10.5 Case Studies
The Zinger and the Slur
Source: Photo courtesy of David Goehring, http://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/99785459.
Former football coach Joe Paternoâ€™s on-field prowess was only slightly more legendary than his sharp tongue. This is one crowd favorite: â€œIf I ever need a brain transplant, I want one from a sports writer because Iâ€™ll know itâ€™s never been used.â€Orlando Sentinel, January 31, 2004, accessed May 31, 2011, http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2004-01-31/sports/0401310276_1_sports-writer-silly-stuff-recruiting-visits.” contenteditable=”false” aria-describedby=”footnote-area” aria-label=”Footnote”>
Most people find this to be pretty funny. And though it rubs some sports writers the wrong way, no one is going to file a lawsuit or claim antidiscriminatory protection is needed to protect the offended. On the other hand, JoePaâ€”as he was called around Pennsylvaniaâ€”himself suffered taunting as a younger man. People called him a â€œwop,â€ a slur attacking someoneâ€™s Italian heritage (like the more common â€œguidoâ€ or calling a Chinese person a â€œChinkâ€).
- From an ethical viewpoint, and within a discussion of discrimination, does it make sense to hold that the brain transplant zinger gets a green light, while the â€œwopâ€ slur gets flagged as objectionable?