Racism in cultures other than your own

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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby eternauta3k » Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:35 pm UTC

Not sure if this is the right thread, but reading about Zwarte Piet reminded me of this: here in Argentina kids regularly wear blackface (painting their face with burnt cork) for school plays set in colonial times, to represent African slaves. Wondering about your opinion on this.
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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Djehutynakht » Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:53 pm UTC

I guess it depends.

I mean, the most general problem with blackface is that in the classical racist tradition, it's meant to mock. The minstrel shows of the segregated US days were blatantly aimed to make fun of the black people which they were imitating. It's intent was to be degrading and insulting.

Although I do have to wonder about "blackface" for the purpose of, not to insult, but for someone who does not have dark skin to legitimately try and look it for a serious reason or intent.

What's the nature of these plays, and the parts of the people in them?

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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Adacore » Tue Dec 24, 2013 12:18 am UTC

Yeah, I don't think blackface is always bad - you definitely have to consider the intent. If you need* to portray a person of a given ethnicity and there are no performers of that ethnicity available, I don't have a big problem with using cosmetics to enable another performer to play the part. One example that is still fairly common is the opera Otello, although there's still controversy there, at least in the US. If it's being used to mock, insult, or ridicule, however, that's when you have a problem.

*And I would stress need here. Many shows with characters of a certain ethnicity can be fairly easily altered to use performers of another ethnicity without significantly impacting the quality.

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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby eSOANEM » Tue Dec 24, 2013 1:04 am UTC

I will point out that this was the justification used for the *face in the cloud atlas film (it features reincarnations of many characters across a large stretch of history and many characters do change race during the reincarnation chain, to make it clear who was the reincarnation of whom, they were played by the same actors in makeup/prosthetics), it didn't make them look like someone of that race, it made them look like a racist caricature of someone of that race (in particular the white actors in sonmi's timeline tend to look, at best, like squinting white guys with pointy eyebrows). Of course that film also faced the problem of having almost all the female koreans played by actual koreans, but none of the male ones which, given some of the plot added a few problematic sexist overtones as well.
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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Adacore » Tue Dec 24, 2013 1:24 am UTC

eSOANEM wrote:I will point out that this was the justification used for the *face in the cloud atlas film (it features reincarnations of many characters across a large stretch of history and many characters do change race during the reincarnation chain, to make it clear who was the reincarnation of whom, they were played by the same actors in makeup/prosthetics), it didn't make them look like someone of that race, it made them look like a racist caricature of someone of that race (in particular the white actors in sonmi's timeline tend to look, at best, like squinting white guys with pointy eyebrows). Of course that film also faced the problem of having almost all the female koreans played by actual koreans, but none of the male ones which, given some of the plot added a few problematic sexist overtones as well.

I don't think any of my Korean friends here were offended by that at all, though, and I don't recall any media here at all focusing on the issue (I believe the coverage of the film here was overwhelming positive, largely because it was a Hollywood film featuring some Korean actors and partly filmed in Seoul). I don't know if that makes it better, but it's probably worth mentioning.

EDIT: Having said that, I only consulted news sources that include English language translations, so I can't speak for what the majority of the Korean press said. Maybe by the end of next year my Korean will be good enough to find that sort of thing quickly, but it's not there yet.

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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby addams » Tue Dec 24, 2013 4:22 am UTC

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackface
The wikipedia of Blackface.
What happened and why it was offensive?

A lot happened. Some ok. Some not ok.
The first time I was told about Blackface and why it was Not to be done was a long time ago.

The white performers were getting paid to be black.
At the time, black performers were willing to get paid to be black.

The racial divide is not what it once was, (thank the Gods.)
When Blackface was dead and gone, black performers could, still, not walk in the front door.

That fact bothered some performers.
Nat King Cole was bothered by that fact.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLvLo6-XOnI

That man was a wonderful example of a human being.
He helped to make the way clear for other black people.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nat_King_Cole

Walking in the front door is not that big a deal, anyway.
I like walking in and out the back door.

It is ok to notice color and culture.
It is not ok to decide what that color and culture mean before talking to the person.

Of course, stereotypes are a useful way for us to stay away from some kinds of trouble
and find our way into other kinds of fun.

Stereotypes and Race are two related, yet different things.
Race and temperament are very different things.

I can find people with compatible temperaments inside any color suit.
I can find people with incompatible temperaments inside my family!
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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Dec 24, 2013 10:13 am UTC

It's simple, really. If you're dressing up as Nick Fury for Halloween? Frigging awesome. Go all the way.

If you're dressing up because "hurr, hurr, black people funny"....just stop.

It's not intrinsically wrong to dress up as a person who happens to be black, and portraying the char faithfully likely means adopting distinguishing features*. It's no different than donning the eyepatch.


*For the sake of this argument, I am ignoring that Nick Fury has also been portrayed as white.

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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Sprocket » Tue Dec 24, 2013 6:59 pm UTC

Yeah, you definitely couldn't Zwarte Piet here, and the tradition does seem to have dubious origins. It's carried on for some time.
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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby addams » Wed Dec 25, 2013 4:17 am UTC

I think Black Peter is charming.
There are few records left from the days of Yor.
Yor were not great at record keeping or the records did not hold up as well as the Stories did.

Who knows what the relationship between the first Black Peter and the Dutch Man was like?
Lovers? maybe. Servant and Master? maybe.

Two friends that were able to ease the suffering from Want in the dead of winter, before the beginning of Time? Yes.
That is what it looks like to me. Black Pete helps to give gifts.

In the long ago times those gifts may have made the difference between life and death.
Black Peter seems to have been a person that had great luxury. He had a friend and protector.

I like the story. I don't, really, know the story.
No One Does! We are all guessing.

How we tell that story tells more about us as individuals than it does about Black Peter.
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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby jseah » Wed Dec 25, 2013 8:08 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Are you arguing that the Japanese aren't truly Scottish?

I brought up Japan because the US fought a bloody war with Japan, with Pearl Harbor and the Bataan Death March and so forth. Most people in the US don't grok the various wars within India and China because it never directly affected them.

True true. It seemed weird to me because I'm Chinese (and from Singapore/Malaysia). Also nominally buddhist (although I'd be hard pressed to tell you which festivals are buddhist or just Chinese tradition).

I suppose the differences between Chinese and Japanese buddhism are larger from close up, where I am.

EDIT: not arguing that the Japs didn't do horrible things though. Parents and grandparents can go on about the whole war in SEAsia and massacres in China. I'm still not entirely sure on what would happen if I somehow brought a japanese girl home one day...

EDIT2: I guess, since this is about racism in cultures not my own, I would like to admit that I'm not entirely familiar with racism as it is expressed in the US. The whole thing about black arpatheid isn't really in the cultural consciousness over here. What I know of it is mostly from cultural osmosis and movies. So if I mangle anything... well, now you know why.

The racism over here in Malaysia/Singapore is more... a lack of tolerance/mixing between races than outright "this shop for chinese only". (minus the halal requirements that exclude muslim malays from chinese shops) I have been warned by parents and grandparents to never date malays (who are virtually all muslim) and indians. There is... well, racial politics in Malaysia that actively divides the country along racial lines. Uncles have told me not to rent rooms in certain areas as "that place is for malays. Not for chinese like us".

I suppose that racism in Malaysia is more accepted with the communities being isolated and occasionally hostile to each other.

That said, over here, money is money whoever it used to belong to. A chinese shop will cheerfully serve up a meal regardless of who orders it and gladly take the money; same in reverse. And I am quite partial to ayam goreng (malay style fried chicken) myself.
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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Spambot5546 » Wed Dec 25, 2013 1:48 pm UTC

jseah wrote:the Japs

ಠ_ಠ
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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby jseah » Wed Dec 25, 2013 2:22 pm UTC

Spambot5546 wrote:
jseah wrote:the Japs

ಠ_ಠ

What. That's actually a word we use here sometimes. Not sure if there's even any negative connotations.

We're just lazy.
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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Dec 25, 2013 3:53 pm UTC

Where I am, Japs refer to spoiled Long Island girls. (Jewish American Princesses)

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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby sardia » Wed Dec 25, 2013 4:27 pm UTC

It's usually used as a slur, mostly WWII speak, really. Honestly, I don't really hear it outside of war movies/books/veterans.

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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Spambot5546 » Wed Dec 25, 2013 7:56 pm UTC

It's definitely a slur in the US (albeit not one I commonly hear), but then the whole point of this thread is to examine how different bigotries can be across different cultures.
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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby addams » Wed Dec 25, 2013 8:21 pm UTC

It is, sort of, unfair.
The JAP label is aimed at Jews.

All we really need is Princess.
That word does the Job and it cuts across all Racial and Social Economic strata.
How we each deal with the Princesses says almost as much about us as it does about the Princess.

The Princess.
"Of Course! Daddy Loves me!"
"Get out of Daddy's Truck."

What kind of Princess do you deal with?
Royalty or, just, Royal AssHoles?

I knew a tough German Biker guy.
He was such a Princess, sometimes.

Of course, his people love him.
I liked him, too.


I, sort of, like Princess. They are charming.
People devote entire Internet Channels to watching
Princesses and other Red Carpet Royalty.
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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby eSOANEM » Thu Dec 26, 2013 12:41 pm UTC

Adacore wrote:
eSOANEM wrote:I will point out that this was the justification used for the *face in the cloud atlas film (it features reincarnations of many characters across a large stretch of history and many characters do change race during the reincarnation chain, to make it clear who was the reincarnation of whom, they were played by the same actors in makeup/prosthetics), it didn't make them look like someone of that race, it made them look like a racist caricature of someone of that race (in particular the white actors in sonmi's timeline tend to look, at best, like squinting white guys with pointy eyebrows). Of course that film also faced the problem of having almost all the female koreans played by actual koreans, but none of the male ones which, given some of the plot added a few problematic sexist overtones as well.

I don't think any of my Korean friends here were offended by that at all, though, and I don't recall any media here at all focusing on the issue (I believe the coverage of the film here was overwhelming positive, largely because it was a Hollywood film featuring some Korean actors and partly filmed in Seoul). I don't know if that makes it better, but it's probably worth mentioning.

EDIT: Having said that, I only consulted news sources that include English language translations, so I can't speak for what the majority of the Korean press said. Maybe by the end of next year my Korean will be good enough to find that sort of thing quickly, but it's not there yet.


From what I saw online, there was quite a lot of criticism from asian americans and brits etc. and it would make sense that this sort of yellowface would be seen as less problematic in a country where asians are the majority than in one where they are a minority (likewise, I suspect that, whilst the few instances of whiteface in the film were not really controversial here, it may have been moreso in countries where white people are a minority).
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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Dec 26, 2013 3:34 pm UTC

sardia wrote:It's usually used as a slur, mostly WWII speak, really. Honestly, I don't really hear it outside of war movies/books/veterans.


It's an abbreviation. Brits is also used, and is not a slur. Americans are just really lazy. Now, many slurs DO exist from WW2, but they've mostly fallen from common use and sort of lost their sting as a result.

Hell, this is true for lots of old things. You *could* call someone of Norwegian ethnicity a squarehead, but it's only going to come across as odd, or possibly even humorous. It's just not a big deal anymore. Now, WW2 is much more recent, but the US is pretty friendly to both Japan and Germany on the whole, and has been for a while, so while it's certainly still possible to be rude to people based on ethnicity, the acrimony doesn't exist to give the insults the same sting than other slurs have.

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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Lazar » Thu Dec 26, 2013 4:31 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:It's an abbreviation. Brits is also used, and is not a slur.

The fact that they were derived in similar ways doesn't mean that their connotations are the same. "Jap" became popular in an atmosphere of hostility and racial demonization; "Brit" didn't.
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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby johnie104 » Sat Dec 28, 2013 1:58 pm UTC

Lazar wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:It's an abbreviation. Brits is also used, and is not a slur.

The fact that they were derived in similar ways doesn't mean that their connotations are the same. "Jap" became popular in an atmosphere of hostility and racial demonization; "Brit" didn't.


I always thought the canonical racial slur in WW2 for the Japanese was cook and that Jap simply an abbreviation. When fighting a war I guess you will want to communicate quickly, and 'Jap' is a very short word. It could have gotten negative connotation because they were seen as the enemy though.
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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:17 pm UTC

Cook? I think you mean "gook". Also Nip for "Nipponese". The Japanese seem to have this silly notion that their country is called "Nippon"; I mean they have lived there for thousands of years and still haven't figured out their own name. [/sarcasm]

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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Adacore » Sat Dec 28, 2013 4:32 pm UTC

CorruptUser is correct. I believe 'gook' came from the Korean war, and was derived either from the name for the country in Korean (Hangook) or from the Korean word for foreigner (Waygook, which could be heard as 'we gook' -> 'we are gooks' in pidgin English), which would be one of the most common things US Soldiers heard when around Koreans. I don't think it was ever a term used in WW2.

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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby addams » Sun Dec 29, 2013 2:31 am UTC

That is interesting.
Waygook.
That is the best explanation I have ever seen.
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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Derek » Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:23 am UTC

Wikipedia says "gook" goes back to the early 20th century and comes from Marines stationed in the Philippines.

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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Adacore » Sun Dec 29, 2013 3:24 pm UTC

Derek wrote:Wikipedia says "gook" goes back to the early 20th century and comes from Marines stationed in the Philippines.

Huh. I guess the Korean thing is just a folk etymology then (there's actually a third variant, with the Korean for USA being 'Mi-gook', which obviously could be heard as 'me gook' in pidgin). It made sense, but that doesn't automatically make it correct. Cool.

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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Dec 30, 2013 1:41 pm UTC

Derek wrote:Wikipedia says "gook" goes back to the early 20th century and comes from Marines stationed in the Philippines.


It's possible. That said, while I've certainly heard the term thrown around by Vietnam vets, none of the WW2 vets I spoke to used the term. I suspect it had at least not yet gained much cultural traction at that time.

As for the Nippon/Japan thing, yeah, the different names for countries in different languages comes up a lot. It occurs to me that I don't know if any foreign languages have different words for the US. Hmm, might be interesting.

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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Diadem » Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:11 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:It occurs to me that I don't know if any foreign languages have different words for the US. Hmm, might be interesting.

Of course. In Dutch for example the US is VS, Verenigde Staten, which is just a literal translation of United States. 'Verenigde Staten van Amerika' is also used, though never the abbreviation for some reason.

But it works like that for all countries. Deutschland is Germany in English and l'Allemange in France.
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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:47 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:It occurs to me that I don't know if any foreign languages have different words for the US. Hmm, might be interesting.
In other languages "America"/"American" often doesn't refer to the U.S. specifically, it refers to the new world as a whole. "Yank"/"Yankee" refers to Americans (regardless of region) basically everywhere outside the U.S.

Another example of bad English naming is "Yap" one of the federated states of Micronesia. The European explorer asked what something was called and pointed. He intended to point at the island. The local thought he was pointing at an oar.

On the subject of non-American racism, I remember from living in England there's still a sort of tepid racism for all their neighbors. One popular variety of joke I often heard started with "An Englishman, a Scot and an Irishman all walk into a pub", they'd typically end with the Englishman being clever, and the other two eating a cucumber covered in AIDS or something. (They also tended to be dirty and poorly thought out.)

I've known a couple of Bosnians who don't identify as white; although 99.5% of Americans would say they're white (and identical to Serbs).

One thing I don't really know much about (but find interesting) some cultures have stigmas against morticians and leather-workers. Not like you-actually-do-this-job-today stigma, but like "Your last name means tanner? I need a divorce".
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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Spambot5546 » Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:52 pm UTC

In Spanish the United States is "Los Estados Unidos" or "EE. UU." and a person from the EE. UU. is an "Estadounidense". It's a pity no properly analogous word exists in English.
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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Choboman » Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:43 pm UTC

This is probably a dumb question, but I'm interested in hearing if there's any concensus. When are abbreviations or simplifications of national or ethnic groups considered racist and when are then not? Brit's doesn't appear to offend people (that I know of), but most others are troublesome. We can't say it boils down to the intent of the speaker, because the listener often doesn't know the speaker's background but will certainly infer things if we hear someone throwing around what we percieve to be ethnic slurs.

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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Spambot5546 » Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:24 pm UTC

Like all slurs it's not about the intent but the history and associated meanings. "Jap" and "Nip" have a history of being used hatefully, and will be seen as such by others, most poignantly by someone who is Japanese. "Brit" has never had a negative connotation. Calling someone who is Irish an "Ire" would have no negative connotation (because I just made it up), but calling them a "Mic", which is an old slur against the Scottish and Irish, absolutely would.

Basically, an abbreviation is only a slur if it's a slur. It being a shortened version of the actual name is irrelevant.
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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Choboman » Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:36 pm UTC

Spambot5546 wrote:Like all slurs it's not about the intent but the history and associated meanings. "Jap" and "Nip" have a history of being used hatefully, and will be seen as such by others, most poignantly by someone who is Japanese. "Brit" has never had a negative connotation. Calling someone who is Irish an "Ire" would have no negative connotation (because I just made it up), but calling them a "Mic", which is an old slur against the Scottish and Irish, absolutely would.

Basically, an abbreviation is only a slur if it's a slur. It being a shortened version of the actual name is irrelevant.

For those of us that generally don't know the history behind the different words, it's probably safest to avoid names like those altogether, on the assumption that I'll pick the wrong one or that it won't be interpreted the way that I intended.

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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Derek » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:18 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:It's possible. That said, while I've certainly heard the term thrown around by Vietnam vets, none of the WW2 vets I spoke to used the term. I suspect it had at least not yet gained much cultural traction at that time.

Yes, I don't think the word was used much or any to refer to the Japanese in WWII, and I would have accepted the Korean origin of the word. But apparently it is well attested from before WWII.

As for the Nippon/Japan thing, yeah, the different names for countries in different languages comes up a lot. It occurs to me that I don't know if any foreign languages have different words for the US. Hmm, might be interesting.

Most countries use a literal translation of United States of America. But Vietnamese uses Hoa Kỳ, which comes from Chinese and literally means "flower flag". (The Chinese used to use this name, but now use a word that literally means "America", I think)

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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Adacore » Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:04 am UTC

Korea uses 미국 (Mi-gook, as I mentioned earlier) which is directly translated as 'The Beautiful Country'.

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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby addams » Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:30 am UTC

Thank you for the links.
Flower Flag?
The US flag does not look anything like a flower.

Then the link explained it.
Eastern thinking really is different from Western thinking.

Like a language Western people can learn.
I will always have an accent in my thinking. You?
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Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
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Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
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Quizatzhaderac
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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:02 pm UTC

Well one big thing I know I've heard s that Chinese thinking doesn't involve small talk, or small poetry in your case. Which means us american dorks aren't so weird.

The Chinese naming of US and the Dutch doesn't really seem that odd in context. They seem to just like sticking to the first name they give something.
The thing about recursion problems is that they tend to contain other recursion problems.

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addams
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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby addams » Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:35 pm UTC

ok. What did the Chinese call the Dutch?

I some how missed that.
As I was attempting to answer the question using the Google Machine I found this.
http://gyral.blackshell.com/names.html

No. I did not read it all.
It may have no relationship to reality.

What do the Chinese call the Dutch? Why?
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Quizatzhaderac
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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:53 pm UTC

I can't follow your link because my work network filters it as hatespeach. The Chinese call the Dutch "red-headed barbarian", according to Derek's Wikipedia link: literally means "flower flag".

I assume they first called them that because they'd literally never seen a red head before.
The thing about recursion problems is that they tend to contain other recursion problems.

Tyndmyr
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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:58 pm UTC

Hate speech? Seems kind of loose. Huh. Maybe in a certain context it is?

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Re: Racism in cultures other than your own

Postby Derek » Tue Dec 31, 2013 10:24 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Hate speech? Seems kind of loose. Huh. Maybe in a certain context it is?

He's talking about Addam's link, which is a list of ethnic slurs. So yeah, it's probably setting the hate speech filter on fire.


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