Political Correctness is Stupid

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by idkew, Mar 15, 2004.

  1. idkew macrumors 68020

    idkew

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    #1
    So, I went on a rant in another thread, thought I would make an actual thread about this. This thread is about Politically Correct titles and such, and is not for discussions about related topics, so as to not get wastelanded. Lets keep it peaceful and respectful.



    Here are some reason I think that PC is a dumb idea:

    Indian vs. Native American:
    ex: when I on a blackfoot reservation recently, i never once saw "Native American". I did, however, see many, many references to Indian(s). Even the high school mascot was the Indians. Weird that the NAs don't even call themselves such. Not that Indian is a correct term, but when a people calls themselves a certain name, they might have something. i also do not think we need some new PC term that is 100% correct (Migrant Americans....)

    Also, native means: Being a member of the original inhabitants of a particular place. Did this people evolve in the Americas? No, they walked here many years before the Europeans floated over, but nonetheless, all humans on this continent are immigrants. Sure, some were here before others, but none are original inhabitants of this particular continent. Hence, there are no true Native Americans (when referring to absolute origin of a people). This title is pure PC'ness, and has no base in fact, nor, as it seems, little backing from the "Native Americans".

    I am sure not all Indians/NAs feel the same... But, I am still waiting for the government to recognize me as an Italian/German American. I feel offended that I am only characterized by my skin color, and not my heritage. I've yet to see that checkbox. Plus, technically I am a Native American, being that I was born on the North American continent.


    To get even more offensive: African American is a stupid title also. I have a friend whom is from South Africa. You guessed it, he is white. But, he is also African American (once he immigrates here, that is). humm.... interesting. Do you think his kids can get scholarships based on their ethnicity? What about all the Black people in the rest of the world? What do we call them in PC? They aren't americans, so do we have African Britons? No, we have black people who are citizens of Great Briton. What happens if an African American decides to emigrate to another country. This would change their ethnicity. How is moving your home a change in ethnicity?

    I just hate PC. It's job is supposed to not offend others, and reduce tensions between different groups of people, but I think it creates just as may problems as it solves. PC is stupid. Besides, does a new title make up for all the broken treaties and massacres? No, so what is the point of replacing one incorrect title for another incorrect title?
     
  2. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #2
    Pre-Columbian Americans? Although that means mentioning Columbus, which some people feel ignores his autrocities and certainly ignores that he wasn't the first European to sail to the Americas by a longshot.

    I agree with the problem with the term "African Americans" for some of the same reasons, but I don't agree with the generally negative attitude towards political correctness. I think that having a willingness to look at potentially offensive language and figure out options for less offensive terms is a really good idea. I applaud the term "Ms." I'm glad that many formerly acceptable racial epithets are by and large off limits, I think it makes sense to refer to female "mailmen" as mail carriers, and so on. There are many stupid ideas that have been proposed, but that doesn't mean that the whole project is a waste.

    I'd also like to point out that what is at stake in a larger sense is control of public discourse, and the labelled, liberal "PC-types" aren't the only ones who force terms into our language for political/ideological reasons.
     
  3. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #3
    I know it is so easy to blame political correctness. But in the case of Indians vs. Native Americans this came out for the better separating those that re Indian (from India). This is important from the standpoint of redressing Native American Indian in census and social studies.

    This spills over when looking at other minorities that have been discriminated through the governmental process. Hence the term African-American. Negro was/is offense to many due to historical context. Black does not quite fit since slave owners had children with their slaves. So would these children be black or white (or a more PC term, Caucasian).

    I understand where you are coming from though. I hate labels. They set a tone for peoples perception of a person. Also where do they stop? In my instance I am a Polish (let the jokes roll) /Lithuanian/Russian/Jewish/Catholic/German (by way of being born in Frankfort while my Dad was on US Army duty there)/Homosexual (I know that I will rot in Hell by some accounts, and that it is a choice by others)/American.
     
  4. DavisBAnimal macrumors member

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    #4
    You do realize that, with the exception of Africa, no one race actually fully evolved on the continent where they live - the human race started in Africa, then took it's time spreading out. Once people bounced up out of Africa, they took time to settle in to various places, and over the years they evolved to have various racial characteristics, many of which are now named by where those characteristics evolved.

    That being said, Native Americans are native to this land because their race evolved here in the Americas. They are characterised by a thin nose, tan skin and straight hair. The term "Indian" is still being used, but is useless in a legal or official sense, cause how do you differentiate between a real Indian (ie someone from India) from a Native American Indian? No, you need a better word, partly because its wrong to make an entire race of people constantly be reminded of how stupid white people are, and, two, more importantly, just cause it's less confusing this way. And besides, the word native really just means "first inhabitants", as you yourself point out, and there's no doubt who was the first inhabitants over here.

    In terms of the beef with the term "African American", you forget that these are terms from races, not for nationalities. Your white friend from South Africa is not an African American if he moves over here, he's still caucasian. And the reason he is caucasian is because he is light skinned with straight to wavy/curly hair, racial characteristics which first evolved in and around the caucus mountains.

    You are right in many ways, though - the term African American is limited since it has the word "American" in it, and thus only applies to people living in America. The real and original word for the race was Negro, meaning a race of people with dark skin, flat noses and tightly curled hair. A lot of African-Americans still use this term, though the rounds of biggots and mob-lynchers during the pre-civil right era kinda tainted the word when they went on and on bitching about the "negro conspiracy" etc. etc. Those dumb white people ruined the word for themselves, and I think a lot of the reason white people don't feel comfortable with the word coming out of their mouths is because they don't want to be seen as associated with the lynchers. This was the main thrust behind the creation of a new word to refer to American negroes. Despite what people might think, it wasn't the result of some hippy-dippyish PC-police crew of liberals and blacks saying "nuh-uh-uh-uh", but really a bunch of cross-burning lunatics who rammed the word into the ground and forever tainted it within the societal conscience.

    Political Correctness is just the natural result of the evolution of language. Sometimes it's a forced change in lexicon, often times with good reason or justification, sometimes it comes about cause the original terms was just wrong and confusing (as in the term for Native American), and most of the time it just comes naturally, the result of people not wanting to linguistically associated themselves with certain groups. I don't really see what the big deal is - if you want to continue calling your Cherokee friends "Indians" and they don't care, then what's the big deal, as long as they know you don't mean people from India you're all set. If you want to call your black friends "Negros" go right ahead - as long as you don't piss anyone off for reminding them of the white man who yelled "burn all the negros" to their family in their youth, then you're all set. Call your gay friends fags if they don't object, just be carefuly cause the word has been used so violently in the past, and could strike people the wrong way without a proper context.

    I don't hate political correctness cause not once has it negatively affected my life. I feel like the bulk of the anger towards PC and PC terms is a lack of desire or maybe fear of discussion of race and identity - people wish the whole roots of racial violence and the lynchings would just go away. But that's not going to happen.

    Davis
     
  5. wwworry macrumors regular

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    #5
    I'm sick of people complaining about political correctness. In fact, I hear tons more complaining about it than I hear "enforcement" of it. Someone says "Hey I'm not from India. Don't call me Indian." and people get all bent out of shape like you took away their teddy bear. Sheesh!
     
  6. idkew thread starter macrumors 68020

    idkew

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    #6
    You provide a good argument, but I still do not agree with you. I do agree the term Indian can be confusing as it refers to multiple groups. But, you, yourself said that man did not originate in the Americas. How can one be native to such a place? Also, you state that the NAs evolved their current traits while in the Americas. Are you sure? Is it possible that these traits were already predominate before/during the crossing of the bearing straight? I certainly see a strong connection between north eastern russian people and those deemed native to america. Can you accurately pinpoint when ethnic traits developed in time?

    I also find it quite amusing that the english word for black is ok, but the spanish word is taboo. I accept your reasons, but I still find the different connotations of synonyms amusing. Still, if you are going to label one group of people, in a democratic society, you must label them all. I am still asking for my recognition by the gov as an Italian American (at least), being that 50% of my blood hails from Italy. It seems a bit weird to put the majority of the people found in europe, north america, and the west half of asia in one single group. Seems a bit weird to be so vague in most cases, yet very specific in others. I think we even have a "Pacific Islander" checkbox for race.

    Maybe my problem is with labels. I don't like them. How do you decide wether someone is black, white, asian, indian, latino...? Do we start using percentages of ancestors? I can only see this causing more problems.

    I believe that our society should, in the eyes of the law and the government, be absolutely, 100%, unconditionally color (race, whatever) blind. People are still different, we show ethnic differences, but for how long? Eventually we all be one "race" anyway. Why not preempt nature and get rid of race altogether? :confused:
     
  7. DavisBAnimal macrumors member

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    #7
    Just to clarify on the "Native American" issue - the definition you gave for "Native" was: Being a member of the original inhabitants of a particular place.

    The Native Americans were the original inhabitants of this place (there were no human inhabitants before them) and thus they earn the right to the title "Native".

    And I think we do label in accordance to nationalities to some extent - I have many friends who refer to themselves as "Irish American", "Korean American" on and on. But from a legal standpoint, I don't think the Irish is differentiated enough, racially, from the Italian. They might look a little different, and certainly have different cultures, but they aren't different races.

    And it would be nice if we didn't have to have labels, but we're a long, long, long way from that. The people here are still dependent on skin color and race as a means behind their decisions and attitudes. And, until that goes away, certain segments of our government have to deal with this sad fact, and that is why we have hate crime laws and that is why we have afirmative-action, etc. It would be nice if we didn't have to bother with all that, but, sadly, we do.

    Davis
     
  8. idkew thread starter macrumors 68020

    idkew

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    #8
    I know we will not agree here, so why not throw this out:

    Going by my dictionary.com definition, if you really want to be a stickler, there is no such thing as a native anymore, as all original immigrants to this country, or any other place for the record, are dead. Natives are extinct.

    Also, using that definition, I can argue that I am a NA, as I was among the first human to inhabit the house (and the land it rests on) that my parents built 20 years ago. There was no evidence that any human had ever lived in this particular place, so I must be a NA.

    My point is, what is the definition of is? In my view, a native did not walk across a land bridge, they evolved from lesser animals in the native area. This does, obviously, only allow people of the middle east/africa (have we decided where man originated?) to be a native people. The rest are just as much as guest to their land as you, I, any NA, or other person in this hemisphere.
     
  9. Sparky's macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    So does this make everyone Native African Immigrants?

    Because I'm a Scotch/Irish/French/German/Native Immigrant I guess Originally from Africa. And if we get religious about it, we're all related anyway!!
     
  10. idkew thread starter macrumors 68020

    idkew

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    #10
    which is exactly why we should get rid of the idea of race. we don't base people on hair color or curliness. Blondes still identify with Brunettes.
     
  11. applebum macrumors 6502

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    #11
    We could get rid of it, but trust me, other labels will arise in its place. We do so already.

    Politically - Dem/Rep - Liberal/Conservative
    Religiously - Christian/Muslim/Jew with further labels like Catholic/Baptist
    Sexually - Gay/Straight/Bi
    Regionally - Southern/Yankee - East Coast/"Left" Coast
    Status - Rich/Poor/Middle Class

    And on and on it goes. We as humans have a strong desire to form groups. To associate ourselves with others. And when we do this, we tend to place our group above the other groups. We believe our groups ideas are correct, and we fail to see how the other groups could have any other ideas. Just peruse these forums a bit and you will find numerous examples of this. A couple of examples I have seen:

    "There is just no justification for driving an SUV" - obviously a member of the non-SUV driving group

    "I can't imagine a conservative using an Apple" - obviously a part of the Liberals are Apple users group

    If all humans were blind, we would still find a way to group and discriminate - perhaps on voice (bass/tenor - dialect - smooth/gravelly). I don't think labels are something we can overcome.
     
  12. DavisBAnimal macrumors member

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    #12
    Not to cause any sort of offense, but this is nitpicky to the extent of being obsessive. I really don't see the issue with the Native Americans being called Native. In terms of your example, you are not a Native American because of your position as the first inhabitant of your house - your house is the place, so therefore you are a native of that house, not America in general, or even the land your house is built on. Someone else probably lived in your backyard a good 2,000 years ago, so their ancestry would be the Natives of the area you live in - you're just the native to that stucture. Your initial concern was with why the term "Native" as been assigned to the American Indians, and the definition you gave answers that question - because this group of persons (to be clear - and this is obviously how the definition is to be read) was the first to inhabit these lands, and thus this group has the right to be called Native. Scrap that - it's not about rights, it's just about logical sense. They're as Native as can be. Even when they were first termed "Indians" they were also referred to as "the Natives". I don't see any issue with this here - they were the first group of persons to live in this place now called America, and so thus, if we are to have a concept of "Native", then they are the Natives. There should be no question, and getting all pantied-up about it seems useless and counterproductive to any discussion on race or racial terms.

    In terms of the utopian idea of a world without race - I'm with you there, man - I wish that was a possibility. But so long as people with nappy-hair, dark skin, big lips and fat noses are treated differently and approached differently from people with light skin, straight hair and thinner lips and noses, well then we have race. People differentiate by site all the time, and that's why we have a concept of race in the first place. This isn't some sort of Political Correctness grand conspiracy issue, it's a sad fact and reality. People descriminate on the basis of appearance alone, and that sucks, but we have to be realistic about the ways in which we deal with these issues - we must always keep that in mind.

    Davis
     
  13. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #13
    People are always gonna be discriminatory on the basis of skin color and suchlike. Different = suspicious. It's hard-wired into our biology as a survival mechanism. We can train ourselves to be less suspicious, focussing instead on others' behavior, but it's still a built-in.

    'Rat
     
  14. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

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    #14
    I disagree. I think it's learned behaviour. I have a black cousin, and when I was a young'un I had no idea he was any different than anyone else in my family.
     
  15. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

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    #15
    How about you identify them with whatever ancestry they choose to identify themselves with?
     
  16. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Recently, an old Indian chief sat in his hut on the reservation, smoking a ceremonial pipe, and eyeing two U.S. government officials sent to interview him.

    "Chief Two Eagles," asked one official, "you have observed the white man for 90 years. You've seen his wars and his material wealth. You've seen his progress, and the damage he's done." The chief nodded in agreement.

    The official continued, "Considering all these events, in your opinion, where did the white man go wrong?"

    The chief stared at the government officials for over a minute and then calmly replied, "When white man found the land, Indians were running it. No taxes, no debt, plenty buffalo, plenty beaver, women did all the work, medicine man free, Indian man spent all day hunting and fishing, and all night having sex."

    Then the chief leaned back and smiled, "White man dumb enough to think he could improve that system."

    :D :D :D
     
  17. idkew thread starter macrumors 68020

    idkew

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    #17
    please don't forget that there is more than one antagonist and protagonist when people are treated different due to racial differences. besides, i am not attempting to deny that there are things in the past that have not been the best. that can not be changed. i just think that this pc thing is too much.

    i still do not buy your argument for the NA title. yes, it is possible that an Iowa tribesman lived in the house plot 2,000 years ago, but he got there the same way as everyone's ancestors, they immigrated.

    Of course early settlers termed the mysterious inhabitants they met as natives, as there was no knowledge of the evolution of man and the path they took out of the middle east/africa. They also labeled them as savages, to help show you how much you should weigh their opinion. People in the past also believed these were the indies, but we realized that was incorrect also. But, my point is that we are replacing an earlier incorrect title with another incorrect title in the name of PC. What is the point?
     
  18. miloblithe macrumors 68020

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    #18
    Wasn't the concept of "race" dismissed as quackery 50 years ago?
     
  19. DavisBAnimal macrumors member

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    #19
    The point is it's not incorrect, man, it's as correct as the concept can possibly be. If we are to have a concept of Native, then the word fits perfectly. The term "Native American" fits the definition, the one you cited. These people are Native to this land because they - their ancestors - were here before anyone else. End of discussion. I don't think anyone out there is complaining about this. It doesn't matter that they immigrated there like every single other human being ever immigrated anywhere they now exist save for the exact spot the first human being - call him Adam - popped out his pre-humanoid momma's uteras and onto the ground. The word Native refers to THE FIRST PEOPLE TO IMMIGRATE AND SETTLE A LAND. And the Native Americans are the first people to immigrate and settle here and therefore THEY are by definition the Natives. The fact of immigration does not negate the title of "Native" - in fact, the concept of immigration is built into the concept of "Native". To be "Native", to satisfy your questions, is to be the first "immigrant" to a particular land. This is why the term is historically correct, and egion and egions more correct than the term Indian ever came close to being. It's not just political correctness at work, it's just pure logic. It's annoying to be like "my Indian friend" and then have people say "peace pipes or spicey food?"

    I still don't see what the big deal with PC is, though. Is it just cause it makes the terms longer? My life has never been negatively affected by Political Correctness, and so I don't get whipped up about it. If anything, Political Correctness has helped me out by making it easier to make funny jokes and by giving me a guideline by which I can make sure not to upset those I don't know. PC is just a natural evolution of language - the way certain terms become tainted by historical reference and therefore find a change in useage. The word "******" is not inherently evil - it's an abstract combination of sounds. But you would never go up to a black man and say "you stupid ***** lazy dumb ******" ever, would you? Of course not, A) cause you don't want to be punched in the face, but more importantly B) cause you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. And that really should be what it's about anyways. No one is making you use these terms, and, in fact, I am sure you can go on calling Black people Negros and certainly Native Americans Indians and your life would not be changed. You just need to make sure no one gets sad or is reminded of the tortured history of African-Americans coming at the hands of people who used to word "negro" and that when you say Indian people are clear on which of the two types of Indians you are referring. Political Correctness has never harmed anyone - if anything it's just made it easier to avoid hurting someone's feelings, and that's not a bad thing at all.

    Davis
     
  20. wwworry macrumors regular

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    #20
    'Rat, I think this is a key point and I am in total agreement. Humans are all about recognizing difference and killing the other. I could go on about this but I do not have the energy for it tonight.

    The latest research sugests that there was an earlier migration to the Americas than the one we now call native and that it may have been wiped out by a slightly later migration.

    Anyway and in any case, none of the early settlers of the Americas came from India.
     
  21. idkew thread starter macrumors 68020

    idkew

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    #21
    by your definition, what is the cut off point, in years, for a people to be native?

    much less than 13,000 years ago (when man crossed the bearing straight), a new people began to inhabit mexico. i am not positive (as i know little of mexican politics), but i believe that the current people of mexico are a (in a majority) different people than the mayans who built the great pyramids and cities. yet, i believe these people are still considered natives. mexico natives, just as there is a people termed alaskan native. no one knows for sure what happened to the mayans, who are some of the earliest know inhabitants of the area.

    a little closer in time, man has been able to explore and inhabit places that were too extreme for man to survive in not too many years ago. are these new "immigrants" to these lands considered natives also? or, are these people simply scientists, retaining their respective nationalities and ethnicities?

    You do realize that influential and educated black, african american, negro, or whatever you want to call the men, termed themselves as Negro when that was the accepted term? It wasn't a taboo word until, as you said, people ruined it for the many to use. It lost its PC status, and was replaced with a new term. Black is no longer PC.

    You also sound like that this term African American is in someway used as a way to make up for past wrongs. A change in semantics does not change the past.

    Yes, it has probably not hurt anyone. But, I do wonder what it cost to go through every book in the next revision and replace the old term with the new term every time we need a new term for a people. I am not trying to make this a "blacks deserve this so they don't have to hit white people" debate. Nor a monetary one. I simply think that the PC practice of naming a group, on the whim of the opinion of the time, a dumb idea.

    Remember when Gay carried a negative connotation? The Homosexuals (back then) embraced the word gay and now it is the current PC term.

    The same thing is currently happening with the N***** word with young black men. (ex: listen to some rap music) It is only a matter of time until it has lost its negative connotation when spoken by non-blacks, and later it might become the new PC term.
     
  22. DavisBAnimal macrumors member

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    #22
    There isn't a cut-off time in the definition, first is first. And so I am sure there is some debate about it all, with this new evidence and blah blah, but really, that is all insanely nitpicky, in many ways obsessvie, and in no way does it affect what should be an obvious fact that "Native American" is a much more logically coherent term than "Indian".

    Now I know the history of Negro, and Negro is still accepted in many places by people (a great line by poet Saul Williams - "Negro from Necro, meaning death. I overcame it so they named me after it"). But I feel like there is a concept of "Political Correctness" as being some sort of top-down coercive rule of linguistic law pushing people around, when really it's not that way at all. I have never called a Black person "black" and had their feelings get hurt, so as far as I'm concerned, "black" is a PC term. What has given you the impression that it isn't? PC only exists so far as what is around you, there isn't some board that decides on politically correct terms and their proper useage. And the use of these terms is in no ways making up for history, it's just a way to avoid the constant reminder of history by avoiding words that, through the inevitability of language and culture, have become tainted by certain historical contexts and have the power to upset people and bother them. The n word is politically correct in certain communities - certainly younger, inner city and black - while not being PC in other communities because of it's ability to offend people with some useage, and not offend people at other times.

    Language is always about the whims of the opnions of the time, always has been and always will. Language useage, its connotations and references, change and evolve with time, and certain things that were once offensive become no longer, and certain things that once were not offensive get caught up in a historical context and take on new meanings. This has nothing to do with Political Correctness, it's just the nature of language. History books used to say things like "In 1690, there were 10 million people in America and a lot of Indians". Then everyone realized "oh ****, wouldn't you be upset if you were an Indian and you saw that we didn't count you as one of the 'people' there?" and so, to avoid hurting people's feelings and potentially alienating customers, they changed that to say "In 1690, there were 10 million immigrants of European descent, and a lot of Indians". Then people realized that it was confusing for there to be two meanings for Indian, and that Indian really should mean "coming from India" if you take the rules of English into consideration, so they changed that word to "Native Americans" to accurately and without question refer to those people. And then the history books read "In 1690, there were 10 million Europeans and Europen immigrants and many Native Americans living in America". And, as a result, not only did the history books avoid hurting people's feelings (always a nice thing) they also became more historical accurate and much more linguistically clear.

    And if all it takes is changing some words around to make sure no one gets upset and things are more clear and accurate, then I see no harm in Political Correctness. If anything it's a handy tool. And it's always going to be changing and evolving, and that's fine.

    Davis
     
  23. idkew thread starter macrumors 68020

    idkew

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    #23
    but is it the correct term? you know what i think.

    How can the new pc term of gay be simplification? It was once a negative word. That would confuse a lot of people.

    when writing a report for a company/school..., i feel that the pc thing to do is use the term African American, not Black. After all, that is all my PC school will say themselves.
     
  24. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Gay used to be a positive word as well.
     
  25. DavisBAnimal macrumors member

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    #25
    I don't know what the deal is, but Native Americans are more Native Americans than they are Indians, no question. And they are more Native than anyone else living here, no question. So it's a moot point to be so insanely and awkwardly obsessed with trying to de-Nativize the Native Americans. They are by definition Native to this land as far as the common accepted belief of who was the first group to live here. And until we know more about who was here first, I think it's safe to go on calling the Native Americans Native Americans, cause they're as Native as they freaking need to be (certainly more Native than any of us).

    And I have never once heard that gay was ever a negative word. All I've ever heard is that the word was adopted because it had such a positive connotation with it's original meaning - that being happy, or bright. I once heard something about it coming from 19th century England, where homosexuals would often dress "gaily". Gay only became negative once it became widely associated with homosexuality, and people started saying stuff like "my computer is gay" in order to associate it with homosexuality, something which is implied as being bad. This certainly isn't very PC, cause implying that Gay is Bad would bum out most gay people (PCness often has as much to do with connotation as the actual word). But gay was always a positive term, and was adopted by homosexuals because of that fact.

    And if you feel like the least-upsetting term to use when talking about Black people is "African-American" then that's nice of you to be considerate. But I don't think you have to worry too much, no black guy is going to get upset if you call him black, just like you wouldn't get upset if he called you white.

    Being Politcally Correct can really just mean "being considerate of the feelings of others" and I have absolutely no problem with that.

    Davis
     

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