so i have a scene where a bunch of people are arguing about their race

"don't act all high and mighty you snobby Evian prick" Yatsurobo yelled slamming his hands on the table.

"and you should refrain from acting like a baboon. know your place in society Tengu" Byakuya calmly said putting his cup back down, still refusing to make eye contact

"know my place! since when did the Evian dictate that? the Tengu mastered our Wind Magic long before you pointy eared shits learned you could like fires with any magic"

as Yatsuboro and Byakuya continued to bicker Kaisei leaned back in her chair turning to Zhuli "it's great being Human huh?" she laughed

"and just how is it great?" Byakuya asked "Evian, Tengu, Undine, Dranov, Nekolum, even bits and pieces of the Dark races like Lillan and Succubi are mixed in your ancestry. a bastard race that would gladly leap at the opportunity to add Yuko and ARC:: to your already populated bloodlines and sully theirs."

"and it's because we are a mix of many races that we don't act all superior. we can't fanatically hate another race because we are ourselves apart of it." Kaisei smiled "instead we'd likely kill you because we plan don't like you as a person"

Now i'm not entirely sure bastard race first popped into my head (maybe it sounded cool) but when i think on it a bastard is someone born out of wedlock and while there may be some people who are bastards it would be inaccurate to call an entire race a bastard race because of mix bloodlines. but it's entirely possible i'm overthinking this.

so is using the term "bastard race" an accurate way to negatively describe a mix-breed race?


Accurate or not (whatever "accurate" might mean here), it's a perfectly good word to put into the mouth of a fantasy character in a made-up world with made-up races. Your characters get to use words in metaphorical ways. The way you've used it, the term comes across as a metaphor that characterizes both the race and the speaker. It works perfectly well.

  • 1
    I very much agree with this answer. Just as in real life people often use words in a form not found in the dictionary, so can fictional characters. Most exchanges of racial insults are not models of correct speech! It would only be a problem if the speaker, Byakuya, is portrayed as the sort of pernickety person who would never use a word wrongly no matter how angry he was. If he is that sort of person the writer could replace "bastard race" with "mongrel race". Sep 12 '16 at 18:05
  • When you want to portrait racism as negative, then racists using slurs which are misnomers might in fact actually help. It reinforces the impression that the person is a racists because they are uneducated and their racism is founded in false preconceptions and stereotypes.
    – Philipp
    Dec 30 '17 at 15:25

Do not use bastard. It does not mean mixed race.1

There are terms that denote persons of mixed race, such als Mulatto or Mestizo, but these specifically refer to mixes of human races and cannot be applied to mixtures of races of other species (they are not even synonymous and interchangeable when speaking of humans). There are of course terms for race mixes of other species, such as mongrel for dogs, and they are being applied to humans in a derogatory fashion. So mongrel is a word you could use, if your world has dogs. But since you make up terms for the races, and your audience has to learn and remember these to follow along, you might as well make up a term for a mixed race as well. Look at the etymology of mulatto and mestizo (the one means "mixed", the other means "mule", a mixed bread animal) for an idea of how to go about that. The meaning will either become clear from the context of its usage, or you explain it in the same way you explain the other terms.

1 Actually, according to the OED, "bastard" does mean someone of mixed race in South Africa. But I assume you are not writing for a solely South African audience.

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    I think it can mean what the OP says it does. But the implications, historically are pretty ugly. (see my answer) If the world the OP has created has the same sort of attitude and laws seen in the US or South Africa, then, it would fit. If not, the OP needs to be fully aware and stay away from using the word in this way... Sep 8 '16 at 16:36


  1. archaic derogatory a person born of parents not married to each other.
    synonyms: illegitimate child, child born out of wedlock

  2. informal an unpleasant or despicable person. "he lied to me, the bastard!"
    Oxford Dictionaries/Thesaurus

While your phrasing doesn't follow the strict definition of bastard, consider that some mixed race couples in more prejudicial societies can ONLY have children outside of marriage. That's why, in what's answer, you can see that it meant that in South Africa. In the United States, in the deep South, decades ago, it was also used colloquially in this manner. Back when there was slavery in the 1800s every mixed race kid was considered a bastard, because that's what they were. White men would often already be married when they had those kids out of wedlock, off of their slaves.

Mixed race=bastard here in the US, in certain regions for many years, though that is changing/has changed...Also, I think, until about 1960 it was actually illegal for blacks and whites to marry at all, so any child of mixed heritage was considered this. I believe Alabama finally repealed the last law forbidding it in like 1999 or 2000. (Even though on a Federal level it was legal.)

So, my answer to you is this: does this fit culturally in your world? Are all half-breeds considered tainted, or as the result of a forbidden union? If so, this can fit your world. It's all about context.

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