Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby Vorpal » 12 Feb 2019, 12:08pm

Actually, I don't think that H&S and political correctness have much to do with each other at all, except that the same people tend to mock them both.

I think that what has caused H&S to become the subject of mockery is a risk aversion that has gone too far. When we cut down tree branches from trees in school yards to keep kids from climbing them when we should be teaching them how to climb safely, we are suffering from an excess of risk aversion.

How can we go too far in accounting for the impact of casual racism or sterotyping, or considering how privilege might influence word selection?

I am uncomfortable with labels that have the potential to feed stereotypes, and if I am uncertain about the use of a word in the presence of someone who could be impacted, or have a preference, I *ask*. It's not difficult, and it goes a long way toward making it easier to get along with people.

Why not take 2 minutes to explain that 'handicapped' is offensive to folks who prefer to focus on ability, rather than limitations? Or ask a black colleague what they prefer? Or a trans colleague what pronoun they want people to use?

It's easy to say that people are overly sensitive or that such things can go 'too far' when you aren't part of the minority group.
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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby kwackers » 12 Feb 2019, 12:47pm

Cugel wrote:First, are people who are white, pink, tanned, puce or any other skin colour habitually identified as such in everyday talk? I suggest that they are not. Why not? Well...

I think you've missed the point.

Why say the guy was black? Because he was.
Why would I use that description? Because the office is predominantly white, black becomes an obvious descriptor.
If I worked in a predominantly black office and was trying to get a name for a white guy, then I'd happily say "white".

Before beards became fashionable then I'd use "beard", the guy opposite me is the only Polish guy in the office, if I were describing him I'd say "the Polish guy", ditto the Irish guy behind me.

If it helps I didn't describe him has black until I'd exhausted other options, what he was working on, where he was sat, his general build etc.
Although not describing him as black initially wasn't a conscious decision, in fact I don't think it registered that he was black until I was running out of options.

Personally I have no problem using whatever descriptors I need regardless of other people sensibilities.

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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby Cugel » 12 Feb 2019, 3:59pm

kwackers wrote:
Cugel wrote:First, are people who are white, pink, tanned, puce or any other skin colour habitually identified as such in everyday talk? I suggest that they are not. Why not? Well...

I think you've missed the point.

Why say the guy was black? Because he was.
Why would I use that description? Because the office is predominantly white, black becomes an obvious descriptor.
If I worked in a predominantly black office and was trying to get a name for a white guy, then I'd happily say "white".

Before beards became fashionable then I'd use "beard", the guy opposite me is the only Polish guy in the office, if I were describing him I'd say "the Polish guy", ditto the Irish guy behind me.

If it helps I didn't describe him has black until I'd exhausted other options, what he was working on, where he was sat, his general build etc.
Although not describing him as black initially wasn't a conscious decision, in fact I don't think it registered that he was black until I was running out of options.

Personally I have no problem using whatever descriptors I need regardless of other people sensibilities.


Hmmmm.

Were I a member of a group routinely denigrated, persecuted or otherwise made into a 3rd class citizen (perhaps not even allowed a citizenship I am due) I would be sensitive to being described with some term that often or usually conveys the assumption that I am fit for this denigration, persecution or a witholding of my citizen perks.

In fact, I have lived & worked in places where these sorts of demarcations were employed to separate a clique, elite or other in-group from those judged not to be worthy of membership - because of accent, education, political leaning and several other such factors. Various derogatory terms were employed by the in-group to denigrate and belittle the out-group. The belittling sometimes extended to more than just verbal abuse.

This sort of stuff is mild compared to the racist's prejudice. Or that applied by misogynists; or those who persecute any other vulnerable or historically scapegoated group with vigour & vim.

But - some descriptors are charged with a large amount of various kinds of nastiness-from-history. So I'm surprised that you tell us in a rather arrogant fashion that, "I have no problem using whatever descriptors I need regardless of other people sensibilities". Even if your intent in using a stereotypical descriptor is not malign, the person on the receiving end might find it hard to know that of you.

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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby kwackers » 12 Feb 2019, 4:36pm

Cugel wrote:Hmmmm.

Were I a member of a group routinely denigrated, persecuted or otherwise made into a 3rd class citizen (perhaps not even allowed a citizenship I am due) I would be sensitive to being described with some term that often or usually conveys the assumption that I am fit for this denigration, persecution or a witholding of my citizen perks.

If I wanted to racially abuse someone who happened to be black then I think there are far better ways than simply describing them as black.

You'll have to excuse me if I seriously don't get where you're coming from, are you suggesting that someone who is black is inferior?
Why by being black does that make them a 3rd class citizen? I'm hardly using the term in a way that implies that.

Perhaps you're suggesting that black people are sensitive about their colour? Does that make you racist for thinking that their colour is an issue?

How about we simply accept that some folk aren't the same colour as others and move on?
IMO there's nothing to be ashamed of in being black so unless the term has some connotation I'm unaware of then I see no problem using it.
Cugel wrote:So I'm surprised that you tell us in a rather arrogant fashion that, "I have no problem using whatever descriptors I need regardless of other people sensibilities". Even if your intent in using a stereotypical descriptor is not malign, the person on the receiving end might find it hard to know that of you.

No need to be surprised, I can't stick fools and when some woman starts shouting the odds because I happened to mention that an ex-workmate was black as a description when trying to get a name to go with him then IMO they're a fool and deserve my contempt and in that situation I'm happy to appear arrogant.

As for receiving end, she wasn't black and if I was speaking to him then there'd be no need to mention his colour so he wouldn't be on the receiving end either.

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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby Syd » 12 Feb 2019, 4:46pm

About a decade ago I remember having a minor argument with a colleague about his work when he described me as an “argumentative Scot” to which I responded “and you being a lazy Pakistani”.

My other colleagues, on hearing me, exclaimed “You can’t say that!” The first colleague replied saying “why not? It is accurate the argumentative Scot was not tempted to shorten my nationality. I’m lazy and from Pakistan”.

Whilst my colleagues saw no offence in what was said to me they offended on behalf of my other colleague who, by his own admission, was not. A classic situation on people getting wrongly offended on the behalf of others.

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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby mjr » 12 Feb 2019, 5:13pm

Vorpal wrote:I think that what has caused H&S to become the subject of mockery is a risk aversion that has gone too far. When we cut down tree branches from trees in school yards to keep kids from climbing them when we should be teaching them how to climb safely, we are suffering from an excess of risk aversion.

But why should H&S be mocked for that and unfairly blamed for the branch-cutter's excessive risk aversion? Mock the branch-cutter, not the whole concept of H&S.
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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby 661-Pete » 12 Feb 2019, 5:21pm

I had a colleague who happened to be black, he once related to me how, in the supermarket, a small boy had pointed at him and shouted "Look Mummy, there's a g****w*g!" Now I'd imagine that some victims of this sort of childish abuse might laugh it off - the link between the old-fashioned toy and a black person is tenuous after all. Not so my colleague, he said he was visibly upset, and he went over to the mother, gave her a good lecturing, and made damned sure she was upset over her son's behaviour, too.

I'm glad I didn't smile at his account. Was he over-reacting? I don't know if I have the right to judge that.

One thing comes to mind. In my dim and distant childhood I was regaled with two series of kiddies' books which I adored, namely Noddy in Toyland and Rupert Bear. The first of these was punctuated by numerous appearances of the said black-faced toy - but I believe the books have been sanitised since. Is that right? My aforesaid colleague would certainly have said, yes it is right - and who am I to argue. The word itself is certainly deemed offensive in all contexts (unlike words like "faggot" as mentioned above).

As to our eponymous bear - in one of his Annuals dating from the 1950s, I recall him being spirited away to a tropical island and there being beset by black inhabitants - nearly ending up in the cooking-pot before being rescued. Certainly un-PC by today's standards. Whether the old books have been re-visited and tidied up as Noddy has, I don't know.

How far should we go? I draw the line at re-writing Huckleberry Finn. It would simply make no sense, and surely the most socially-aware reader will understand that...
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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby kwackers » 12 Feb 2019, 6:12pm

661-Pete wrote:I had a colleague who happened to be black, he once related to me how, in the supermarket, a small boy had pointed at him and shouted "Look Mummy, there's a g****w*g!" Now I'd imagine that some victims of this sort of childish abuse might laugh it off - the link between the old-fashioned toy and a black person is tenuous after all. Not so my colleague, he said he was visibly upset, and he went over to the mother, gave her a good lecturing, and made damned sure she was upset over her son's behaviour, too.

I'm glad I didn't smile at his account. Was he over-reacting? I don't know if I have the right to judge that.

Over reacting? I've no idea.
A child that points and shouts isn't something I'd be fond of.
Mind you I wouldn't use the term myself other than to refer to the toys of old. I'm sure there's some history behind them I've never bothered looking up and I can't see how you could use it to describe someone without intending to be offensive.
661-Pete wrote:<snip>
How far should we go? I draw the line at re-writing Huckleberry Finn. It would simply make no sense, and surely the most socially-aware reader will understand that...

A lot of old stuff is outrageously racist, sexist, ageist etc.
I do remember quickly re-reading the Famous Five when I bought them for my kids and pondering George though...

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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby Vorpal » 12 Feb 2019, 8:04pm

661-Pete wrote: Now I'd imagine that some victims of this sort of childish abuse might laugh it off - the link between the old-fashioned toy and a black person is tenuous after all...

How far should we go? I draw the line at re-writing Huckleberry Finn. It would simply make no sense, and surely the most socially-aware reader will understand that...


The link between golliwogs and black people is not tenuous. Upton based the golliwog on a 'Negro minstrel doll'. The best that you can say about the original toy & Upton's books is that they reflect the culture of the time. But it certainly became a racist caricature, and 'wog' came to be a slur on the same order as the n word.

https://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/golliwog/

As for editing books with a modern perspective... I'd say it depends upon the books. Although some of the words used in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are now considered racist, much of the value of Mark Twain's books is his commentary upon the culture. He was not racist, but antiracist. His books showed slavery to be the evil that it is, and they were consequently banned in much of the southern USA. That a white boy and a black boy could be friends was, at the time, radically subversive. Remeber it was another 80 years after Mark Twain wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn before the US put an end to Jim Crow laws. It is not possible to edit out the racism in his books without destroying what he was trying to say.

Enid Blyton's books can be altered to reflect modern attitudes towards sexism and racism because those things are incidental to the stories.
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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby 661-Pete » 12 Feb 2019, 8:32pm

Vorpal wrote:The link between golliwogs and black people is not tenuous. Upton based the golliwog on a 'Negro minstrel doll'. The best that you can say about the original toy & Upton's books is that they reflect the culture of the time. But it certainly became a racist caricature, and 'wog' came to be a slur on the same order as the n word.
I have read somewhere (I'm no expert on this topic :oops: ) that the w-word is not derived from the g-word but has a completely different etymology. But others may disagree. It was certainly in common usage in the 1960s as I remember well.

As you say, the connection was between the toy and the 'blackface' performer, itself an offensive caricature and certainly now regarded as taboo (remember the Black and White Minstrel Show? I'm only surprised that it survived right into the 1970s...). My reasoning is that the toy was slightly more removed in its association, than the performer - but I'm not out to defend it or argue for its present-day existence! Best deeply buried - along with a lot of other stuff...
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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby matt_twam_asi » 12 Feb 2019, 9:24pm

kwackers wrote:
661-Pete wrote:<snip>
How far should we go? I draw the line at re-writing Huckleberry Finn. It would simply make no sense, and surely the most socially-aware reader will understand that...

A lot of old stuff is outrageously racist, sexist, ageist etc.
I do remember quickly re-reading the Famous Five when I bought them for my kids and pondering George though...


I like the notice that is now shown before WB cartoons:

Image

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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby Cugel » 12 Feb 2019, 10:21pm

kwackers wrote:If I wanted to racially abuse someone who happened to be black then I think there are far better ways than simply describing them as black.

You'll have to excuse me if I seriously don't get where you're coming from, are you suggesting that someone who is black is inferior?
Why by being black does that make them a 3rd class citizen? I'm hardly using the term in a way that implies that.


You know I'm not, you rascal.

The differentiation of so-called races is always a precursor to imputing racist stereotypes of one sort or another. In our culture the so-called "white race" is often held up, even today, as somehow inherently superior to the so-called "black races". Have you not noticed the recent uptick in these attitudes? Personally I believe the whole concept of races that significantly differentiate humans to be a complete invention not supported by any meaningful facts. Skin colour is as incidental to the quality of the human having it as the bumps on their head.

kwackers wrote:Perhaps you're suggesting that black people are sensitive about their colour? Does that make you racist for thinking that their colour is an issue?


Hardly. It might suggest you have a belief in races as demarcated by skin colour though. Why refer to someone as "a black" otherwise. Do you habitually refer to someone as "a white"?

kwackers wrote:How about we simply accept that some folk aren't the same colour as others and move on?
IMO there's nothing to be ashamed of in being black so unless the term has some connotation I'm unaware of then I see no problem using it.
(snip)


Why do you need to remark at all on someone's skin colour? And surely you know that to do so is to accept the notion of race and racial characteristics as somehow valid? In our culture and history, the term "a black" has a very large number of unpleasant connotations.

Why not refer to people by their head-shape or nose length? Perhaps we could differentiate tallies from shorties? There seems little point so we don't. The only reason for making these demarcations is to then fill them up with other supposed characteristics that are good or bad, according to our peculiar need to denigrate some artificial stereotype or other. "Them tallies are all inclined to peep over walls and in bathroom windows, you know". Or how about one that actually does go about: "Them shorties all feel inferior so they get aggressive". We humans are often very silly when it comes to our apparent desperate need to categorise others then add a hundred made-up attributes to the made-up classifications.

You seem unaware of these racist demarcations and their nomenclature - or rather, of all the nasty baggage that various race-imputing names come with. Perhaps you are just naive, a forgivable thing. You. you, you .... BLUDDY CYCLIST! :-)

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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby Tangled Metal » 12 Feb 2019, 11:32pm

If a white guy was in an all black workforce would you ask who the white guy was called. Or would you ask who that guy over there was? Then spend a few minutes describing which guy? I bet the guy you're asking would say something like "oh the white guy, he's Fred."

Although better ger offended for the white guy in that scenario, he's been racially abused because sometimes the descriptor is used in a racist way.

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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby kwackers » 13 Feb 2019, 8:57am

Cugel wrote:Why not refer to people by their head-shape or nose length? Perhaps we could differentiate tallies from shorties? There seems little point so we don't.

Why not?
I do.
Trouble with head shape and nose length is that in they're not that useful in a crowd. Tall, definitely: "Remember Dave?", "No? He was the really tall guy that blah blah".

There's a lot of point when the distinguishing feature in question marks the individual as unique enough to merit being part of their description.

When I was in the Caribbean there'd have been no point in using the term 'black' but I'd have been quite happy to say; "see that white guy over there?"

Not being able to use someones colour (or even race) in a perfectly reasonable context is exactly why PC gets a bad name and why there's a kickback against it.
You think you're part of the solution? Nope, all you're doing is providing ammunition for the anti-pc brigade.

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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby 661-Pete » 13 Feb 2019, 9:10am

matt_twam_asi wrote:I like the notice that is now shown before WB cartoons:

Image
At the very least, I think and hope that I was not in any way corrupted nor perverted by the un-PC kiddies' books (including Noddy) and toys (including a g*******) that were bestowed on me in my very tender years. I was too innocent to make any connection.

And yes - if I come across such things nowadays, it's easy to recognise that they are the product of an earlier, less well-informed, age.

It took me longer to comprehend Huckleberry Finn, maybe. I think, when I first read the book, in my early teens, I didn't quite get the irony. I did, on re-reading later.
Suppose that this room is a lift. The support breaks and down we go with ever-increasing velocity.
Let us pass the time by performing physical experiments...
--- Arthur Eddington (creator of the Eddington Number).