View Single Post
Old 11-27-2013, 07:36 AM
kdt26417's Avatar
kdt26417 kdt26417 is online now
Official Greeter
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Yelm, Washington
Posts: 12,111

Re (from opalescent):
"Slavery was legal in all of the United States for centuries. So narrowing down the category to descendants of southern states actually excludes many people whose ancestors were enslaved outside of the South. I suggest 'descendants of slaves' instead."
Oh honey, only the moderators can fix that now.

If the mods want to change the thread title, then I'll nominate "What Should We Call the Descendants of Slaves? etc." (Got to have "etc." in there ...)

Sorry I didn't get my history straight before composing the existing title.

"I have heard a few African immigrant acquaintances say they were ambiguous about the term 'African American.' They are indeed African, and are now American. However African American refers to the collective experience and history of the descendants of people from Africa who were brought to the U.S. centuries ago and enslaved. It is not a good 'fit' for people who recently immigrated from Africa to the U.S. -- their ancestors were not slaves and their historical background and cultures are very different from how African American is typically understood. Of course, this is a tiny, anecdotal sample and can't be assumed to be representative."
A good example of why I put "etc." in the thread title. Covers my butt like no politician's business!

"But, yeah, ultimately it boils down to 'politely ask preferences and then use said preferences.'"
I like that solution. (Ahem, just have to make allowances for those of us who have the handicap of shitty memory banks.)


Ignorance confession: I did not know that Eskimos are just one of some nine Alaska Native groups. Interesting.

Re (from LovingRadiance):
"Aleut, Inupiat, Tlinkit, Eskimo, Athabaskan ..."
Moar! Moar! should be about four more cultural names. (Huh? Look it up in Wikipedia? But ... but ... my fingers are sooo exhausted.)

"We talk about it, she thinks it's very cool that she is part Chinese, but our family and social group are just so lax about terminology and everyone is accepted -- so it's not a big defensive topic for her."
And so, I've one more data point confirming that the attitude we exhibit, and behavior we exercise, toward a person of a minority culture, often affects that person a lot more than which words/synonyms we technically use.


Re (from EdmCouple):
"I really feel the longer people keep debating on what to call one race or another we are just perpetuating racism."
Then ... let's not debate. Let's just exchange ideas and share stories. Which I think is mostly what we've been up to here so far.


Re: to regard race or not to regard race? ... almost a separate topic but not quite. In practice, I use race- (or culture-) related words when talking about said culture "in the third person." If I'm talking one-on-one with a person whose culture differs from mine, I seldom call them anything (not even just "person"), other than maybe calling their first name to get their attention. At most I use pronouns like "you" and "me." But if I and that other person start talking about cultural divides, then the cultural labels soon come out ...


Anywayz -- check out the following offsite post:

It deserves to be a whole post on its own. It was first mentioned in the Polyamory and Racial Minorities thread -- and I thought it was germane to both threads. So here it is.

An ignorant ally is better than a sagacious enemy. Ignorant allies are willing to be taught and trained. Sagacious enemies figure they already know it all and certainly won't take instruction from the likes of *me!*

What it really seems to boil down to is that we have two (actually many) groups of people who've been marginalized by a certain other group of people. The situation is a big fat mess, and I don't think we can expect to find a perfect starting place to start from in trying to pick up the mess.

It's like when a hurricane or an F4+ rips through a bunch of neighborhoods. Rubble everywhere. Homes in shambles. Infrastructure gone. Live wires dancing on the streets. Roads blocked by uprooted trees and other debris. What more perfect place to start could there be than just picking up a board somewhere, and putting it in a "discard pile." It doesn't put a dent in the mess, but it's as good a way to start the clean-up (and re-building) as any.

And when someone else starts trying to clear a tree off the road, you don't yell, "Hey! We're not working on trees and roads now, we're working on boards! Get over here and help me." People in the midst of a great big mess need to treat each other courteously and considerately if they are to hold their morale together and attempt to wrest a new and better world out of the bitter jaws of disaster.

Race relations are a disaster. Peoples of both/multiple cultures are attempting to clean up the mess. The work is distressing and frustrating. Which is exactly why we all need to learn to exercise some patience and speak civilly and compassionately to one another. The mess (and lives lost) is bad enough without us bickering over every little word.
Love means never having to say, "Put down that meat cleaver!"
Reply With Quote