Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

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Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Knigel » Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:56 am UTC

Where do you find yourself, and where would you prefer to be?
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Xanthir » Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:37 pm UTC

I am correct in all subjects, political, economic, or otherwise.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:29 am UTC

I'm blatantly offensive. It makes you sound like an arse-hole, rather than a tool
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Iranon » Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:11 am UTC

I believe in plain speaking, and dispassionate analysis (especially in matters I'm passionate about).

Mincing words to avoid offense is as much of an unnecessary complication as gratuitious jerkwaddery.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Sanjuricus » Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:03 pm UTC

Iranon wrote:I believe in plain speaking, and dispassionate analysis (especially in matters I'm passionate about).

Mincing words to avoid offense is as much of an unnecessary complication as gratuitious jerkwaddery.

Well said that man!!! :)
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Euler » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:10 am UTC

Fear of a name only increases fear of a thing itself.
I believe in accurate terminology that correctly describes the issue at hand, nothing more, nothing less.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Ideas sleep furiously. » Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:40 pm UTC

Depends on the situation.

Normally though, I try to be Basically Decent.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby markfiend » Thu Nov 24, 2011 2:20 pm UTC

I will always try to avoid offending someone... unless I intend to offend them. :twisted:

Someone getting upset over the word picnic, for example, can go hang IMO. :mrgreen:

Also, the attempt to be Basically Decent can lead to the euphemism treadmill. Example: There is a charity in Britain which supports people with cerebral palsy and their families. This charity used to be called The Spastics Society. Due to the perception that the word spastic had insulting connotations, the charity changed its name to Scope in 1994. Playground slang has since evolved to include scoper as a new insult.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby troyp » Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:01 pm UTC

Also, the attempt to be Basically Decent can lead to the euphemism treadmill. Example: There is a charity in Britain which supports people with cerebral palsy and their families. This charity used to be called The Spastics Society. Due to the perception that the word spastic had insulting connotations, the charity changed its name to Scope in 1994. Playground slang has since evolved to include scoper as a new insult.
I can't get over how clueless these people are. They just never learn. You don't just abandon words to the enemy: they'll just seize them and keep coming. And you look like a fool, constantly retreating and making up new bullshit-terms. If anything, you want to steal words from *them*. The gay community has a history of this (a rare exhibition of good sense).

If it's not obvious yet, I'm not very Basically Decent.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:46 am UTC

If you're a stalker enough to find out about my twitter, my views will be obvious.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby whatshisfoot » Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:07 am UTC

Yeah, I'm sick of the terms always changing whenever a word for something becomes a derogatory term, but I feel like if nigger were still the accepted term for black people that would be a problem, due to the term actually being invented by their captors. However, if we now start to say that the word black is offensive, then the acceptable term will be African-American, which might then become twisted, and then the term is Melanin-Friend or some horseshit. Only the terms bred out of ignorance and hate need to be replaced, there is nothing wrong with using a technical descriptor as long as it is accurate and not just mean.
The term retard was once a technical term, but they changed the "accepted" word for them, and effectively made the term 'retard' offensive, when the word only meant that they were cognitively retarded, the same way a fake Christmas tree retards fire.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Iferius » Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:47 am UTC

I think that in public debate, it is best to state your views clearly. That doesn't require you to offend people, but one shouldn't use fuzzy language to disguise what he's saying. You should however treat people with respect (unlike one of our politicians here in the Netherlands, who clamorously claims Islam is retarded and that the liberal socialists should be blamed for the immigration wave four decades ago)
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Denebola » Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:42 am UTC

I see only right with making language more inclusive.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Iranon » Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:47 am UTC

"African-American" is worse than pretty much else, in the way it's used with one referring to race and the other to nationality. When used for black Americans, it's condescending and calls undue attention to whatever isn't the primary meaning in context... as if there needs to be a reminder of "blacks can be citizens too".
When used out of habit for people to whom the "American" part doesn't apply, it seems provincial at best and genuinely offensive at worst: "We all live in America".
"American" do denote a nationality is the real can of worms here, but there's nothing that can be done about that without silly contortions.

This applies quite often in my opinion when it comes to Basic Human Decency - little niggles (ha!) in a language that are annoying, but less so than clumsy attempts to fix them. Languages grow organically and chaotically and nonsensically... and that's a good thing. Imposing order where not needed (we want rigidly defined terms in scientific nomenclature) is an attempt at thought (and reality?) control.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Denebola » Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:57 pm UTC

Iranon wrote:"African-American" is worse than pretty much else, in the way it's used with one referring to race and the other to nationality. When used for black Americans, it's condescending and calls undue attention to whatever isn't the primary meaning in context... as if there needs to be a reminder of "blacks can be citizens too".
When used out of habit for people to whom the "American" part doesn't apply, it seems provincial at best and genuinely offensive at worst: "We all live in America".
"American" do denote a nationality is the real can of worms here, but there's nothing that can be done about that without silly contortions.

This applies quite often in my opinion when it comes to Basic Human Decency - little niggles (ha!) in a language that are annoying, but less so than clumsy attempts to fix them. Languages grow organically and chaotically and nonsensically... and that's a good thing. Imposing order where not needed (we want rigidly defined terms in scientific nomenclature) is an attempt at thought (and reality?) control.
/soapbox


Your example of 'takes attention away from their primary meaning' reminds me of the hilarious idea that we live in a post-racial world. There might be a bunch of (mostly white, interesting, huh?) people saying that the only race is the human race, but the fact remains that history has a racial context, and today's world has a racial context. Race is important. For example, the words 'African-American is the worst' coming from a black person has a very different context to them coming from a white person. That context is nearly always ridiculously important, regardless of how their 'primary meaning' seems relevant.

People who are interested in 'political-correctness' are, by definition, trying to find the best way to develop inclusiveness, so yes, everyone is aware that 'African-American' as a term has problems and we should find a better one - or if it seems impossible to find a better one, why that is, and how to combat that. The solution isn't just to drop the whole matter and hope everyone can kumbayah together by themselves.

I reeeeally don't think it's anything even close to thought control. Nobody's saying 'think this way or else', they're saying 'speak this way, so that you do not offend/exclude others'. It's just... the way to not be a dick around other people?
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby sigsfried » Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:04 pm UTC

What exactly is the difference between being Basically Decent and being polite? This was the thing I never really got.

Part of it though does seem to have grown too strong, there was the somewhat amusing example of the allegedly racist advert that ran when the West Indies were touring in Australia (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoW0S8-b ... re=related).

By American standards that advert looks awful, certainly politically incorrect. To people in any country that plays cricket, probably nobody even realised it could be seen as anything other than a rubbish ad. Part of the problem is that the internet has broken down any regional control, but has not given us all an insight to how everyone else views things.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby ahammel » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:21 am UTC

sigsfried wrote:What exactly is the difference between being Basically Decent and being polite? This was the thing I never really got.


Often there isn't one. A significant number of people who complain about Basic Human Decency (in my experience, anyway) are complaining that people get upset when they use racial slurs and the like. As was pointed out above, lots of what's described as "Basic Human Decency" is more like "don't be a dick".

Other times, however, "Basic Human Decency" means an insistence on euphemistic language ("rightsizing" for "firing people", for instance), or even banning certain subjects altogether on the grounds that they're upsetting. There are legitimate criticisms to be made of that sort of Basic Human Decency. Some of them have been made on this thread, so I won't belabour the point. The problem is, unless you're very careful to define what you mean by "Basic Human Decency", it's easy to come to the conclusion that your opponent is a racist when in fact they simply object to the overuse of euphemism.

It's a stupid term, is what I'm saying.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Viglen » Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:30 pm UTC

I love it when people say they're not "Basically Decent". I thank them for their candour and ask them which bigotry they have; racism, sexism, religious intolerance, issues with sexualities, some combination or something I haven't even mentioned.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby schok51 » Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:10 am UTC

Viglen wrote:I love it when people say they're not "Basically Decent". I thank them for their candour and ask them which bigotry they have; racism, sexism, religious intolerance, issues with sexualities, some combination or something I haven't even mentioned.

That is stupid because
ahammel wrote:
sigsfried wrote:What exactly is the difference between being Basically Decent and being polite? This was the thing I never really got.


Other times, however, "Basic Human Decency" means an insistence on euphemistic language ("rightsizing" for "firing people", for instance), or even banning certain subjects altogether on the grounds that they're upsetting. There are legitimate criticisms to be made of that sort of Basic Human Decency. Some of them have been made on this thread, so I won't belabour the point. The problem is, unless you're very careful to define what you mean by "Basic Human Decency", it's easy to come to the conclusion that your opponent is a racist when in fact they simply object to the overuse of euphemism.

It's a stupid term, is what I'm saying.

.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby WarDaft » Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:42 pm UTC

Viglen wrote:I love it when people say they're not "Basically Decent". I thank them for their candour and ask them which bigotry they have; racism, sexism, religious intolerance, issues with sexualities, some combination or something I haven't even mentioned.


"Basic Human Decency" has nothing to do what prejudices you actually have, merely which ones you let slip in communication by not tailoring your speech to be - what can only be described simply as - Basically Decent. If you find someone, somewhere, who appears to be totally without any sort of bias what so ever, the congratulations, because you've just found the worlds best liar.


I've also heard it said that the term is unfair to politicians, in that it places an unreasonable expectation on them that they never say anything that might be considered offensive to anyone, even when they are angry or otherwise situationally compromised by emotion. In short, that it doesn't allow them to be fallible, mortal, human beings.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby ahammel » Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:12 pm UTC

WarDaft wrote:I've also heard it said that the term is unfair to politicians, in that it places an unreasonable expectation on them that they never say anything that might be considered offensive to anyone, even when they are angry or otherwise situationally compromised by emotion. In short, that it doesn't allow them to be fallible, mortal, human beings.

Are you saying that the term "Basically Decent" is not Basically Decent?

*head explodes*
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Apoapsis » Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:26 am UTC

Just speak your mind without attacking anybody. If you say something directly to attack someone, you should expect negative scrutiny from the attacked party. That's the point. Why go out of your way to avoid attacking someone? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of speaking your mind?
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby piki » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:29 pm UTC

It's primarily for politicians - people who often speak publicly and take great care to appeal to everybody, even at a cost of less than optimal understanding or looking silly to some of your listeners (better to look silly to some people then to offend others).
If you don't care that some of your listeners (like in a public forum) would rather take offence than understand the point you are making than you shouldn't care about that.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:41 pm UTC

ahammel wrote:Are you saying that the term "Basically Decent" is not Basically Decent?

*head explodes*

It is. The term itself implies that there is a "correct" way of phrasing things. In folk etymology the term originated ironically.

I'd say the difference between politeness and Basic Human Decency is refraining from saying things that you don't consider rude. Calling a normal person "retarded" is both rude and politically incorrect. Calling a person with a neurological disorder and an IQ of 50 "retarded" isn't rude (in my consideration, and as long as it's not calling undue attention to the fact) but it is politically incorrect because it will cause offense. So for something being politically incorrect you don't need to have any agreement with, or understanding of a statement offending someone.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Роберт » Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:50 pm UTC

I think that coming in and saying "I, as a person not really in a marginalized group, see no reason why I should have to make an effort to avoid hurtful language" is incredibly jerkish. "Politically incorrect" often refers to saying racist or sexist things. Rape jokes are politically incorrect.

So I wouldn't say that I think being "Basically Decent" is dumb because it's hard to tell what I mean by that it could make me sound like a terrible person, depending on the context. That said, I DO think we get dumb with language sometimes. For example, if there's an African-American competition, and a real African-American from South Africa who happens appear "white" wins, they should be allowed to win. There should be no uproar. It's for African-Americans and he's African American, move on.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby ahammel » Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:57 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:For example, if there's an African-American competition [...]

A what?
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Роберт » Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:41 pm UTC

ahammel wrote:
Роберт wrote:For example, if there's an African-American competition [...]

A what?

A competition open only to African-Americans. It could be about art, poetry, basketball, high-jumps, break-dancing, whatever. If it's for African-Americans, don't throw a fuss about an African-American in it.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby ahammel » Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:27 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:A competition open only to African-Americans. It could be about art, poetry, basketball, high-jumps, break-dancing, whatever.

Are such things held? I mean, I can see an art or poetry contest having that restriction if you wanted poetry or art about the experiences of African-Americans, but why would a sporting contest have such a bizarre restriction? I honestly think people would be more upset about the existence of that contest in the first place than about the fact that a white dude from Pretoria chose to enter it.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Роберт » Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:46 pm UTC

ahammel wrote:
Роберт wrote:A competition open only to African-Americans. It could be about art, poetry, basketball, high-jumps, break-dancing, whatever.

Are such things held? I mean, I can see an art or poetry contest having that restriction if you wanted poetry or art about the experiences of African-Americans, but why would a sporting contest have such a bizarre restriction? I honestly think people would be more upset about the existence of that contest in the first place than about the fact that a white dude from Pretoria chose to enter it.

I don't know about sports contests, but there's definitely poetry and writing contests.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby EvanED » Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:55 pm UTC

Scholarships come to mind too.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Роберт » Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:59 pm UTC

And I don't have a problem with the idea, just to be clear.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby ahammel » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:23 pm UTC

I don't have a problem with scholarships or writing contests either, but "you must be African-American to enter this high-jump contest" rubs me the wrong way.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Iranon » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:38 pm UTC

In this context, I care that there are equal standards. If "African-Americans only" is acceptable, so is "Whites only" and probably "No women, no dogs no children" too.
I wouldn't like this to be common, but I think heavy-handed legislation to stop it would be intrusive. Guidelines where this kind of exclusivity may be appropriate in state-sponsored events should be narrow though.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Роберт » Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:34 pm UTC

Iranon wrote:In this context, I care that there are equal standards. If "African-Americans only" is acceptable, so is "Whites only"
How so?

I could see the argument that if you allow "Blacks only" that you should have to allow "Whites only" as well, even if I disagree with it. I could also see the argument that if you allow "African-Americans only" than you'd have to allow "Asian-Americans only" or "European-Americans only".

I don't see where you get your statement at all. How is that an equal standard? That's like saying "If you can say 18+ only, than you also must be able to say 'blue eyes only'". It just doesn't follow at all.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby troyp » Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:50 am UTC

ahammel wrote:
Роберт wrote:A competition open only to African-Americans. It could be about art, poetry, basketball, high-jumps, break-dancing, whatever.

Are such things held? I mean, I can see an art or poetry contest having that restriction if you wanted poetry or art about the experiences of African-Americans, but why would a sporting contest have such a bizarre restriction? I honestly think people would be more upset about the existence of that contest in the first place than about the fact that a white dude from Pretoria chose to enter it.

I don't know if there are *racially*-restricted sporting events, but there are the Gay Games. Good for publicity, I guess, but fucking absurd otherwise (although if they had, like, naked wrestling and stuff, that would be different).

Роберт wrote:I don't see where you get your statement at all. How is that an equal standard? That's like saying "If you can say 18+ only, than you also must be able to say 'blue eyes only'". It just doesn't follow at all.

wtf? As written, your post makes no sense. Are you talking about the "no women, no dogs, no children" part (and you've cut out the wrong part of Iranon's quote)?
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Роберт » Tue Aug 14, 2012 2:28 pm UTC

troyp wrote:
Роберт wrote:I don't see where you get your statement at all. How is that an equal standard? That's like saying "If you can say 18+ only, than you also must be able to say 'blue eyes only'". It just doesn't follow at all.

wtf? As written, your post makes no sense. Are you talking about the "no women, no dogs, no children" part (and you've cut out the wrong part of Iranon's quote)?

I quoted the pertinent part. Could you explain what doesn't make sense about it?
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby AvatarIII » Tue Aug 14, 2012 2:46 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:
troyp wrote:
Роберт wrote:I don't see where you get your statement at all. How is that an equal standard? That's like saying "If you can say 18+ only, than you also must be able to say 'blue eyes only'". It just doesn't follow at all.

wtf? As written, your post makes no sense. Are you talking about the "no women, no dogs, no children" part (and you've cut out the wrong part of Iranon's quote)?

I quoted the pertinent part. Could you explain what doesn't make sense about it?


I think the confusion is that to many intents and purposes "African-American" and "Black" are synonyms, however in your post you are purposefully make a distinction between "Black" and "African-American", which is why it confused troy.
It confused me at first too, however I see your point, say there was a white African who's family has lived in Africa for many generations, let's say over 300 years for arguments sake, however as a child his family moved to America, he would technically be an African American, but he would not be Black.
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby troyp » Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:34 pm UTC

Wait, so you're using "African-American" analogously to "Chinese-American"? Sorry, I thought you using it in its more common meaning of "black american".

That makes more sense, although still not much. In that case, the two terms may not actually be in the same category, but comparing race to ethnicity seems like a pretty solid analogy. Both are static, lifelong attributes inhertied at birth, both confer group membership in a "people" of some sort, both tend to form an important part of personal identity (although increasingly less so in more advanced societies) and both are commonly the focus of prejudice and xenophobia. People even tend to conflate the two (which may be why "African-American" has two meanings). But it's more than analogy: race and ethnicity are strongly correlated, and indeed causally connected. If you took a longer view of "ethnicity", on the order of thousands of years, the two concepts would mostly coincide.

So regarding "Americans of African birth (or recent African ancestry)" as a precedent for "Whites" isn't that much of a stretch. "18+ years" to "blue eyes" is ridiculously different. One of those is fixed at birth, but not associated with group membership (or group discrimination). The other is a category which which everyone falls into - and out of - at different stages of their life, and which correlates with physical, mental and emotional maturity (and which is thus regarded as a "fair" basis for discrimination).
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:29 pm UTC

I am Basically Decent to the degree it does not interfere with accurate terminology. So I wouldn't refer to a person as a Chinaman, and I wouldn't make a rape joke (even in a receptive crowd: I don't find them funny), but I also wouldn't use euphemisms that obscure meaning or are incorrect (e.g. "differently abled" when "disabled" is more accurate). Another example: there is a group of people who like to be referred to as "American Indians", but I do not call them that, because it isn't inaccurate. American Indians are people of American heritage in India. The correct name for those people is "Indigenous American".
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Re: Basically Decent or Politically Incorrect?

Postby Iranon » Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:35 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:
Iranon wrote:In this context, I care that there are equal standards. If "African-Americans only" is acceptable, so is "Whites only"
How so?

I could see the argument that if you allow "Blacks only" that you should have to allow "Whites only" as well, even if I disagree with it. I could also see the argument that if you allow "African-Americans only" than you'd have to allow "Asian-Americans only" or "European-Americans only".

I don't see where you get your statement at all. How is that an equal standard? That's like saying "If you can say 18+ only, than you also must be able to say 'blue eyes only'". It just doesn't follow at all.


If you take the "African" to denote something other than ethnicity, you're right there is no unarguable link. The problem is that the common usage of "African-American" is ill-defined doublespeak, I already outlined my problems with that earlier.
If you allow for discrimination by race, you allow for discrimination by race; additional qualifications to be elegible don't change that.
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