Again, I can't comment on Roma peoples, either here in North America or in Europe. I know a bit more about Black Americans and Indigenous Americans, and perhaps there are some useful parallels to draw, at least as far as other marginalized groups in North America go. (Again, I understand the conversation in Europe is quite different, and I'm not educated enough to comment on it, with the possible exception of the UK.)Still why some group would consider victimisation empowering and be ready to disinherit themselves from their ancestors' contribution to the world's culture baffles me.
My understanding is that Black and Indigenous Americans are, on the whole, proud of the contributions their respective groups have made to North American and world cultures, as well they should be. They do not, to my knowledge, find their histories of persecution and victimization empowering in any way; I'm not sure how that idea came into the discussion.
However, because of this history of victimization, they do strongly object to being associated with certain words that have been associated with their persecution (the "n" word for Black Americans, the "r" word for Indigenous Americans, for example), and demand to be referred to by the words they use to refer to themselves (which can change over time, as the preference shifts between "Black" and "African Americans" and back in one case, and no strong consensus among "Indigenous," "American Indian," "Native American," etc. in the other). There's also a great deal of controversy over certain cultural artifacts created by members of the dominant - in the case of North America, white American - culture, which either misrepresent crucial aspects of their culture, or depict them in a demeaning light, or both. The infamous caricatures of Indigenous peoples in Disney's animated Peter Pan are an obvious go-to example. This is a very different question from the many contributions Black and Indigenous artists and storytellers and philosophers have made to local and world cultures on their own terms. What we do with difficult artifacts like Peter Pan which perpetuate harmful portrayals of Indigenous peoples is a sticky question all around.
As a matter of fact, we had a group of Polish exchange students on campus my first year of undergraduate studies, but I never did interact with them much, and I certainly never learned their ethnic backgrounds. In the event I ever do find myself in that situation again, I would, of course, do my best to use whatever language they find most comfortable.
Thanks for the tip. And that actually brings me around to the original topic of this thread, in that there are levels of slur. While "hamerykański" may be a rude word for people from my country, I doubt it would rise to the same level as the "n" word for Black people, the "r" word for Indigenous peoples, or - in North America, at least, if not in Europe - the "g" word for Roma peoples and their kindred. Kinda like how the US slang word for Germans in World War II, "Kraut," is certainly rude, it's not on the same level as the words they used for the Japanese, which I won't repeat here.[By the way, if the word "American" is to be used as a slur, an initial "H-" is added before it. So if you hear a Polish person saying "Hameryka" "hamerykański" instead of normal "Ameryka" or "amerykański" it is meant to be dismissive - just FYI. ;-),
It was this kind of differentiation in slurs and how they operate I was trying to tease out in my initial post about the word "Ranger" in Lord of the Rings and how it might or might not compare to the "g" word as its used here in North America.
I would presume it derives from "Amerikkka," which I still see bandied about occasionally, though infrequently. This being a reference to the notorious white supremacist terrorist organization, with the intended implication of the phrase being that the US government is just a more sophisticated version of the Klan. [Insert *The More You Know* musical cue here]I'm not sure if it is still much current, but when I was younger the dismissive counter-cultural spelling of "America" here in the US was "Amerika". I never did know why, exactly, or where this came from, but Merriam-Webster online says this spelling represents the "racist or fascist aspect of American society".