Look at this article on Kotaku about what hate-speak on the internet! http://kotaku.com/5093970/vexed-by-online-bigots-language-psychologists-say-they-want-you-to-be?skyline=true&s=i
The advice is to ignore it. It’s a tactic used to gain a competitive advantage. Or if you must speak up, which’ll only work in a one-on-one situation, say something like “what if I told you I were black?” That’s what the article says. I think reactions vary.
The only time in the last few months or so that I’ve actually spoken up was in real life, playing a WoW TCG game, because my opponent said “that’s gaysauce.” I said “my best friend’s gaysauce!” and he said “that doesn’t make any sense. How is he a sauce?” and I told him that it was easy: I ground him up and put him on pasta. He tried to continue the conversation with more surrealism and we dropped it. It didn’t get through to him, though, cuz he still says things are gay in my presence. 5th grade gay 1, Judy 0. I know someone who calls things gay cuz she likes pressing peoples’ buttons and playing mind games. It irks me even though I know it’s supposed to be ironic, and that I’m supposed to be the stupid one here because I’m stuck on being “PC” and that’s stupid.
A few years ago I wrote a long impassioned post on my guild’s private forums begging them to stop calling people they didn’t like “fags” and I got 1 person to stop! I remember once we were waiting around to get loot distributed after that one guy near the end of Molten Core with all the healer friends… you know… the guy that drops vendorstrike… Sulfuron!!! Anyway he said something was gay and then sent me a tell saying sorry.
Just when you thought humans weren’t monkeys…
I read an article (of course I can’t find it to link now) about how animals sometimes have a warning call they use when they see a predator (think of squirrels making that chattering noise). Since animals use this type of call only when they see a predator but are safe from it, science thinks it’s a way of annoying and intimidating the predator and reducing its chances of getting ANY prey from that area. (Basically, “you can’t get me, ha ha ha ha ha”) Anyway, at the end of the article it mentioned that this behavior was analagous in the brain to when humans cuss (like at a bad driver or an opponent in sports). This sounds like something really similar.
Also: I had the same thing happen with students: they’d call stuff gay and then say that it wasn’t gay “like THAT.” They see it as a generic put down like how we call things “lame” and we don’t mean to insult the disabled. We dealt with this by saying that we never wanted students to use “gay” as a put down, period, b/c people might think it was “like THAT” even if it wasn’t. Because it is. But it’s hard to reason with people about what words mean or don’t mean, seeing as how words mean what we all agree they mean, haha!
Maybe you could start a guild that only uses shakespearean insults like “toe licker.”
Re: Just when you thought humans weren't monkeys…
Ramon said something about some study about brains and cussing that suggested we had to cuss in order to let out aggression, so that we won’t do anything ACTUALLY aggressive, like punch a dude. Like it might be a necessary impulse, and it reduces violence or something. He said this in the context of Eudemonia’s “no swearing” rule, when it was new, but then he immediately amended it with “one could argue that these adolescents are shooting each other with machine guns ingame, so they’re taking out their aggression anyway.”