Offensive words that most people DON’T KNOW are offensive!

1. “Albino”- Albinism is the defect of melanin production that results in little or no color pigment in the hair, eyes, and skin. Most people refer to people with albinism as “albino”, but what most people don’t know is, “albino” is an offensive term, it is like seperating people with albinism from people who have pigment in their skin, hair, and eyes. It’s just like how its better to say a person has a disability, rather than they are disabled, because they are still a person, just like the rest of us, and they should not be categorized differently. It’s the same type of thing with Albinism!

2. “Hermaphridite”- Or intersex. According to the intersex society of Utah, “Intersex” is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. For example, a person might be born appearing to be female on the outside, but having mostly male-typical anatomy on the inside. Or a person may be born with genitals that seem to be in-between the usual male and female types—for example, a girl may be born with a noticeably large clitoris, or lacking a vaginal opening, or a boy may be born with a notably small penis, or with a scrotum that is divided so that it has formed more like labia. Or a person may be born with mosaic genetics, so that some of her cells have XX chromosomes and some of them have XY. Many people refer to intersex people as “hermaphridites”. That is an offensive term, and intersex is the correct term.

3. “Hobo” – This one is a bit more obvious, but you would be shocked at how many teens I hear referring to homeless folks as “hobos” and saying things like, “I gave this hobo a dollar the other day”. To me, it is kind of like seperating homeless people from people who are not homeless, and putting them in another category. It is perpetuating classism! If you are even going to acknowledge the fact that someone does not have a home, just use the term “homeless”

I hope this was helpful! These are some things most people don’t realize are offensive, but they are! Educate your friends, let people know! Thanks (:

Photo from Google Images (:

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Classism: How it plays out

First of all, I am going to define the word classism. Classism is the institutional, cultural, and individual set of practices and beliefs that value people differently based on their socio-economic class, privileging people who are wealthy and targetting people who are poor or working class.

Our society gives power to those who are wealthy, for 1%, yes ONE PERCENT of the U.S population holds 48% of the wealth. Crazy right? That means the majority of us, 80% to be exact, hold only 6% of the U.S wealth. Talk about an uneven distribution of wealth.

During the summer, I went to a camp called CLI, Community Leadership Institute. It focused on issues of oppression and social justice. One thing we talked about, was classism, and how we see it play out. This is what we came up with :

How classism plays out at school

  • The cliques. We noticed that often times wealthier students stick together, building a wall between the upper and lower class students.
  • The extra cirricular activities, which are often times expensive.
  • College prep tend to have more minorities. (racism as well as classism).
  • Teachers make assumptions about lower class people sometimes, and expect more from students of higher class.

How classism plays out in the community

  • People of higher class “showing off” their cars.
  • Some sales people make assumptions about people they perceive as lower class and assume that they won’t buy anything.
  • If a sales person assumes you are lower class, they suspect you of stealing more
  • Sales people tend to be friendlier towards people they perceive to be wealthy, because they are more likely to purchase something.

There are literally thousands of ways classism plays out, but these are just a few examples we came up with. What can you do to stop classism in your community?

  • Try to organize events that are free!
  • Don’t ask people questions about how much money they have.
  • Try to set up financial aide in schools for students who can’t afford books, field trips, prom, etc.
  • Try your best to see people for who they are, not the money they have.
  • Be friends with people of all socio-economic classes, and encourage your friends to do the same.

If you have any examples of how YOU see classism play out, e-mail me or comment below! I would love to hear what you have to say (:

This is an example of unequal wealth distribution! Photo from: http://www.streetartutopia.com/?p=4334