Use of homophobe

Steve Sanders stevesan at umich.edu
Mon May 11 10:06:20 PDT 2009


Richard, what I think is that any campaign to equate the term "homophobe"
with the "n" word is patently ludicrous.  The "n" word is a slur with no
content or descriptive value.  "Homophobe" is a perfectly serviceable and
decriptive word that means "unreasoning fear of or antipathy toward
homosexuals and homosexuality," something that is on regular display in
political, legal, and religious debate and which deserves to be labeled what
it is.  
 
I don't believe I've ever employed the word homophobe on this list, but if
people are sensitive to it, they should either 1) call people out when their
use of the word is hyperbolic and doesn't fit the commonly accepted
dictionary definition (rather than their imagined definitions) or, if
applicable, 2) stop displaying or defending homophobia.
 
Steve Sanders
 
_____________________________________ 


Steve Sanders 


 <http://www.mayerbrown.com/lawyers/profile.asp?hubbardid=S597744167>
Attorney, Supreme Court and appellate litigation practice group, Mayer Brown
LLP, Chicago

Co-editor,  <http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/lgbtlaw/> Sexual Orientation
and the Law Blog

Adjunct faculty, University of Michigan Law School (Winter term 2010)

Email:  <mailto:stevesan at umich.edu> stevesan at umich.edu

Personal home page:  <http://www.stevesanders.net> www.stevesanders.net 


 

 

  _____  

From: Richard Dougherty [mailto:doughr at udallas.edu] 
Sent: Monday, May 11, 2009 7:55 AM
To: steve sanders; 'Scarberry, Mark'; conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu;
'CONLAWPROFS professors'
Subject: Re: Use of homophobe



Steve, what do you think of the near-unanimous agreement to ban use of the
"N" word?  Don't you think it has improved the quality of discourse?
It seems to me the heated exchange on this question is evidence enough that
the word "homophobe" is a distraction.



Richard Dougherty


-----Original Message-----
From: "Steve Sanders" <stevesan at umich.edu>
Sent 5/10/2009 11:59:40 PM
To: "'Scarberry, Mark'" <Mark.Scarberry at pepperdine.edu>,
conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu, "'CONLAWPROFS professors'"
<conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu>
Subject: RE: Use of homophobe



Mark, if you want to mount a reasoned and persuasive argument about misuse

or misunderstanding of the word homophobia, you're perfectly entitled to do

so, but what's Orwellian is the suggestion that if we ban the use of a word,

we are improving the quality of discourse, and it we refuse to ban a word,

we are harming the quality of discourse.  It doesn't work with banning

books, and I don't believe it works with banning words.

Notwithstanding your suggestion that the word homophobia is an accusation of

mental illness, here is how my dictionary defines homophobia: "unreasoning

fear of or antipathy toward homosexuals and homosexuality."  People are

perfectly entitled to their private moral codes, aestethic tastes, and

superstitions, which need not be based on reason.  But as far as I'm

concerned, unreasoning fear and antipathy ought to be discredited and

delegitimized when they are used to attempt to influence law and public

policy, because law and public policy must be based on facts and

rationality.

Steve Sanders

_____________________________________

Steve Sanders

<http://www.mayerbrown.com/lawyers/profile.asp?hubbardid=S597744167>

Attorney, Supreme Court and appellate litigation practice group, Mayer Brown

LLP, Chicago

Co-editor,  <http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/lgbtlaw/> Sexual Orientation

and the Law Blog

Adjunct faculty, University of Michigan Law School (Winter term 2010)

Email:  <mailto:stevesan at umich.edu> stevesan at umich.edu

Personal home page:  <http://www.stevesanders.net/> www.stevesanders.net

_____

From: Scarberry, Mark [mailto:Mark.Scarberry at pepperdine.edu]

Sent: Sunday, May 10, 2009 7:19 PM

To: stevesan at umich.edu; conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu; CONLAWPROFS

professors

Subject: RE: Use of homophobe

Yes, control the language and you control the thoughts. That is why it is

important to object to the attempt to make standard the use of a term (in

this case homophobia) that is designed to deligitimize a viewpoint, to

create misleading impressions, and to embed highly contested assertions in

the common language. We should learn from Orwell.

Mark Scarberry

Pepperdine

_____

From: stevesan at umich.edu [mailto:stevesan at umich.edu]

Sent: Sun 5/10/2009 11:59 AM

To: Scarberry, Mark; conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu; CONLAWPROFS

professors

Subject: Re: Use of homophobe

Another thing the Soviets knew was that controlling the use of language was

useful to controlling thought.  I decline to submit to this sort of

political correctness.

Steve Sanders

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
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