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Old 11-25-2013, 08:58 AM
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Default Part 2 of 3

[continued from above]

Don't think anyone's saying any stereotypes are good per se, just that they exist and can either be turned toward greater enlightenment or greater ignorance.

Re: culture ... it seems to me that all cultures start out as some kind of parent phenomenon: a race, church, cult, country, a bunch of castaways on a desert island, any situation where a group of humans experiences some kind of isolation from other humans in the world.

Once a culture re-mingles with "new" parts of the world, the issues complexify and we can no longer say it's merely a race, church, nationality, location, or what have you type of an issue.

Re (from ColorsWolf):
Quote:
"LovingRadiance, when you say that '*all* people stereotype:' you either have truly never met or known anyone who is not as you describe, or you are lying."
Uh I'm guessing more of the former and less of the latter?

Re:
Quote:
"By saying that, '*All* people stereotype:' you are you yourself stereotyping *everyone.*"
I guess that's true.

Re:
Quote:
"When someone tells me that a group of people are 'black:' that tells me absolutely nothing about this group of people other than they literally have 'black' skin."
I'm confused on how to solve this. What if "black" is the only thing this someone knows about that group of people? Should he/she refrain from revealing what little he/she knows? but if he/she tells you that the group of people are "human:" he/she is still telling you absolutely nothing about this group of people other than they literally have "human" skin.

Perhaps this someone should tell you that the group of people in question are "people I know nothing about." But that's not quite honest either, since the someone does "know" that they're both "human" and "black." Now if the someone then proceeds to claim to "know" what these "black" people think and feel, how they live and what they live for, then that someone is being presumptuous (if he/she hasn't gotten to "know" the group of people in question).

So then maybe this someone shouldn't bother you at all with their pittance of knowledge, since it only frustrates you with their dysfunctional emptiness. Should they instead leave you in peace and say nothing about the subject? and to gain some actual useful knowledge, they should go live amongst the minority culture they'd like to speak of so that they won't offend anyone by talking out of their ass. Pardon the expression, but isn't that rather what you're getting at?

---

Re (from Dirtclustit):
Quote:
"So I am willing to give you the benefit if doubt regardless of what it may only appear to say between the lines ..."
Thank you because, I myself don't know what I said between the lines. Some sort of backmasking I suppose.

Quote:
kdt26417 said:
I have similar opinions about non-human people's rights, as well as about polyamorist, LGBT, and BDSM rights.

Dirtclustit replied:
"You may wish to avoid that; as it is the way it is written can be misleading. It is *almost* as if it implies that poly, LGBT and BDSM people are non-human, which may tend to hit a few nerves regardless of their race and regardless of your desired message. Something to think about if you are concerned about coming off as being sincere ..."
kdt26417 reassures:
Okay; for the record I am concerned about coming off as being sincere.

How's about I dissect my prior statement for a bit in hopes of clarifying it?

Had I said: I have similar opinions about non-human people's rights, *such as* about polyamorist, LGBT, and BDSM rights ... then I'd have been implying that poly, LGBT, and BDSM people are non-human. Which would be arguably shooting myself in the foot since I'm one of those people (the poly ones).

But I said: I have similar opinions about non-human people's rights, *as well as* about polyamorist, LGBT, and BDSM rights ... the subtle difference being "such as" versus "as well as." The "such as" clause indicates I'm about to cite examples of non-human people, whereas the "as well as" clause indicates I'm about to cite examples of people other than the non-human people.

I probably should have said: I have similar opinions about non-human people's rights, *as well as human people's rights* such as polyamorist, LGBT, and BDSM rights ... and then I'd hope we could have sidestepped this whole unpleasant castigation.

So having given the above three paragraphs' explanation, I hope that a few nerves (whatever their race and whatever my desired message) can recover from being hit, or won't have to be hit at all. I've now (attempted to) clarify myself. Please nurse and/or protect your nerves as needed; hitting them was never my intention and I hope my above explanation has shown that.

Re:
Quote:
"I can just ask if you intentionally wrote the sentences knowing the second surface meaning was pretty much right there, uncovered, on the surface."
And I in turn can assure you that the uncovered-meaning-on-the-surface was both unintentional and unknown by me. I could have been more clear in composing the sentence in question, but sometimes I do sacrifice clarity in favor of relative brevity, as long as what I write seems to me to be a *technically correct* delineation of my thoughts, guesses, and feelings.

Re:
Quote:
"Derogatory words do do a lot of harm, many times it's the subtle ones that are the most harmful, especially when they are hate-filled because they are unmistakable."
I agree with one caveat: What may be unmistakable in the eyes of one person, may be all-too easily mistaken in another's eyes. I guess sometimes you really do have to check and see if the other person really meant what they so clearly seemed to mean. No assumptions: I'm all for that.

Re:
Quote:
"For instance, there was a term which was used to describe a person which you appear to want to call 'blacks,' which then was coined from the country Nigeria. It was a term that was or had become closely bound with racism and hatred (often unspoken) to Human Beings, and the hatred was assigned due to the color of their skin."
Okay, so European Americans invented a hate term to use against African Americans. If it's the N word you speak of, then I'm all for obliterating that word. But what word/s shall we replace it with? or should we all just stop talking about skin color in any way shape or form, due to the mere mention of skin color hitting a few nerves due to the ugliness of American slavery in the past?

Re:
Quote:
"So yes specific words actually do have a much greater effect than I think you have admitted to."
I agree and the N word is a great example. But grant me that many words have been tried since, which seemed to be acceptable (for the moment) to the minority race at the time: colored persons or persons of color, Negroes, blacks or black persons, African Americans (which now, too, is beginning to annoy the minority race in question), and as of this thread, brown-skinned persons which hasn't as yet received any glowing reviews. So I am wide open to suggestions as to what word/s you'd find less offensive, and if you'd prefer I stick exclusively to that/those word/s, I will provided that/those word/s don't offend other Polyamory.com members. I don't know if you're seeing a pattern here, but the pattern I'm starting to see is this: I won't be able to please everyone.

I mean people aren't seriously trying to tell me, are they, that African Americans aren't attending poly get-togethers because I and other bigots are calling them blacks? If I found the right "magic word" to call them, would they suddenly start attending the poly get-togethers that they were staying away from before?

Alas that the United States seems to be the one country on Earth where no one can agree on what to call brown-skinned persons. Serves us right for practicing slavery, I suppose.

Re:
Quote:
"In fact I subscribe to the theory that there would not need to be any discourse between races if people spoke out, each and every time they smell the hatred spilling all over everything with a putrid stench, and if we all did speak up, with nothing more than a, 'Hey! That's unacceptable, are you aware how that makes people feel?'"
It makes me sad to think you might be smelling hatred spilling out of me with a putrid stench. Short of moving into a predominantly brown-skinned neighborhood (which alas won't happen as my next and probably last stop is Seattle), what can I possibly do or say to attribute this putrid stench of hatred you're smelling to someone (or something) other than myself? I'd at least like to know.

And besides, is it bad for the races to have discourses with each other? Are sharp reprimands the only communicating we should be doing about racial issues?

[continued below]
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  #122  
Old 11-25-2013, 08:59 AM
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Default Part 3 of 3

[continued from above]

Re:
Quote:
"Do you care?"
To me that question sounds as rhetorical as, "Have you found Jesus?" but, for the record, the answer (to "Do I care") is "Yes." Will it please you now to say, "No you don't care, and I can prove it! Who do think you're fooling?"

Re:
Quote:
"It's extremely effective at removing their power to marginalize and intimidate those who would otherwise continue to violate and creep into every safe public place, and that feeling of safety is very important.
Especially with how far my government has taken the safety as an excuse to violate, I'll be damned if I am going to let them take away the psychological sanctuary, nobody has the right to do that, Kevin ..."
Sorry if I've tried to take away anyone's psychological sanctuary, or marginalize or intimidate those who would otherwise continue to violate and creep into every safe public place. I agree about the importance of that feeling of safety. I'd actually rather not marginalize, intimidate, violate, or creep into anyone's public psychological sanctuary. I'd rather expand the amount of inviolate public psychological sanctuary available to anyone who might be marginalized, intimidated, or deceived. My whole reason for initiating this thread, in fact, was figuring out what polyamorists could do to build and expand such sanctuaries (literally and figuratively).

---

Re (from LovingRadiance):
Quote:
"We stereotype people and things as a way to classify."
I agree. Maybe it's dysfunctional on our part, but we do do it.

---

For the record, I don't consider myself to be a person with any special knowledge. I've often been known to goof up my spelling and grammar. I'm not a grammarian ("Who" or "whom?" I'll never know). Sorry if my grammar seemed to be impeccable until I (twice in less than two weeks) inadvertently betrayed your faith in my grammar by writing sentences with two conflicting "surface meanings" each, the second meaning of each not even relating to love or sex per se.

I'm not terribly erudite, though if you wish to call me an "idiot savant" I might accept that label, sort of. Just don't expect me to help you count cards in Vegas. I'm not BDSM and have next to no knowledge of that subject. I've heard of humans who identify as "pets" to other humans but that isn't based on any personal experience of my own.

I admit to being poly but not to being involved in IT, though one of my poly companions is. The only obscure knowledge I have is things like the plot and characters of the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever.

Whatever color caucasians fancied themselves to be during the American slave era, they did seem to take skin color as a mark of superiority and entitlement over a differently-skin-toned race (the forcefully imported Africans). No excuse for that, and no lie could cover it up in my book.

Re (from Dirtclustit):
Quote:
"As far as the term white goes, Caucasians are in actuality one of the furthest people from it. As traditionally 'white' meant clear, transparent or 'see through' ..."
Well Wiktionary's no authoritative source, but it's a start, so inspect the following part of its entry for "white" if you will:

Quote:
Etymology
From Middle English whit, hwit, from Old English hwīt, from Proto-Germanic *hwītaz (whence also West Frisian wyt, Dutch wit, German weiß, Norwegian hvit), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱweytos ("bright; shine"). Compare Lithuanian šviẽsti ("to gleam"), šviesa ("light"), Old Church Slavonic свѣтъ (světŭ, "light"), свѣтьлъ (světĭlŭ, "clear, bright"), Albanian vizull ("shine"), Avestan spaēta ("white"), Sanskrit श्वेत (śvetį, "white, bright").

Adjective
white (comparative whiter, superlative whitest)
  • Bright and colourless; reflecting equal quantities of all frequencies of visible light. "Write in black ink on white paper."
  • Of Caucasian race.
  • Designated for use by Caucasians. "white drinking fountain; white hospital"
  • Relatively light or pale in colour. "white wine; white grapes"
  • Pale or pallid, as from fear, illness, etc.
  • (of coffee) Containing cream, milk, or creamer.
  • (board games, chess) The standard denomination of the playing pieces of a board game deemed to belong to the white set, no matter what the actual colour. "The white pieces in this set are in fact made of light green glass."
  • Pertaining to an ecclesiastical order whose adherents dress in white habits; Cistercian.
  • Honourable, fair; decent.
  • (of a person or skin) Lacking coloration from ultraviolet light.
  • Grey, as from old age; having silvery hair; hoary.
  • (archaic) Characterized by freedom from that which disturbs, and the like; fortunate; happy; favourable.
  • (obsolete) Regarded with especial favour; favourite; darling.
Which should get us on the same page.

Re:
Quote:
"... which is the other reason this post riled me, as I don't particularly get along with the seemingly growing number of people who get senses mixed up, color would be a mix up of reflections detected by sight."
As I remember mentioning somewhere earlier in this thread, I don't think "whites" when used to describe caucasians is meant to scientifically define their exact skin color; it's only meant to loosely hint at how their skin color tends to contrast with that of "blacks" who also are understood (by me at least) to not be literally black (with rare exceptions).

Hijack getting bigger ... Hope we'll get back to the "How can a 'white polyamorist' like me help 'black (or Hispanic, or Oriental, or Native American) polyamorists' feel more welcome in my (online and meatspace) company?" Alas, I guess the answer is: "Stop using scientifically inaccurate labels to describe their skin color, and then they'll warm up to you."
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  #123  
Old 11-25-2013, 09:04 AM
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As a half black person, I'll tell you one thing us ethnics get pissed off about and that's white people deciding what is racist and what isn't. You know, the ones who say don't say this or dont say that are usually the ones who make the most derogatory comments out of sheer ignorance.
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Old 11-25-2013, 11:35 AM
Dirtclustit Dirtclustit is offline
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Default There has never been a word itself, that was inherently evil

and so it has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not the terms are accurate or so off they are opposite, Scientifically speaking or otherwise

it's the hatred behind the intent on the words

and I know it sounds unfair, but honestly two people could use the exact same words, and if one of them was speaking with a dialect of hatred (with coincidentally smells worse than it is distinguished by sounds) and another is speaking a dialect love and understanding.

The two people people may even be usinf, verbatim same words, and one would be right and one would be wrong

I gave you the benefit of the doubt even though I didn't believe your sincerity, so I deleted my tones of anger, frustration, and hatred, and offered you advice if you were serious.

THreadjacket? OI don't call it that
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  #125  
Old 11-25-2013, 08:45 PM
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Re (from london):
Quote:
"As a half-black person, I'll tell you one thing us ethnics get pissed off about and that's white people deciding what is racist and what isn't. You know, the ones who say don't say this or don't say that are usually the ones who make the most derogatory comments out of sheer ignorance."
Off-topic: I just learned a new word! "Ethnic" is a bonafide way to denote "an ethnic minority," word-for-word as proclaimed by Wiktionary. Kewl. Now that's a word I like having on my volcabulary trophy shelf.

But london, you've made a great point, a point that's been strangely lacking in this thread up until now. Who are us Caucasians to be the judges and rulers over "what constitutes kindness to ethnics" anyway? Why don't the ethnics themselves get to tell us what we ought to do? They've certainly earned the right after so many centuries of oppression.

A bit more on my feelings about ethnic nomenclature in a soon-to-be-posted post ...

---

Re (from Dirtclustit):
Quote:
"It's the hatred behind the intent on the words."
Ah: exactly what I've contrived to get at!

Re:
Quote:
"And I know it sounds unfair, but honestly two people could use the exact same words, and if one of them was speaking with a dialect of hatred (with coincidentally smells worse than it is distinguished by sounds) and another is speaking a dialect love and understanding ...
The two people people may even be using, verbatim, the same words, and one would be right and one would be wrong."
Perfect! Perfect! (and I mean that like nobody's business.) Ahhh; I think we're on the same page again my friend.

Re:
Quote:
"I gave you the benefit of the doubt even though I didn't believe your sincerity, so I deleted my tones of anger, frustration, and hatred, and offered you advice if you were serious."
And, I hope you'll believe me when I say thank you for your stately forbearance. I hope I didn't cut and bruise too much in my admittedly self-opinionated riposte. I did mean it respectfully, if not mincingly.

Re: threadjacking ... I admit legit argument could be made that no threadjacking has occurred. After all, this thread points toward poly/culture/color/race issues and thus, by extension, towards culture/color/race issues in general. So as official OP, I'll accept your tangential points, and opine that they need a dedicated space for further expression. Along those lines ... well, see my next post.
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  #126  
Old 11-25-2013, 09:01 PM
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Re: pejoratives (especially as regards Southern-States slaves and their descendants) ... While still granting that the N word has certain air of nastiness about it (comparable perhaps to words like fatso, fag, slut which "The Ethical Slut" proposes to "reclaim," etc.), I fancy that what especially bothered/bothers Southern-States slaves and their descendants about being called that word, is, not the structure and make-up of the word itself, but rather, how the word is/was spoken.

One person may use the N word out of plain old ignorance, not realizing it offends the referent. Another person may use the word with a sneering, derisive, hateful tone of voice, and every intention of hurting the person/s he/she refers to by speaking that word.

Furthermore, what probably hurts/hurt and offends/offended Southern-States slaves and their descendants most of all was the way they were/are treated by the race/culture that was responsible for forcefully severing them from their African kin and deporting them to America. The permanent loss of spouse and children. The endless hours of compulsory, sweat-drenched, back-breaking work in the cotton fields. The whippings and beatings. (Gods the whippings! Ever seen the old photo of a shirtless Southern slave, facing away from the camera, his back crisscrossed layer upon layer with thick, poignant whip scars?) The maimings (Think "Roots" and the scene where they chopped off the ends of "Toby's" feet so he couldn't try to run away anymore). The hunger and thirst. And overarching it all, the superiority attitude sported towards them by their slavemasters.

And then ... the segregation. The denial of the right to vote. The cold refusal to give a guy a simple job and let him keep it. The false/unfair prosecutions. Displays of rudeness. More beatings. Cross-burnings, lynchings, and cold-blooded killings of every kind and again, overarching it all, the superiority attitude sported towards them by their oppressors.

No wonder they grew to hate the various pejoratives (which they probably didn't see as pejoratives at first) after said pejoratives were spoken by their European American oppressors with a sneering, derisive, hateful tone of voice, and every intention of hurting them by speaking it. When piled opon all the other cruelty they suffered from, the pejoratives were literally just insult added to injury.

So it is that guys like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. used the word "Negro" proudly to denote themselves and the race/culture to which they belonged ... and yet, that word too came to be seen as a pejorative, not because the letters, sequencing, and technical logic that once belonged to the word were inherently hateful, but because of the spiteful way "non-Negroes" used the word. So I think it was very much a case of, not what was said, but how (and in what context) it was said. Which likewise is true of every word and sentence in the whole English language (or any language).

The tormenting, torture, and twisting of these once-innocuous words turned them into pejoratives, one after another. And thus began the long procession of ever-changing monikers, a sort of perpetual struggle to at least be spoken to politely if not sincerely. The N-word, colored persons or persons of color, Negroes, blacks or black persons, African Americans and as of this thread, brown-skinned persons which itself isn't faring too well (despite its optical accuracy). When, then, will that "war over words" end? only when "European Americans" stop treating "African Americans" like a lower, less-honorable form of life.

So I both do take my monikers seriously, and yet at times laziness and the madness of it all sways me into the use of outdated(?) words. I mean really, was "blacks" invented as a moniker for the descendants of Southern-States slaves out of someone's desire to make that minority race/culture/heritage feel bad about themselves? I doubt it. Yet the style of its subsequent usage by the descendants of Southern-States slavemasters turned it into a word of hate. And then people cried out once again for a new word that would end the hurtfulness at last, and the can was kicked down the road yet another time. But guess what? No matter how many times we change what we call them, they remain marginalized, maltreated, and outcast. Thus zeroing in on the words just doesn't seem to have solved the big problem.

My personal impression is that the word "blacks" offends some "blacks" (who'd much prefer I call them African Americans), but offends other "blacks" (who'd much prefer I *didn't* call them African Americans) not at all. That's the state of affairs as I thus far understand it, and the reason I often say "blacks" (and "whites"): because it's quick and easy, doesn't seem to offend too many people too much, and allows us to get (a little quicker and more efficiently) to the heart of the matter; namely, how we treat the descendants of Southern-States slaves in general. And by extension, how the descendants of Southern-States slavemasters and their ilk, those who happen to be polyamorous or even just who love and/or live with polymorists, can improve the way they present themselves to the minority race/culture in question so as to inspire in that race/culture a feeling of safety and welcome amongst "white polyamorists."

The general gist of all this applies to "blacks," Hispanics, Jews, Native Americans, Oriental persons, and all races/colors/cultures who do and/or have in the past suffer/suffered oppression from America's infamous Caucasians. But it especially compares the merit of the "moniker problem" with the merit of what I believe is the root cause of the moniker problem: the superiority attitude of the majority culture/color/race. Changing words in order to change attitudes is usually, IMO, pulling the cart before the horse. We bigots (I won't resist inclusion in that group at least for argument's sake) need to "get over ourselves." Then and only then will we find monikers that the descendants of Southern-States slaves will perceive as gentle, kind, and respectful.

And that's why I said and still believe that demonstrations, civil discourse between the races, and things like Martin Luther King Jr.'s unforgettable "I have a dream" speech, will help black/white relations much more than any tinkering with nomenclature.

I can see a bit more the "justification" for coining words like "polyamory." After all, those are words that describe things (e.g. people) for which/whom no label existed previously. So there at least one could argue that the English is made more complete by the advent of words like polyamory. But to take an already-existing word (e.g. blacks) and change it over and over again because it feels offensive no matter how many times we change it, doesn't seem to me to accomplish much of anything except to confuse the English language (or any language) and make communication harder (for we all know it was already hard enough).

And that's why I persistently vote that we talk more about how we treat each other in deed (e.g. tone of voice and the attitude behind it), less about which actual words-for-the-same-thing we use (animals versus non-human persons, blacks versus African Americans, gay marriage versus same-sex marriage, etc.), and get back to this thread's original topic which is how to get polyamorists of diverse races to come together (by persuasion, not coercion) even more than they have thus far.

Along those lines, I propose that for the sake of those to whom nomenclature does greatly matter, we start a new thread for that particular discussion. At the risk of taking flak for being an inappropriate man for the job, I'll go ahead and create that thread.
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  #127  
Old 11-25-2013, 09:42 PM
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It's done.

See the thread: What Should We Call the Descendants of Southern-States Slaves? etc. for further details.

Kevin
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  #128  
Old 11-25-2013, 09:50 PM
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Well, the most PC way to say it would be "people from ethnic minorities", but amongst people who know you, you could say ethnics.
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Old 11-25-2013, 10:21 PM
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... Oh wait I get it. "Ethnic" as a noun is a word to be used appropriately by people who actually belong to an ethnic minority, whereas "ethnic" as an adjective is the better/more appropriate choice for those of us who were so "fortunate" as to be born into an ethnic majority family.

Ahem; don't mean to be flippant, cute, or curt here; just bogged down by a mass of PM's, emails, and unanswered posts on various threads, so forgive me for whipping through this bit of honestly intriguing information and filing it in a flash. I promise to say "people from ethnic minorities" instead of "ethnics" from now on.

Oh ... unless it's a casual conversation with people who I know and who know me well, in which case I can make an exception and indulge myself in the use of the word (noun) "ethnics." Whew! I think I've got your basic idea right but am glad to accept any corrections I'm in need of.

Sincere regards,
Kevin T.
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Old 11-26-2013, 12:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
Oh gods, don't "speak of the devil" [read: "speak of the moderators" -- but I don't mean you're a devil, O ruthlessly witty one] or the devil will come, and have my filthily-delusioned European American butt in a sling for saying black and white (There goes my myopic black-and-white thinking again).


And I even agree with you about the distinction between prejudice and stereotyping. Thanks for your post in general.
I don't mind being a devil-but I've been told I make a better succubus.

After a week and a half of lectures, homework and study on the specific differences between prejudice, stereotypes, system 1 thinking, system 2 thinking, how evolution theoretically plays into all of it, discrimination etc... I figured it would be helpful to point out that there is in fact a difference. We often link them, we often see where there are legitimate links. But-the existence of one doesn't necessarily mean that the other is actually there.
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