Ayesha Kazmi

Paki

Pronounced: Paaaah-ki (much like “wacky”)

Paki Definition:

Wikipedia (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Paki)

Noun

Paki (plural Pakis)

  1. (UK, Canada, offensive, racial slur) A Pakistani, or, more generally and incorrectly used, a person who is perceived to be from South Asian or the Indian Subcontinent origin which is still considered offensive. See usage notes.

Usage notes

The abbreviation Paki acquired offensive connotations in the 1960s when used by British tabloids to refer to subjects of former colony states in a derogatory and racist manner. In modern British usage “Paki” is typically used in a derogatory way as a label for all South Asians, including Indians, Afghans and Bangladeshis. To a lesser extent, the term has been applied as a racial slur towards Arabs and other Middle Eastern-looking groups who may resemble South Asians. During the 60′s many emigrants were also dubbed as “black” to further segregrate them from the white community. Some would say such a division still exists in parts of England.

In recent times there has been a trend by second and third-generation British Pakistanis to reclaim the word. The word has been turned into a keepsake for the young British Pakistani community that is not acceptable for someone outside the community to say it, including Indians and Bangladeshis.

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  1. I have a question – This has confounded me for some time, I must say.
    My understanding is that Paki is etymologically correct when referring to someone from Pakistan. The -stan suffix is Persian for “land of.” And for other groups the tendency is to use the prefix as the name for the people. So people from Afghanistan are Afghans; Turkmenistan are Turkmeni; Kurdistan; Kurds.
    So, why not Paki? The development of that word as derogatory has always baffled me. I can understand other racial slurs easier, because they are almost always words imposed on a race. For example the South African word Kaffir which traveled a long through the Ottoman Empire, to Christian Missionaries, to eventually being a racial slur for any native African. Yet Paki seems to be a word brought into English from the very people it denigrates.

    Just wondering and trying to grasp the complexity here.

  2. Cool blog. I wish I had a Paki-fied brain like yours. Keep up the good work. I like it. Good luck, keep smiling, and happy blogging and tweeting.
    Alex…

  3. The word has been reclaimed.., & given a new definition..

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