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  #1  
Old 02 May 2007, 10:39 PM
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Icon84 'Sunshine' is a racist term?

Comment: I was recently at a work meeting where appropriate language, comments, jokes, etc.
were being discussed. One of our co-workers made the point that the word "sunshine" if
used as an epithet, or if addressed to, a black man should be considered a racist term.

I have never heard of this usage before, nor apparently had anyone else in
the room (apart from the fellow who brought it up). An internet search
found a few similar remarks, although there did not seem to be any
consensus as to the validity of the statement. It was suggested that
there was a misunderstanding with the similar word "shine", once a more
common derogatory racial word. The discussion was in reference to an
alleged incident on a Seattle bus a few years ago. A more recent
reference concerned another incident at a restaurant in Truro, Nova
Scotia. Since I am in Halifax, Nova Scotia, I am wondering if this is a
local recent phenomenon (either of a re-awakened understanding of a
forgotten term, or a re-occurence of a misunderstood term).
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Old 02 May 2007, 10:39 PM
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Well, we know 'picnic' is a racist term, and people usually hold picnics in the sunshine, so I guess it follows logically ...

- snopes
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  #3  
Old 02 May 2007, 10:43 PM
Ryda Wong, EBfCo. Ryda Wong, EBfCo. is offline
 
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Huh. That's a new one on me. I certainly haven't heard that before.

But I'd think that calling any adult "sunshine" in a derogatory manner would create offense.
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  #4  
Old 02 May 2007, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryda Wong, EBfCo. View Post
But I'd think that calling any adult "sunshine" in a derogatory manner would create offense.
Anything you call anyone in a derogatory manner tends to create offense. That doesn't mean the term is widely offensive.

Seaboe
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  #5  
Old 02 May 2007, 11:03 PM
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I've heard the term used, but not in a racial fashion i.e. those that are fond of it apply it to persons of any race, like mate, chap or geezer.

I have however sometimes heard it used as an insulting sideswipe to indicate that the person saying it considers the subject a right miserable b***ard (somewhat akin to the expression "proper little ray of sunshine aren't we?"

Normally though it's just a friendly greeting.
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Old 02 May 2007, 11:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker View Post
Anything you call anyone in a derogatory manner tends to create offense. That doesn't mean the term is widely offensive.

Seaboe
That's what I was thinking. We say it in a joking manner at work so no one has ever gotten offended. I've never heard that "sunshine" was a derogatory term. I could see someone getting upset about being called that, but like we've already said it would be a matter of tone and any term can create offense with the right tone. So if "sunshine" is a derogatory term that is news to me.
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  #7  
Old 02 May 2007, 11:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
(Snip) Well, we know 'picnic' is a racist term

- snopes
Picnic is a racist term?

My staff uses that term all the time, except it means, "Problem In Chair Not In Computer".

ETA: Nevermind, I found the page. http://www.snopes.com/language/offense/picnic.htm

Last edited by remarkgullabull; 02 May 2007 at 11:22 PM. Reason: Because I'm too lazy to look things up
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  #8  
Old 03 May 2007, 12:55 AM
Ryda Wong, EBfCo. Ryda Wong, EBfCo. is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker View Post
Anything you call anyone in a derogatory manner tends to create offense. That doesn't mean the term is widely offensive.

Seaboe
yeah. that's kinda what I was saying. But I was trying to think how the possible misconception came about. I.E., someone uses the term as an insult to a person who happens to be black. Person takes offence. Someone assumes that's because he's black and the term is racist, rather than that he's human and the other person's a jerk
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  #9  
Old 03 May 2007, 01:53 AM
TB Tabby TB Tabby is offline
 
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What's wrong with being compared to Sunshine? I think he's pretty badass.
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  #10  
Old 03 May 2007, 03:19 AM
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Strange that I can't find any cites online about it, but I have heard "Shinetown" used as a name for the part of town where poor black people live. I wonder if that usage might have influenced the person in the OP to assume that "sunshine" was a racist term.
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  #11  
Old 03 May 2007, 06:31 AM
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Sunshine can be a demeaning term to address dissatisfaction with someone of lower rank or it can be a term of endearment.

The doctor in the TV show scrubs uses the term to address his residents.

I would put sunshine in the list of terms that gained a secondary derogatory meaning.
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  #12  
Old 03 May 2007, 09:56 AM
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well, it's lost on me...I've been using it as a term of endearment most of my life, and probably picked it up from my family. In 40 some years nobody I know of (regardless of their pigmentation) has ever taken offense.
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  #13  
Old 03 May 2007, 10:00 AM
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I think, like most terms of endearment, it could be used in a rather belittling and patronising way, but I don't think it's racist.
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  #14  
Old 03 May 2007, 11:09 AM
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I think this is a case of linguistic drift. The word "shine" previously had racist connotations, I believe as a contraction of "shoeshine". I could see that becoming associated with "sunshine".
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  #15  
Old 03 May 2007, 11:50 AM
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Ok, now I have "One night in Bangkok" stuck in my head: "I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine." But then it was kind of there anyway since my brother's in Thailand for a while.

pinqy
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  #16  
Old 03 May 2007, 11:55 AM
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Oh, you stole my post, Pinqy! I've had that song stuck in my head the past two days!!
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  #17  
Old 03 May 2007, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinqy View Post
Ok, now I have "One night in Bangkok" stuck in my head: "I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine."
Me three.

"I'd let you watch, I would invite you, but the queens we use would not excite you."
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  #18  
Old 03 May 2007, 12:18 PM
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So, now the word 'sunshine' has to be censored?

You are my ********,
My only ********.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You'll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don't take my ******** away.
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  #19  
Old 03 May 2007, 12:36 PM
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Or the Beatles with their racist anthem...

Good day Sunshi*e....
Good day Sunshi*e....
Good day Sunshi*e....
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  #20  
Old 03 May 2007, 01:53 PM
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Looking only at the subject line, I expected it to refer to the laws requiring various government documents and proceedings to be available to the public, the implication being that light was preferable to dark. I know it's a stretch, but it makes as much sense as the actual OP.

ETA: And I thought of "One Night in Bangkok", too.
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