Re: It did happen on a Friday...

Subject: Re: It did happen on a Friday...
From: Al Geist <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2004 10:31:18 -0800

I understand the confusion, and before I got to know more about the Native American side of our history, I really didn't think much about Chief's/Indians, baseball teams called the Redskins, or why anyone would get upset over John Wayne killing all those pesky Indians attacking the settler's wagon train. I think the problem rests with the fact that there are no common terms in our language for master/slave, chief/indian, etc. that involve non-Native American or non-African American ethnic groups. Have you ever heard hard drives referred to as King/Knight/Serf, or German/Bavarian, or French/Coriscan? And why not? Ironically, I am about the most politically incorrect person you'd ever meet. Yet, I've been thinking lately that maybe that political incorrectness is also a conservative (I shudder at even using the word) way of maintaining the status quo. Sure, we can say that master/slave or chief/indian has nothing to do with skin color or ethnic background and question why in the world anyone would be upset, but in a sense isn't that a way of looking down on the individuals that do equate those terms to skin color and ethnic background. Until I married a wonderful woman with Indian blood, I had no idea of the impact of certain words on their culture. "Indians" in this sense may refer to those subordinate to the Chief, and for most of us, we cannot figure out how someone can get offended by the use of the "chief/indian" or for that matter "master/slave" combination. I agree with Bryan in that there probably is no culture that has not played the part of master/slave. Even the Native Americans were guilty of this; however, the point is not that this relationship did or did not exist, it's understanding the sensitivity that certain terms have on different cultures. I think this is what I was trying to get at. My background is German/American with a splash of Hungarian tossed in for good measure. Do I get upset when PBS portrays Atilla the "Hun" and his warriors as brutal thugs? Not really because I was raised on a farm outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan and I have absolutely no connection to my heritage other than my last name is German and we ate a lot of bratwurst at our family reunions. Some people have a much closer connection to their ancestors and are much more sensitive about word usage than I am in that respect. Like Zola, I also believed at one time that this application of PC-ness in this case was rather silly, especially since I've been writing for a living for nearly 30 years, but our craft is communication. Regardless of what us old-timers think, we need to be aware of the constant evolution taking place in our society and the language it uses.

I'd like to discuss this matter further, but I am heading out the door for an interview and hopefully a successful one.


Al Geist, Geist Associates
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Re: It did happen on a Friday...: From: bryan johnson

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