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[P]
"Minority" -- Offensive or Not?

By Crashnbur in Op-Ed
Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 06:39:12 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

Yesterday a friend approached me with a question. He asked me if I found the word minority to be offensive. I do not believe that the word is offensive when used to classify one's status in any of a number of studies that prove that one is outnumbered in some respect. However, when that respect is the color of one's skin (or a number of other classifications that can be deemed discriminatory), and someone uses the term to exploit that discrimination, then I believe that the word minority can be very offensive.

Yesterday, I did not understand the point in such an argument, but I guessed that Tony had probably read/heard that someone had declared the word offensive and demanded that we stop using it. I was not really interested in this particular battle, but this morning I found it anyway (fourth headline down, and the link will be changed to this by Thursday morning).


It would seem to me that one side of the argument is pushing for the word to disappear from political speech. People like Neal Boortz make the argument that changing our speech to reflect how we refer to minorities will not solve any problems. He basically says that the goal of this movement is to "solve all our race problems." He also says that moving from "negro" to "colored" did not solve our race problems, moving from "colored" to "black" did not solve our race problems, and using the politically-correct "African-American" term hasn't been so hot, either.

Neal, you can cram that argument up your ass. The point is to stop referring to any group as a minority based on the color of their skin. I could stretch this to cover all kinds of discriminatory classificaitons, but this argument is specifically aimed at the black/white issue, so I will keep it close. People need to tell Neal Boortz that it is because of people like him, those that see black people (or African-Americans, or hell, Mexican-Americans, Oriental-Americans -- any frickin' Americans) as different from white people are the reason why so many of our racial problems exist. Sure, black Americans can be just as much to blame for exlaiming that they are different, but then you wonder why they might think that? Could it be that that is what the majority of Americans have always told them their entire lives?

I realize that a majority of the population in the United States are white. I realize that a minority is black. I also realize that several other minorities are hispanic, oriental, etc. This does change who these people underneath that skin are. They are still people. Aside from their skin, they are no different than you, me, or anyone else. Skin color should not be an important factor in any discussion. Period. When any conversation is based on skin color, I tend to look the other way and disregard anything said, or I tend to take an argumentive approach such as this. Either way, I can have no respect for the arguments that we are different from one another because our skin color is different.

Once, in high school, I was sent to the principal's office for "incorrectly" bubbling in part of a test score sheet. Under racial or ethnic or whatever word this particular test used, rather than bubbling in the "white" bubble as I had been taught, I decided to bubble in "other." In the blank next to it, I wrote, "I'm human. Why does it matter?" My teacher walked past as I wrote this and felt it to be "inappropriate behavior" and because she had no jurisdiction to act over such a thing, she sent me, along with my score sheet, to the office.

I had never been the extroverted type in high school -- I hated that place -- but oh your god I must have been the happiest boy in the world when I found out that I was going to the office to "tell them exactly what you were thinking when you wrote that, young man!" Let's just say that my argument held up, and they could do nothing. They convinced me that that section of the test was purely for statistical purposes, and that I should fill in the bubble accurately so that my test be classified correctly. Rather than take the obvious way out and ask why it is so important that we be classified differently, I told Dr. Melnick (the principal), "well then let the statistics show that at least one student at Warner Robins High School does not care for the color of skin." She and the two assistant principals next to her just stood there for a moment, half-shocked, half-amazed, and she handed me my test and sent me back to class. My teacher was awe-struck when she saw my grinning face walk back through the door without changing my "incorrect" bubble. I win. :-)

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Poll

o Nearly always offensive. 4%
o Sometimes offensive. 22%
o Almost never offensive. 73%

Votes: 97
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o found it
o this
o Also by Crashnbur


Display: Sort:
"Minority" -- Offensive or Not? | 177 comments (154 topical, 23 editorial, 0 hidden)
Changing words doesn't help. (2.00 / 5) (#1)
by Sylvestre on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 06:43:00 PM EST

If you really think that changing what you call it helps, you're beyond reason. Racists today say 'gang banger' instead of 'nigger'. Does it help?
-- Firearms are the difference between free people and subjects.
Did you read the entire article? (2.00 / 1) (#7)
by Crashnbur on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 07:00:23 PM EST

If you read the article, I said (and I quote), "The point is to stop referring to any group as a minority based on the color of their skin."

In other words, it doesn't matter what you call them. African-Americans. Blacks. Negroes. Whatever. What's wrong with just calling them PEOPLE? That was the point of my article. If you read the entire thing, you would have read that too, I think. I'm not accusing you of skimming... but I know I do sometimes. :-)

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
political correctness (3.25 / 4) (#2)
by Signal 11 on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 06:45:45 PM EST

The problem with saying that offensive things shouldn't be said is that it is dependent on the recipient. That is to say, cracking jokes about Microsoft's inability to code an OS worth a sh*t might be funny here on K5, but in the MS legal department, it wouldn't be kosher. And if you further accept that people are not a homogenious group, that they are each different and that humanity encompasses the sum total of all possible human behaviors (not just the ones you choose to say are "acceptable"), the the conclusion is obvious: You can't talk, because it might offend someone. Shouting "Yellow!" on a street corner might be offensive to someone. Saying "hi" might be looked on as sexual harassment (offensive).

My advice? Tell the politically correct crowd to fuck off and die. And ye can quote me on that. Life is offensive, deal!


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

I agree, to a point. (4.00 / 1) (#6)
by Crashnbur on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 06:57:35 PM EST

I agree that life is offensive, sort of. However, I would be more inclined to say that people are naturally defensive. Either way, people on the whole simply need to loosen up.

What I don't understand is why people vote this down. You would think that such an article would stimulate very healthy conversation and debate, but does the K5 crowd care? ... It's looking like they do not.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Perception, Young Grasshopper (3.50 / 2) (#40)
by br284 on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 10:16:24 PM EST

For the record, I voted this down as I was not interested in this too much, and that I hear enough of this PC garbage on campus.

I do agree with you that people need to chill out with relation to the race problem. However, I do disagree with you that by forbidding people to use the term minority (which I don't find to have any sort of negative context), the problem of racism will disappear. For one, people tend to like to aggregate what they know into groups. If you see a few people who are of brown skin, the brown skin being the most obvious trait, will serve as the point of aggregration. A person will not say, "hey look at those people there", as there may be lots of people there, but "hey, look at that group of indians / hispanics / or whatever". It's been my experience that by forcing people to be politically correct, you make the whole problem of using race as an identifying factor worse as the person doing the identifying goes through a whole self-guilt thing of using the most readily available trait for identification. I grew up in the American Southwest, and many of my friends had been people of differing races. It never entered my mind to start looking at people in racial terms until I came to a university and had to deal with things such as minority affairs advisors, and other PC stuff. I'm now so damn subconsciously paranoid about slipping up and saying something "inappropriate", that I am often now uncomfortable in the presence of people of different races.

Now, before I get a "Look! ..." from you, I will also add to the mix that I know many people of different races that the over PC-ification of the issue has also made them uncomfortable. To them, it's like being the odd kid in the class, to whom everyone must show some sort of deference. They don't like it any more than the "white" people.

Want to know how to get racism? Get rid of the feel-good politically correctness, find a nice firearm, and shoot all the racists. All the liberal posturing and appeals to moral sensibilities will not change long held attitudes and beliefs in the end.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

Whoa. I didn't mean that... (none / 0) (#84)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 11:42:51 AM EST

I do agree with you that people need to chill out with relation to the race problem. However, I do disagree with you that by forbidding people to use the term minority (which I don't find to have any sort of negative context), the problem of racism will disappear.

Certainly you don't disagree with me over that - I never asserted that. I didn't say that the word minority had anything to do with it. Under the wrong context, the speaker can use the word to be offensive, but as I thought I pointed out, it is not the word itself. Perhaps I made that less clear in the article.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Epithets, Names, and other associations (4.66 / 6) (#8)
by raelin on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 07:02:13 PM EST

I tend to follow Neal Boortz's logic. Changing what we call people isn't going to make people stop thinking in terms of color, It's just going to make another name taboo. The problem isn't the word used to refer to a person, but rather the thoughts and implications people associate with them. The logic, and it's a different issue than the one you are talking about, goes something like this: We change epithet from "negro" to "black". Soon all the implications of "negro" transfer to "black", so people start taking offense at "black". We declare "black" unPC, and now we have "minority" and "*-American". Slowly "minority" and *-American" pick up the same offensive air, so we outlaw those. Repeat cycle.

I'm not saying that the assumptions that give this offense are valid, simply that we're beating around the bush, instead of taking on the problem at hand. Political Correctness has some place, but the place is more for framing the way younger generations think about these things. Unfortunately, both sides of the issue tend to like the race card. From what I've seen, it strikes me that the best way to end race problems is to stop making distinctions based on race.

In the end, I'm amazed and pleased with the way you handled it. Very cool.

--Wes

Do me a favor? (none / 0) (#11)
by Crashnbur on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 07:05:06 PM EST

Take everything I just wrote in this article and apply your logic to it, then resubmit it to K5. I do not care to have my name attached to the article, necessarily, but I want people to understand my point, and the one that you just made. Do you think you could do that? (Because, as things stand now, the K5 community isn't listening and their modding this thing down, despite the fact that it is providing very useful and constructive conversation.)

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
That'd probably get voted down too. (none / 0) (#19)
by raelin on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 07:37:59 PM EST

Part of the problem is that most of the useful discussion that will happen on this is so related to this article that it could take place there as well. Since that story looks like it's going to make it, I'd suggest making your point there as well. Don't take the moderation of the story personally, it may be that some of those voters think it rings too close to Bob's story.

--Wes

[ Parent ]
Hmm. (none / 0) (#45)
by Crashnbur on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 10:30:12 PM EST

Perhaps it does. I did not read Bob's story until after I wrote mine. Besides, Bob voted for my story, and I voted for his. What's wrong with two similar stories? Good point, though. That is always a factor... Either way, I never let my articles' rating bother me. I have submitted about fifteen - five have made the cut. I do not place a large amount of emphasis on success or failure. Rather, I prefer good conversation, whether it be through support or debate. Either way, interaction and expression are rarely bad things.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
'Minority' (5.00 / 1) (#15)
by delmoi on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 07:09:15 PM EST

I guess, when you think about calling someone a 'minority' is technically incorrect, they are not the minority*, they are a member of a minority group. I think the problem is in the way we categorize things, rather then assigning them properties. Instead of saying 'this is a black guy' you would say 'this guy has black skin' I think if people looked at things that way, it would solve a lot of problems.

(*of course, you can always say that that person is a minority, in that they make up (1/n)*100 % of the population, but that's a pretty meaningless stance)
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Actually... (none / 0) (#16)
by Crashnbur on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 07:17:57 PM EST

The smallest minority of all is the individual. As an individualist, I think it is important that everyone stands for his or her own beliefs, find common ground, and go from there. The problem that I point out in my article is that too many find the first common ground they come to and stand for that before allowing him-/herself to discover his/her own beliefs. I guess you see where I'm going, and it's not really pertinent...

Either way, you're right. If we would get rid of the connotations that everything carries these days and just "corrected" our way(s) of thinking, perhaps the world would be a better place. Oh... hypothetical at its best!

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Hey that's cool. (3.00 / 1) (#64)
by OriginalGTT on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 07:57:33 AM EST

I was 17 once too. Your article is immaturely written, as well as your attitudes. Yet I still voted it up since I love a good flame fest.

---
I'm NOT on your level. Stay there, and I will stay up here where morals are high, and the air is sweet
--Psychologist
[ Parent ]
You have no idea how old I am, do you? (none / 0) (#85)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 11:46:11 AM EST

Just wondering.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
it says on your website (none / 0) (#91)
by delmoi on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 01:32:13 PM EST

you were born July 18, 1982. That makes you 18, I guess. It could be that the above poster's math was just a bit off.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Good job... (none / 0) (#105)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 03:42:05 PM EST

My point was that the guy was throwing out numbers without any justifiable means for doing so. Of course, he can always come back and say that he knew, but ... whatever. :-)

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Yet he came uncannily close (none / 0) (#132)
by Karmakaze on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 04:04:15 PM EST

I wonder how that happened...:)

--
Karmakaze
[ Parent ]
if 'minority' is offensive... (4.90 / 10) (#17)
by jabber on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 07:27:54 PM EST

Then 'individual' must be the worst insult of them all..

Great article.

I especially like your personal anecdote. If race doesn't matter, and the bubble is just there 'for statistical purposes', then WHY collect a meaningless statistic?

Race obviously matters to someone, and telling the rest of us that it doesn't is intentional misinformation. I'm classified as 'white', but I'm not. I resent being lumped in with everyone else who is 'white' because it leaves my minority, that of 0th generation Polish immigrants, statistically under-represented. The only reason 'whites' are a majority is the fact that they are not subdivided.

I also have to wonder what other races fill in on those sheets. And Asian is an Asian, regardless of which orental country they come from, or how long it has been since they or their family came to the US. A Black is a Black, and a Hispanic is a Hispanic just the same. But, an Egyptian is no more an African American than a Pole is 'white'. A Hispanic straight off the boat from Spain is not Puerto Rican.

Now, I am not saying that all bubble-sheets should have only one bubble, for "Human", since our differences very much determine our identity. What I am saying is that there is too much variation in our backgrounds and identities to be encompassed by a low-count multiple choice answer.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

Wow. (none / 0) (#18)
by Crashnbur on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 07:36:48 PM EST

I think I could combine your comments and several others to rewrite this article ... and it could really take off. I liked everything you said. I hope I didn't misconstrue my point. I did not mean that the word minority itself was offensive, but the contexts in which the speaker uses them can be very offensive. It is good to see that my poll reflects the same ... that the word itself is rarely offensive.

Overall, I am pleased with the results of this article so far, even if it isn't being overwhelmingly +1'd all the way through. :-)

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#48)
by jabber on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 10:56:44 PM EST

I got your point completely. A 'minority' is any definable group that is smaller when compared to the largest group - that's the definition AFAIK. I know the offensive connotation as well: "that part of town is where the <pause> minorities </pause> live... don't go there", makes 'minority' into something derrogatory. (careful, don't get any on you) But avoiding the term doesn't change anything, it's like calling an invalid 'differently enabled' - what sort of bull is that?

I think your personal reference made it very clear what you were trying to say in the article. Please feel free to use anything I've said to strengthen your point. I would like to see this article come back bigger and better.

Even though what you say is pretty obvious, it seems to resonate quite a bit.

There will always be minorities, unless society becomes completely uniform - and that's impossible. Even the clergy are a minority with respect to the secular, for goodness sake.

I suspect that the only people who have a problem with 'minority' are the terminally politically correct and the closet bigots. The PC crowd is evolved from Puritans, and for them this is not about the feelings of 'minorities', but about telling Everyone how to think. These are the people who blame television for their lack of parenting skills and feel that Ebonics should be 'allowed' in inner-city schools (to make it easier for the 'poor dears'). The bigots on the other hand are in denial about their elitist attitude and find any reminder of other people's differences threatenning and intimidating. These are the people who favor microcosms so the 'minorities' can be self-sufficient (read 'will keep to themselves'), you know, the NIMBY folks.

In any case, thanks for a good article. It gave me the opportunity to run through the foolishness of American Equality again. Cleansing.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Yay. (none / 0) (#103)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 03:37:28 PM EST

I wish the rest of K5 was able to see all that. :-) If this article fails, I will probably borrow heavily from several comments and rewrite it. I probably will not resubmit it here, but I will likely post anything about it to my web page.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Subdividing whites (5.00 / 1) (#93)
by KnightStalker on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 02:19:26 PM EST

Race obviously matters to someone, and telling the rest of us that it doesn't is intentional misinformation. I'm classified as 'white', but I'm not. I resent being lumped in with everyone else who is 'white' because it leaves my minority, that of 0th generation Polish immigrants, statistically under-represented. The only reason 'whites' are a majority is the fact that they are not subdivided.

Well, my ancestry is (at the least) Dutch, Jewish, German, Polish, Scottish, Irish, and Cherokee, in no particular order. This is mainly because my oldest ancestors have been on this side of the pond since about 1600. So what does that make me, a trans-minority? No, I agree with the article. It's better to make policies without regard to ancestry or culture. The idea that one race ought to be treated differently than another is no longer useful, if it ever was. I think it would be at least as accurate to classify me as "Coloradan", since I was born there, as to classify you as "Polish".

[ Parent ]

Never mind. (none / 0) (#96)
by KnightStalker on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 02:32:32 PM EST

I seem to have missed your point completely. :-)

And I should mention that if things go like I plan, my kids will be all that I mentioned, and half Vietnamese. Good luck classifying *them* :-)

[ Parent ]

Actually... (none / 0) (#104)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 03:40:00 PM EST

That makes you a lot like me ... a genuine American! I do not think in terms of my Polish, Scottish, Irish, German, Swedish, and Finnish roots (I think I'm missing one, ah well). I like to think of myself as an all-American mutt. I am a combination of several nationalities which are essentially alike, therefore, what is the point in comparing them or using them for anything? I am a human being, and I am currently an American citizen. The rest doesn't matter to me (not on any grand scale, anyway. I do find genealogy very interesting, but that is for interest's sake only.)

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Here at my PC University.... (4.10 / 10) (#20)
by Blarney on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 07:40:31 PM EST

Certain professors at my school have redefined the word "minority" to mean an oppressed group. For instance, despite the greater numbers of women than men in the US, women are a "minority" to them. They also consider the blacks of South Africa to be a minority - the documented oppression is enough to grant minority status, regardless of number.

Why do they do this? Well, it's Newspeak - redefining words so that only appropriate thoughts can be expressed with them. The sentence "Minorities are often oppressed" becomes a tautology, rather then an ordinary statement.



Sorry, you're wrong. (3.33 / 3) (#36)
by guffin on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 09:03:52 PM EST

Minority DOES mean "The smaller number or part; a number which is less than half the whole number" and "A small group of people separated from the rest of the community by a difference in race, religion, language, etc." (source, oxford english dictionary). It also may be used to describe any group, political or otherwise, which is not in power. Since you say there are fewer women than men in the US, they are a minority. Since whites are in power in South Africa, blacks are the minority.

[ Parent ]
Dictionary stuff (none / 0) (#41)
by Blarney on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 10:18:39 PM EST

You do not provide any dictionary quotes that support the "group not in power" definition of the word "minority". Are there any?

[ Parent ]
term (none / 0) (#61)
by psctsh on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 02:25:22 AM EST

Not a dictionary quote, but how about "in terms of power held, they have a minority"

[ Parent ]
fucking tired (none / 0) (#157)
by psctsh on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 12:52:12 AM EST

of looking people in the face.

[ Parent ]
I ate some cereal tonight (none / 0) (#158)
by psctsh on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 12:53:56 AM EST

and now my fucking throat tastes like I just woke up.

[ Parent ]
God I (none / 0) (#159)
by psctsh on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 12:54:33 AM EST

want to drink some fucking water

[ Parent ]
my side is sore (none / 0) (#160)
by psctsh on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 12:56:05 AM EST

and I'm in serious need of fucking money

[ Parent ]
this is why (none / 0) (#161)
by psctsh on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 12:57:20 AM EST

fucking people suck.

[ Parent ]
leave it alone (none / 0) (#162)
by psctsh on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 12:58:30 AM EST

want fucking money

[ Parent ]
I think I want something to fucking do (none / 0) (#163)
by psctsh on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 01:00:51 AM EST



[ Parent ]
God fuck (none / 0) (#164)
by psctsh on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 01:01:38 AM EST

I hate my family

[ Parent ]
Of course (none / 0) (#165)
by psctsh on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 01:02:08 AM EST

I fucking have nothing to complain about

[ Parent ]
My life consists of (none / 0) (#166)
by psctsh on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 01:03:10 AM EST

fucking three things

[ Parent ]
Somethings (none / 0) (#167)
by psctsh on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 01:05:10 AM EST

God damn I'm fucking average

[ Parent ]
two months (none / 0) (#168)
by psctsh on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 01:06:05 AM EST

and I get to cut myself off from the people I currently know

[ Parent ]
I fucking (none / 0) (#169)
by psctsh on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 01:06:57 AM EST

need to finish something

[ Parent ]
there's too many ideas (none / 0) (#170)
by psctsh on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 01:08:12 AM EST

for me to get

[ Parent ]
and there's fucking too (none / 0) (#171)
by psctsh on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 01:08:45 AM EST

many things to start on

[ Parent ]
what should I listen to first (none / 0) (#172)
by psctsh on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 01:09:22 AM EST



[ Parent ]
my fucking tv (none / 0) (#173)
by psctsh on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 01:10:37 AM EST

is 27 inches of unused glass

[ Parent ]
my fucking guitar (none / 0) (#174)
by psctsh on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 01:11:22 AM EST

was cut by my sister

[ Parent ]
my friends and I (none / 0) (#175)
by psctsh on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 01:11:56 AM EST

used to throw knives at each other's heads

[ Parent ]
I eventually (none / 0) (#176)
by psctsh on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 01:12:20 AM EST

cut his ear

[ Parent ]
why does it fucking (none / 0) (#177)
by psctsh on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 01:12:54 AM EST

cost money to cut your hair

[ Parent ]
Minor correction.. (none / 0) (#43)
by BigZaphod on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 10:22:29 PM EST

"you say there are fewer women than men in the US, they are a minority."

No, there are more women in the US than men. Not fewer. (This is not an attack, just a nice friendly correction :-)

"We're all patients, there are no doctors, our meds ran out a long time ago and nobody loves us." - skyknight
[ Parent ]
Minority != out of power (none / 0) (#67)
by davidduncanscott on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 08:53:19 AM EST

So you're saying that we did apartheid a grave injustice -- South Africa had majority rule years ago?

[ Parent ]
simplist explantion (none / 0) (#38)
by delmoi on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 10:07:45 PM EST

Why do they do this? Well, it's Newspeak - redefining words so that only appropriate thoughts can be expressed with them. The sentence "Minorities are often oppressed" becomes a tautology, rather then an ordinary statement.

Or, maybe they are just trying to define the word in the way its most commonly used?
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Morons on Parade (none / 0) (#127)
by wiredog on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 09:03:22 AM EST

I'm referring to all the people who responded to Mr. Martinez comment with variations of "you're wrong, minority means < 0.5". Clearly they didn't read the second paragraph of the comment. Or, for that matter, the use of "PC" in the first paragraph.

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
Phage
[ Parent ]

More stuff on that page (1.00 / 2) (#21)
by Mawbid on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 07:44:21 PM EST

I found "OK KIDS --- DON'T PLAY TAG. YOU KNOW YOU AREN'T ALLOWED TO TOUCH ANYONE." just as interesting.

...and "BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU PLANT YOUR TREES".

OK, I'm going to read it all.

Yeah, I've commented on those heavily... (none / 0) (#27)
by Crashnbur on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 08:16:09 PM EST

...on my web page, if you care at all. Neal Boortz can be offensive, but he's always interesting. I don't always agree with him, but I rarely disagree.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Whites are not a majority! (1.11 / 9) (#22)
by clutchcargo on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 07:58:12 PM EST

n/t

You need to back this up (none / 0) (#25)
by gridwerk on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 08:07:28 PM EST

I couldn't tell you if it was true or not..Hadn't really care. I had actually heard that "white" was surpassed a couple years ago. But if your going to make this claim, it would be nice to see the "proof"

[ Parent ]
Eh. (none / 0) (#29)
by Crashnbur on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 08:16:58 PM EST

Okay, fine. By majority I should have said that whites are the largest ethnic group or whatever.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Haven't we already... (none / 0) (#35)
by guffin on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 08:52:53 PM EST

...been over this?

[ Parent ]
Don't be niggardly with your vocabulary. (4.00 / 6) (#23)
by rebelcool on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 08:01:45 PM EST

Remember that guy who was fired (and eventually rehired) for using the word "niggardly" (for those of you who don't know, it's a synonym for stingy, and has nothing to do with the the racial slur "nigger")

Just more ridiculous politically correct bullshit.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

Hmm. (none / 0) (#83)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 11:38:37 AM EST

I'm not necessarily for or against political correctness. In some cases, the wrong things are certainly said. In others, people pitch fits over things that do not deserve the attention. It has generally been accepted that "nigger" is not politically correct, and I am against using that word. (In fact, I haven't actually said it aloud in about six years.) However, the word "minority" is one of those that does not deserve the attention. In my article, I attempted to show that, in the wrong context, the speaker can make an insult out of it. Again, that does not make the word "minority" the offense - the speaker is being offensive.

Then again, who says anything is really offensive? Perhaps the problem is that so many of us are defensive. If we would just let things like this go, perhaps we could focus on the real problems, like the depletion of our natural resources and such.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Utopia my ass. (1.50 / 2) (#24)
by gridwerk on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 08:03:28 PM EST

Great after we get rid of words that classify status and everyone is "equal". we can go after groups that support to advance one group over another.

What? (none / 0) (#47)
by strlen on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 10:43:32 PM EST

I don't think you understand what they are talking about. No one talks about equality of outcome, for each individual, or same social/political/economic status for everyone. We are talking about equality of capacity, and equal oportunity. Equality of outcome is not what we discuss, and you're right, equal outcome means taking from others to achieve full equality. But opportunity is not something that needs to be taken to give to others.



--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
sorta (none / 0) (#49)
by gridwerk on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 10:58:10 PM EST

I jumped a little a bit ahead and sorta made my own conclusion. this is more about people being offended. I did understand the article.. I just didn't convey myself very well.

[ Parent ]
San Francisco and Minorities (4.00 / 9) (#26)
by Seumas on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 08:15:25 PM EST

[ Posted this in another article, but since it's the only comments I care to give and I think it's pretty accurate, here it is again. ]

The problem I have with political correctness is simply the utter stupidity and mindlessness that it propegates.

For example, the San Francisco city council is considering banning the use of the word 'minority' in relation to ethnicities and women. Why? Because it suggests that they are "not as good" as others. (Of course, this is the same city that wants to foot the bill for city workers who want a sex-change).

This oozes so much stupidity, but let's start with the two most obvious. Minority means what -- less than a majority. Exactly. Do you think the Minority Whip in congress lacks self esteem, because they don't just call him "the leader of the not so big party"?

It is frightening that city officials cannot understand the definition of 'minority' as relation to number.

Second, it's even more rediculous that the city would even place women under the term 'minority'. There are more women in the world than men by a huge amount. Women are not minorities, by sex alone. Duh.

Anyway, the whole idea of political correctness is to shame people into censoring themselves and subjecting themselves to a socially forced brain-washing by the thought-police. Is it any wonder so many people enjoy the few creative people in the world who brashly embrace the things PC decries?
--
I just read K5 for the articles.

And that doesn't make you suspicious? (none / 0) (#54)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 11:33:53 PM EST

You know, for people who like to feel superior to others because the supposedly know better not to believe whatever they read on the net, g**ks are incredibly gullible. (And don't take this as an attack on *you*. Though feel free to include yourself as target, if you see fit.)

First you hear that the 'Frisco council is doing this; then you hear that the San Diego's supposed vice-Mayor (which actually turns out to be the Mayor) is doing this. So what do you conclude: (a) Oh no! The Evil Political Correctness Zombie Conspiracy that all the right-wing pundits keep talking about strikes again! (b) This information might not be trustworthy. I better not quote it unless I can check it.

So, do you have a good source for your claim that the SF council is doing this? 'Cause so far you have not shown one, and searching Lexis-Nexis, I can't find such a story about SF. (I did just find one about San Diego, though, and will post it to the top-level.)

--em
[ Parent ]

tune in (5.00 / 1) (#86)
by Seumas on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 11:48:12 AM EST

Listen to KGO or KSFO or any other regional talk station on the AM dial in San Francisco. While the topic has probably been talked to death by now, you may still hear it discussed on a show or two.
--
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]
Gee, where's my shortwave radio when I need it (2.00 / 1) (#94)
by Estanislao Martínez on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 02:20:02 PM EST

Listen to KGO or KSFO or any other regional talk station on the AM dial in San Francisco.

Tough to do from Montréal...

While the topic has probably been talked to death by now, you may still hear it discussed on a show or two.

Excuse me for being skeptical, but I failed to find any written reference to this. Can you cite a printed primary source, or a printed secondary source that identifies a primary source?

--em
[ Parent ]

kgo.com (none / 0) (#115)
by Seumas on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 05:35:32 PM EST

You can go to kgo.com and stream it.
Or the ksfo site and stream it.

I'm not going to bother digging around for a print article of it, because I don't live in the bay area anymore. But I probably made it up, because of course absolutely everything that ever happens anywhere in the world is immediatley put onto the internet and dumped into search engines.
--
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]

If you haven't noticed. (4.00 / 1) (#134)
by yertledaturtle on Sun Apr 01, 2001 at 03:04:12 AM EST

Seumas,
I live in SF and I have to tell you that white males are the minority here. So, changing some of the language in relation to the usage of the word minority in the city governments language makes semantical and literal sense.
However if you wish to make yourself look like an idiot you can continue to call people minorities that are statisticaly NOT minorities any longer.
In addition I am a very aware and informed person I have heard nothing of the city council doing this here.


[ Parent ]
Brain-dead political correctness (3.22 / 9) (#28)
by qpt on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 08:16:19 PM EST

Aside from their skin, they are no different than you, me, or anyone else.
This is simply more than you know. I am surprised that such a claim would be made in a forum where scientific reasoning and proof is lauded above all else.

The simple fact is that no study has ever come close to demonstrating that there is no meaningful difference between people of varying racial backgrounds. No doubt you have many anecdotes that have convinced you that it is the case, but I am not interested in hearing them. Proof through anecdote is no proof at all.

You are free to believe as you will, of course, but it is offensive for you to demand that others adhere to your belief. In the absence of any convincing scientific evidence, individuals must choose to believe according to their personal experiences. Perhaps your experiences have lead you to believe in a lack of difference. This does not mean that someone else would necessarily have experienced the same.

I would encourage you to exercise restraint when you are tempted to proselytize your faith to unbelievers. Tolerance of faiths contrary to one's own is a sign of maturity and balance.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.

Would you rather me say "in my opinion"? (none / 0) (#30)
by Crashnbur on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 08:19:44 PM EST

Look, political correctness is not my game. I couldn't care less for political correctness. I depend more on my values and my morals, which in this case tell me that no human being, no matter what skin color, religion, gender, etc., should be treated any different than any other based on such qualities.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
So what? (2.00 / 3) (#31)
by qpt on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 08:29:19 PM EST

Why should anyone care about your values? If you do not want to discriminate between people on the basis of skin color, do not. Nobody is going to make you. However, it is unreasonable for you to expect anyone to be interested in your opinion regarding this matter.

If other's morals tell them differently, what grounds do you have to condemn them? Your article was very much couched in language of fact and not value. If this is not what you intended, it was poorly written; if so, it was poorly thought out.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

You are wrong, sir. (none / 0) (#42)
by Crashnbur on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 10:22:16 PM EST

"However, it is unreasonable for you to expect anyone to be interested in your opinion regarding this matter."

Um, excuse me? Are you familiar with politics at all? Are you familiar with living life at all? What high horse are you riding? If we are not allowed to think freely and share our opinions, where, then, will the answers come from? Political philosopher John Stuart Mill said it best in his essay On Liberty, published in 1859:

"Though the silenced opinion be an error, it may, and very commonly does, contain a portion of truth; and since the general or prevailing opinion on any subject is rarely or never the whole truth, it is only by the collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied."

In other words, without individual rights, society cannot function at its best. I am an advocate of individual rights, if you have not guessed that by now. I am not against groups or unions or political parties, but I am against any hint of conformity or hypocrisy orinating from expectations or influences caused by such groups. I push (in what little ways that I may) for a society of individuals - those with the ability to think freely; those that exercise that ability.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
everyone's opinion matters, that's the point (5.00 / 1) (#69)
by jayfoo2 on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 09:47:27 AM EST

you wrote,

"However, it is unreasonable for you to expect
anyone to be interested in your opinion regarding this matter."

Actually I am intersted in his/her opinion, and yours, and everyone else's. That's why I read k5. That's what an op-ed piece is for, to state an opinion and spark a discussion.

It's interesting reading the comments on this that there is a sizeable chunk of the responses that say 'this isn't something that we should/want to talk about' and/or 'you wouldn't understand'.

If we can't talk about it here, in a reasoned forum, with anonynmity, how can we talk about it in society. If I don't understand (and actually I think I do) explain it to me, use small words if you need to.



[ Parent ]
*clap clap* (none / 0) (#81)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 11:33:59 AM EST

I applaud. Perhaps you should flesh that out just a little and make an article of that. Remind K5 what K5 is really for, or the OP-ED section anyway. :-)

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
There is no debate... (4.75 / 4) (#32)
by theboz on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 08:33:39 PM EST

There are no major differences between different ethnic groups. We are all genetically compatible with other ethnic groups, we all have the same features, although some present themselves in slightly different ways. The concept of race is not recognized by modern science, though some categorization does take place because it is easier to put people into sub-categories. This often coincides with the notion of race, but in the case of people from the Indian peninsula being known as caucasians, it doesn't fit the racists viewpoints.

Really, in a sense we are all the same as you think, but we are all different. If we are to truly say that people are of different races, then we must each be of a different race because no two humans are exactly alike (identical twins are very similar but have some differences, even if they are caused externally rather than genetically.)

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Exactly! (none / 0) (#80)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 11:32:41 AM EST

You see, the logic of your argument just confuses me. Don't read that wrong ... your argument is very logical and very correct, in my opinion. What confuses is me is how in the world the rest of these people can think anything different. We are fundamentally the same!!! The only differences are external and do not affect our character, personality, race, religion, etc.

We are all homo sapiens, whether some people like it or not.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
well, obviously not. (4.00 / 2) (#37)
by delmoi on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 10:04:23 PM EST

The simple fact is that no study has ever come close to demonstrating that there is no meaningful difference between people of varying racial backgrounds.

That's because the whole concept of 'race' is scientifically invalid to begin with, dumbass.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Genetic diversity (5.00 / 1) (#92)
by kallisti on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 01:33:27 PM EST

Disclaimer: This is based on information from Pinker's The Language Instinct which I don't have in front of me, so I can't check his references.

He claims that the amount of genetic variation in two random Swedes is equal to the genetic variation between any two random people. In other words, at the genetic level there is no justification for seperation into races.

The problem is that a handful of selected genes control our outer appearance: hair, eyes, skin color, general shape, so we tend to think that these are more important to other traits (intelligence, for example) than they really are.

In other words, race has no meaning at the genetic level, so why would there be any "meaningful difference"? In this case, I don't see that any study would be required to prove there was no difference, the burden of proof would be to show that there are differences. And, Bell Curve notwithstanding, there haven't been any.

[ Parent ]

The biggest misnomer of all. (none / 0) (#101)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 03:33:50 PM EST

"Racism." "Racial." "Race."

Last time I checked, we are all part of the human race; we are all homo sapiens. Race is not the issue, so why do we call it that?

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Sorry (3.77 / 9) (#33)
by Bob Abooey on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 08:39:45 PM EST

I like your spunk but I must disagree with you. Blacks are different than whites. We have different cultures and different cultural histories, we are different. Just like the Chinese are different than Japanese. Yes that's changing as we see more inter-racial couples making babies but the fact is we are different. You seem to be confusing the fact that we are equal and deserve to be treated as equals and given equal opportunities with the fact that we are different. It's okay to be different.

If Neal Boortz said "that changing our speech to reflect how we refer to minorities will not solve any problems" then I say rock on Mr. Boortz, he gets it. That we even have a problem with what to call the other races is a reflection of a symptom of the problem. The problem is that some people are ignorant and for whatever reason dislike or even hate people based solely on the color of their skin. Teaching someone who has such hatred to use pleasant words does nothing to change that hatred or to alter it's course.

If you really want to make a difference then be an example and show the world how you treat everyone as your equal, that is how you make a difference.


-------
Comments on politics from a man whose life seems to revolve around his lunch menu just do not hold weight. - Casioitan
My goal... (none / 0) (#44)
by Crashnbur on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 10:26:33 PM EST

My goal in this article was exhibited when I stated that we should stop discriminating against and treating people differently based on the color of their skin. I acknowledged that that was the problem. In several other articles/comments that I have written, I have more or less stated that if there is to ever be a solution to this problem, it will be due to a fundamental change in every individual that has discriminated against anyone based on skin color ... ever. When everyone collectively agrees that such discrimination is wrong and acts on that belief, then the problem will be solved. We are a long time from that day.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Us - Them (none / 0) (#149)
by chill633 on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 11:09:59 PM EST

NEVER HAPPEN. People will just pick something else to discriminate against. Look at the "ethnic cleansing" in ex-Yugoslavia. No skin color difference there. How about the Hutu and Tutsi in central Africa? Same skin color there.

It is accents in Great Britain that garners the most bias.

The problem stems from the human tendancy to want to blame -- specifically, blame someone else. People normally associate with groups -- those groups most like themselves.

They feel threatened when out of their own group. They are uncomfortable. They want to protect their "home area" so they can be comfortable.

You are asking people to learn to be comfortable everywhere, in all cultures and surroundings. Impossible (and not even desirable).



[ Parent ]

Something's suspicious about this whole thing. (4.40 / 5) (#46)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 10:43:25 PM EST

And I mean the "minority resolution" story, not the Op-Ed piece.

Further below, Seumas links this comment of his, where the story about the word "minority" is attributed to the city council of San Francisco, not "Dick Murphy, vice-Mayor of San Diego", as claimed by this Nealz guy. But if you search Google for "Dick Murphy San Diego", you come to the page of Dick Murphy, Mayor of San Diego. Yes, full Mayor, not vice-Mayor. Conflicting information, huh?

So, unless somebody can show me that this is going on in both cities (either as a coordinated action by some group, or somehow independently), I have to be very suspicious whether it's happening at all. Could we not be witnessing an urban legend being born?

In the meantime, those of you acting all outraged would do better to do some fact-checking before pounding your chests in outrage.

--em

I suspected this too, actually. (none / 0) (#50)
by Crashnbur on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 11:01:29 PM EST

But I still felt my point to be worth making.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
That wasn't my point... (none / 0) (#51)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 11:09:14 PM EST

My post was not addressed at you-- it was addressed at others below who are acting all outraged about "political correctness" when we don't even know if this thing has happened at all. The only report we've seen is from somebody who seems to not quite have good journalistic standards...

I did a search in "Google" for banning "word minority", and the only sites that came up which seemed to be relevant were religious sites...

--em
[ Parent ]

I see. (none / 0) (#56)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 12:01:02 AM EST

The argument was very recent, so search engines wouldn't pick it up yet. Also, I have also questioned the validity of Boortz's argument...

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Found a reference. Read it. (none / 0) (#55)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 11:42:18 PM EST

Lexis-Nexis reveals that the San Diego Union-Tribune, March 22, 2001, Thursday, has this story.

It does have some of the "demeaning" content, but also makes the point that in the local context (certainly true both for California and even more for San Diego), there is are no ethnic majorities; thus, referring to non-whites (and not whites) as "minorities" is indeed wrong.

--em
[ Parent ]

Morons on Parade (none / 0) (#126)
by wiredog on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 08:56:03 AM EST

I'm referring to all the people who responded to Mr. Martinez comment with variations of "you're wrong, minority means < 0.5". Clearly they didn't read the second paragraph of the comment. Or, for that matter, the use of "PC" in the first paragraph.

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
Phage
[ Parent ]

Random spiel..... (4.00 / 2) (#52)
by Wiglaf on Wed Mar 28, 2001 at 11:21:44 PM EST

Everyone is equal, just some are more equal than others.

--I dunno who said this.

Anyone have an idea? Mainly looking for womeon to attrib this to.

Paul: I DOMINATE you to throw rock on our next physical challenge.
Trevor: You can't do that! Do you really think Vampires go around playing rock paper sissors to decide who gets to overpower one another?
Orwell, "Animal Farm" (none / 0) (#57)
by Erbo on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 12:05:24 AM EST

In George Orwell's possibly-allegorical Animal Farm, the original "Seven Commandments" of the animal revolution are altered and removed one by one by the pigs (the leadership). The last commandment left reads:

ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL
BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS

I don't know that this is the real origin of the remark, but it sounds pretty reasonable...

Eric
--
Electric Minds - virtual community since 1996. http://www.electricminds.org
[ Parent ]

Why "minority" is offensive (2.88 / 9) (#59)
by streetlawyer on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 02:02:25 AM EST

... and it's not why you think.

The term "minority" is offensive, because it is a blanket term which includes immigrant populations, plus the descendants of African slaves. It thus implies the false claim that black Americans were immigrants, and encourages people to make comparisons between the culture of black Americans and that of immigrant populations.

Furthermore, it's a word which conceals a fairly huge historical crime. It's like conflating Holocaust victims with battlefield casualties in the Second World War.

Skin color should not be an important factor in any discussion. Period.

Don't be silly; it should quite obviously be a factor in a discussion about genuine past and present acts of injustice committed by people of one skin colour against people of another.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever

*BOINK* (4.00 / 1) (#72)
by ksandstr on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 10:30:41 AM EST

It's like conflating Holocaust victims with battlefield casualties in the Second World War.

Whoo boy, are you Godwinated or what!

You'd think they'd learn over time...



Fin.
[ Parent ]
Dwelling on the past? (none / 0) (#78)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 11:27:48 AM EST

Don't be silly; it should quite obviously be a factor in a discussion about genuine past and present acts of injustice committed by people of one skin colour against people of another.

No, it shouldn't. Such conversations that only persuade everyone that there is some fundamental difference based on the color of our skin should not be considered. You know, I have never had a problem with learning history, because you know what they say about repeating it, but sometimes I think we should concentrate just a little more on our future than on our past.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
why attempt to conceal the truth? (none / 0) (#82)
by streetlawyer on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 11:35:22 AM EST

Such conversations that only persuade everyone that there is some fundamental difference based on the color of our skin should not be considered.

There are such differences; a glance at the income distribution statistics reveals that there is a pretty fundamental distinction between black and white people in society right now, and it will continue into the future for so long as people like you try to avoid having difficult conversations about how this came about and what can be done about it.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

You're hiding it from yourself. (none / 0) (#87)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 11:56:26 AM EST

...the income distribution statistics reveals that there is a pretty fundamental distinction between black and white people in society right now...

You're a little off base. The income distribution statistics only reflect the position that people are in as a result of our country's history. This is no way reflects what each individual person could potentially be. If the roles were reversed, and the blacks were here and brought over whites from Europe as slaves for a hundred years, and the whites had fought for freedom here... Do you think that we would still be saying that blacks are the inferior "race"?

Of course not. So like I said, there is no fundamental difference between black people and white people. There are only differences in the conditions under which we were placed to get here. Comprendé?

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Fundamental Differences... (none / 0) (#148)
by chill633 on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 10:54:38 PM EST

Unless I missed it somewhere else, you introduced the term "inferior" into this thread. No one made that claim.

There are differences between blacks and whites, or more accurately negroids and the various caucasian groups. Actually, you can include several other racial groups in there as well.

Where you draw the actual dividing line between this race and that is a matter of question, but there are "racial traits" that are characteristic of certain groups -- usually denoted by a geographic boundry of ancestry.

Skin color is only the most visually noticable.

"Inferior" used as a general term is incorrect, as it denotes an opinion. Used in a specific sense it can be accurate -- but I haven't seen it used in a specific sense.

As far as economics go -- yes, the largest factor is obviously the starting conditions. It is not the only factor -- nor can it be used as an excuse for failure.

The biggest problem is the "us - them" mentality and the ease of which it is to blame others for your problems/failures.



[ Parent ]

Is being color blind the answer? (none / 0) (#122)
by Miniluv on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 10:34:19 PM EST

You seem to want to pretend there is no difference between a black man and a white man. There is though. There are genetic differences, there are physical differences. In most societies there are also, likely, social differences.

Since when is being different wrong though? Difference is a beautiful thing. Most people seem incapable of grasping that it's not wrong to be black, or white, or asian, or latino, or blue with pink spots. It is, in my opinion, wrong to pretend there is no different.

Also remember, human isn't a race. Human is a species.

"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]

Counterproductive... (2.00 / 1) (#60)
by caracal on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 02:17:11 AM EST

Although you pretend not to care about political correctness you are trapped in the same catch!
Trying to stand up for respect of some "minority" on the basis that they are somewhat *alike* you (human, the majority, whatever...) is bound to bring the exact opposite effect you are looking for:
In order to get more recognition the "minority" will have to prove they are even more "alike" than you said in the first place, and this being a plain lie will create a completly screwed-up relationship.
Getting the exact opposite effect of what you aimed at in your action is the hallmark of jerkness.
(preemptive apology: I am not saying you are a jerk, just that this mechanism hits so often, so many...)
So why no just respecting, not only other humans, but most of the world beings even non living ones?
And you can still dislike or even hate this or that and don't have to support your claim. Trying to support one's opinion may be just more offensive that simply stating it.
I think most americans are "PC infected" and they don't even realize the paradoxes involved.


Uhh. (none / 0) (#77)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 11:25:08 AM EST

"In order to get more recognition the "minority" will have to prove they are even more "alike" than you said in the first place..."

You say this is a plain lie. Why? Because you believe that, simply put. That was my point. We need to change and allow them to be the same just as much as they do. Why must you insist on saying that they have anything to prove? Because they have always (apparently) been the minority, they can only base their social opinions on the society that they have been a part of for so long ... and guess what the majority opinion about them has been? That is my point. You cannot blame any single group, because members of every group, no matter how you group them, feel that we need to change.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
you can't argue with maths (3.00 / 3) (#62)
by Friendless on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 02:36:50 AM EST

Being a minority is a mathematical fact. You can't argue with it, and you can't stop it. However, it is the classification that is a problem - you never hear about the "happily married after 20 years" minority, even though they are just as much a minority as racial and religious minorities. I say, give up on the fight against the word, but don't give up on the fight against irrelevant classifications.

Um... (none / 0) (#76)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 11:21:57 AM EST

My point was to stop exploiting such classifications on discriminatory bases. Did you not get that?

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
differences are real (1.05 / 19) (#63)
by Jonathan Walther on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 05:38:16 AM EST

Being black is different from being white, and you can shove your whiny article up your ass. Ignoring differences is deeply insulting to the very people whose feelings you think you are preventing. Even the Unabomber was miles ahead of you. Go back and read his manifesto. Pinhead.

(Luke '22:36 '19:13) => ("Sell your coat and buy a gun." . "Occupy until I come.")


Great point... (4.66 / 3) (#66)
by leviathan on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 08:24:11 AM EST

...although I personally wouldn't go as far as you on it. Discovering and noting these cliches that are used is a necessary part of understanding the news.

It's like the difference between 'freedon fighter' and 'terrorist' and a host of other biased terms that are used, especially in politically infuenced (read, all) reporting. The fact that a reporters knee-jerk reaction when referring to an enthnicity that doesn't happen to apply to the majority of the population is to refer to it as a 'minority' ethnicity, even when it has nothing directly to do with the issue in hand. When reporters needlessly link every story of violence to 'video nastys' (violent or otherwise explicit films which may be obtained illegally by minors), that's a bias. When reporters consistently reinforce the fact that a group is a minority, even when they have no proof that it has anything to do with anything, that's something we ought to notice.

By the way, I wasn't sure that 'bubbling' was for most of the last paragraph, though I got it in the end. Is it an exclusively US-term?

--
I wish everyone was peaceful. Then I could take over the planet with a butter knife.
- Dogbert

The problem with political correctness (4.00 / 4) (#68)
by RangerBob on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 09:46:53 AM EST

The problem with all of this silliness is that we're going to get to the point where the only way to not offend someone is to not interact or communicate at all. Everyone is just running around looking for a reason to take someone to court or to go complain about something. I'm sorry, but people need to start leaving their emotional baggage at home and stop trying to make everyone else deal with it. It's not society's job to deal with a person's over sensitivity. Yes, I'm sympathetic to a point, but when someone runs around thinking that everyone is "out to get them", then of course they'll see it happening everywhere they turn around.

What sickens me the most is that this whole PC movement is even altering how we teach history to the children of today. I've seen textbooks now that omit some of the really horrible things that have happened in history since it "might offend the children." How can you discuss Nazi Germany without mentioning things like the Holocost? How can you not mention how the US treated the Indians when we were on our "Manifest Destiny" kick? And yes, I said Indians, because if you want to get really anal about it, we're all Europeans or Africans who migrated to this part of the world thousands of years ago. Thus, none of us are "native" to this part of the world. Children SHOULD know about these things, or they will happen again. History happened, no matter how much someone might find it offensive.

Actually, that's another problem. (none / 0) (#75)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 11:14:12 AM EST

I think part of what you're suggesting is that everyone is in business for the almighty dollar and their own 15 minutes (or more) of fame. People are caring less and less for society as a whole and more and more for themselves.

I am a strong individualist, but there is a difference between individualism and selfishness.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
While you might dislike the PC movement... (none / 0) (#140)
by DavidTC on Sun Apr 01, 2001 at 10:32:13 PM EST

and you might dislike the idea of leaving horrible things out of the history books, those are certainly not the same thing. I can't think of one politically correct person who will even let anyone forget, anytime anything Jewish is mentioned, 'Lots of Jews were killed in the Holocaust'. (Ignoring the fact that gays, blacks (if anyone tries to call a black German who was killed an 'African-American' I will slap them silly), gypsies (Except PC people would call them Romani or something), and various other groups were all also killed by the Nazis.)

Seriously, while the PC group is famous for rewriting history, they like to rewrite so white men are always shown as the bad guys, and none of them would dream leaving out Nazis killing Jews or Americans killing Native Americans.

Though they will leave out various repressive Asian communist regimes, and anything whatsoever to do with Africa. It's a weird 'white people's history, but from the other side's point of view' thing going on.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

In America, every one is a minority (2.00 / 2) (#70)
by LordHunter317 on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 10:02:27 AM EST

That was one of the great ideas of the American dream. Prevent the people from revolting by classifying them in so many ways that they can never possibly get a majority of the popular control.

I am a minority because of my religious beliefs (refuse membership in a institutionalized church.) My friend is a minority because he is half Japanese. My other friend is a minority because she has cancer.

The era of a WASP is over.
Man cannot be wonderful. Man can only lift big rocks and grunt - Me to Ex-girlfriend
Everyone is a minority. (none / 0) (#74)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 11:12:33 AM EST

So why try to classify all the minorities? Do you know the smallest, yet the most meaningful, minority of them all?

The individual.

Without the individual, how can society function at its best? Without clashing opinions and views, how can the answers be provided? If we all thought the same way, life would not only be boring, but it would end very quickly.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Yes I know that. (none / 0) (#124)
by LordHunter317 on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 10:46:53 PM EST

But inviduals can have enough common identity so that they can bind together to form groups. The groups on the other hand, may not be able to be. That's the idea. Least I think so. Ok I am tired and confused :) But yes, you are correct.
Man cannot be wonderful. Man can only lift big rocks and grunt - Me to Ex-girlfriend
[ Parent ]
What really happens on those forms (4.00 / 3) (#71)
by Karmakaze on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 10:26:24 AM EST

Many years ago, I had a job as a data entry clerk. I had piles of student surveys to convert into data for the databade to crunch. One of the demographic questions read (I may have the numbers out of order):
Race:
  1. white, nonhispanic
  2. black, nonhispanic
  3. hispanic
  4. asian/pacific islander
  5. other
Many students crossed out "black" and wrote in "african american". Some entered nothing and wrote in "african american". Some wrote small essays in the margin about the difference.

Guess what? They were all entered into the database by the single keystroke "2".

Semantics are very nice, but arguing over an oval on a scantron sheet is pointless and silly. The scanner doesn't care, and at best, if you got a whole lot of other people to also check "other", you will slightly affect the accuracy of the aggregate data. That, in turn, will affect the quality of the aggregate data, not the government's habit of trying to collect that data.

Now, as nice as it would be to be able to ignore racial and ethnic distinctions, it's simply not practical. Use, misuse, or non-use of the word "minority" will have no effect whatsoever on the fact that people of different race or ethnicity get treated differently in society. It's not fair, but it's not going away. That leaves the government with two choices

  1. ignore the inequities and let them comtinue or
  2. try to keep track of the inequities and try to redress them (in ways that will also end up being unfair, just a different kind of unfair).
If they're going to go with option 2, statistical data helps them do a better job of it, and it is going to involve passing laws about it. You can't pass a law about something without referring to it in some way.

That's life.


--
Karmakaze

You missed my point (or ignored it) (none / 0) (#73)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 11:10:10 AM EST

My point was that such stats based on demographics DO NOT MATTER. That fact that such stats are kept are holding our differences perfectly in tact.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
I got your point (3.50 / 2) (#89)
by Karmakaze on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 12:54:29 PM EST

I even addressed your point in detail. You just don't want to hear what I have to say.

Everyone else you've accused of not getting your point got it, too. It's not a particularly new idea.

What you are missing is that while there may be no qualitative difference between people as a result of race, pretty much everyone behaves as though there were. Just saying "hey, people shouldn't think like that" won't change the way people think. Ignoring the way society behaves won't make it change either.
--
Karmakaze
[ Parent ]

Apparently you didn't. (none / 0) (#100)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 03:31:17 PM EST

What you are missing is that while there may be no qualitative difference between people as a result of race, pretty much everyone behaves as though there were.

I did not miss that at all. That was my point, hence why I accused you of missing it. To be more precise, my point, which you say you got, was that that particular behavior needs to stop.

Got it now?

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
So... (none / 0) (#112)
by Karmakaze on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 04:06:55 PM EST

So your whole argument boils down to "Racism is bad, nnnkay?"?

That's nice.

Did you want to communicate something while you were pointing that out, or was that it?
--
Karmakaze
[ Parent ]

Ugh. (none / 0) (#117)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 08:30:56 PM EST

My whole argument boils down to people need to let racism go. When we think differently about it, i.e. when we refuse to let it bother us, when we refuse to group people by "race," and when we stop acting like we're so different because of the color of our skin, this argument will no longer exist.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
All right, this is talking in circles (none / 0) (#128)
by Karmakaze on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 09:33:08 AM EST

I do think I get what's going on here.

Your basic thesis seems to be that judging people by racial traits, or even noticing them beyond asthetic appreciation is wrong, and people should not do it.

Based on your replies to me and some other people, you were under the impression that people didn't understand that. I would suggest instead that people glossed over that point because it seemed trivially obvious, and were trying to address other aspects of the issue. Since people were addressing other aspects, you thought they were missing your point.

Now, the point I was trying to bring up was that while pointing out something that should not be is a first step to addressing a problem, it does not, in itself, actually address the problem. I happen to think that, because, right or wrong, most people think in terms of the racial metaphor, you need to at least start from within the metaphor to communicate to anyone what the problem is and how to fix it. As far as I can tell, you are taking the position that even acknowledging the metaphor is perpetuating it and the best bet is to ignore it and hope that by giving a good example, you will encourage others to follow that example. Is that about it?

I think the issue here is that a practical and idealistic standpoints don't overlap well, and we're arguing from two different directions.


--
Karmakaze
[ Parent ]

white people too sensitive (4.00 / 2) (#88)
by rng on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 12:47:34 PM EST

from reading this thread, and other stuff dealing with race, it seems that white people are the most sensitive than any other group. i am chinese and i can joke about race issues with asians, blacks, etc. But with a few of my white friends, they seem unconfortable talking about it. In my experience, minorities are the least likely to be offended by kind of stuff. Arguing over semantics is a total waste of time.

Uncomfortable whites (5.00 / 2) (#90)
by Corwin on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 01:12:07 PM EST

I would imagine that it is because historically the 'white' population has always been accused of being the racist ones. Historically, this is also probably correct. Unfortunately this carries over to today, and whites are having trouble getting out from the shadow of history. Having somebody say "Your ancestors owned my ancestors as slaves" is a difficult argument to get out of, because it's entirely true and it is entirely missing the point that the white person you are talking to isn't racist. (Disclaimer: Some are. But this goes across races) Rather than fight an argument that cannot be won, it is preferable to avoid it and instead prove ones good intentions by being as fair as possible.

Discussions with whites tend to eventaully turn to accusations (against the whites), be they direct or veiled. Better to simply act fairly to all and prove ones good intentions that way than to talk about them.

---
I'm in search of myself. Have you seen me anywhere?
[ Parent ]
still... (4.50 / 2) (#95)
by Estanislao Martínez on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 02:30:02 PM EST

Having somebody say "Your ancestors owned my ancestors as slaves" is a difficult argument to get out of, because it's entirely true and it is entirely missing the point that the white person you are talking to isn't racist.

But what about "people like you are better off than people like me because you still benefit from wealth generated by my ancestors, which your ancestors owned as slaves"?

Change "owned as slaves" to "exploited for cheap labor" in the case of Asians (think about the chinese and the construction of the railways connecting the US) or "took over our land" (think about Native Americans, or the Chicanos and the Southwest).

You can argue that most whites didn't own slaves. Fine. That doesn't change the historical fact: a lot of the wealth of mainstream white America was built on exploiting others.

--em
[ Parent ]

There is more to it than that... (5.00 / 1) (#97)
by theboz on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 03:03:22 PM EST

But what about "people like you are better off than people like me because you still benefit from wealth generated by my ancestors, which your ancestors owned as slaves"?

The majority of white people in the history of the U.S. did not have slaves. I repeat, the majority of white people in the history of the U.S. did not have slaves. I wish everyone would realize this. That doesn't mean that the majority without slaves wouldn't have had them if they were given the opportunity, but simply that the majority of people in the U.S. are not descendants of those that exploited the people imported from Africa.

Change "owned as slaves" to "exploited for cheap labor" in the case of Asians (think about the chinese and the construction of the railways connecting the US) or "took over our land" (think about Native Americans, or the Chicanos and the Southwest).

Because then you have to include people such as the Irish and Italians, who are both considered to be white. Throughout the history of the U.S., pretty much everyone without money has been treated like shit. This includes the majority of the white population that has lived here. It doesn't matter what color you are if you were exploited for cheap labor. Just because a piece of paper called the constitution said you were free, you really weren't when you had to send your 4 year old kids to work in dangerous factories just to live long enough to turn 30 and then die of malnourishment. Everyone has been oppressed here, the middle class is fairly recent as far as I can tell.

You can argue that most whites didn't own slaves. Fine. That doesn't change the historical fact: a lot of the wealth of mainstream white America was built on exploiting others.

If this is a historical fact, please prove it. From my perspective, it looks like a very small percentage of "white America" has ever benefitted from exploitation of others. This small percentage treated whites with as much contempt as they did blacks, and stole just as much. The only difference is that in the case of slaves, the chains were visible, while with the poor majority of whites the chains were mental. The lives of their loved ones were at stake so there really wasn't any room to go find a new job or any of the luxuries that all of us, black, white, or anyone else have today.

The past is for learning from, but we should not let it affect how we are now. I don't see the point in dwelling on who's ancestor exploited who 200 years ago, when we have plenty of people being oppressed now.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

*roll eyes over* (3.00 / 2) (#107)
by Estanislao Martínez on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 03:43:57 PM EST

The majority of white people in the history of the U.S. did not have slaves. I repeat, the majority of white people in the history of the U.S. did not have slaves. I wish everyone would realize this.

Do you realize that the fact that I point this out further down in my post makes you look at best careless, at worst intellectually dishonest?

Because then you have to include people such as the Irish and Italians, who are both considered to be white.

But why have these groups assimilated to the mainstream society, while others haven't?

From my perspective, it looks like a very small percentage of "white America" has ever benefitted from exploitation of others. This small percentage treated whites with as much contempt as they did blacks, and stole just as much. The only difference is that in the case of slaves, the chains were visible, while with the poor majority of whites the chains were mental.

Then explain to me how come if (a) a society produces a large amount of wealth, and (b) a group in that society is barred from owning any part of the property they have had a hand a producing, then you can deny that (c) the goods said people produced end up in the hands of everybody else, and thus (d) everybody else benefits directly or indirectly from barring these producers from owning any property.

--em
[ Parent ]

Question. (none / 0) (#109)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 03:47:22 PM EST

Could you justify your arguments, please? I see no reason to disagree, necessarily, but as biased as I am, I certainly see no reason to agree. I have an open mind, but I would like a little more ... um ... evidence.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
The real question. (4.50 / 2) (#110)
by Happy Monkey on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 03:50:35 PM EST

But why have these groups assimilated to the mainstream society, while others haven't?

That seems like a question to ask those others. It seems like they don't want to.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]

Hence my point. (none / 0) (#111)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 03:53:43 PM EST

That they should, if they ever want anything changed.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
My writing style (5.00 / 1) (#114)
by theboz on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 04:38:23 PM EST

Do you realize that the fact that I point this out further down in my post makes you look at best careless, at worst intellectually dishonest?

I don't know where the intellectually dishonest part comes from, but I can understand why you think I am careless.

When I write messages in response to somebody, I often word them for the entire audience. I am not always successful, as in this case. I do think that a lot of people ignore that very few whites had slaves. I'm sorry if I did reply to you with that when it would have been better directed at someone further up the thread. I am lazy and prefer one large response rather than many smaller ones.

But why have these groups assimilated to the mainstream society, while others haven't?

This is an excellent question, and unfortunately the only two answers I have been able to observer are:

1) If you are being picked on, find someone to make seem worse than you so the bullies pick on them instead.

2) Perhaps some of the (not minority or ethnic, but political) groups don't want to be equal. We have organizations like the NAACP that originally fought for freedom, and now want to oppress whites and give unfair advantages to blacks. Equality would be an organization for the advancement of all people.

Then explain to me how come if (a) a society produces a large amount of wealth, and (b) a group in that society is barred from owning any part of the property they have had a hand a producing, then you can deny that (c) the goods said people produced end up in the hands of everybody else, and thus (d) everybody else benefits directly or indirectly from barring these producers from owning any property.

I have to laugh, but I have no idea what you are talking about. Well, I understand a little but I don't understand how that ties in to what I said. OJ is not a wookie, so I have to acquit(sp?)

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Still... (none / 0) (#99)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 03:28:41 PM EST

That says nothing about my character. I agree that perhaps it isn't right what my ancestors may have done to yours (or anyone's ... this is hipathetical), but that is not the point. The point is that I did not make those choices - my ancestors did. Judging someone by the actions of his ancestors is not justifiable.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Exactly (none / 0) (#102)
by Corwin on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 03:36:24 PM EST

You seem to be noticing that every argument about how bad racism is targets the white population. Slaves, cheap labour, displacement, or other exploitation. White people aren't allowed to discuss discrimination against them without inviting derision and "That's different!" arguments.

Watch a white person live in Japan, for example. (I'm going to use Japan because I know a number of people who have visited and/or lived there. I don't know many from China or any from the Middle East, etc, so I can't comment as well) They are given different identification and not afforded the same priveliges as native Japanese.

Different? Maybe. How about when there's a disaster (such as the earthquake that apparently hit Hiroshima last week) that hits and food needs to be brought in? Food will be given to the Japanese first, and if there isn't any left over for the gaijin, well too bad. (To be fair to the Japanese, they do this to all foreigners, not just white) All the people I know who have lived there have indicated that they had to learn to live within the system, because you couldn't fight it.

Different? Maybe. Certainly not on par with some of what has happened in the past, but we live in the present now, and it's still a problem. To a much different degree? Yes, this can't compare to what the KKK might do, but the root problem is the same. Prejudice can go both ways, but whites are always cast as the bad guys. It's the whites fault that other races might hate them?

This became rather long, disjointed, and ranty, for which I apologise. The validity of my rant will, I imagine, be either confirmed or invalidated by the amount and tone of flames I get in reply for my defense of caucasians.

PS: for the record, I am not racist. Several of my good friends are of different race than I am. I judge people by what they do, rather than what they look like.

---
I'm in search of myself. Have you seen me anywhere?
[ Parent ]
There could be a reason. (3.00 / 1) (#98)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 03:26:14 PM EST

Perhaps whites are the least comfortable with the issue because they are the most often attacked.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Qualify that... (none / 0) (#113)
by codepoet on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 04:16:59 PM EST

I think that needs qualification. White people are the most attacked for making racial references. I don't see a lot of flack for being white, but I know that I cannot make a "border joke" about Hispanics or talk about any specific race being "barefoot and pregnant" but they can talk about any minority like that.

-- The cynical can often see the sinister aspect of a cup of coffee if given enough time.
[ Parent ]
What to call a black person (4.60 / 5) (#119)
by TheSpiritOf1776 on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 09:15:26 PM EST

A friend of mine had a black roommate. Her boyfriend was visiting, and the boyfriend and the roommate were chatting amiably, and they got onto the race topic.

The boyfriend (who BTW is white, and so is my friend) asked the roommate, "So what should we call a black person? Black? African-American? Negro? What? I'm asking because I don't want to offend."

The roommate replied, "Why don't you just ask him what his name is?"

I have also have answered the race question on various forms as "Other - Human." I haven't gotten any responses similar to Crashnbur.


A more dubious reason? (4.00 / 1) (#120)
by skim123 on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 09:40:08 PM EST

I can't find a link to the article now, but I was reading that the San Diego city council was wanting to refer to present day minorities (Hispanics, Asians, Afriacan Americans, three groups that are very predominant here in San Diego) as "people of color." When I read this I got to thinking that perhaps the reason they're wanting to ban the term minority has more dubious motives than simply bringing about racial peace by simply refusing government officials the right to use the word minority.

Here in California us white folks are quickly becoming the minority. As a single race whites are the majority here, but whites compared to non-whites are, I believe, in the minority in Southern California. So before too long whites will be being called the minority... perhaps the mayor/council would rather keep referring to nonwhites in "other" terms (people of color now) rather than having the whites being referred to be an "other" term (minority)?

Ok, a bit X-fileish on the conspiracy side and all, but it makes ya think.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


Well... (none / 0) (#121)
by Crashnbur on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 09:58:06 PM EST

Actually, it doesn't make me think. However, one thing that my dad used to say when I was little does make me think: "They're just reproducing at ungodly rates to try to outnumber us." Granted, my father was raised in a military home in the 1950s, but it is a thought to consider. I disagree with the sentiment behind his statement, but believe me, he has changed a lot since then. :)

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Not quite clear... (none / 0) (#123)
by skim123 on Thu Mar 29, 2001 at 10:36:15 PM EST

Not quite clear how this relates to what I posted. Are you saying that you think these politicians are fearing becoming the minority (hence the striking of the term), thereby agreeing with me? I have to admit I am a bit confused, your post does sound quite racist, although I'm sure that wasn't the intention. ... So what was the intention?

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
My point... (none / 0) (#137)
by Crashnbur on Sun Apr 01, 2001 at 03:49:01 PM EST

...was that my father was raised in the 50s in a military home. He began his life in a segregated world and had to deal with the desegration and civil rights movements during his teen years, a time when, as I would guess from my own experience, all people are quite skeptical and opinionated about nearly everything that tickles their respective fancies. So, in other words, my father is not a racist, but because he was initially taught as a child to live a life in which segregation was very much real and normal, and then forced to change, that perhaps his roots clash with my beliefs... and ...this is a greater explanation than you asked for, and I'm beginning to wonder where I'm going with it, so I'll stop.

I will basically say that he is not a racist, and I am not either - I do not believe that anyone is any different because of the color of their skin. If it is easier to identify a person by saying, "He's black, he's short, and he's carrying a pink purse and wearing rainbow socks," I do not expect to hear someone calling me a racist because I called the man a black man. When identifying a person, the color of skin is usually a good way to generate a mental image. This does not affect the character of anyone at all, however, as most of you should know. Anyway, I'm not going anywhere with this, so I'll stop...

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Nice article (5.00 / 3) (#125)
by Simon Kinahan on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 04:54:30 AM EST

I'm not sure 'minority' is really offensive, but I definitely take your point that classifying people based on superficial characteristics can be damaging even when it is done for basically well intentioned reasons.

There is a point that needs to be made here, though. Like it or not ethnic classifications are part of the social reality we live in. Until we can think of someone as 'oriental', 'black' or 'asian' and consider that only as a description of their appearance, rather than as a whole bundle of assumptions about culture, language and personality, that will always be the case. I don't believe that state of affairs is impossible, but we are certainly not there yet.

The trouble is that attitudes towards people reinforce their actual circumstances and vice versa. Black people in the USA have a greater tendency towards poverty and violence in part because Americans, including black Americans assume that black people are just like that. Until we get to the point were people really are colour blind, or until attitudes change so the stereotypes for blacks are more positive, the negative situation of working class blacks is going to persist.

The difficulty for society as a whole is: do we pay attention to the unfortunate stereotypes and the circumstances they create in the hope that through discrimination or other action we can ameliorate them, at the risk of reinforcing the perception of difference, or do we try to ignore them in the hope that this will lessen their force, and take the risk that they will perpetuate themselves anyway ?

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
IA point. (none / 0) (#139)
by DavidTC on Sun Apr 01, 2001 at 10:16:39 PM EST

I bet the fact black people having a tendency to poverty more then white people is not entirely due to people expecting them to be poor. In fact, I'm willing to bet at least half of it is the fact they were born poor. ;)

There are plenty of 'genetically tending towards poor' white people out there too. Being poor literally runs in the family. If your parents have no money, amazingly enough, you have no money.

This is why I feel like punching peole everytime they complain about the 'death tax', BTW. ;)

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

I no longer beleive in race. (4.75 / 4) (#129)
by Office Girl the Magnificent on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 10:05:11 AM EST

With all the so-called racial mixing that happens worldwide, it is impossible to distinguish a "black" or "white" person based on appearance alone. Nobody, and I mean nobody, has a "pure line." No matter what your religious or areligious beleifs are, most people beleive that we all descended from a common ancestor or set of ancestors. By the time my children are my age, I like to think it will be a moot point. If you're not convinced, here's an article for you to read. Once you've read the article, consider this: there is a "rabbi gene" that is only found in the DNA of people descended from the direct line of the first Jewish rabbis. Every one of the heriditary rabbis in the world has this gene. Including the ones in Africa, where their beleif system predates their "discovery" by Europeans after the Common Era. If Black Africans and Jewish Rabbis were of different "races," they would not carry the same gene because they would theoretically be genetically unrelated. Hence, I no longer beleive in race.

"If you stay, Infinite might try to kill you. If you leave, the FBI definitely will. And if you keep yelling, I might do it myself."

countries with hundreds of ethnic groups (4.00 / 2) (#130)
by mami on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 12:19:16 PM EST

I think it would be interesting to research how countries with hundreds of different ethnic groups behave with regards to naming each other.

AFAIK, one will never stop people to name ethnic groups and if two ethnic groups can't get along, because one feels discriminated in comparison to the other, there will always be name calling of the most colorful sort.

The important thing is what the country's constitution and legal system does to implement ethnic counting, official naming and to provide equal rights for the different groups. The human side you won't change, the legal side must be changed. The best solution is the one which allows you to live without any ethnicity counting and profiling. If the laws provide so much protection of equal human rights for each ethnic group, then it's superfluous to even think about ethnicities. This is unfortunately very much missing in the U.S.

Since everyone is unique... (4.00 / 2) (#133)
by jd on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 04:49:53 PM EST

Everyone is a minority of 1.

"Minority" only has a meaning in a context, and it is that context which is "offensive" or "inoffensive". The word itself is only a description of a relationship in quantity, not quality.

Only by adding an additional context that relates quantity to quality can "minority" ever have an offensive meaning.

Nuff said.

Huge focus on racial profiling in the US. (4.50 / 2) (#135)
by Gernsback on Sun Apr 01, 2001 at 04:49:48 AM EST

I remember a little while ago I was doing research on homicide stats in the US, and on the fbi and doj sites I couldn't find a total amount of all homicides with a firearm in the US. I could find stats on how many were committed by various racial groups, but not by method. Again and again I've noticed this obsession with breaking statistics up by race here, it's really creepy IMO
Matt
racial profiling does have it's place (none / 0) (#150)
by cassady on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 12:36:34 AM EST

Racial profiling does exist for a very good reason. In America, on any given day, one in eight black males between the ages of 18 and 30 will be in prison. Now there are two explanations for this. First, perhaps African Americans have a racial, genetic predilection for crime. This theory, while loved by some right wing groups, has no scientific back up. The remaining theory, much more likely, is that there is a problem with how African Americans are treated and marginalized by American society. In all societies, higher crime rates are indicative of having a lack of avenues for economic and social success. The American dream of a big melting pot, in which all barriers of racial prejudice can be left behind, is a fantasy. Racial profiling, while not an all encompassing answer, allows us to recognize the effects of this false fantasy, and hopefully change things for the better.

[ Parent ]
Question of Minority (4.00 / 2) (#142)
by compmajor on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 10:48:14 AM EST

I have a quick question that you might want to think about. Say originally in an area, 70% white, 30% black, the black population was termed the minority (in newspapers, etc). Now my question is if the area changes to be 70% black and 30% white, will the black population still be termed as the minority? When will this change over? I only ask because this has happened where I live, and the true minority is still called the majority, and the true majority is called the minority.

This will happen to the entire U.S.A. soon enough (none / 0) (#145)
by jester69 on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 02:15:37 PM EST

I read somewhere that the racial composition of poulation in the United States is rapidly changing. While what have typically been considered caucasians are still in the majority, this will not last for long. What this piece claimed was that caucasians will be a minority well within 20 or so years. (sorry no reference, dig one up if you dont believe me.)

What does this mean? I'm not sure. caucasians are already a minority in St. Louis, Missouri: at least in the city proper. I live in a city that probaby has well over 50 percent black residents. A friend was interested in applying to work at the post office, and was basically told she was the wrong color. You need to be black to get a city job. (to be fair, in the county the situation is pretty much the opposite. Only discrimination is not quite as overt.)

Personally, I dislike racism in any form, against people of any color. My friend was most assuredly turned away from her dream (if you can call wanting a post office job such) by racism.
I just wonder, In the future will the tables turn like this more universally, or is the caucasian power structure so entrenched that it will continue to attempt to disenfranchise other races and prevent its inevitable sidelining as the dominant force in our society? Things like most felons being minorities and that felons permanently loose suffrage come to mind. The fact that we have the highest population of imprisioned people of any developed country says to me this is already happening.

I have a feeling that given enough time (my guess, 30 years) the tables will turn and what is now the minority will subject the new minority (formerly the majority) to the same treatment it has been recieving the last few hundred years. Turnabout is fair play one could say... This new world shouldnt have to come about, but there seems to be no way to avoid it. If history shows anything, it shows that people are unwilling to change their actions until it is too late to do anything useful.

The Jester, 69
Its a lemming thing, Jeep owners would understand.
[ Parent ]
This won't happen as you imply. (none / 0) (#147)
by crossetj on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 10:07:53 PM EST

If things keep going the way they are there won't be a majority. A larger percentage of the population will be "non-white" (that being how the current majority is normally defined) but no single definable "group" will make up 50%+1 of the population. Also remember, that (North) American population is growing almost exclusivly based on immigration. Once people settle down in both Canda and the U.S. reproduction is generally bellow replacement (remember under the assumption that every person mates with a memeber of the opposite sex, each person must produce at least one offspring that survives to reproduction age just to maintain the population)

And (like you :) I'm too lazy to look up references to back this up. A fairly cursory glance at the census data should confirm this. If any one gets uppity and demands proof I might go dig it up.

[ Parent ]

Maths and genes! (none / 0) (#151)
by pallex on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 10:49:17 AM EST

"If things keep going the way they are there won't be a majority. A larger percentage of the population will be "non-white" (that being how the current majority is normally defined) but no single definable "group" will make up 50%+1 of the population. "

There *will* be a majority - it`ll be a non-white one. Eventually there`ll be very very few people who have no non-white blood in their family history.


[ Parent ]
May be this article sheds light (4.50 / 2) (#143)
by mami on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 11:28:11 AM EST

on the complexity of the issue.

You must be registered for this NYT article

Out of experience I can just say that there are thousands of different variations of being multi-racial and no questions is more painful and annoying to answer for those who are than the one of their identity. How you look and to whom you feel attached to ethnically are quite different things. Be aware that most multi-racial persons have difficulties to answer the question of identity to themselves and would very much just be left alone and not asked.

Why can't you just get the person in question to know and after a while you will understand where he comes from and how he feels about himself.

I can only say that the U.S.'s way of counting ethnicity is a pain in the neck and I advised my son to either refuse to answer or put in all the races he carries within himself. I really don't see any valid reason why it is necessary to ask. If the person in questions wants to tell you deliberately, he will do so and that should be enough.



What about geeks? (4.50 / 2) (#144)
by darthaya on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 12:44:58 PM EST

I found the word "geeks" offensive. All these political correctness is making me sick.. ugh.

Two inane comments that dont add to the discussion (4.00 / 2) (#146)
by slakhead on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 07:20:06 PM EST

1. I don't find the word minority offensive, however I do find the song "Minority" by Green Day offensive.

2. On my PSATs I marked off my religious denominations and race "incorrectly" also, opting for the more unique combination of Hispanic Buddhist. I think I must have thrown their survey off a bit because I received some really weird stuff in the mail afterwards.

San Diego officially bans the word "minority& (4.50 / 2) (#153)
by Keslin on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 12:28:53 PM EST

Some of you mentioned the San Diego city council's attempt to ban the word "minority" from city documents and discussions. You may be interested to know that they have officially implemented the ban. Not only that, but they did it unanimously.

This whole thing really just seems annoying to me, political correctness distracting us from real work. They do seem to have a point in San Diego though, that there are areas in San Diego where there is no single predominant racial group. In those areas, the word 'minority' doesn't really make a lot of sense, so why use it?

I think that in the end, most people in the U.S. are going to end up looking like me, some kind of nearly unidentifiable mix. I'm half Japanese and half German. My children will most likely be a mix of Japanese, German, English and French. My brother has a child that is Japanese, German, and Phillipino. The word 'minority' doesn't really work in our family any better than it works in San Diego.

-Keslin, the naked nerd girl.

Race: Human (4.00 / 2) (#154)
by Robin Lionheart on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 01:08:34 PM EST

We're all mongrels evolved from the same apes, so every human being is a relative of mine, however distant.

When I went door to door for the US Census, one mother flatly informed me that her child was "American". I had been instructed to fill in a race bubble based on my own visual determination in that situation.

I don't often encounter forms asking for race these days, but when I do, I too always choose Other or write in "human" if it is an option, or leave it blank if not. When I selected Other at college, I started to receive invitations to join a Hispanic student association, which makes me wonder who was given access to such records there.

Once I saw a South African comedian on a TV benefit program who ended his act by reading a newspaper clipping. It cited new statistics from the Race Classification Board, such as 1,102 coloureds were officially reclassified as whites, and similar numbers for blacks reclassified as coloureds ("coloured" and "black" are different things in South Africa), whites as coloureds, and all the other various permutations of their racial categories. It aptly illustrated the absurdity of people's entire lives depending on labels shuffled by apartheid bureaucrats.


It's official... (none / 0) (#155)
by skim123 on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 03:25:01 PM EST

The San Diego city council voted unanimously to remove the word minority. (See article.) To quote the article: "Coincidentally, recent U.S. Census Bureau figures showed that non-Hispanic whites represent 49.8 percent of the state's population, making them a minority in California."

Take a moment to read my previous comment on this matter. Is this a move for us whities to keep from being referred to as minorities?

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


"Sometimes that's the way things ARE!" (none / 0) (#156)
by Robert Hutchinson on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 05:29:46 PM EST

[W]hen that respect is the color of one's skin ...and someone uses the term to exploit that discrimination, then I believe that the word minority can be very offensive.
This is virtually a truism, and about as useless as one. Of course a word intended as offensive will be offensive. If one starts sneering at people and calling them carrots, the word carrot would be offensive to them. (In case that's an actual slur, I promise I've never heard it.)

Considering the last three paragraphs you wrote (which I agree with), I'm not at all sure what it is you are finding offensive. Are people using the term "minority" in generalizations? Are tests using the term?

Regarding your example of the conversation about skin color, there's a difference between generalization and description. There's a difference between "what do blacks see in rap, anyway" and "my new coworker is black, 6'2", and a snappy dresser." As it is, I cannot imagine the term "minority" coming up in a conversation except as a response to someone notable having used it to whine. But perhaps that's just me.

Robert Hutchinson
No bomb-throwing required.

"Minority" -- Offensive or Not? | 177 comments (154 topical, 23 editorial, 0 hidden)
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