As so often happens when a subject excites my interest, I've since found a couple of other places in which the comparison is being made. I was alerted to one by a reader of this blog and the other I encountered in another forum. I didn't have to look for either so I have to conclude that it is a widespread thing.
I think that this is unfortunate if true, so I would like to examine some of the language involved in more detail. Corpus analysis refers to the science of examining huge bodies of text to find answers to linguistic questions. In short it treats language not as something to read but as a series of statistical relationships that can be extracted using a computer. Best of all, there are public corpora available for free, so anyone with a computer can gaze into the intricacies of language for themselves. (I should warn the reader at this point that I am about to examine some offensive language, if you are easily offended then look away now)
The collocates of a word are the words that most often appear alongside it. Here is a word cloud for the collocates of the N-word.
Take a look at the words. 'Lousy','Uppity', 'Dirty', 'Dopey', 'Lazy','Stupid'. This is the language of overt racism writ large in American English, words written purely as insults and with no other possible explanation as to their use. I had expected to see some evidence of the reappropriation of the N-word in for example rap culture, but those use cases are so far outshadowed by the offensive collocates as to render them invisible. The fact is, almost nobody uses the N-word except as a hate word, so it comes as no surprise that its collocates are all also from the lexicon of hate. This is what a real hate word looks like.
So we've seen the context the N-word is used in and it isn't very pretty. How about the T-word by comparison? Here is the corresponding collocate cloud for 'tranny'.
So we're left with words relating to porn and sex work, and non-offensive words we use within our community.
At this point it is very important to recognise that there is a huge difference between a word that is universally offensive and a word that can be found offensive within our community but has yet to reach levels of universal opprobrium.The collocates in the N-word cloud are mostly the former, they are offensive by nature. The T-word cloud by comparison contains some words which we may find offensive if applied to us but which are not in themselves offensive in the context in which they are used. I would be offended were I to be associated with porn for example, but those words are legitimate when used in the context of a porn star. I may not like what she does for a living but if I have the right to earn a living as a programmer with my own associated collocate cloud of tech words then so does the trans porn actress with her associated porn words. By contrast I can not think of a legitimate non-offensive use of the collocates in the N-word word cloud.
To attempt to co-opt some of the sympathy contained within all the history that the N-word represents is downright offensive in itself. If we as a community attempt to do that it will not be long before we are quite rightly called out on such folly. Not a course that this tranny thinks will do us any favours.
(I've turned on comment moderation for this post. If you comment, please keep your use of language as I have.)