I’m utterly shocked and appalled that I keep seeing major outlets publish racial slurs in their coverage of the escalating conflict in Syria and Iraq without even the slightest sense of irony.
Even Gawker and Salon, two publications highly respected for their relentless assault on white racism, continue to use the problematic k-slur, and they do so without any sense of irony. You would think by now that someone would have made mention to it in a thinkpiece on media bias, but no. No one has said a word about the continuing problematic use of a hateful slur
Here at Thought Catalog however, where thoughts are thinked, we will not stand for it. We’re calling you out, western media: you need to stop using the k-slur and stop insulting literally thousands or possibly millions of people. It’s out of vogue, and we’re better than you.
Years ago, we updated our style guide to reflect trends in cultural shifts and popular attitudes, and we haven’t published the k-slur since. Opting instead for the much more politically correct and preferred “transmesopotamian.”
These trans* folks have to deal with enough as it is, living in the desert, being killed by people that look like them who we have to be careful about criticizing because we don’t want to sound like racists. But as long as we’re talking about these trans folks, we can at least show them the decency of not referring to them as k-words.
I’ve brought this issue up with several colleagues of mine, and some of them even want to argue with me.
“Nicole,” they say. “That’s what they’re called. That’s literally the name of their people.”
It takes everything I have not to smash my powerful justice fists into their incredibly unbrave faces. Even my most liberal friends don’t understand that just because a group of people refers to themselves with some disgusting monosyllabic slur, it doesn’t give everyone else the right to call them that as well. Think about it like the n-word. It’s the same thing as the n-word, and it’s neither our place nor responsibility as white people to use that word or police the use of it within the transmesopotamian community.
I’m making a stand right here and right now, and I’m apologizing on behalf of all the white writers in both the liberal and conservative media: I apologize sincerely to the transmesopotamian community and I beg for your forgiveness. Hopefully going forward we never have to see another k-slur in print again.