Seriously People, “Spooky” Is Not A Slur.

3 Oct

spooky0

Before I go any further, lemme preface this with a thing. If someone tells you they are uncomfortable with the use of certain terminology around them (no matter how seemingly innocuous) and you go ahead and do so anyway, you’re a turd. Even more so if you go out of your way to do so.  You’re not some brave snowflake championing FREEZE PEACH or whatever, just a jerk that gets off on upsetting people for no reason.

spooky1pictured: not you

That said, the claims that the word “spooky” (or other variants like “spoopy” etc) have roots in anti-black racism are putting the cart before the horse etymologically. We should definitely work on avoiding diminutives and pejoratives rooted in racially charged language, but the racial slur “s***k” is based on the word “spooky” rather than the other way around.

The word “spooky” first appeared in 1854, expanding from “frightening” to including “easily scared” in 1926. The word itself is rooted in the Dutch word for ghost. In the 1940s, the racial slur began to appear as possibly a reference to dark skin being hard to see at night (which led to racist US soldiers referring to the Tuskegee Airmen as the “S***kwaffe”) as well as a reference to a common Minstrel show character of an easily-frightened black man.

tuskegeeairmanpictured: not that

So I definitely get why folks want to distance themselves from that sort of history, and I believe the racial slur still holds weight when used in that context or even as a pejorative whatsoever. But as far as reverse-engineering it the way people seem to do on Tumblr every year around this time just really doesn’t really hold water for me. Prove me wrong in the comments if you’d like.

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