“You can’t say that”
The effects of group affiliation on moral condemnation in cases of group self-deprecation
Why does our moral intuition tend to differ when a person uses deprecating speech towards her own affiliation group as opposed to an outer affiliation group? This paper offers a descriptive mapping of moral intuitions behind group self-deprecation (GSD) as stemming from two theoretical fields: pragmatics and standing. The first possible explanation to our moral intuition focuses on the moral flaw in the utterance of condemned (i.e., the person using GSD). Here, I argue our moral intuition suggests the group affiliation of the condemned affects the utterance’s pragmatic interpretation, thus affecting its offensiveness. An alternative explanation focuses on the critic. Here, I argue practices of standing lay behind the offhand rejection of critiques from outer-group members, regardless of their validity.
Keywords: self-deprecating humor, offensive humor, standing, black humor, phrase reclaiming
Published online: 04 December 2020
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