Über das N-Wort im Deutschen

Der Begriff ist ungenau; es gibt mindestens zwei N-Wörter im Deutschen. Das erste und herabwürdigendere ist das Wort, das man in den USA unter „n-word“ versteht. Also die Bezeichnung, die Huck Finn benutzt, wenn er von dem Sklaven Jim erzählt. Und dieses Wort wird genauso im Deutschen verwendet. Das zweite Wort ist die Entsprechung des Englischen „negro“. Im Wörterbuch heißt es dazu: „dated, often offensive“ (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Negro). So ist es auch mit der deutschen Entsprechung: „Neger“. Bis in die 70er und 80er Jahre schien der Gebrauch unbedenklich; jetzt wird der Ausdruck als diskriminierend und abwertend betrachtet. Im Duden von 1999 steht:  „wird heute meist als abwertend empfunden“. Warum man im Deutschen so undifferenziert mit den „N-Wörtern“, wie es eigentlich heißen müßte (https://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/N_Wort), umgeht, ist mir schleierhaft.

Es wird argumentiert, daß das zweite N-Wort die „Verletzungen der Vergangenheit“ (also Sklaverei, Unterdrückung, Entrechtung, etc.) lebendig macht. Wenn dem so wäre, dann müßte man aber auch die Begriffe „Schwarze/r“, „Farbige/r und die „person of colour“ (POC) in die gleiche Kategorie stellen, denn diese Begriffe rufen genauso die Verletzungen der Vergangenheit hervor (https://www.ferris.edu/HTMLS/news/jimcrow/question/2010/october.htm). Bei mir stellen sich hier Bilder der Bürgerrechtsbewegung in den USA ein, die ich in den 60er Jahren fast täglich in den Nachrichten sah. Wenn wir also Wörter verbieten, die eine herabwürdigende Bedeutung haben, dann müßte man auch das Wort „Ausländer“ als problematisch ansehen. Denn das habe ich so empfunden, und so war es auch oft gemeint, egal, ob man es mit dem Adjektiv „dreckiger“ (Ausländer) versehen hat oder nicht – so wurden wir als Kinder nämlich oft beschimpft. „Afro-Amerikaner“ oder „Afro-Deutscher“ ist jetzt (!) wohl weniger geschichtsbeladen, aber solche Begriffe grenzen genauso aus wie „Menschen mit Migrationshintergrund“. Bei letzterem Begriff wird ja die Geschichte geradezu beschworen. In der Nazizeit, noch vor dem Krieg, hatte man viele „Fremdarbeiter“ im Land – ein sprechender Begriff. Mir gefällt aber der „Gastarbeiter“ und die „Gastarbeiterkinder“ am Besten; so wurden wir damals genannt. Die Gäste sind zwar geblieben und sind somit keine Gäste mehr, aber wenigstens ist der Begriff „Gast“ positiv beladen. Fazit: Die Sprachpolizei muß sich etwas mehr Mühe geben; Sprache ist viel differenzierter als es von den Wächtern der Diktion dargestellt wird.

“Sport and the (Asian) Martial Arts Ethos: Winning Ugly”. 

Keynote 1: “Sport and the (Asian) Martial Arts Ethos: Winning Ugly” – Miroslav Imbrisevic. September 23rd 2021, 48th Annual IAPS Conference, Split/Croatia.  http://iaps.net/conference/48th-annual-iaps-conference/ 

See full video here: https://miroslavimbrisevic.wordpress.com/talks/

Is there a Future for Olympic Karate?

by Miroslav Imbrišević

The final bout in the men’s Karate (over-75 kg) in Tokyo ended with a bang – when Sajad Ganjzadeh’s head hit the tatami (mat). His opponent in the battle for gold, Tareg Hamedi (Saudi Arabia), delivered a kick to his head, which knocked Ganjzadeh (Iran) out cold. This match also ended in controversy, perhaps not within the Karate community, but certainly for Olympic audiences worldwide. Hamedi was disqualified for using excessive force and the gold medal was awarded to the unconscious fighter.

Read the full article here:


By Miroslav Imbrisevic

Watching the Tokyo Olympics made me think about what we want from our sporting heroines (and heroes). What can we expect from them, and can we make demands on them?

Texas Deputy Attorney General Aaron Reitz called the Olympic champion Simone Biles a “national embarrassment” after she withdrew from competing for mental health reasons. Reitz attached a video of gymnast Kerri Strug from the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta to his tweet. There, Strug performed her final vault with an injured ankle. This act of self-sacrifice gave the US team gold. Reitz tweeted: “Contrast this with our selfish, childish national embarrassment, Simone Biles.”

Read the full article here:



by Miroslav Imbrišević

Plato was wrong, philosophers are not always best placed to be in positions of power. They may have the required knowledge, but their conduct may be just as bad as that of non-philosophers. Power can corrupt anyone. Perhaps this is why philosophers don’t want to rule. They know they might “fall into temptation.”

Read the full essay here: https://theelectricagora.com/2021/05/22/philosopher-kings-and-queens/

Learning from ‘Cobra Kai’

Talk given at the APA Pacific Meeting, 9th April 2021, Society for the Study of Philosophy and the Martial Arts

The TV series ‘Cobra Kai’ brings up some interesting philosophical and practical questions about the teaching of martial arts (MA). I will reflect on these questions and try to come up with some answers. We are presented with two styles of teaching. One is hard and aggressive (Johnny Lawrence from Cobra Kai), the other soft and empathic (Daniel LaRusso from Miyagi Do). The Karate competition invites the following questions: Is it ok to fight dirty, if this gives you victory? Can you use the rules strategically? Can you break the rules to gain an advantage? Isn’t it a hollow victory when you target a pre-existing injury of your opponent deliberately? In a good competition you bring out the best in each other. ‘You want to beat your opponent when s/he is at her/his strongest.’ This reflects the tension in MA teaching whenever there is a sports side (competition). Winning at all cost will be in conflict with MA values: winning honourably, exhibiting indomitable spirit, etc.


Language, Law, Sport & Reality. A Collection of Essays

By Miroslav Imbrišević


  1. Testosterone is not the only Game in Town: The Transgender Woman Athlete
  2. Queer Language Lessons: The Confusion over ‘My Pronouns’
  3. Legal Fictions: Changing Sex by Changing Gender
  4. More than a Feeling: Rock Stars, Heroines and Transwomen
  5. To Compete, or not to Compete, that is the Question: Which is Nobler for Transwomen Athletes?
  6. The Power of Words
  7. Feminism, Conceptual Engineering, and Trans Identity




by Miroslav Imbrišević

A new paradigm has emerged in literature and acting. Imagination and artistic ability are suspect unless they are accompanied by personal experience. This is the latest prescription in the arts. Social justice activists demand authenticity, if the art in question is from or about someone who belongs to a minority. As a consequence, the art of acting may be dying out, as the persona on stage and screen must be close to who you actually are, in real life. Moreover, literature and literary translations will have to be informed by first-hand experience, rather than spring from the writer’s imagination and facility with language.

Read the full essay here: https://theelectricagora.com/2021/03/12/imagination-under-threat-new-constraints-on-literature-and-acting/

THE POWER OF WORDS: can you identify into a sex class?

by Miroslav Imbrišević

In the Old Testament, we read: “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” God could make things happen by saying the appropriate words. We also read in the Bible: “In the beginning was the Word.” The idea that words have power is still with us. Take superstition: actors don’t want to utter the title of “The Scottish Play” inside a theatre, because it may lead to disaster. Even today, my mother (aged 87) curses “bad” people who cross her. She condemns them (in her native Croatian) to eternal punishment in Hell: “Be damned, and damned again!” In some cultures, words have magical powers, like spells. The anthropologist S.J. Tambiah tells us: “In Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism the view has been strictly held that in religious ceremonies the sacred words recited should be in the language of the authorized sacred texts.”

I was reminded of the power of the word when I read a post on a philosophy notice board: “I identify as a French philosopher.” The funny thing is that this young thinker actually is French and does teach philosophy at a university. They don’t identify into these categories, nor need they.

Read the full essay here: https://theelectricagora.com/2021/02/06/the-power-of-words/