Easley uses gay slur to praise Clinton

Yesterday Mike Easley endorsed Hillary Clinton. No surprise there, since like her, he is a "right of center" Democrat. What did stand out was in the course of his endorsement he decides to praise her while using a gay slur.

...nothing I love more than a strong powerful woman." Easley concluded his remarks saying Clinton -- "makes Rocky Balboa look like a pansy".

Clinton seemed to see nothing amiss with this remark, but then that is also not surprising to me. For the record:

1) Only bigots use words like "pansy", specifically bigots who are frightfully insecure about their own sexuality and have to denigrate others with childish taunts to feel good.

2) "Rocky" is not the metaphor you want to use for the Clinton campaign.

Apollo Creed, a black guy, beat Rocky to a pulp. Rocky lost. Intimating the Rocky was a homosexual does not change that reality. Why is it necessary to point this out to allegedly intelligent adults?

Comments

but but but Boseman is endorsing Hillary

but but but is Julie old enough to remember?

I am and uh I'm not 50, not that there's anything wrong with being 50.

I've asked a lot of people over the age of 50

And none of them knew the homosexual aspect of the word.

Words, especially slang, take on different conotations based upon region and social groupings.

It is too big an assumption to believe that everyone over the age of 50 knows that pansy has that alternative meaning.

Oh No!

Not ACTIVISM!!!!!!!!!11111

No problem with "activism"...

Problem isn't "activism" but that from what I can tell from a Google search it's recently been pro-Obama/anti-Hillary "activism." If we're going to let someone have the final say, "last word" and all, wouldn't it be fair to tell us that's pretty entrenched in the Obama camp?

I think this thread has seen some very level-headed people be influenced less by their deep personal offense to the word "pansy" and more by their anti-Hillary/anti-Easley/pro-Obama feelings. (I know there are some exceptions up-thread.)

Her name is Julia

And she is a good person- and a good politician. As Democrats we should be proud that our only lesbian legislator has been asked to campaign with the former POTUS.

I am proud of Julia- and I am proud of my candidate for President.

You should be proud of Julia Boseman

She's represented her district well.

And I would hope you'd be proud of the candidate you're supporting for President, otherwise there'd be big problem.

The only person I'm not proud of in this in Michael Easley.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

This will be my last post on the matter

I think it's very telling that neither Kosh nor Linda, the two who seem to have worked themselves into a frenzy over this whole thing, will not answer a simple, direct question. Several posters have established that there are two clear meanings for the word pansy - a weak person, or a homosexual. I have asked each of them several times in this thread to let me know which definition they thought Easley was using, and neither will answer. Instead, they just start on another rant about how we don't get it or about how ignorant we are for not knowing.

The reason they won't answer the question is because they know it's a trick question. If they answer that Easley was using the homosexual definition (i.e. She makes Rocky Balboa look like a homosexual!), they know they will be wrong and will lose a lot of respect from folks on the boards because it is clear to any rational thinker that Easley was not saying that. If they correctly answer that Easley was using the wimp definition (i.e. She makes Rocky Balboa look like a wimp), then they will have just admitted to the fact that they took his answer out of context just to make a mountain out of a molehill. Either way, they can't win. Which is why they won't answer the question.

Based on this thread, at least five posters - myself, jjsmith, NC MacTech, Blueridge and macandacam - all said they were unaware that pansy could be used in a derogatory fashion to describe a homosexual man prior to Easley's pronouncement. (By the way, this doesn't make us ignorant or bigoted against homosexuals. I bet there are young folks today who are not aware that the word spade can be used as a derogatory reference to an African-American person, but that doesn't mean they are racist.) So for Linda and Kosh to assume that Easley did know this is unfair to Easley. Perhaps he did, perhaps he didn't. I don't know.

Was it a bad choice of words? Yes, no doubt.
Was it done in a calculated and hateful manner? Give me a break.

I do agree with Kosh on one thing - there is no 'h' in wimp!

I was unable to answer your question last night, teepack

because the thread was closed.

I believe it was calculated. Easley is a lawyer and a politician. Both of those professions trade in words and words alone. I believe it was a word meant to stand in for homosexual. I know you disagree with me. ::shrug:: From what I've read of your other posts, we're not likely to agree on much, except perhaps we have the freedom to disagree.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

Thanks.

And maybe I just am completely not up on offensive terms of yesteryear, but ... spade??? Who knew??

In the loop on slurs

JJ, you stick with us and we'll l'arn you some slurs.

And I don't mean no pansy-ass ambiguous slurs, neither. (WHOOOPS~)

I'm talking can't be printed, can't be discussed or dissected 'cause they can't be printed slurs. We gotcher slurs right here where no hi-falutin' NYTimes article dare tread kinda slurs. KEEP your eyes peeled and your smelling salts ready!

I'm not going to answer for them, but

I think it's very telling that neither Kosh nor Linda, the two who seem to have worked themselves into a frenzy over this whole thing, will not answer a simple, direct question. Several posters have established that there are two clear meanings for the word pansy - a weak person, or a homosexual. I have asked each of them several times in this thread to let me know which definition they thought Easley was using, and neither will answer. Instead, they just start on another rant about how we don't get it or about how ignorant we are for not knowing.

let me clarify the last sentence there: the rants are because a few posters here have claimed they had no idea that the word "pansy" could ever be used to infer that a male might be a homosexual, which is absolute horseshit.

It's not that you're ignorant, it's because you (and others) are claiming something that simply could not be true (in the here and now). But there's no way for anybody to prove you're being disingenuous, so the argument continues in a circular fashion.

As for your question about whether Easley actually meant a "weak, girlish male" or a homosexual, I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he meant the former. But that far from excuses the usage, as it's still wrapped up in sexual connotations and inferred judgment.

Make no mistake, I'm not trying to convince you, because I think you already know all this stuff. But I can't prove it, and I'm not going to waste a whole lot of time trying.

And for anout the third time

I answered your question.

Which originally was:

She makes Rocky Balboa look like a homosexual?

Or

She makes Rocky Balboa look like a wimp?

I explained that the two definitions of "pansy" are:

slur: male homosexual
slur: effeminate male

The word "wimp" doesn't appear in the definition.

Someone else mentioned "or weak", but the recurring word was "effeminate", with "weak" appearing less frequently.

So, your question is properly:

She makes Rocky Balboa look like a homosexual?

Or

She makes Rocky Balboa look like a effeminate man?

I then explained that NEITHER context casts Easley in a good light.

If we are going to argue about the meaning of words, then we must stick to the actual definitions appearing most frequently in the reference texts, and not inject words that don't actually appear in the definition. This confuses the argument.

Since you and others insist that "many" people don't have my view of the term pansy, I have consulted UrbanDictionary.com, which is like a Wiki, but allows people to vote on definition as they think they best apply. The UD is VERY much the venue of the under-30 crowd, so I would think it indicative of the accepted definition of the word "pansy" as seen by today's youth.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=pansy

A sissy, fag, fairy, or one that is generally unmanly.

614 approve of this definition, 112 oppose.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Seriously.

Did not know it was a slur synonymous with homosexual. Can see how it would be offensive as-applied, and I certainly accept that it IS a slur synonymous with homosexual in one major usage of the word. Maybe it says a lot about my generation, but 10 years ago when I was in high school people were wearing "Let's get one thing straight... I'm not" t-shirts. I'm sure there was taunting, but I don't think the jocks were at home googling the etymology of offensive slurs looking for new and creative ways to insult our out gay students. And my hometown was about as far from a gay friendly utopia as you could get.

I honestly do think there's some kind of generation gap with this word. You think it's ubiquitous, I'd never heard it used to mean gay. (And even if I have actually heard it used with that intent, I just interpreted it to mean weak or effeminate.)

Top Ten List

Top ten observations of the Gov’s reference to a “pansy:”

10. He was trying to be hip like Gov. Arnold who talked of “girlie boys or Nancy boys.” At least he did not say, "Puff, puff, pansy."
9. He was only trying to show us what it will be like if we elect Fred as governor.
8. He actually thought it was a line from the Johnny Cash song, “A Boy Named Sue.”
7. He was trying to shift the focus off the deleted emails and get into a discussion of “the birds and the bees” and agape love and eros and the NCDOT. It worked.
6. I did not even realize we still had a governor. He keeps such a low profile he gets nervous when speaking in public.
5. He wanted to take the attention off Rev. Wright by also saying something stupid.
4. He thought “pansy” was the same thing as calling Hillary “Billary.”
3. He got confused about that Rocky business. The only Rocky he watched was the Rocky on the Bullwinkle show.
2. He thought that the gay issue was settled when we passed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Kiss and Tell” amendment to the Constitution.

1. He denounces all those who say we in NC are not tolerant of gays! The latest press release states: “Show me one North Carolinian who does not love Gomer Pyle! That should be proof enough that we are one big happy family. And I think Aunt Bee’s middle name was ‘Pansy.”

P.S. We all love Gomer. Well, except maybe for that Max fellow over at the Red Clay Pit. He don’t like nobody.

(I would imagine the gov is sorry he made the comment.)

#11 He's an Intermittent Gardener

(John LeCarre reference) who recently had his heart broken when he snipped off a an especially vibrant pansy, ran shouting joyously next door to show his neighbor, but when he got there, he observed through his welling tears that the poor flower had not survived the journey.

:)

History Lessons

"queer" has multiple meanings, too. so does "gay." so does "fairy." etc.

each of these has had an arc in terms of its relation to representation of homosexuality, and within the homosexual and/or lgbt community (the latter being a relatively new configuration)

"pansy" is not just an arbitrary association with "homosexuality" or the homosexual community. There is an historical connection. The fact that people don't know this doesn't erase the history. The Pansy Craze was an early peak of gay visibility - and it definitely lead to the widespread use of the term "pansy" to mean "homosexual."

I could quote many historical and literary references to "pansy" used in this way, and I know it wouldn't satisfy the people whose argument is only "well, I didn't know that it meant this." But those people aren't hearing the real argument here. The point isn't whether you knew this was a slur. The point is that this was a slur. If a number of people recognized it for that and received it that way, it doesn't matter whether it was "intended" as a joke. There are lots of homophobic and racist jokes that aren't "meant that way." If you tell one and it hurts people, you say you're sorry and don't tell it again. That's all there is to it.

Thanks thisniss (love the name)

There are apparently those who think "I didn't mean it that way, therefore, to hell with whoever it hurt, I shall tell it again and again." I believe that those are the folks who may never get it.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

To know you are right about

To know you are right about what another's intended meaning is a great gift--but really, I don't think any of us here have this ability. I was aware of both meanings for pansy, but don't believe Easley intended to imply that anyone was gay ('though if he did, it's sad that this would be an insult).

Unlike some racially charged terms, many people (many of whom are blogging here) didn't realize that pansy is a slur implying homosexuality. Easley should be called on his use of the term, but not as a bigot--isn't it about educating people, not condemning them? If you get way too high on your high horse no one (who will benefit from it) will hear you. And if it turns out that Easley meant to imply the Rocky was gay--you still called him on it.

What I find interesting, however, is that no one ever (forgive me if this blog has, I'm new) talks about the sexism against Hillary. Love her or hate her (or luke warm) she is an accomplished women deserving basic respect. I don't mean she shouldn't face criticism (her recent knuckle-headed support for repealing the gas tax for example), but why should Easley feel compelled to compare her to a mutant, steroid pumping, high-testosterone fictional character as a means of offering his support? McCain is ancient, even he admits his VP selection is more important than for most candidates, but no one seems to think he would benefit from being portrayed as Conan the Barbarian. And NO ONE has commented on the width of his, or Obama's A#$. No one has suggested that either of the male candidates dresses frumpy either, or that they showed too much cleavage. See eg., http://">http://womensspace.wordpress.com/2008/01/09/running-for-president-while-female/. Hillary is a B%$#@ when she presents herself forcefully; whereas, the men are simply forceful.

In this country, I think women are still viewed as interlopers when they push for positions of real power and the media and others still push back to put the woman in her place. On another blog I read recently, someone suggested that, because no woman has ever been president, Hillary should seek a VP position instead of president. I haven't read or heard anyone suggesting that the first black man with a decent chance at the white house should accept the number two position. Neither should back down from their goal--and neither should be asked to. The election process, however, bizarre, will resolve the matter. But still, as the process unfolds, a more critical eye to the language used by persons speaking for or against Hillary is needed.

Welcome

Nice first post here. Glad to have a new good writer in the mix.

Have been around here since Day One, I can't say that a lot of attention has been given to the deep thread of institutional sexism that runs through our political fabric. We cover it some ... most folks here are pretty solid in their feminist credentials ... but mostly we don't spend a lot of time on national politics.

In the gubernatorial race, critics of Bev Perdue occasionally slip into gender-based criticisms, but most of the discussion seems pretty above board.

As to what Mike Easley means by anything, well that's anyone's guess.

Hi,

Hi,
Here I am.
So very up in arms.
Not so much even at the "slur" as those who don't even understand the meaning of the slur. It is not their fault, to not know.
Insofar as intended meaning, yes, I see it only one way. It is a word which comes from my time, the time of Hillary Clinton and Governor Easley. At at time when the public at large didn't associate "pansy" with a flower but with a boy like me. A boy who couldn't help the fact that he liked other boys, and didn't know how to be "normal", a boy from the time before "gay rights".
Can you understand at all that THEY are from this "time"?
It that had happened to Obama, I would give a very good chance that he would at least diffused the word in some manner. Good grief. I suppose it's true, nobody can say another's intended meaning BUT I can in their youth, Hillary and Easley, "PANSY" WAS NOT A FLOWER. IT WAS ONE OF US TERRIBLY PERVERTED HOMOSEXUAL KIDS. "Nobody can say?", You have no idea what it was like in their time, in my time? I CAN say. They both KNOW DAMN GOOD AN WELL WHAT THAT WORD INFERS TO OLDER AUDIENCES.
I was there with them at the receiving end of that word, and yes, I CAN SAY.

I certainly have nothing against a women for President. I would cherish it had nothing better to be seen.
The fact is, for the gay community, Hillary Clinton did nothing more than lip sync before Bill's election and nothing when she had power as first lady.
Hillary Clinton, as first lady, alienated Congress with her arrogance.
The Clinton people are "go for blood" politicians. When they didn't like something the press said, the press who said it was contacted and often threatened.

I cannot see Hillary Clinton as a strong woman. I can only see her as a schemer with an agenda to power.
What "strong woman" cries before a primary because...
I DO NOT WANT A PRESIDENT WHO CRIES UNDER PRESSURE, MALE OR FEMALE.
What person running for Presidential office is just now "finding his/her voice"? Finding yourself is for therapy not Presidency.

Quite frankly, the truth, a strong woman does not call on the front runner in the campaign to take a back seat as her vice President. Only an arrogant self-serving person would do such a thing.
Good Grief, sometimes we can be a bit too sensitive to womans' issues? I mean, to the point of being hoodwinked. Sometimes I think that Hillary would make a very good Republican,only because in the past few years they have gained power by character assassination and we allowed a President who can't even speak proper English to take office. What the hell do we expect and what the hell will we expect from a woman who would be the 'runner up' in the public arena and "stay the course" even if it called for splitting her Democratic Party.
I would say she is not so strong as she is arrogant. A strong woman would have quizzed the front runner as to her vice Presidency possibilities (which would have guaranteed a Democrat in the office. Only an arrogant, self-serving person would treat the person she is trailing as an insignificant. I am all for woman's rights but, I am not for woman's tearful charms or arrogance.

Anyone who thinks....

... the use of "pansy" here is a gay slur is grasping at hilarious straws that aren't there.
But let me tell you something. As a gay man, if you want to talk about anti-gay, then we talk about Barack Obama. Not only has he refused to talk to gay press, state after state, but he has the permanent black eye of the Donnie McClurkin controversy.
You have Obama soliciting anti-gay gospel singer McClurkin's support. You have McClurkin telling crowds at Obama campaign events in South Carolina about how "god saved me from the curse of homosexuality."
You have, then, SC gay rights groups asking Obama to reject McClurkin's support, and remove him from the tour. And you have Obama refusing, issuing only a statement where he denounced him, still leaving him on the tour.
And then he has the nerve to sit there some months later and tell a debate moderator he doesn't understand the difference between rejecting and denouncing support (this time regarding Louis Farrakahn.
Obama can give the GLBT community all the lip service he wants, but when it came to action, he failed. Epicly

LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING

Let me tell YOU SOMETHING.
As a gay man who comes from the time of Hillary and Easley and all the older homophobic that would have heard that YES GAY SLUR, you hopefully become one of those 'anyone who BOTHERS to think'.
YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THAT WORDS MEANS. YOU ARE FROM A TIME OF GAY RIGHTS. IT IS OBVIOUS.
I hate to be offensive but I am very angered that my fellow gays would not ask of this to understand it better, but to immediately let that word return to remind me of how horrible it was to be called a "PANSY".

Did you happen to see the movie "Brokeback Mountain"?
What you may not realize is that when those men were beating a homosexual with a crow bar, Chances Are, given the time zone, 99 out of 100 that THEY WERE CALLING HIM A "PANSY" WHILE THEY WERE BEATING HIM TO DEATH.

Sorry but, no, I am not sorry, I will tell you and it is about time you grew up.
ANYONE WHO HAS CHECKED OUT OBAMA'S HISTORY IN THE ELECTORAL WILL FIND THAT HE HAS ALWAYS SUPPORTED, AND MENTIONED, GAY'S IN HIS VOTING PAST.

THE proof is in the pudding damn you. Look around and check the U.S. Congressional websites and see who has backed your advancement and who has paid you lip service.
I will guarantee you will find that Obams has stayed true to his word since day one in the State of Illinois.

YES, "PANSY" IS A SLUR IN HILLARY AND EASLEY'S TIME AND THE TIME OF THOSE WHO HEARD THAT SPEECH. THEY ARE BUYING THE HOMOPHOBIC VOTE.
BARACK OBAMA HAS BACKED GAY EQUALITY FROM DAY ONE, LONG BEFORE HE "HAD TO" POLITICALLY.
GAY DESERVE EQUAL RIGHTS WAS PART OF HIS KEYNOTE ADDRESS FOR KERRY WHEN OBAMA NEVER HAD TO MENTION GAYS.

Grasping at insensitivity?

Nice attempt at diversion. However, just because Obama hasn't lived up to your expectations doesn't mean Easley didn't offend some people. They have nothing to do with one another!

Easley said it. Some people were offended. Those are the facts. I was offended. Fact. Those aren't "hilarious straws" but my feelings, my experiences, and my history as a child. I was called a pansy. It was one of a bunch of names (along with sissy, Mary, faggot, pussy and countless more) used to insult and attack me because I behaved too effeminately.

So feel free to attack Obama for what you believe is a bad move on his part. Just don't dismiss a legitimate complaint to do it. It's ineffective.

See above reply. My

See above reply.
My mention of Obama wasn't a diversion, but an addition, to try and talk about something that people (gay and straight alike) do not give enough attention to. And something, for me, that matters more as this was a poor choice of words on Easley's part, and I do not believe that it was his intention to use it as a slur. (Why would he?) I don't think it was Barack's intention to offend, either, with McClurkin, but that he did it amorally and only for political advancement.

PANSY'S AND SLURS AND WHERE ARE YOU FROM'S?

Well, first and foremost, I would like to address anyone who does not seem to understand any problem in that use of the term "Pansy".

I understand that many have never heard it used as a slur for homosexuals.
I understand looking up the dictionary definitions and such.

HOWEVER: Please know, and it was used on me many times when Easley and Hillary were younger, is was one of those words that helped me to cry myself to sleep with self-hatred at night.

It was a word of utter hated for homosexuals, and you better believe that both of them know that they are speaking to an older crowed containing the homophobic, yes, even before the idea of gay liberation surfaced.
It was a horrible word and both of them know it. BOTH OF THEM UNDERSTAND WHAT IS THE TRUE MEANING TO AN OLDER AMERICA. You may not, but THEY DO.

You may think it means nothing, now anyway. I guarantee you they know, ask some elderly people and you will find they know what it meant. It was NOT a "flower" nor a "wimpy boxer" in their time.

You give them excuses for using the term. I give you REASONS for not RATIONALIZING their behavior.
It was a political vying for the homophobic vote of their generation. They both WELL know what was being said.
I AM THEIR GENERATION AND THEY ARE THOSE WHO WOULD STING MY HEART ALMOST DAILY WITH THAT WORD.

UNDERSTAND THAT I, AND THEY, ARE THE GENERATION BEFORE GAY RIGHTS.

Hillary has shown her love for the gay community, IT IS NOT THERE. When she had the power of first lady, she did nothing. When she needs you, she will hardly mention the word "gay" in a speech, even to a gay audience!
Look around you and look at her history. She is not "for You" unless she "needs" you. You think you "need" her but,look at her history!

I heard Barrack Obama say, "and gays" have the right to equality in this country. He said it in a keynote address AND HE HAD NOTHING TO GAIN, BUT TO LOSE BY SAYING IT.
He mentions gay rights in almost every speech he makes.
He is, right then and there, a total change in this country. Good grief, wake up and smell some hope in your life. Because so long as you back Hillary Clinton, you will always smell what comes from her backside.

"I give you REASONS for not

"I give you REASONS for not RATIONALIZING their behavior."

Who is they? You're faulty first of all for trying to link Hillary Clinton along the comment, which she did not make.

"Hillary has shown her love for the gay community, IT IS NOT THERE. When she had the power of first lady, she did nothing. When she needs you, she will hardly mention the word "gay" in a speech, even to a gay audience!
Look around you and look at her history. She is not "for You" unless she "needs" you. You think you "need" her but,look at her history!"

Okay, these accusations are outright lies, honey. Do you want me to start listing everything she has done? In HIV/AIDS issues, hate crime legislation, helping to defeat the proposed 2004 constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage? If you are ignorant to all she has done, I'll help inform you. But I won't stand for false accusation that say she has done nothing.

"I heard Barrack Obama say, "and gays" have the right to equality in this country. He said it in a keynote address AND HE HAD NOTHING TO GAIN, BUT TO LOSE BY SAYING IT.
He mentions gay rights in almost every speech he makes."
Speeches are lip service. Have you been aware that he is ignoring the gay press? In Ohio, he refused to grant the state's largest newspaper an interview, and eventually caved into sending a representative, who talked down to the interviewer and, when pressed with questions, ended the actual interview? And in PA, he out right refused to even talk to any gay paper. But guess who did. She has blond hair and her name rhymes with Tillary Flinton.

"He is, right then and there, a total change in this country. Good grief, wake up and smell some hope in your life. Because so long as you back Hillary Clinton, you will always smell what comes from her backside."
Your condescension doesn't become you. I have hope that things will get better in our country, and to do that the only way that can be achieved is to elect Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama would be another Bush; lacking qualifications and experience, bumbling his way through answering to the press, and generally being pig headed and arrogant about how he wants to do his job. Maybe you see hope in him, but I certainly see it elsewhere. I'm not discounting your view, like you annoyingly are mine.
However, your closing remark is unfortunate. For its immaturity is laughable and negates me ever taking you seriously again.
Have a nice day.

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