It was just a matter of time. At some point I would step over some unknown line on someones blog. I just did and didn't know it until I was called on the carpet. This specific blogger would definitely be quick to mention some aspect of one my comments as being unacceptable. Have to admire their in my face, straight forward way of dealing with it.
This interaction actually marks a couple of firsts. The first negative response to one of my comments. And this is my first lesson about my use of the word Canuck. I never considered whether it was offensive or not. When I worked north of the border it was used by many Canadians when referring to one of their own. I learned it from them.From the horse's mouth so to speak. Vancouver even has a hockey team named the Canucks.
I felt no apology was in order. I meant no offense and said so. I also said I would respect their wishes in the future. For me a learning experience. For them, well, I can't speak for them. It happened and we'll both move on from here.
All this brought up a bevy of different considerations and concerns. Were they being overly sensitive? Was I just being insensitive? Just how concerned should I be about the feelings of others I have no control over? Just why are different groups, racial, ethnic, religious so sensitive to the terms of speech used by those outside their insular cliques? And why are people like me who exist outside these cliques so quick to dismiss their concerns as being "too sensitive"?
And then I have to deal with someone calling my remark racist. In my opinion, Canadians are not a race nor is any ethnic group with European roots who lives there one. Do I get all huffy about the inference that I am racist by association for using the word Canuck? Well, I don't usually care what people think. It is what I think and know about myself that matters. So no, I don't care if it was inferred that I was being racist. How folks perceive me is on them. I can only control what I can about me. And it seems now all I can do is respect their wishes when visiting their blog.
Inadvertent and innocently uttered remarks like mine aside, I guess it comes down to respecting the comfort zones of the people we interact with. While I did not mean the term in a derogatory way, it was perceived that way by it's very existence.
I wonder just what is the blogging etiquette for this situation? Do I return to my comment and delete it? Copy n Paste and re-comment with Canuck removed and Canadian in it's place? Leave it alone for the blog owner to delete or not? Or blow it all off figuring my recognition of their concern was enough?
Regardless, I have had quite a variety of emotions here. I feel bad. I don't get it. And why don't I get it, which creates a feeling of real confusion. Interesting to write about it as it unfolds, that's for sure.
I did some research about the word Canuck. Wiki and this site both indicated the word is in the eye of the beholder and who is uttering it. Prof Kim in her "Writer's Den" site says this as a double ** footnote at the bottom of her page:
"**‘Canuck’ seems to be a sticky term. Used by Canadians, the word is acceptable in virtually all applications. Used by an outsider, however, it has the potential to take on an offensive or derogatory tone."
So now I know. Will it change my opinion about the word? Probably not. But it might just be a word I may want to leave out of some conversations. I will try to keep that in mind.
I guess what I need is my own word to get fired up about. Since my background is straight down the middle WASP, there really is no ancestry I can defend. My ancestors were all the guilty ones. Those wacky folks from Down Under do have a right colorful name for us folks from the States though. Might be promising. Seems they call us Americans "Seppos". They also call their septic tanks Seppos. Hmm. Might be ripe for some righteous indignation. Let me see if I can dig some up.