So over the last few weeks, I’ve been having various discussions on social media, and with fellow fans, over the term Hun.  It started when I saw a tweet implying a certain Scottish newspaper was “anti-protestant” which led me to reply with a laughing emoji (childish I know). The answer I got back was what kick started my interest; he replied “let me guess. The word hun doesn’t bother you”. In short no, it doesn’t, but should it? I know some journalists have used the phrase hun on their social media platform and nothing came of it, while you could bet your last penny if the term “fenian” was used someone would lose their job and be prosecuted, so I agree there is certainly a double standard within the Scottish press, but I found it hard to believe a whole newspaper organisation was anti-protestant.

I’m going to hazard an educated guess that if you’re reading this you know exactly what the word implies but just in case you don’t, here’s what it means and how it’s used in a derogatory way. There are a few varied explanations of the word but it’s predominantly used as a slur towards Protestants and with Rangers historically having a large section of its support being of that faith, you can see why it upsets many people. There are two reasons that I fail to be offended by that term. One is me having no religious beliefs and secondly, I really don’t get that upset over name calling. Some may see that as flippant and disrespectful but honestly it’s not, I’m 37 and so far I’ve spent 19 years in the military so I would say I’m fairly thick skinned (you can insert your own jokes here).

Make no bones about it, the word hun is clearly aimed at someone’s religion and should be classed as sectarian but this is a fairly grey area when it comes to the legal side of the law. Some fans have been prosecuted in Scotland for using the term and some have been let off.  One particular Celtic fan wore a t-shirt with hun proudly printed on the back of it. He was convicted of religiously-aggravated breach of the peace, while a few years later two green brigade members were charged with breach of the peace aggravated by religious prejudice. This came from hanging a banner calling Rangers fans “huns”, and ended up in a verdict of not proven.

From a personal standpoint, it just doesn’t offend me, but that certainly doesn’t excuse people who band the slur around on a daily basis and I totally understand why Rangers fans are offended by the term.  I think it was the season 2014/2015 Celtic player John Guidetti was charged for singing “the huns are deid” during an interview, so the Scottish football governing body clearly deem the term offensive.

So yes, the word hun and its uses are clearly aimed to mock someone’s religion and there is no doubt that I find the word bigoted and sectarian, I want to make that abundantly clear, but like I’ve said already it just doesn’t bother me in the slightest, so does this make me part of the problem? If the vast majority of the support is behind the move to have the word banned and punishable by law, am I hindering the cause by refusing to be offended when called it? I fully support the notion of having it removed from our society but it’s difficult when we don’t have a definitive answer if it’s sectarian or not.

Personally, I feel a greater understanding of offensive sectarian language should be taught at school. I grew up calling Celtic supporting friends a “Tim” or a “fenian” without having a clue about their background, it was just par for the course when I was called a “hun” or “orange”. Obviously through the years I have learned these terms were being used negatively towards someone’s religious status or what I perceived to be their religion depending on what team they supported. This makes me just as guilty and probably has a small bearing now on why it doesn’t bother me now. I’m not making excuses but just explaining how it was when I was going through school. While looking online for the definition of sectarian laws online I found the Anti-Sectarian charity Nil by Mouth have been actively going to schools with a new ‘Humour over Hatred’ awareness campaign, trying to educate children, so hopefully this helps have a greater understanding for the younger generation and rids Scotland of its old-fashioned ways.

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