Author Topic: Poll: Deragatory To Call Communists "Commies"?  (Read 9575 times)

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Offline Tania+

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Poll: Deragatory To Call Communists "Commies"?
« on: June 04, 2006, 09:40:46 PM »
[size=10]I have moved this item over to a new folder, wanting to gain a general reaction from both members, as well as guests. Please respond to the poll yes or no, and give a short response of why you think yes, or no.

My views: I'm somewhat confused that some may find using the word value of commies instead of communist. Whether a person refers to the communists as communists, or commies, what is the descripency ?  Is there one ?
 
In Russia, I am sure they have short names that they use for us here in the west. For years, the press, the news agencies here in the United States, and in most western countries have referred to the communists as 'commies'.

I'm confused when a member of the AP Board has stated, the term is used as deragatory term, and or is out of place. On this website, this is not the first time that this word has been used in descriptive address.  
 
I wonder how many others feel that this term is contrary to this board's use ?
Is the FA upset with the usage of this word ?
 
Just my 2 kopeks !

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Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Poll: Deragatory To Call Communists "Commies"?
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2006, 09:50:20 PM »
I will not be Red Baited by you, Tania, So  PM me  as i have asked if you have an issue. McCarthyism is old hat.
 Robert
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Robert_Hall »
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Offline Tania+

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Re: Poll: Deragatory To Call Communists "Commies"?
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2006, 11:29:36 PM »
[size=10]First of all Robert_Hall, if you think I would waste my thoughts, or my energy in 'red baiting' you or anyone, you don't know me at all. I am not here to label, nor try McCarthyism at all. That never entered my mind. I am entitled to communicate to the forum as I wish, as you do freely also.

I simply have asked a question I thought needed an answer. Why is it you can tell someone on the forum not to use the term, and I am banned in your estimation to making inquiry at all.

That does not make sense at all, and is anything but reasonable.

I have no issue with you period, so let's not work at making anything an issue, please !
Thank you.

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Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Poll: Deragatory To Call Communists "Commies"?
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2006, 11:41:19 PM »
As this is a blatantly political isuue, I resperctfully ask the FA to close and delete the thread.
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Re: Poll: Deragatory To Call Communists "Commies"?
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2006, 01:26:08 AM »
Dear Tatiana and Robert,

Personally, I never refer to the Communists as Commies because I do not like shortened names but as much as I do not like writting the words phone, photo and plane, I would never tell anyone that they could not write them unless I was teaching them the English language.

Let us allow the people of this forum to decide the fate of the word Commie in the poll.

David

Offline Belochka

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Re: Poll: Deragatory To Call Communists "Commies"?
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2006, 02:28:47 AM »
Quote
As this is a blatantly political isuue, I resperctfully ask the FA to close and delete the thread.

[size=10]Robert,

Should not the forum determine the outcome of this poll?

Not a few topics on this forum have political content, therefore there is no need to single this one out created by Tatiana is there?

Thank you,

Margarita[/size]
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Poll: Deragatory To Call Communists "Commies"?
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2006, 10:54:01 AM »
Dorogaia i uvazhaemaia Tania, I think there are certain derogatory connotations to the term "Commie" in the English language, which might not be familiar to a non-native speaker of English. Perhaps this seems unfair, since historically the Communists have been every bit as bad as rulers as the National Socialists, who are always referred to by the shortened form of their own name, "Nazis." But in the English language there are particular nuances of meaning and association which brand people who use the term "Commie" as generally uneducated and/or of the extreme right-wing persuasion (e.g., "rednecks" or members of the John Birch Society). To put it simply, if you use the term "Commie" in polite conversation most native-born Americans will look at you somewhat askance, as if you were a little strange. This is mainly because the word "Commie" does indeed evoke memories of the McCarthy era, when it was bandied about too freely and used as an excuse to destroy far too many innocent lives.
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Offline Sarushka

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Re: Poll: Deragatory To Call Communists "Commies"?
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2006, 12:25:30 PM »
I agree with Elisabeth. However, I didn't participate in the poll itself, because this question has mixed answers for me, as you'll see below. As Elisabeth said, the use of "commie" generally has negative connotations for speakers of US English, particularly those who lived through or are familiar with the McCarthy era.

In my own idiolect (meaning the particular speech of an individual -- in this case, me) there are 2 instances when "commie" doesn't have a negative meaning:
1. I occasionally shorten 'communist' to 'commie' when I'm speaking with friends who understand both my political views and my sometimes glib style of speech, and would therefore realize my use of the word is an instance of laziness, not insult. (I suspect this is exactly the sort of shortened vocabulary that tries David's patience! ;) My apologies, David!)

2. I work for a woman who is very liberal politically. In jest I occasionally call her a "commie," simply to accentuate the vast gap between her position on the conservative/liberal continuum and that of the Bush administration.  ;D


Here's a similar issue: What sort of connotations does the word "Bolshie" have for most people? To me, it can go both ways. I've seen Bolshevik sympathizers use it almost affectionately, and I've also seen used as a derrogatory term.
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Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Poll: Deragatory To Call Communists "Commies"?
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2006, 02:06:02 PM »
Quote
I will not be Red Baited by you, Tania, So stuff it and PM me  as i have asked if you have an issue. McCarthyism is old hat.
 Robert

Robert - I understand that this issue may be a sensitive one for you. I don't think that Tania is baiting you, I think she genuinely wants to know if this is a derogatory term or not. You have really given her your answer - you do.

However, you are out of line in telling her to stuff it. Kindly remove this from your post as it is not worthy of you.

I am the Moderator of this Forum and am allowing the question. I am asking that you take your differences with Tania off this board and settle it privately. Please feel free to seek the help of the GA, FA, or myself in resolving whatever is bothering you.

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Poll: Deragatory To Call Communists "Commies"?
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2006, 02:36:19 PM »
Yes, Lisa. "stuff it" may be a bit out of line and I have removed the words from my post.  I have also asked Tania via pm to deal with our differences, she choose to post this thread which I feel is delibertly contentious. Clarification of the term has been pointed out quite clearly. Continued use of it is inappropriate in my opinion.
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Offline Belochka

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Re: Poll: Deragatory To Call Communists "Commies"?
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2006, 08:12:51 PM »
Quote
Dorogaia i uvazhaemaia Tania, I think there are certain derogatory connotations to the term "Commie" in the English language, which might not be familiar to a non-native speaker of English. Perhaps this seems unfair, since historically the Communists have been every bit as bad as rulers as the National Socialists, who are always referred to by the shortened form of their own name, "Nazis." But in the English language there are particular nuances of meaning and association which brand people who use the term "Commie" as generally uneducated and/or of the extreme right-wing persuasion (e.g., "rednecks" or members of the John Birch Society). To put it simply, if you use the term "Commie" in polite conversation most native-born Americans will look at you somewhat askance, as if you were a little strange. This is mainly because the word "Commie" does indeed evoke memories of the McCarthy era, when it was bandied about too freely and used as an excuse to destroy far too many innocent lives.


[size=10]Accepting Elizabeth's excellent comments here, living across the vast pond, the two diminutives "commie" or "bolshie" are not broadly used here to my knowledge. A "communist" is a communist while the lesser heard defintion: "bolshevik" is more commonly heard within academic circles.

I like David here, prefer to avoid using diminutives. One reason has been clearly demonstrated here. Different cultures/upbringing may be offended by the specific use of a diminutive. The "foreign" speaker may be completely oblivious to the fact that they make be causing offence, whether it may be political, social or by other factors.

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Offline RichC

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Re: Poll: Deragatory To Call Communists "Commies"?
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2006, 11:30:43 PM »
I have not heard the term "commies" used in a long time.  There don't seem to be very many countries left in the world today that espouse communism, so the term "commies" seems to have lost its significance for most people.  I think I recall Hillary Clinton being labeled a "commie" when she tried to launch a national health-care system in the United States.  I think that's about the last time...

I wouldn't use it because I associate it with people who are uneducated and just stupid or ignorant.  

There's another dimension to this.  Many Americans who used the word "commie" many years ago used it not only to refer to communists but also Russians.  The Russians; the commies; they were one and the same to most Americans.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by RichC »

Offline Tania+

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Re: Poll: Deragatory To Call Communists "Commies"?
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2006, 05:11:35 PM »
First Part:
Lisa, I can't say thank you enough, for the AP Website, here in our time. From the history of Russia before, to the Russian Revolution, [and after] to understanding in depth of it's leadership, past to present, to that of the AP Members; we have and continue to share in learning much, no matter what our ages. Even better, we are offered understandings from actual personal stories, pictures and feelings of similar and like stories of varying issues on these many threads. I don't know where anyone could be involved in a better educative environment, immersing oneself totally history. There is no comparison, outside of living through it all. Sometimes, living through history, can be beyond words...While many of us are out of school, there are countless ages, globally entering this website, taking in all it continuously offers. We are not related, nor in anyone's employment, but remain a global community, invested in truth and ongoing education. It is exciting to be sure. Many these threads state many things, and as we continually see, for many they hold an opposite viewpoint. But I don't seriously think people are here to purposely cause disagreement or disputes. We are it seems, human hearts with differing views. This is natural, and would not be unusual if it did not transpire. It should be taken into consideration, that many youth never lived through any sort of these experiences, much less here or there in various places on the globe where stories emerged about specific historical incidences. It goes without saying, that many adults never actually lived where these incidences took place either. News stories may have carried, and on the radio, but many times, it is not the same.
I lived here, in the South, when the McCarthy trials were raging. It was a terrible time here in the United States. Many lives were forever turned upside down, with finger pointing, and people actually loosing their livelihood. Yes it affected their families, their children. Not only were there names brought to view in newspapers, on the radio, but in everyday life. Their lives came to a virtual standstill. Just think of being called "commie". It is a word that is more than deragatory. For For many who were called this name, it was to feel shame, sorrow, actually loss of self. How do I know, because as a child, I was called by my fellow playmates, and schoolchums, 'a commie'. My father was Russian, but for those who knew nothing, nor wished to educate themselves about Russians, anywhere, [including émigrés] we remained if you will, almost with labels across our foreheads, as 'enemies of the state'! My father had fled from the communists, lost his family to the communists, and came here, only to have his child labeled 'a commie' ? It took me years to get used to my name, 'Tatiana', and years more for me to say proudly, I was part Russian. People not only made fun of me because of my heritage, but because I had a funny name, that was for many more than difficult to pronounce. So, some just called me 'titanic' and laughed, or 'titianna' and laughed even harder. I became so overwhelmed by how people viewed me, and gossiped [and I was only a child] that I wanted to just disappear, anywhere but where I was. In those days, they did not have the availability of counselors, and nobody but nobody, ever thought that children would bear such indignities far after these issues had passed. If you were an émigré, or child of émigrés, then they would tell you to get over it, forget it, don't associate with anyone like this. But they did not know, that in the South at that time, everyone there more or less had those views, including their own children!
 
It is why in the last few days, I bothered to re-live the term, and find out from you the members, and guests, did people everywhere still feel the same way, of those I had grown up with in the South? I have gone back to read and re read what many of you have offered. It is why I was really startled by the reaction of Robert. I was not here to red bait you Robert, or anyone. After you have read what I have shared above, I hope you and other readers understand me better. I am glad David, and Belochka asked for the forum to decide the fate of the Commie in the poll, etc. It is true, many of the threads have political content, and this one need not be singled out over all the others. Sometimes it is important to hold back our feelings, and see a thread through before we jump to the wrong conclusions.
 
Closing this thread would have taken away understanding that, there were actual people here on this board who faced these awful remarks, living through them, children as well. I agree also, that those who are not fully educated, or are possessed by those of extreme right-wing persuasion. They perhaps, are the ones who would most use this affrontive address. I thank Elizabeth for her post, because as she stated at the end of her post, "The word "Commie' does indeed evoke memories of the McCarthy era, when it was bandied about too freely and used an excuse to destroy far too many innocent lives."

Continued Next pg.
 
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Offline Tania+

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Re: Poll: Deragatory To Call Communists "Commies"?
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2006, 05:14:35 PM »
Second Part - Continued:

Sarushka also shares that for her, 'there are [2] two instances when 'commie' doesn't have a negative meaning'. and she quotes them above.

So again, it is agreed, for many including Robert, it indeed is a sensitive issue, as it was/is for me. But Lisa and Rob are the ones I usually turn to, to gain advice, and get the yay, or nay from, because it is the forum they know in depth, and they make the ultimate decision .

Elizabeth has pointed out, that cultures/upbringing may be offended by the specific use of a diminutive. She points out that someone not born in a given environment as such, may be completely oblivious to the fact that they may be causing offence, in any vein, political, social, or some other factor.

Margarita, agreed and added her concerns as well. I can't agree more !

Rich has pointed out finally, that eons have passed, and the term 'commie' has not been heard, and may have lost it's significance for most people. He even points out that he remembers reading somewhere when Hillary Clinton was trying to launch a national health-care system in the United States, she was labeled 'a commie', and that's probably the last time he heard the label used.

But the clincher for me again, was the reminder to me personally, and validated all that I have shared with you above in this post. Rich said : Quote : Many Americans who used the word 'commie' many years ago used it not only to refer to communists but also Russians. The Russians; the commies; they were one and the same to most Americans." End Quote.

So while for many this should be buried and forgot, for many it is not exactly over, is it?

But what is important, is that we discuss squarely, fairly what ever it is that has created distrust, and harmed lives unnecessarily. We need not sweep it under the carpet, and wish it away. That it caused disputes in the past, and by its very emergence in just passing threads, it is something that was real, and tragic in our time history.

This is why I think it is important when we see something that needs to be addressed, fully understood by everyone, including our youth, it should be followed through. I believe it is why Lisa allowed this thread to continue and did not lock it, and I am thankful that she was kind enough to let it live.
 
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Offline Ivan Komarov

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Re: Poll: Deragatory To Call Communists "Commies"?
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2006, 03:01:00 PM »
I figure it's my time to put in a kopek for your thoughts.

I, for one, get called 'commie' all the time, primarily because of my nationality, and partially because of my style (then again, the name Komarov might lend itself to this somewhat); in fact, I somewhat have adopted it as a nickname at the various schools I've attended here in the United States.  So although to some it's derogatory and offensive, others find it rather funny, and still more most likely ignore it.
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