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Resh Aleph
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Re: Respect my ass
« Reply #135 on: October 16, 2007, 03:57:40 pm »

Just like hating leprosy doesn't equate to hating leprous people.

I like this analogy. Cheesy

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There is a difference. The term "non-cashier" does not have (too much of) a practical application. It is necessary more often to refer to being skeptical about the existence of deities than to refer to not being a cashier. And what better way to refer to this sort of people than by using the term "atheist"? Of course, this term does have some limitations, such as not expanding the breadth of this skepticism to supernatural in general, but we have other terms for that as well.

My point is, there's no reason to refer to this "group" at all. It's like the term "black person" or "African American". Their very existence and use are redundant and wrong IMO. Even if they're not derogatory, they imply these people are different, a group. They are just people and we are just people.

I'm aware this is just semantics, but language is often used to make things seem different from what they really are, and it ticks me off.


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Re: Respect my ass
« Reply #136 on: October 21, 2007, 09:45:17 am »

It's like the term "black person" or "African American". Their very existence and use are redundant and wrong IMO. Even if they're not derogatory, they imply these people are different, a group. They are just people and we are just people.

If there is no logical reason at all for these terms, why do they arise?  There are quite a few perfectly clear reasons, you know.  Other than "evil, privileged oppressors seeking to perpetuate the socially inferior status of minority groups by deliberately preserving derogatory and repressive linguistic constructs", or some equivalent crap that you might hear from out-of-touch loons (you know, the kind that actually finds things like "Post-Colonial Studies" to be legitimate academic fields rather than glorified ways of politicizing one's ego; stuff like that).

Point is, there are factual and undeniable differences between groups of people; differences perfectly visible to reason.   This does not mean that acknowledging a plain difference automatically classifies a group as "inferior", "superior" or anything on that scale, despite what some Groucho-Marxists would have you believe.  Groups of people might plainly differ from each other ethnically, politically, linguistically, religiously and culturally and still remain "people", all of them, without any kind of value judgment.  Hell, most of these groups prevalently view themselves as distinct groups - including the one you gave as an example.   There is nothing morally 'wrong' about plainly and neutrally acknowledging the human diversity in our reality, nor does it contradict your saying that, on the bottom line, we're all people (a... "redundant" statement if I've ever heard one, by the way).

I'm aware this is just semantics, but language is often used to make things seem different from what they really are, and it ticks me off.

Yeah, like when people use language to impose their own utopian, out-of-touch, wishy-washy moral or political views upon reality.  Ticks me off too.

But hey, it can sometimes be immensely funny, too.  Like a couple of years ago when a few African Americans (sorry, I'll wash my hands after this post) proclaimed that they're offended by the terms "master" and "slave" used for hard drive and other IDE devices in the computer industry, because they automatically remind them of you-know-what.   As a non-American who looks at American political culture from the outside, that one really had me rolling on the floor....
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Re: Respect my ass
« Reply #137 on: October 21, 2007, 11:09:13 am »

Hell, most of these groups prevalently view themselves as distinct groups - including the one you gave as an example.

Groups don't view.
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Re: Respect my ass
« Reply #138 on: October 21, 2007, 12:06:22 pm »

Hell, most of these groups prevalently view themselves as distinct groups - including the one you gave as an example.

Groups don't view.

Phrasing. "It is prevalent among members of these groups to view them as distinct", if you will.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2007, 12:09:50 pm by VileRancour » Logged

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Re: Respect my ass
« Reply #139 on: October 21, 2007, 02:09:28 pm »

To start off, "distinct groups" is impossibly vague - The group of people with dark brown hair is also a distinct group from the group of people with light brown hair, but that distinction isn't worth mentioning. Neither, of course, is the distinction between the "group" with dark brown skin and any other group. I grant there's a distinction, but if anyone thinks the distinction is significant, that's racism and I don't like it. No race functions in concert, and people who treat them as if they do are usually stupid.

As for the term "African American", I have no problem with it as long as people use it to refer to Americans of African descent. I definitely have a problem with it if anyone uses it to refer to people with dark skin, because some of them aren't American and some people of African descent have light skin, and there are probably some dark-skinned Americans who aren't of African descent too.

As for the term "black person", I have a problem with that term because both the person isn't black (only their skin) and the person isn't black (just dark brown). If you actually want to refer to that, call it like it is - a dark-skinned person. It's harder to hold racist view and other stupid views in general when you think about things as what they are rather than by stereotyping or categorizing them.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2007, 02:20:53 pm by Elvish Pillager » Logged

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Re: Respect my ass
« Reply #140 on: October 21, 2007, 08:33:40 pm »

If you say so... What's your rationale for disliking me?
If you really want to know...
It's mostly because you don't seem to learn. The change in my attitude towards you from polite and subtle towards direct and blunt is mostly because I don't want to waste any more words on you, while it is sometimes still necessary to respond to you, if only to provide a different perspective for others.

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EDIT: Ah, and I take it you understand that my "snipe" wasn't by any means intended to annoy you? It's just that I've read that old post of yours.
I think you missed the point of that posting. The point was that there are very few taboos in present-day Dutch culture. I did not mean that Dutch people are crude.


As for the term "black person", I have a problem with that term because both the person isn't black (only their skin) and the person isn't black (just dark brown). If you actually want to refer to that, call it like it is - a dark-skinned person.
You are absolutely right! Here I was, eating my red-skinned apple, sitting on my black-upholstered chair, playing chess as the beige side, writing down my moves with my blue-ink pen, all the while thinking I was eating my red apple on my black chair while playing chess using the white pieces, writing with my blue pen. How did people ever manage to understand me?

Language is for communication, transfering ideas from one person to the other. Shortcuts get taken all the time, and people call things as they appear on the furface, because the other person will know what you mean, and the idea gets across with the least effort. Most people won't make a problem out of that, because they know what you're trying to get across, and they know that the idea is central to the language. The only people that do make a problem are those who set out to do so.

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It's harder to hold racist view and other stupid views in general when you think about things as what they are rather than by stereotyping or categorizing them.
I don't like the idea of trying to control people's thoughts by controlling their language (see also newspeak). And I don't think it works anyhow (at least not like this), because the idea that people have in mind isn't what they are saying; when someone refers to a person as "black", he/she is not implying anything else than a superficial resemblance of their appearance to the colour black. Yes, it helps when people think about things as they are, but you're not changing what they are thinking; what they were saying never was what they were thinking.
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Re: Respect my ass
« Reply #141 on: October 21, 2007, 08:51:54 pm »

If you say so... What's your rationale for disliking me?
If you really want to know...
It's mostly because you don't seem to learn. The change in my attitude towards you from polite and subtle towards direct and blunt is mostly because I don't want to waste any more words on you, while it is sometimes still necessary to respond to you, if only to provide a different perspective for others.
On the other hand, you might simply have a not-quite-true vision of me, and you might try (consciously or unconsciously) to fit reality into your model, misinterpreting me. And maybe you also overreact at times. Don't bother replying to this if you don't want to.
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Resh Aleph
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Re: Respect my ass
« Reply #142 on: October 21, 2007, 10:16:17 pm »

If there is no logical reason at all for these terms, why do they arise?
My point exactly! Tongue

But seriously, I just don't see why there should be "African Americans" but not "European Americans". What's the difference?

(You seem to be quite agitated by my opinion, why?)
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Re: Respect my ass
« Reply #143 on: October 22, 2007, 01:12:14 am »

Language is for communication, transfering ideas from one person to the other. Shortcuts get taken all the time,

If the point is to be short, one can use the term "negro" - it has fewer syllables. Roll Eyes

Also, the stupid little situation in the paragraph I have not quoted both has a false premise and is obviously the result of reading into my post something which I neither said nor meant. If language is supposed to be for communication, it apparently isn't very good for the purpose.
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Re: Respect my ass
« Reply #144 on: October 22, 2007, 01:23:52 am »

Wait, refering to someone with dark skin tone as 'black' is considered derisive now? Sorry EP, you're on your own there.
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Re: Respect my ass
« Reply #145 on: October 22, 2007, 09:18:14 pm »

Elvish Pillager
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As for the term "black person", I have a problem with that term because both the person isn't black (only their skin) and the person isn't black (just dark brown). If you actually want to refer to that, call it like it is - a dark-skinned person. It's harder to hold racist view and other stupid views in general when you think about things as what they are rather than by stereotyping or categorizing them.

Alright, this is just getting nuts, I have had enough of hearing this repressive, elitist, thought-police kind of lunacy.

Is someone a fool or an amoral being if he does not use absolute precision in describing each individual object or person or if he uses prior experience or knowledge to guess at a future action?

If an army was brutally invading your country, do you think it would be advantageous to sit there and say, 'well I am not sure if everyone here is onboard with this invasion, I really need to interview each one of these armed men before I can decide my precise course of action?'


Don't you think that if millions of years of evolution has created the ability for humans to see connections and patterns between things, that this might be a worthy adaption? We are a product of natural evolution, we are animals. We were not made this way by an intelligence that could make mistakes or be 'wrong'. We evolved to be as we are from surviving so many tests that each part of us has an important purpose.

Further, if one thinks he is wiser than this, that he can decide what is 'bad' about mainstream human instincts and time-tested systems, then the influence of him and those of a similar belief on our species and world will most likely be very temporary.


meep-eep
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You are absolutely right! Here I was, eating my red-skinned apple, sitting on my black-upholstered chair, playing chess as the beige side, writing down my moves with my blue-ink pen, all the while thinking I was eating my red apple on my black chair while playing chess using the white pieces, writing with my blue pen. How did people ever manage to understand me?

Language is for communication, transfering ideas from one person to the other. Shortcuts get taken all the time, and people call things as they appear on the furface, because the other person will know what you mean, and the idea gets across with the least effort. Most people won't make a problem out of that, because they know what you're trying to get across, and they know that the idea is central to the language. The only people that do make a problem are those who set out to do so.

I think meep has provided a good concept for you to consider. People are not machines that follow very specific and tested programming. We deal with much greater and diverse information than machines and compensate by choosing speed over absolute perfection in most cases.
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Re: Respect my ass
« Reply #146 on: October 22, 2007, 10:54:12 pm »

Derisive? Repressive? No, it just annoys me a bit. What are you guys on about? Suddenly, me complaining about a figure of speech I don't like earns me multiple comparisons to the thought police?

Thoughts are reflected in words. Changing the words people use (newspeak, etc) won't change what they think, any more than stabbing someone's reflection will hurt them. On the other hand, it _is_ possible to gather information from a reflection.

Almost every time I've heard someone use the term "black person", they've been using it in a way closer to stereotyping than thoughtful communication. Every time I've heard someone stumble awkwardly over their words and then say "person with dark skin", their subsequent comment has been more sane. While it's likely that what I've personally seen is biased in that direction, it's also likely that such a relation exists. In short, people who are comfortable with the term "black person" are more likely (I don't know by how much) to owe to fix their thinking.
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Re: Respect my ass
« Reply #147 on: October 23, 2007, 02:19:17 pm »

Almost every time I've heard someone use the term "black person", they've been using it in a way closer to stereotyping than thoughtful communication.

Maybe it depends on where you live? Over here, "he's the black guy" can be extremely useful, as most people aren't. It's the fastest and most efficient way to identify someone (who is black), but that doesn't mean it's neccesarily.

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Every time I've heard someone stumble awkwardly over their words and then say "person with dark skin", their subsequent comment has been more sane. While it's likely that what I've personally seen is biased in that direction, it's also likely that such a relation exists. In short, people who are comfortable with the term "black person" are more likely (I don't know by how much) to owe to fix their thinking.

So what you are saying is that in your experience people who use the phrase "black person" is more likely to be racist than one who uses the phrase "person with dark skin"? I realize you're using a personal example, but do you have any clue as to wether there has been any sociological research into this area. It'd be an interesting read.
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Re: Respect my ass
« Reply #148 on: October 23, 2007, 06:00:51 pm »

I would like to point out that changing the words people use can certainly change their
thought processes. Not over-night, but over a longer period of time, conditioning
will certainly change the way a person thinks.

Here's an example out of left field. Some people in my area refer to the supreme being
as Jehova. Some as "Our Father", others as God. they may be refering, roughly, to
the same concept/thing/entity, but the different labels direct thinking of this
being in different ways.
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Re: Respect my ass
« Reply #149 on: October 24, 2007, 03:35:18 am »

To start off, "distinct groups" is impossibly vague - The group of people with dark brown hair is also a distinct group from the group of people with light brown hair, but that distinction isn't worth mentioning. Neither, of course, is the distinction between the "group" with dark brown skin and any other group.

Here's a hint why the two distinctions up there are never going to be viewed by most people as equally insignificant: One of them has absoutely no bearing on human reality here and now.  The other involves groups which, like it or not, represent certain cultural characteristics that are shared by their respective members collectively (not individually - that is, not meaning "all individuals of group X are the same"); historically, socially and culturally, their existence as groups has been meaningful in the context of human affairs, has given them group identities], and has shaped our reality in one way or another.  Therefore, people are going to view such a distinction as a perfectly relevant tool of information exchange.

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I grant there's a distinction, but if anyone thinks the distinction is significant, that's racism and I don't like it.

Funny, and there I was thinking that "racism" is the conviction that a certain race is superior or inferior to another - possibly justifying oppression, enslavement, genocide, and all that nasty stuff.   But hey, you make it seem quite innocent, really - if racism is merely a case of misplaced semantic distinctions, I guess it really isn't worth more than a couple points taken off on a language exam.  So that's what everyone's been making a fuss about??

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No race functions in concert, and people who treat them as if they do are usually stupid.

No difference between racial or ethnical groups can be reduced to a mere simplification such as "skin color", and people who treat them as if they can - be they mere racists or kneejerk self-styled multiculturalists/anti-racists - are usually stupid, not to mention that they severely underestimate the cultural diversity in humanity.  It's especially bad when they also think that a shorthand figure of speech (as meep-eep has explained) is an example of just such a fallacy.
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"Space is a remorseless, senseless, impersonal fact."
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