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BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!

beardedbruce 24 May 13 - 03:08 PM
beardedbruce 24 May 13 - 03:10 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 May 13 - 04:40 PM
Don Firth 24 May 13 - 04:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 May 13 - 05:32 PM
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Rapparee 24 May 13 - 06:05 PM
artbrooks 24 May 13 - 06:10 PM
dick greenhaus 24 May 13 - 06:15 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 May 13 - 06:24 PM
Kampervan 25 May 13 - 01:20 AM
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Subject: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: beardedbruce
Date: 24 May 13 - 03:08 PM

Fired teacher says meaning 'lost in translation' after calling student 'Negro'
By JULIA MARSH and YOAV GONEN
Last Updated: 7:44 PM, May 23, 2013
Posted: 7:11 PM, May 23, 2013

A Bronx teacher says her language lesson was lost in translation when she was fired for calling a student "Negro" — though she claims she was simply using the Spanish word for the color "black" at the time, according to a new lawsuit.

The non-tenured junior high instructor, Petrona Smith, 65, was booted from the bilingual PS 211 in March 2012 after a seventh-grader reported the alleged insult.

Smith, who is black and a native of the West Indies, has been unemployed since her ouster.

"They haven't even accounted for how absurd it is for someone who's black to be using a racial slur to a student," said Shaun Reid, Smith's attorney. "Talk about context! There's a lot of things wrong here."

The instructor took a hiatus from teaching special education in 2005 to learn Spanish in South America, because she was passionate about learning the language in a cultural context, Reid said.

Smith was also accused of calling her students "failures."

But in court papers she claims that second insult was also a misinterpretation.

Smith had allegedly asked students who had failed a test to move to the back of the room, but says she never called them failures.

She denied calling the student a "Negro," and explained to investigators that she was teaching a lesson about how to say different colors in Spanish and said the word "negro," which is Spanish for the color black. She told her students that it was not a derogatory term and that the Spanish word for a black person was "moreno."

She added that she'd been verbally abused by her charges, including being called a "f---ing monkey," a "cockroach" and a "n---r," but had never stooped to their level.

A 2011 investigation substantiated the student's undated claims based on accounts from four seventh-grade witnesses, even though the student's own parents said he'd lied about the event.

A spokeswoman for the city Law Department said, "We have received the papers and will review them."


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: beardedbruce
Date: 24 May 13 - 03:10 PM

Must be true!



http://now.msn.com/petrona-smith-bronx-teacher-fired-for-saying-negro


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 May 13 - 04:40 PM

"black," in Spanish, is negro.

Moreno is often applied to a dark-skinned person. It can also be applied to a person with black (dark) hair.

There have been a number of cases recently of over-reaction in schools.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 May 13 - 04:42 PM

That's carrying "politically correct" to an asinine extreme.

Some hypersensitive types can get downright ridiculous about matters such as so-called "political correctness," very often displaying their own ignorance when they do so—such as objecting to a word In another language.

I recall some years ago, I learned the song "Black Girl" from a Leadbelly record. It dealt with the fate of a woman whose husband had been killed in a railroad accident, and contained the verse
Black girl, black girl, don't lie to me,
Tell me where did you sleep last night?
In the pines, in the pines, where the sun never shines,
And I shivered the whole night through.
A number of times I was taken to task—by hypercorrect white people for singing what they deemed "a racist song." Mainly because it identified the young woman's race.

Later, I tried the song on two women I knew. One a folk singer herself, and another, a telephone operator I worked with when I once worked for Ma Bell. Both of these young women were black.

Both of them thought it was a good song and very poignant, and were not offended in the least. They both said, "Go ahead and sing it. If anyone takes offense, it's their problem!"

I did. For a while. But there are so many PC police out there that I just got tired of arguing about it and didn't sing it anymore.

A few people, both locally and on recordings, used the expedient of changing it to "Little girl, little girl. . . ." Which, as far as I am concern, was downright wimpy!

Petrona Smith, especially considering her own race and background, should sue the school district's officials until they go hide in a closet with shame. And could this charge possibly have come from a digruntled student who wasn't doing so well in class and wanted to get back at her?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 May 13 - 05:32 PM

If you sing it "little girl' surely that would open you to the accusation of promoting paedohilia...

And I imagine if you protested '"no, she's a grown woman" the objection would be to calling her a "girl. Sometimes you can't win.

My own view would be that objecting to the term "black" is itself racist.

As for negro" that's a perfectly standard Spanish word for black, with no racist implicatins whatsoever. For that matter as an English word it's not one which would be seen as racist in many places. Less offensive in some ways, I'd suggest, than "Caucasian".


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 24 May 13 - 05:45 PM

"My own view would be that objecting to the term "black" is itself racist."

For whatever reason - though I suspect it has something to do with a historical culture of racism and segregation, in the States Black folk are supposed to describe themselves as "African" American. It sounds like "sort of but not fully" American to me I must say. Especially when the African or indeed West Indian ancestry is several generations removed, and probably far from pure anyway.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Rapparee
Date: 24 May 13 - 06:05 PM

Or the person from Africa is white.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: artbrooks
Date: 24 May 13 - 06:10 PM

"Black" people are no more black than "White" people are white. What - you think you're white? Put your hand up against this screen and see. You answer a question on ethnicity with "Caucasian"? You or your ancestors were from the Caucasus region of southern Russia, eh? No, you're a mix of English, Irish, German, French and who-knows-what like me? Personally, I answer "some other" or "human" on those stupid questionnaires. "Race" has no biological meaning, and I doubt if there is such a thing as a guaranteed pure anything.

I see nothing at all inappropriate with using "African-American" as an expression of ethnicity...in fact, it is probably the only one of the current racial denominators that has any validity at all.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 24 May 13 - 06:15 PM

It wasn't that long ago that "Negro" was the accepted term and "black" was derogatory.Certainly in my lifetime.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 May 13 - 06:24 PM

But most black Americans, including your President, are as much European in origin as African.

Though of course, if you go back far enough, everyone is entirely of African origin. That even applies is we've a few Neanderthals in there, because they were just descended from an earlier waves of emigrants from the Mother Continent.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Kampervan
Date: 25 May 13 - 01:20 AM

Very few 'white' people are really white; very few 'black' people are actually black. These words are just labels because people like to use easy labels.

Equally few words are actually an insult in themselves, it's the way the word is used.
The word 'sir' can be a term of respect or, given the right tone of voice and inflection, a term of great abuse.

I don't care if someone calls me an old age pensioner, a senior citizen or chronologically challenged. Its how they say it and how they treat me that matters.

The word 'Negro' isn't inherently racist, it's the sentiment behind it that matters. If the people to whom the word was previously applied don't want me to use that word then fine, I won't. For my part it would never have been an abusive term, but what ever word they prefer me to use will, from the mouth of a racist person, become an insult.

It would be much better if we stopped arguing about labels and learned to be more tolerant. As someone said - above, we all came out of Africa.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 May 13 - 01:33 AM

I know a person whose mother is of Irish/London descent (red hair, fair skin, freckles) and whose father is from central Africa. Her English and Irish relatives mostly call her black, her African relatives call her white.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 May 13 - 02:56 AM

"It wasn't that long ago that "Negro" was the accepted term and "black" was derogatory.Certainly in my lifetime."
.,,.
Indeed. And the same applies to 'coloured'. Someone was in trouble this week over the use of 'coloured' in the Tiger Woods row that has been going on; this was taken exception to and he apologised. But I remember, not too long ago, when 'black' was offensive and 'coloured' was the correct term to use; now that is entirely reversed. How, and when, and why, did this happen?

Oh, dear, it is so hard just to keep up. What do we think of "Dame Edna Everage's" facetious and evasive usage, 'tinted folks'? Should we adopt that?

Seriously, though, what do black/coloured/negro/tinted/ethnic/whevs Mudcatters reading this think?

~M~

Are any of these labels useful anyhow, or a mere distraction? Do we need them? I, just as a for-instance, am a London-born atheist, of pure Jewish ancestry SFAIK, but who embraced the Church of England in middle age, but, as my first wife said, that never 'took' and I quite soon returned to my default atheist position. So what am I? If it matters...


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Deckman
Date: 25 May 13 - 05:11 AM

Back in 1955, I headed for Montana, missed, and ended up in Georgia. During that trip, I stopped at a gas station in Kentucky. I asked to use the restroom and was directed to the rear of the building. While searching for the restroom at the rear of the building, I came across the filthiest outdoor drinking fountain I'd ever seen. It was a basin, filled with dirt, leaves, green and growing algea. Above it was a sign that said: "NEGROS ONLY."

It didn't say "blacks", or "African Americans", or "colored" ... it said "NEGROS."

At my age of 176 I now doubt that this country will ever grow up and realize that, under our skin, we are all the same color, our blood is all red, and we're really all the same people. bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Rog Peek
Date: 25 May 13 - 06:06 AM

I know how you feel Don, I was once accused of being racist when I sang The Bricklayer's Song

Rog


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 May 13 - 06:28 AM

Well, Rog, the point of the song is that the Irish are stupid, isn't it?   If that isn't racist, what is?


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 25 May 13 - 06:50 AM

I would say my husband is a negro because that is his race. He is also black because that is his colour. He would say I am a British woman who is white. These terms upset neither me nor him. We like to be black and white, we like eachother's appearance and origin. The harm starts when the terms are used perjoratively as an insult. I remember a South African white boy of eight who arrived in my class in Norwich and was placed in a seat next to an Indian lad. He was disgusted and almost shouted at me, "I don't sit next to BLACKS!!" My class gasped in horror. THAT was racism.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 25 May 13 - 07:34 AM

For fuck's sake - my computer is black, my cassette deck is black, my Sony Pro Walkman is black, my CD Recorder, CD Player, Carvin amp and numerous other objects in the room where I am sitting are all black. What is the problem with calling someone black who has black skin. It's quite simple English really.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Ron Davies
Date: 25 May 13 - 12:49 PM

Probably the worst aspect is that this, by its self-ridicule, by plays into the hands of those who don't believe there is any such thing as denigrating through language.

Having said that, I hope she wins a big settlement--maybe the PC fanatics will back off a bit.

There's got to be a middle ground--but we sure haven't found it yet.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 May 13 - 01:14 PM

This thread was started to show Spanish usage, but turned 'racist' like so many others.

Okay, I will add a story. In Honolulu, I went to a show by the Brothers Cazimero, popular entertainers there. Before the concert began, they heard an Australian say, "Let's go hear the brownies." The entire show was colored by their reaction.

As a further note, Azizi, who contributes to mudcat, is Black, and that is her preference, with the capital B.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 25 May 13 - 02:28 PM

I used to have a fine young lady working under me, who described herself as "Black British"!


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST
Date: 26 May 13 - 06:22 AM

"It wasn't that long ago that "Negro" was the accepted term and "black" was derogatory.Certainly in my lifetime."
My recollection too.

Looking at the OP I suspect that they wanted to get rid of her and that seemed like an easy way to do it.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 26 May 13 - 12:48 PM

'Coloured' and 'Negro' were the polite words in my youth (50s and 60s). I never heard anyone refer to dark-skinned people as 'Black', it was regarded as rude and insulting. I still (in my mid-60s) find myself instinctively wanting to use 'Coloured' when describing dark-skinned people.

Which prompts me to ask - why is it OK to describe a person as being 'Of Colour', but not OK to use the term 'Coloured'?

It's a minefield out there to us of the older generation!


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 26 May 13 - 01:52 PM

It's generally people getting offended on behalf of others!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 27 May 13 - 03:07 AM

Yup, in view of the dearth of answers to my question, I reckon it must be so! :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 May 13 - 03:34 AM

Wonderful imagination, Primitive Tribesman. It's because "Of Colour" is the term selected by persons of colour generically to refer to themselves. Obvs, really.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 May 13 - 03:35 AM

Well, actually, BWM, I don't think one hears "Of colour" that often. When I do, I always take it as someone trying to avoid saying 'black', for whatever reason.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 27 May 13 - 06:02 AM

I admire black Americans who refer to themselves as N******. It rather cocks a snook at the racism from whites which they endured for so long.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: artbrooks
Date: 27 May 13 - 08:56 AM

@Eliza: IMHO, that's shock jock stuff. I rather doubt that any of them says "good morning, you sweet old ni**er lady" to his mother.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 May 13 - 09:01 AM

Well, yes; it is a perversely defiant usage, as with that group who called themselves "Niggaz With Attitude".

Slightly puzzled, Eliza, I hope you won't mind my saying, by your use of asterisks above, which seems to me perhaps to fly in the face of the point you are making.

Regards

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 27 May 13 - 09:33 AM

I have asked the question before but have still never got to the bottom of it. When I was in Antigua I was called a 'white nigger'. Was it a racial slur and should I have been insulted? I only ask because I have no idea!

I agree with what Q said though - None of this has anything to do with the Spanish word 'negro' does it. I am sure there must be other examples as well. Interesting discussion on poorly thought out car names here. Dunno if it is all true but quite amusing none the less.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Greg F.
Date: 27 May 13 - 11:22 AM

It wasn't a compliment.....


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 May 13 - 02:52 PM

So I'm sitting in Russ's Restaurant in Seattle's University District drinking coffee and reading when a friend of mine drops in and joins me. He happens to be colored, of color, Negro, African American, take your choice of what you consider the least offensive, because everybody seems to have a different take on the matter.

It's been pretty cold all week, and he's bundled up in a warm looking coat, gloves, and a fur hat. One of these jobbies:   CLICKY.

"Hey!" sez I, "Cool hat! No, let me correct that. Looks like a pretty warm hat, actually."

"Yeah," he sez. Then adds, "You've heard of a Black Russian, haven't you?"

(1¾ oz. vodka, ¾ oz. coffee liqueur. Fill with ice, stir.)

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 27 May 13 - 05:43 PM

MtheGM, I used asterisks to avoid offending anyone here with the full word, as not everyone is comfortable with seeing it printed in full.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 27 May 13 - 06:37 PM

Someone, in casting aspersions at an opinion I'd expressed,
called me a WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, for anyone
who doesn't recognize it.)

I replied that, on the contrary, I was an MPGA.

Give up? See below.
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A mottled-pinkish German atheist, of course!


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 28 May 13 - 06:37 AM

artbrooks, LOL! No, I doubt anyone would. But I've heard young black men on TV music shows (R&B and Rap, which I really like!) and it's obvious they're addressing eachother with the N word as it's bleeped on the song. Good for them, I say!


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Futwick
Date: 28 May 13 - 10:14 AM

"I admire black Americans who refer to themselves as N******. It rather cocks a snook at the racism from whites which they endured for so long."

Stupidest shit I ever read. The way to deal with white racism is to immerse yourself in it? What should they do next, wear KKK and Nazi t-shirts, attack each other on the streets and yell at each other to go back to Africa?

As a member of a minority race in America that isn't black, we don't call each other derogatory terms that whites have used to label us. I've never heard it and I doubt I ever will. Why blacks have chosen this tack especially when they have proven themselves so ill-equipped to deal with ANY variation of this word when used by those who don't get a pass is utterly beyond me. There is nothing productive about using those hateful terms. It only perpetuates them and if we were going to be so goddamn sensitive about others using those terms then we should stop using them ourselves because it doesn't make sense to perpetuate terms we dislike others using to describe us.

That means we don't call each other that and we don't put those terms in songs where every other word is one of these terms and then blast these songs at 120 dB at 3 o'clock in the fucking morning when people who have jobs are trying to sleep.

And the WORST enemy such people have are white liberals cheering them on for using words they would instantly slap anyone else down for using in their presence. THAT is racism! It's racist when you say it, it's racist when I say it, it's racist when they say it.

Racist terms are used by racists. PERIOD!


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 28 May 13 - 11:49 AM

Completely agree.
If a word or phrase is racist, it's racist no matter who says it. Its like the parent telling his (or her) child, "stop fucking swearing!" - the debate is lost by the user of the word, no matter who it is.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 28 May 13 - 11:51 AM

Sorry Eliza, I usually agree with your undoubted words of wisdom but, on this occasion, I'm with the other view! :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 28 May 13 - 12:16 PM

Oh, hell, we have had endless threads on when one can write or say "nigger"; or could do in previous periods and contexts, e.g. in great works of literature from previous ages like Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn or Pudd'nhead Wilson, say. Have we ever reached any sort of consensus. Are we going to now? In a pig's ear, we are!

~M~

Honest, now ~~ anyone had a really genuine fit of the vapours or the heebiee-jeebies or any such at my having typed out all those six letters above? Have the heavens clouded over with thuderclouds? Will the grass never grow again within 100 yards of my WP? Oh, come on...


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Futwick
Date: 28 May 13 - 12:32 PM

It doesn't make sense for people to want to censor these books but it's ok to play mainstream songs with that use these words in the worst possible way, it does not compute.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 28 May 13 - 12:58 PM

I don't wish to re-write historical books, Michael, those written at a time when language and mores were different to today's, I'd happily allow those to stand. But contemporary use of terms like 'nigger', 'coon' et al undoubtedly has strong racist connotations and must be deplored, no matter who uses them.

And I'm no liberal limp-wrist, I call a spade a fuckin' spade (pun intended) but, as with the example I used in my earlier post, it makes no sense for the complainant to himself commit the offence about which he is complaining - it's illogical and it destroys his argument at a stroke.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 28 May 13 - 01:03 PM

I take your point, BWM; but would like to hear a black man who chose to use one of the objectionable words of himself explain his motivations for doing so. To rob them of their power to offend might perhaps be one possible justification?

I am sure Niggaz With Attitude will have had some reason for adopting that name.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Futwick
Date: 28 May 13 - 01:27 PM

The idea that using the word robs it of its power is the biggest load of manure I've ever heard. If that's so then why do so many blacks flip out when a white person says it? Sounds like its power is pretty much intact to me.

Stop using the damned word, THAT robs it of its power.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 28 May 13 - 01:53 PM

Precisely!


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 28 May 13 - 02:09 PM

Whether or not Black people should be using the word Nigger or not, is a debate for Blacks to have amongst themselves. And of course - pretty unsurprisingly - there *is* an ongoing debate among Blacks about the matter, both among artists who have asserted their right to 'reclaim' the word, and linguists and other academics who have analysed this cultural phenomenon.

Fact is though, Black people don't need White approval for what they choose to do with the words White's have used to abuse them with. As such, I find the indignant tone of this thread somewhat pompous.

Props to MthGM for the N.W.A. reference :D


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Don Firth
Date: 28 May 13 - 03:08 PM

I'm with CS on this matter.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Ron Davies
Date: 28 May 13 - 03:10 PM

Look, people, this is an open-and-shut case.

If she was in fact fired for saying "negro", and appears this is in fact the main precipitating cause,   this is supremely stupid:   she is herself black.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Futwick
Date: 28 May 13 - 03:13 PM

"Black people don't need White approval for what they choose to do"

This was the argument used when black NFL players on opposing teams were taunting each other by drawing their index fingers over their throats. The NFL told them to cut it out. And we were all treated to more of this "white society trying to control black American cultural expressions of athletic competition" BS. Well, if they can't control it themselves, then I suppose that is how it has to be because such expressions are unacceptable. You don't do it. Luckily the NFL wouldn't budge on it and made it unsportsmanlike to make such gestures because IT IS!

And, ya know, it's that kind of thing that might--JUST MIGHT--contribute to why 46% of all convicted murderers in this country are black (DOJ statistics). Need further proof? Go into a predominantly black club and point at somebody you don't know or just lock eyes with them--go ahead. There is NOT ONE person reading this who would DARE and we all know exactly why.

And since I live in a predominantly black neighborhood, I would like, for once, to drive down the street and not have to slow down because there's 10 black kids walking down the middle of the fucking street. Hey, we have a great new technology called a fucking SIDEWALK. Try using it.

So maybe when white people or any people who aren't black make a suggestion as to how a lot of blacks can live longer without being shot or incarcerated or run over, it might be a good idea to just shut up and listen once to our pompous asses in a while.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 28 May 13 - 07:11 PM

One question I think many posters have missed would be "how did the teacher pronounce the word"? The Spanish word is pronounced "nay-gro" while the English word is pronounced ''nee-gro". If she said "nay-gro", then it's the Spanish word.

For real overreaction, check out this. My political views are very liberal, and I'm very sensitive to racial issues (probably due to a few experiences of anti-Chinese racism, and being aware of the White Australia Policy, which was just an excuse for White Australians to prevent people of my ethnic group from immigrating here)
I'm willing to admit that Tolkien's books have racially problematic connotations and elements, but calling the Professor himself racist is a step too far IMO. A person can have racist thoughts without being racist.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2002/dec/02/jrrtolkien.lordoftherings


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 28 May 13 - 07:19 PM

And yes, I agree that Black people should be the ones to decide what they want to be called. In fact, all non-white ethnic groups should be the ones deciding what they should be called...


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Futwick
Date: 28 May 13 - 10:19 PM

Wrong. It's up to the individual. Who speaks for an entire race of people? Nobody. Nobody has the right to tell me what to be called. It's up to me, not to some spokesperson for my ethnic group but to me.

But I am at least reasonable about it. I don't call people of my ethnicity by a racist term that I forbid others outside that ethnicity to use. It's hypocritical. If you want people to meet you halfway that means you have to walk the other half.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 29 May 13 - 12:12 AM

That's what I meant. Sorry for it not being clear!

(Slight thread drift warning)

What's your opinion on the Tolkien racism question?


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Don Firth
Date: 29 May 13 - 01:44 AM

Sherman Alexei, the American author and poet, and something of a humorist, was born and raised on the Spokane Indian Reservation.

When asked in a radio interview about whether he preferred to be referred to as "Indian" or "Native American" (which many of the PC police have been insisting upon within recent years), his response was that he doesn't really care for "Native American" as an appellation as he feels it is somehow pretentious. He said that he prefers being referred to, simply, as "Indian."

Not all members of a particular ethnic group are in agreement.

It's a minefield out there, and the PC police are shooting at everyone—indiscriminately.

=======

I have read all of J. R. R. Tolkien's novels, not once, but several times (and I have seen the movies) and I see absolutely nothing racist about them. Within the context of the story, there are humans, elves, hobbits, wizards, dwarfs, orcs. . . .

I have detected nothing "racist" about his novels. I had never heard that allegation until now.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 29 May 13 - 02:26 AM

I read recently of one asked what appellation he preferred ~~ "Native American? Ethnic American? Original American?" he was asked.

"Why, Indian of course," he replied cheerfully.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 29 May 13 - 03:14 AM

"Wrong. It's up to the individual. Who speaks for an entire race of people? Nobody. Nobody has the right to tell me what to be called. It's up to me, not to some spokesperson for my ethnic group but to me.

But I am at least reasonable about it. I don't call people of my ethnicity by a racist term that I forbid others outside that ethnicity to use. It's hypocritical. If you want people to meet you halfway that means you have to walk the other half."


Not only reasonable, but logical and sensible.

For those above who don't seem to be acquainted with the principle, it's called "Setting a good example". If you don't want your kids to swear, don't use bad language yourself. If you don't want to be called 'nigger', don't use that word yourself. It's not rocket science is it?


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 29 May 13 - 03:33 AM

But, BWM, I take it that black people who refer to themselves as "niggers" do want to be so called; presumably as a means to disinfect the word, cleanse it of its offensiveness. Whether this is a sensible or viable means of doing so is another question; but I take this, or something like it, to be their purpose.

Is there a black Mudcatter out there who calls himself, and would wish to be called, a nigger, who could advise us, please? I genuinely do seek enlightenment on this matter.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 May 13 - 05:46 AM

LOTR issue. The wars were fought between different races, IE the human race and it's allies against the races that wanted to destroy them. Not just different cultures and colours. How on earth can any book which involves war be anything but prejudice against one side or the other? I am usually a fan of the Guardian for it's sensible outlook. But the article referred to is twaddle. I can only hope that it was written with tongue firmly in cheek or to get a reaction. It was written in 2002 and discusses a work of fiction as if it were somehow real so, thankfully, it never gained a following.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Futwick
Date: 29 May 13 - 10:31 AM

I have never read Tolkien, I don't know anything about what is racist in his writings. It's not the kind of stuff I read although I do not disparage anyone who reads Tolkien, it's just not what interests me.

It's not just that I shouldn't use a racist term to address people of my own ethnicity while flying into a rage if others do it, but also to allow others some slack in what word they do use as long as it is not clearly derogatory.

So, yes, maybe a person would rather be called an "Indian" rather than a "Native American" but should also allow the latter because there's no way anyone can know what he personally prefers. As long as it not "redskin" or something.

If you are an Arab don't get in somebody's face because you want to be called "Jurhum" or something and that anyone who says "Arab" is a racist. Give people a break. You can say, if asked, "I prefer to be called 'Jurhum' but 'Arab' is okay." It beats the hell out of camel jockey or sand nigger. So if people are trying to address your ethnicity in a fair, reasonable manner, cut them some slack.

If you're Japanese, you might want to be called "Asian" and not "Oriental" (which has fallen out of favor for some years) but if someone says Oriental, don't fly off in a tizz. After all, "Asian" is a very general term that describes a huge number of people of various phenotypes, "Oriental" is a term that Middle and Near Easterners often use to describe themselves and I have met people of Far Eastern descent who still preferred it over Asian. And, for that matter, "Far Easterner" should be acceptable. Start getting in people's faces about it and they're going to start calling you gook behind your back because they can't stand you so you might be encouraging racism more than anything.

So just be reasonable. If you're white and prefer white to caucasian don't get flustered over someone calling you caucasian, it's not a big deal. And I'm sure you'd like that better than "whitey." We can't know what everybody prefers to be called so let's dispense with the PC indignant outrage and cut each other some slack for the sake of civilized dialogue. As long as we are not using blatantly offensive terms, then let's live and let live.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 May 13 - 01:16 PM

Digression-
Negro in much of American speech is pronounced nig-ro, not ne-gro.

Dunno how the other English-speaking groups pronounce it. I haven't checked the OED for variants.

In formal ("Castilian") Spanish, negro is pronounced nay-gro, but that varies.
In Mexico, ney-gro, and ney-grah (fem.). Almost an neh- sound.

In referring to people, nigeriano, na is common. The Dictionario of the Real Academia Española remarks that this is applied to people from Nigeria, but many Spaniards would apply it to all Blacks.

I think looking for racism in Tolkien's books is silly.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Don Firth
Date: 29 May 13 - 02:07 PM

I think that accusing Tolkien of being racist because his epic fantasy is populated by a variety of "humanoids" such as humans, hobbits, elves, dwarves, orcs, etc. is the same of accusing H. G. Wells of racism because of his story The War of the Worlds, in which the Martians, an intelligent, but entirely different species, invade Earth.

Is Michael Chrichton a "speciesist" because he wrote Jurassic Park, In which a tyrannosaurus rex and a flock of velociraptors are the "bad guys?"

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 29 May 13 - 02:15 PM

In Malinke, a black person would refer to himself as 'farafi'. This isn't an insult. I could say to my in-laws 'Ayeh farafinye', 'you're black', and they'd be quite happy. They'd probably reply 'Ibeh toubabooyeh', 'You're white.' But then, they've never suffered from racism or insults from white people and aren't sensitive about their or others' race.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 29 May 13 - 06:11 PM

""And yes, I agree that Black people should be the ones to decide what they want to be called. In fact, all non-white ethnic groups should be the ones deciding what they should be called..""

That pretty neatly excludes white people from the same consideration, wouldn't you say?

Do you feel happy with the idea of being called "Cueball", or "Honkey", by those who want you to accept their own names for themselves?

Shouldn't these courtesies and considerations apply to all human beings, whether minorities or majorities?

White American and White British are ethnic groupings, are they not?

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 May 13 - 07:54 PM

And then there are white Australians.... Another ethnic group?




(I'll take my sombrero and leave)


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 30 May 13 - 01:17 AM

@DonT: I'm not White, but Chinese.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 30 May 13 - 01:23 AM

Also, I'm Australian, so no, I am not happy with being a Ching-Chong by White Australians.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 30 May 13 - 01:24 AM

*called*


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 30 May 13 - 03:04 AM

There was something similar reported in the press here in Scotland a few days ago though there is little on the net about it. The musician Fergie MacDonald was reported to the police for supposedly using the derogatory word "sassenach" to a local hotel owner in Glenmoriston. According to MacDonald he tried to get the owner to take a few of his CDs to sell but the offer was refused. The owner said the tourists wouldn't take them though it was the locals who were the target purchasers. As MacDonald was leaving the hotel one of the locals in the bar said something like "no luck there then Fergie" in Gaelic. MacDonald replied again in Gaelic "the Englishman doesn't know what would sell here". The hotel owner made out the word sassenach (in this context it is the recognised word for Englishman in Gaelic) and decided he was being racially abused.

It is a difficult thing when two different languages are involved especially if one the people doesn't speak the native language - but it does mean that any Gaelic speaker using the recognised word for English (I know it originally was more an adjective for English speakers in general)runs the risk of being accused of bigotry.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 30 May 13 - 03:38 AM

@Allan: I wouldn't have any problem with a British person (or older person in general- here in Australia it's usually older people who use these terms) calling me an Oriental, though it might shock me at first.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 30 May 13 - 05:21 AM

Yes sorry Morwen I didn't make myself clear and wasn't meaning to compare the Gaelic thing with your points. I meant to compare it with the Spanish teacher using the Spanish word for black. The word Sassenach is used by Scots in general to describe the English. Mostly as a light-hearted term (though of course not always) and in a non abusive way the same as they might call us Jocks. However in the Gaelic language it is also the actual correct term. Just very complicated when more than one language is the issue.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 30 May 13 - 05:24 AM

That is about the reaction, or lack of it, that I expected.

If only non whites are to be considered worthy of respect, then the human race hasn't advanced an inch in the last century.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 30 May 13 - 05:29 AM

In just the same way that I've been called a Toubab. It literally means 'black' but if used in a jeering way can be a bit cheeky and rude. I've had little boys in Senegal grinning and calling out "Toubab! Toubab!" But honestly, if one is as sensitive as all that and takes offence at silly stuff, one should stay indoors and watch daytime TV. I must add that I too have been called a Sassenach in Scotland, and it was in fact out of prejudice against 'The English'. But when one considers Scottish History, it's a wonder they even let me into their country at all!


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 30 May 13 - 06:32 AM

@Don T: Here's the way I see it. It's not that White people don't deserve respect, it's just that we non-White people (as an ethnic Chinese person, I'm not qualified to comment on the general attitudes of other people, only on the general attitudes of my ethnic group) have historically been the target of more racism from Whites. There's still racism against Chinese Australians. I've experienced it myself, and I can probably safely assume that those people, who were White, wouldn't have said those things to me if I was a White girl. But because I'm a Chinese girl, they can be racist to me because I'm not White.
So racism against White people doesn't have the same impact as against non-White people. If I was a White woman, I might get annoyed at insults thrown at me by non-White people, but I'd just blend in as a member of the majority, and so I could go half my life without ever hearing more than a few insults.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Greg F.
Date: 30 May 13 - 08:09 AM

Toubab. It literally means 'black'...

Err.... I believe it actually means 'rich (usually white but not always so) European', does it not? Not generally meant as an insult, but an identifier.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Ron Davies
Date: 30 May 13 - 10:08 AM

"pronounce the word".   I thought about this too.   But look, people, she is a Spanish teacher.    It seems a good bet she knows that in Spanish the word is pronounced "nay-gro" and that's the way she would have done it. So that argument fails also.

What seems likely to me is that she is a disciplinarian and at least one student realized the way to remove the disciplinarian was to attack her on the PC basis.    This, as I've noted, is a classic abuse of PC.

But of course there were "four seventh-grade witnesses"--what more could anybody want?
Everybody knows 7th-graders would never exploit a situation.   Of course not.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: meself
Date: 30 May 13 - 11:00 AM

I would like to make it clear that I, as a white person, will not be terribly hurt and/or outraged if some non-white person calls me 'honkey' or 'cueball'. Go ahead; you hereby have my permission. However, be aware that some white people may be terribly hurt and/or outraged if addressed by such terms, and I don't speak for them.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 30 May 13 - 11:42 AM

""@Don T: Here's the way I see it. It's not that White people don't deserve respect, it's just that we non-White people (as an ethnic Chinese person, I'm not qualified to comment on the general attitudes of other people, only on the general attitudes of my ethnic group) have historically been the target of more racism from Whites.""

Sorry to disagree, but you don't remove prejudice by rturning it.

How long, would you say, should white people who are not responsible for the actions of their ancestors accept being punished for those actions by vengeful people, before they are considered to have expiated ancient crimes, and therefore to be worthy of respect?

I am not talking of the few remaining idiots who currently exhibit racism, but of the many who put a lot of effort into combatting it, as here on Mudcat, for example.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Ron Davies
Date: 30 May 13 - 11:53 AM

"cueball"?    Doesn't that mean bald?

Somehow it seems we're roaming far from the topic.    Which of course never happens on Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 May 13 - 12:31 PM

Total digression.
In Canada products are labeled in both English and French.

On the packs of little pads used to dab alcohol or remove makeup, the product is labeled tampon on the French label.
In English that is a name for something used by menstruating women. In the U.S., tampons are a Class II medical device.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 30 May 13 - 03:41 PM

"So racism against White people doesn't have the same impact as against non-White people"

I must admit I have a wee bit of a problem with that statement as true equality only comes about when everyone is treated the same and every racist incident is treated the same. Several years back a young white boy was picked up on a Glasgow street by a car load of Asian men and brutally murdered for being white. It would simply be wrong to suggest that because many racist attacks are against non whites that his murder had less impact or was less important than the murder of a non-white. I'm sure that isn't what you're meaning to say but it kind of leads to that in the end.

There are also stats and stats and lies. Again several years back much was made in Scotland of the fact that per head of the population Catholics are more likely to suffer a sectarian attack. However the same set of stats also showed that per head of the population Catholics also carried out more sectarian attacks. This point was kind of swept under the carpet though!


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 30 May 13 - 05:59 PM

Greg F, no it actually means 'white person', at least in Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, and the other francophone W African countries. I don't know about other parts of Africa though. White people ARE seen as 'rich', and by that I mean extremely rich, almost millionaires. No-one there believes there are white people in Europe who aren't all that well-off.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Greg F.
Date: 30 May 13 - 06:33 PM

Thanks, Eliza - that's a better explanation of what I'd thought.

Best,

Greg


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 May 13 - 07:36 PM

Wikipedia has a brief article on "toubab." Some references appended to the stub.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 31 May 13 - 04:13 AM

Interesting, Q, and more or less what I've encountered. But I've been in Gambia (not a terribly superb place; seemed to me to be full of white 'sex tourists', yuk!) The Wikipedia entry I've just looked at says the Gambia uses the term toubab. But I've never heard it there. They speak English well, at least in Banjul, and I don't think they know that word. I might be wrong, as I never stayed there long, just used Banjul airport. I always whizzed through on my way to Senegal.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 31 May 13 - 07:24 AM

@Allan: The thing is that a horrible incident like the one you described is very rare (I would think), as in a white person is unlikely to be killed for just being White, as opposed to the cases of non-White people being killed for being non-White.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Futwick
Date: 31 May 13 - 11:19 AM

After all, I've never heard of non-white peoples forming groups like the KKK and the Nazis.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 May 13 - 06:08 PM

Sorry to be dense, Futwick, but I assume that was an ironic post. I find it difficult to tell nowadays! Just in case it wasn't, or for anyone that doesn't know, dare I mention Al Qaeda and Black Panthers?

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 31 May 13 - 07:02 PM

Osama bin Laden was Black?

Your example is half-wrong, Dave, but through history, examples of one race dominating or killing another are common.

Genocide and warfare between Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda and Congo are one of the more recent examples.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 31 May 13 - 08:03 PM

"cueball"?    Doesn't that mean bald?

No it means white! Go take a look at your nearest pool or snooker table and see what colour the cueball always is.

Which is of course an irrelevance, since it is merely one example of white folks being outside the protection of racism laws and political correctness.

Pure spiteful vengeance.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Ron Davies
Date: 31 May 13 - 10:06 PM

Has anybody ever called you "cueball"?   I've never heard of it before.   Maybe it's mostly in the UK.

And that's pure spiteful vengeance?

If you say so. i defer to your superior knowledge.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 May 13 - 10:07 PM

There aren't any intrinsically racist terms. What happens is that words that are totally harmless and inoffensive get used by racists in such a way as to make it hard to use them without hurting other people. It's a drag, because the words used instead then get used by racists so as to become unusable.

The same happens in other contexts such as disability.

Changing the language can be helpful at times, but only temporarily. The real answer has to be changing the attitudes so that the prejudice becomes generally seen as ridiculous and offensive in itself - as with Eliza's class's reaction to the eight year old from South Africa who'd revealed the attitude his family had instilled into him: "my class gasped in horror"

In a truly non-racist culture the kind of words mentioned here would just be words, and the only relevant things would be whether people knew what they referred to. (For example "cueball" would mean absolutely nothing to most people in my part of the world. As soon call them a football.)


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Ron Davies
Date: 31 May 13 - 10:08 PM

"I defer".    Interesting how you can sure read a post better after it's posted. The print size makes an amazing difference.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Jun 13 - 03:52 AM

Q - Osama bin Laden was Black?

Futwick did not mention black. The phrase was "I've never heard of non-white peoples forming groups like..."

From Wikipedia -
The police services of the UK began to classify arrests in racial groups in 1975, but later replaced the race code with an Identity Code (IC) system.[13]

IC1 White person
IC2 Mediterranean person
IC3 African/Caribbean person
IC4 Indian, Nepalese, Pakistani, Maldivian, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi, or any other (South) Asian person
IC5 Chinese, Japanese, Korean or South-East Asian person
IC6 Arabic, Egyptian or Maghreb person
IC0 Origin unknown

Osama bin Laden was, by ethnic definition, IC6 and not white so my list stands.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 01 Jun 13 - 06:58 AM

"you described is very rare (I would think), as in a white person is unlikely to be killed for just being White, as opposed to the cases of non-White people being killed for being non-White."

Well here in the UK it is very rare for anyone to be killed simply because of the colour of the skin. Black people are proportionately much more likely to be killed than other groups but the vast bulk of them (about 88%) are killed by other black people. This is probably not so much a straightforward race issue as a class issue. Most of the murders take place in deprived urban parts of London and Manchester etc where a fair proportion of the population are black. Of the 12% who were killed by non-blacks (which would include whites and asians etc) then only a percentage (perhaps a tiny percentage?)of these would be specifically for racist reasons. My point is that every racist attack should be treated the same. An attack on a white person is just as indefensible as an attack on a black person would be.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Jun 13 - 01:35 PM

Dave the Gnome- not all Arabic peoples are the same; the IC6 category is a lump of people of different genetic makeup and is based on their geographic place of origin. Not acceptable in forensics.

Osama would be considered white, by his appearance; also his Syrian mother.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Jun 13 - 03:24 PM

Race is defined in many ways, many of them emphasizing cultural rather than biologic differences.

C. S. Coon, in his "The Races of Europe," fits people in three main groups: Mongoloid, Negroid, and Caucasoid.

Caucasoids include most North Africans, Europeans, those of the Horn of Africa, western Asia/Middle East, Asia Minor, and central and south Asia. Note that skin shades are not considered a major physical differential.

The other two are Mongoloid and Negroid.

A good summary of the variables in the various groupings considered in classifications is contained in the article by Scott MacEachern, "The Concept of Race in Contemporary Anthropology," which is online.

The UK police "identity code" is based on cultural/geographical, not physical anthropological, differences.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Jun 13 - 07:20 PM

I'm going to go back on a vow that I would NEVER again involve myself in a Racism 101* or a Race In America 101* discussion at Mudcat.

*"101" is the term used in the USA for basic college/university level courses.

However, because I choose to, I want to expand on a statement that was made about me & expand on comments about racial referents for Black people in the USA. And because I choose not to, I won't make any comment about anything else in this thread.

I refer to myself as Black (informally), African American (formally) and a Person (a Woman) of Color when I wish to acknowledge my unity with other non-White people (Women).

I capitalize the first letter of the racial referents "Black" & "White" because I choose to. However, I recognize that either capitalizing or not capitalizing the first letter of those two racial referents is perfectly acceptable usage. But, it is NOT acceptable usage to spell "African American" with lower case beginning "a"s.

Furthermore, I'm aware that the referent "Black" refers to more people than "African American" - meaning there are far more Black people than there are African Americans, and a person can be Black but not African American, even in the USA. Yes, it's complicated and somewhat contradictory. But such is life.

As to "Negro" & "Colored" as referents for the population now called African Americans/Black Americans, those two terms have been long retired, in spite of the fact that the Civil Rights organization NAACP retains the "Colored People in their name. Again, such is life.

As to why we [Black Americans] turned decided to choose other referents for ourselves, well, that's a long story.And, granted, there was a transition period when various other racial referents -such as Afro-American, and Afra-American-were being tried out. And granted, because of past history & older connotations of those terms, and for other reasons, some Black Americans, particularly older Black Americans don't like to be called "Black" or "African Americans". It bes that way sometime.

Also, the term "negro" with a lower case "n" is sometimes used by African Americans in writing & in speech as a pejorative. A "negro" (lower case) is a male or female who puts his or her interests ahead of other members of his racial group. He is an "Uncle Tom". She is an Aunt Jemima. [Racism 101; Race In America 101]

I choose not to use or even completely spell what is now called "the n word". I don't accept the notion of re-claiming that word and REALLY don't like it when anyone regardless of his or her race/ethnicity uses it. [By the way, there are multiple Black ethnicities, but that may be beyond Race in America 101]

For those who may be interested, here's a link to a post on my cultural blog entitled "Why We Call Ourselves African American"
http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2011/09/why-we-call-ourselves-african-american.html

That post is a slightly revised version of a post that I wrote on Mudcat in 2005.

Also for those who may be interested, here's a link to my latest [to date] post on that blog: http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/06/eleven-non-racist-product-commercials.html "Eleven Non-Racist Product Commercials That Include Black People"

The comments I wrote on that post about being "color blind" might be enlightening to some people here.   

Best wishes,

Azizi Powell


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 01 Jun 13 - 07:31 PM

For some reason I get a bit hot under the collar when I attend hospital appointments and am asked to fill in a form about my 'ethnicity'. The choices are black, white, etc. I'm afraid I usually write "a rather sallow shade of pale pink." which doesn't go down too well with the receptionist.The last time I was there for an endoscopy. Surely bodies are much the same under the skin?


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Jun 13 - 07:53 PM

Well there are conditions where it can be relevant, such as sickle cell anaemia, but not too many. I imagine the justification would be on the grounds of helping to monitor that there's not some kind of instutionalised discrimination creeping in, but it does feel a bit heavy handed.

Of course there's generally a box for "mixed" - and when you get down to it, we can all tick that and be truthfull enough when you go far enough back. We found a photo of one of my wife's great great great grandfathers the other day, and he looks like he had black antecedants, which living in Bristol would seem likely enough. Sent it in an email to my son, and he's dead pleased and wants to find out more about him.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 02 Jun 13 - 02:22 AM

Excellent post, Azizi. Clears up some things I had problems understanding.

And.......100!


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 02 Jun 13 - 04:02 AM

McGrath, how fascinating! I'm always sad when I see many, many young African women plastering their skin with an evil-smelling cream to turn themselves whiter. My sister-in-law was married two years ago and in the photo she looked almost European, which was, sadly, considered a 'plus'. She's absolutely beautiful as she is, (she really is a stunner) and it was such a shame. My husband is bemused by the trend here for either tanning salons or orangey-coloured spray tans. So we're trying to look darker and Africans are trying to look paler. Mad world!
Regarding ethnicity on hospital reception forms, surely the referring GP and the consultant are well aware of my colour and race? What if one wrote 'black' and presented oneself as an obviously white lady? They'd query it, thereby demonstrating that they have eyes after all!


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 02 Jun 13 - 05:42 PM

Q - The UK police "identity code" is based on cultural/geographical, not physical anthropological, differences.

I am not sure you have fully grasped the idea of IC's. They are often given in describing a person purely on the basis of a sighting. The only reason would, therefore be a physical or anthropological difference. Whether that is fair of not is a different kettle of fish but, sorry, that is how they are used.

On the Bin Laden argument. Firstly, he would be classed as IC6 on either the cultural/geographical that you state the IC uses. Secondly he would be classed as IC6 at first sight on the physical and anthropological front. Finally, I did not mention Bin Laden anyway - I quoted Al Qaeda as being a non-white organisation. Which I still stand by.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Jun 13 - 07:16 PM

Al Qaeda, to a physical anthropologist, is composed mostly of Caucasoids. Many are white by any standard. IC1, plus some IC2, IC6, IC0.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Jun 13 - 09:44 PM

Well, it's true that there are a fair number of people in the Caucasus who are Muslims and engaged in some pretty bloody fighting but I think the indications are that very few of them have much time for Al Qaeda.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Jun 13 - 09:44 PM

Well, it's true that there are a fair number of people in the Caucasus who are Muslims and engaged in some pretty bloody fighting but I think the indications are that very few of them have much time for Al Qaeda.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 02:25 AM

Fairy nuff, Q. I am sure you are right but I still stand by original comment that it is, perceived anyway, as a non-white organisation. As an example I could have found a better one I suppose but I think the point is made anyway.

Got hiccups Kevin? :-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 12:41 PM

Hey, DtG, I can just imagine this conversation:

Distressed Lady: Officer, my purse was ripped off.
Officer: Could you describe him?
D. L.: Well, he was white.
Officer: Oh, an IC1?
D. L.: No, damn it, a white bastard !


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 12:44 PM

:-) Or maybe "Was he an IC1?" "No, he looked pretty hot!"

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 12:59 PM

Here's a piece in today's Guardian musing on these matters - Black, Asian, perhaps Caucasian. Do labels do us any good Coming to the conclusion We love to label, we hate the labels – especially our own – and every so often, to feel better, we have to change them. Things change, things stay the same..

Precisely so.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: beardedbruce
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 01:12 PM

Back to thread topic

"The non-tenured junior high instructor, Petrona Smith, 65, was booted from the bilingual PS 211 in March 2012 after a seventh-grader reported the alleged insult.

Smith, who is black and a native of the West Indies, has been unemployed since her ouster."


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 01:26 PM

I note the author of that Guardian opinion piece advocates replacing Black British with African British, thus entirely neglecting British Blacks of West Indian heritage, not to mention those of mixed race who were born here in Britain of no - or indeed do not personally identify with any - definitive foreign heritage.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 01:37 PM

True, McGrath.

I think you mentioned sickle cell anemia.

I was going through some Jamaican sites looking for music background. and ran across this.

Usain Bolt had just run another perfect 100. In an interview, a professor at the university in Jamaica, commenting on the speed of Jamaican runners, said it was genetics, the Black runners had the muscle coordination necessary.

A few years ago, a prominent American TV sports announcer remarked on the superior muscle coordination of the Black participants, and was fired because his remarks became tarred by the "race" discrimination label.

It is true of a plexus of Blacks who were taken into slavery from west Africa. (It is by no means true of all of the Negroid group).
There are slight, identifiable differences in muscle and bone structure that are identifiable by the forensic anthropologist.

Recognizing the forensic differences in the human spectrum does not constitute racism. They are useful in diagnosing disease, inheritance and identification (One of the first things looked for by a forensic pathologist when faced with skeletal remains).


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 04:43 PM

Yes indeed. Q. the Kenyans and Ethiopians for example are superb long-distance and marathon runners. I believe they have genetically adapted to run across the savannah when hunting. They're usually very tall with long legs. I'm always surprised at how easily my hubby loses heat. His hands and feet are freezing cold because his limbs are slightly etiolated, in order to cope with the 40 degree heat and high humidity of his native environment. I, on the other hand, have a nice layer of fat and am dumpling-shaped to conserve heat in our northern climate. My husband cannot seem to digest dairy products or bread easily. He's from a rain-forest hunting tribe (the Senoufou) and of course they wouldn't have kept dairy animals of any kind, or farmed grain, so his digestive system doesn't 'recognise' these foods. And just look at African hair and melanin pigmentation of the skin - it's excellent for protection against the fierce sun. None of this is in the least racist, just genetically interesting.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 05:25 PM

I think Eliza has put her finger on the crux of the origins of so-called "racial differences."

I have heard, from knowledgeable people such as anthropologists and environmentalists, that such things as a high quantity of melanin in the skin, making the skin dark, is an evolutionary adaptation to protection from strong sunlight in tropical climates.

I knew a number of Indian exchange students when I was in college, and although they were racially classed as "Caucasian," their skin was often as dark as that of many Black Africans.

And short and somewhat flatter noses:   if the air is warm and moist, It needs little pre-warming and moistening before it hits the lungs, whereas those who spent many generations in Northern climates (say, Scandinavians) tend to have larger noses with more sinus area to warm and moisten cold, dry air, along with light complexions (very little melanin) in order to absorb vitamin D from the sometimes meager sunlight.

And the "Moorish" or Arabic adaptations in North Africa and the Middle East? Brownish skin—melanin—as protection against strong sunlight, plus fairly large noses to "condition" dry desert air.

And the epicanthic fold that gives some Asian peoples their "slanted" eyes, evolved as a protection for the eyes against the glare of bright sunlight glinting off snow. Peoples such as the Inuit have the characteristic epicanthic fold.

A combination of evolutionary adaptation, and then—migration.

Or such is the theory of many anthropologists as to how different "races" came about. Sounds pretty reasonable to me.

So that means there is far less inherent difference between the "races" that some people would have us believe.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 05:49 PM

Talking about noses Don, my poor husband has to wear a thick scarf over his nose and mouth in wintry weather, as the cold air hits his lungs without being warmed and he gets painful rhinitis and risks pleurisy. When he goes to the gym and uses the treadmill at top speed, the sweat literally bursts from his pores and sprays all over the floor like a fountain. It's a wonderful way for his body to keep the temperature down in very hot conditions. He tells me that an African can stay outside under the fierce grilling sun all day long and never get at all burned. Even babies need no extra sunscreen. Whereas I have to be very careful over there or I'm seriously burned in literally minutes. I just think it's completely fascinating and wonderful how the different races are so beautifully adapted to their environment, and can't for the life of me see why anyone would use these differences to discriminate or persecute. What's not to like about the human body and its infinite varities?


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 07:35 PM

I started out in anthropology, but ended up a geologist. I have never lost interest in the subject, however.

Years ago, current thought was that the epicanthic fold was a relatively recent genetic response. That theory seems to have held up.
Over thousands of years, there has been a selection favoring those who are best adapted to the prevailing conditions.

The genetics of all humans is extremely close. Modern physical anthropologists recognize only three groupings (possibly adding Australoids and Negritos) and consider skin color, once given importance, a minor feature.

When interracial contacts have occurred, only rigorous genetic typing can pick out the story. Recent programs on public television (NPR) focused on one individual who was surprised to learn that he had relationships from Europe to China and points between.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 09:05 PM

All sounds very enticing. People who just read the music threads (which I see as a foolish restriction thy impose on themselves, but that's not immediately relevant) ought to get a chance to see this thread. Or a thread like it, but with the right date in the heading.

Stortfolk is a great club - I dropped out of going a couple of years back when I retrenched on the active music scene, after I tdropped dead temporarily, but I hope I can make it along for this.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 10:58 PM

Sorry - that should have been posted on the thread about Stortfolk...


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Ron Davies
Date: 04 Jun 13 - 11:46 AM

Interesting, isn't it, Bruce, how so many folkies are bound and determined to ignore the actual incident, the reason for the thread---while going on off on their own tangents, no matter how tenuous the connection with the thread topic.

You may as well give up on it.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Jun 13 - 03:53 PM

Bruce's question was discussed. Then we went on to tangential matters.

If he would like further discussion of the topic he introduced (Spanish "black" and the unfortunate instructor), I am sure he will ask for it.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: beardedbruce
Date: 04 Jun 13 - 03:57 PM

I would have expected a notoriously liberal group to have at least some concern over this woman losing her job, and still being unemployed ("blacklisted"?) over this incident, but...

Whatever.

"Drift happens."


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 04 Jun 13 - 04:05 PM

I think many of us were struck by the ridiculous nature of the complaint made against her, beardedbruce. Implied in that is indignation at her dismissal. I was a teacher myself for decades, so of course I feel for the lady, losing her livelihood for such a stupid reason. The discussions here have been concerned with how we view comments on race and appearance, and whether such observations are blameworthy or perfectly innocent and natural. Threads do drift, and that's part of the charm of this site surely?


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Jun 13 - 08:12 PM

BB, maybe we are numbed by the event, since there have been similar incidents for years in the States. Of course we are indignant and sympathetic, but students have been suspended as well as teachers for similar reasons.
Any mention or suggestion of race seems to be enough to get a person in trouble. It is a problem across the U.S.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jun 13 - 08:40 PM

Fulminating against an apparent injustice over and over again doesn't help anybody. There appears to be no news about how this case is working out. I'm sure most of us would hope that the sacked teacher gets justice, assuming that the facts as stated are correct, and also that those responsible will get appropriate penalties imposed upon them (which of course tends to be less likely.)

But the issues raised by this case are important, and discussing them here does make sense. One way and another most of us to navigate our way through this confused territory as the communities within which we live become ever more variegated, and new opportunities for getting things wrong present themselves. It's not just about abstract theory, it's also about how we behave and talk.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 01:40 AM

Spot-on, Kevin.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 05:38 AM

""I would have expected a notoriously liberal group to have at least some concern over this woman losing her job, and still being unemployed ("blacklisted"?) over this incident, but...""

I believe the first responses from all of us were concerned about the stupidity of dismissing her for no good reason.

What more did you want? Twenty seven pages of repeated rants on the subject?

That's more your style than the style of the "liberals" you attack.

Want us to start a revolution?

OK! You lead the way and we're right behind you. In my case at least 3000 miles behind, in the UK.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 05:33 PM

With beardedbruce, (and a couple of other people around here) every week is "find some reason to attack a Liberal" week.

It's called "brainfreeze."

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Greg F.
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 05:54 PM

What more did you want?

Beardy mostly just wants attention. Similar to a two-year-old.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Ron Davies
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 06:53 PM

Bruce is right on this one.   It's not "attack a liberal week", just time for evenhanded treatment.


It's clear that this woman- who herself is black--- should not have been fired if the main reason for the firing was using the word "negro" in a Spanish class.

Now, do you agree with this or not?   Should the woman have been fired?   Yes or no?   No tome--or red herring, blind alley or other distraction needed.

If you do not answer, or do not answer with a direct yes or no, Bruce will have proven his point---which is the double standard often seen on Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Greg F.
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 07:56 PM

Oh, Simple Seeker After Truth: your questions have been answered, at length, in the first part of this discussion.

Do learn to read and comprehend English.

And you and Beardy are strange bedfellows, indeed.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 08:33 PM

Just to set the record straight, Ron, NO the teacher should NOT have been fired. The student who complained should have had a few straight facts explained to him/her, then given a swift kick in the keister and kept in after school for an intense course in remedial thinking.

I have the strong suspicion that the student had it in for the teacher for some reason and was just looking for an excuse. ANY excuse.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 08:38 PM

So a succession of posts just saying "no"...

Not much of a thread, if that's the only thing to say. It's a starting point, and a starting point shared by just about everyone who's posted - but there's more to say than that.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 03:05 AM

A no from me too - But, again, this goes without saying.

But may I point you in the direction of the opening post, Ron. Just a report of what happened. No questions at all. The implication being an invitation to discuss all aspects of what happened. There only seems to be you marching to a different drum on this.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 03:17 AM

The OP was simply a cut & paste news story posted without further comment, there was no Yes/No poll attached.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 05:05 AM

""It's clear that this woman- who herself is black--- should not have been fired if the main reason for the firing was using the word "negro" in a Spanish class.""

Didn't I just say that everybody agreed with that in the first instance Ron?

Having agreed, would page after page of repeats serve any purpose?......NO!

Other than making BB feel good, that is!

Would three, or five, or fifty repeats change his opinion of "liberals", or help the poor woman get her job back?......NO!

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 05:06 AM

Good point, Don. I agree that perhaps the pupil wasn't as offended as claimed, but merely looking for a way to 'get at' the teacher. After all, if the teacher herself is black, how could one object to her 'racism'? As a retired teacher, I've noticed cases in the paper and on TV where a pupil has claimed a member of staff 'hit' them or 'pushed' them. The poor teacher has been suspended and their entire career cast in jeopardy while investigations are made. It has often emerged that the teacher has an unblemished record of many decades, and the pupil had been a disruptive and even violent child, merely restrained from attacking other children in the school. I have quite a few times had to get between fighting lads in the playground, and seized collars/clothing to separate them. I could have been accused of 'touching' or 'pushing' in those cases. I also had a child who accused the school secretary of saying the 'f' word. In fact, ahe said to her assistant, "We can't discuss that now, there are flapping ears in the room." The child misheard and a whole day was taken up with a report and witness statement. Honestly, to stand in front of a class you need to have nerves of steel and monitor every word you speak. Heads of schools should be totally supportive (mine was, he stood by his staff 100%) Using the word 'black' to describe a black person cannot possibly be seen as racist. People should take large doses of Common Sense!


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 05:09 AM

Damn! Every time I think I've got the hang of this bloody HTML.........

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 05:15 AM

Except, Eliza, that until very recently, 'black', descriptively accurate as it may be, was seen as the offensive and racist term, while 'coloured' was the acceptable one. The precise contrary is now the case [except that 'colored' survives in the name of the association for the advancement of black Americans ... aaarrrggghhh!]. There are just no explanations for some of these conventions or their mutations!

Cheers

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 05:26 AM

I do feel we must continue to uphold the new mores where offensive, racist, homophobic or abusive remarks and words are no longer acceptable or tolerated. I approve for example the efforts to come down hard on racist jeering on the football pitch. But having witch hunts and jumping on innocent people is going too far and actually damages the cause. People now say 'PC gone mad". I once had a big red-haired lad of twelve come crying to me because people were calling him 'Ginger'. I asked him what colour his hair was, and he replied, "Ginger, Miss." What could one say? I'm afraid I told him to cheer up and laugh it off. I added that I was called 'SkinnyLegs' and 'The Galloping Hairpin' by my classmates, and as I was indeed skeletally thin, I just had to grin and bear it. He laughed and all was well. As I said, Common Sense.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 05:42 AM

You sound a very sensible lady, Eliza. Trouble is that common sense seems to be rather uncommon now and, as long as people think they can get away with it, they will continue to abuse the system. If they get found out they will simply play the race/colour/creed card and until someone stands up and says there are the good, the bad and the simply stupid in ALL cultures we will continue to have to endure it :-(

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 07:18 AM

"Black" isn't actually "descriptively accurate for the vast majority of people so called, just as "white"isn't "descriptively accurate" for just avout anybody. If we were going for descriptive accuracy I suppose the most appropriate one would be to use the words "dark" and "fair", as with hair.   But if course it isn't about desription much of the time, it's about slotting people into categories.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 09:58 AM

That's why I facetiously write 'a rather sallow shade of pink' on the medical form. In Senegal, many of the Wolofs are literally jet black and so, so beautiful. In Cameroon and Cote d'Ivoire, they're a bit paler, more dark brown. It's all completely daft, trying to categorise. Actually, my husband has got paler and paler over the years living here. But of course, he's still negroid by race, calls himself black and is very proud of it. I tell him to sit in the sun a bit more to turn himself blacker. I suppose we could all be issued with shade cards like Dulux paint and choose the nearest match!


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 10:55 AM


Except, Eliza, that until very recently, 'black', descriptively accurate as it may be, was seen as the offensive and racist term, while 'coloured' was the acceptable one.

Of course we have had a post stating that "negro" is now considered offensive in the US. This isn't the case in the UK and presumably not in the West Indies either.

We could interpret the whole thing as a racist sacking of a West Indian by Americans.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 01:10 PM

The teacher is described as Afro-Latino in one story (Black Enterprise, suggesting she is mixed-race. Her color may not be black. (Cf. Martine Dennis, BBCAmerica newscaster, Caribbean mixed race. Would she be described as black? Mixed Caucasoid-Negroid> Is senior BBC broadcasted Zeinab Bedawi Caucasoid or Negroid? She is northern Sudan-Egyptian in her immediate ancestry, so probably Caucasoid.
Some of this typing (British Police, esp.) is not only questionable but silly. Why nor just state color- black, brown, tan, white, with or without beard- watch out, if you are white or tanned with chin whiskers, you could be detained as possible Al Qaeda!

The stories in the press are based on the teacher's lawsuit against the City. We have not seen their defense. There may be more to the story than is carried in the press so far.

Many Afro-Americans are mixed race. Should all of them be described as Black? Nearly all the slaves in North America were from west Africa, of the Negroid group, but many of their descendants are so mixed with Caucasoid that they are no longer black.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 01:36 PM

It is indeed silly. It reminds me of when I used to put my cats in Cat Shows. (Under the General Council of the Cat Fancy, GCCF) Each entry had to conform to the breed type, and there were designated limits to variation, eg 'Chartreuse green' for the eyes of a chinchilla long-haired cat (not just any old green!) and 'sapphire blue' for seal-point Siamese eyes, but 'forget-me-not blue' for blue-point Siamese eyes. It's quite sinister to view people in this way, as if their colour/race is all they are, like cats in a cat show. One of 'my' prisoners I visited made me laugh. He was always having to be described on Police ID forms. When they asked what colour his eyes were, he'd say, "Dunno, mate, I can't see them!"


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Ron Davies
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 03:31 PM

She was teaching colors.   The Spanish for black is "negro".   Sorry, that's the way it is. Too bad if it offends you.

She also taught that the Spanish word for black person (male) is moreno.

Neither of these sound like hanging (or firing ) offenses.

So it's back to the old question:    if she was in fact fired for using the word "negro" in teaching colors, is this justified?    Yes or no, no tome necessary.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Ron Davies
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 03:38 PM

Also, how about the idea of making teaching actually attractive (now there's a concept)--not more of a minefield than it already is?

This will not make it more attractive, to put it mildly.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 04:27 PM

Ron, why are you still beating on this? I think people have answered the question in a resounding "NO, she should NOT have been fired," over and over again.

The answer, once again, is NO, SHE SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN FIRED!

Clear?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Greg F.
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 05:39 PM

Don, ya gotta realize that there is no truth in this world unless it's The Omniscient Simple Seeker After Truth's version of reality.

Resistance is futile; you will be assimilated.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 07:59 PM

""The non-tenured junior high instructor, Petrona Smith, 65, was booted from the bilingual PS 211 in March 2012 after a seventh-grader reported the alleged insult.

Smith, who is black and a native of the West Indies, has been unemployed since her ouster.

"They haven't even accounted for how absurd it is for someone who's black to be using a racial slur to a student," said Shaun Reid, Smith's attorney. "Talk about context! There's a lot of things wrong here."
""

One might assume that her lawyer would be capable and qualified to classify her colour.

Any questions?

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 08:58 PM

Socially and culturally Black, or skin black?


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 07 Jun 13 - 07:25 AM

[sigh]

First, she is a native of the West Indies!

Second, the following, from the article:

""Smith detailed the abuse she claims she often suffered at the hands of her students, who, according to her claims filed in court, called her "f***ing monkey," "cockroach" and "n****r." Smith said she had always risen above their insults.""

Clearer now?


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Jun 13 - 12:12 PM

No. Depending on the amount of mixing, the genetic result is that some natives of the West Indies are very light-coloured (e. g., Martine Dennis, mentioned above).

The alleged epithets are the mouthings of ill-mannered children, mentioned(?) in the lawsuit filed by the teacher alleging that she was dismissed because she called a student Negro.

All press stories that I have seen are based on allegations in the lawsuit filed by the teacher, and her remarks to the press.

I have not yet seen any legal response from the school administration- until this is filed, we have the one-sided allegations in the teacher's lawsuit.

We cannot be sure that her allegations are true- she may have been dismissed for other reasons that those that she alleges.

We will not know the facts of the case until it comes up for trial (or is dismissed by a judge for reason).

Until more information is available, if the legal action goes forward, judgement should be withheld. I need say no more.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Jun 13 - 06:09 PM

Obviously it's a matter of "if". We aren't a jury making reaching a verdict, we are people speculating on the basis of partial imformation. Just as is always the case.

Any opinion we express is by definition contingent. That especially includes the opinions we reach about other people being wrong in their opinions. Its a good idea to keep that in mind.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Jun 13 - 06:09 PM

Obviously it's a matter of "if". We aren't a jury making reaching a verdict, we are people speculating on the basis of partial imformation. Just as is always the case.

Any opinion we express is by definition contingent. That especially includes the opinions we reach about other people being wrong in their opinions. Its a good idea to keep that in mind.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Ron Davies
Date: 07 Jun 13 - 11:13 PM

Don, it's not clear that everybody agrees with you and Bruce--and me.   Q and Kevin also made their stance clear early--that she should have not been fired based on that use of "negro". But some others were too busy beating their own drums to answer the question.

Good to know that some of us are willing to give a simple direct answer.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Jun 13 - 01:11 PM

But no answer is verifiable yet.

If her allegations are true, then the firing was wrong.

So far, however, all we have are her allegations in a suit she has filed, and remarks made by her attorney at the time of filing.
Are other issues involved?

Judgement must be withheld until the administration responds. We may not know the full story until the matter comes up in trial.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Ron Davies
Date: 08 Jun 13 - 01:28 PM

"If her allegations are true.... "    No problem there.

It just seemed that some people were determined to avoid taking a stand--preferably by going off on their own tangents which had tenuous connection with the actual incident.

Not that this ever happens on Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Jun 13 - 03:04 PM

"Judgement must be withheld until the administration responds. We may not know the full story until the matter comes up in trial."

We aren't in the business of."judging", just speculating. That's as far as this actual case goes. And so it is quite right that people move on from that to talking about the underlying principles, which is an area where we can have relevant information, and can make judgements.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Jun 13 - 03:47 PM

McGrath, quite correct. Some posting at mudcat go beyond that, however.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 08 Jun 13 - 05:45 PM

""A 2011 investigation substantiated the student's undated claims based on accounts from four seventh-grade witnesses, even though the student's own parents said he'd lied about the event.""

Given that the normal parental reaction would be to support one's child, the above casts a very considerable doubt on the veracity of both the student and the supporting seventh graders, wouldn't you say?

Sufficient to render dismissal unsafe. Yet she was dismissed and the parents' evidence was ignored.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Jun 13 - 07:01 PM

There are two points at issue - and I'm not talking about the specific case, because I don't know enough about it, and nobody else here does either.

On the one hand, is using negro as a Spanish word to be seen as offensive. And I doubt if anyone would say that it is.

On the other, is using it as an English word something that should be seen as offensive and grossly so. My view is that could only be so if there were other strong evidence that the teacher was behaving in a racist fashion, and the use of the word in itself should not be penalised.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Jun 13 - 07:52 PM

To repeat- the news item is based is based on allegations in the teacher's lawsuit.
"2011 investigation..." From text of the filing of the lawsuit? I can find no published report of an "investigation."


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Jun 13 - 08:40 PM

And, to repeat, no point in talking about the actual case, rather than the points at issue.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Ron Davies
Date: 09 Jun 13 - 11:07 AM

"no point in talking about the actual case"

Sorry, that's drivel.

I made it plain that the case depends on whether the facts are as rendered by the teacher.    If so, the case is open and shut.    And very few people were willing to admit this, far preferring to range far afield and imagine how many racists could be fit onto a pin.

As to speculating on the "color" of the teacher, that shows poor reading skills on the part of the speculators.    The OP states that she herself had been called "nigger" (and other choice epithets) by students in the class, so obviously some in the class felt she could be described as black.


The worst thing about pious pussyfooting around the issue is that, as I said, teaching is hard enough---especially in rough schools like that cited--without putting more mines in the minefield that is PC.

It is reasonable to ask for a direct answer rather than simply assuming the answer is "implied" indignation.    And thanks to Don for giving one.


And of course those unwilling to back the teacher (if the facts are as she relates) will tell us what a shame it is that the quality of education is going down.   Duh.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Ron Davies
Date: 09 Jun 13 - 12:17 PM

The pendulum has swung too far towards "student rights"--- and away from education.

That's the last thing I will have to say on this thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Jun 13 - 01:58 PM

On the basis of the very limited information we have it appears clear enough that at least someone is not tellng the truth. We aren't in a position to make a responsible judgement on that, so it's as well we don't have the responsibility to try to do so.

As you put it, Ron "?.. the case depends on whether the facts are as rendered by the teacher. And of course we don't.

That's why I suggest that it's more sensible to consider the principles involved.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 09 Jun 13 - 04:20 PM

McGrath: "it appears clear enough that at least someone is not tellng the truth. We aren't in a position to make a responsible judgement on that, so it's as well we don't have the responsibility to try to do so."

Nor were we asked to make any judgement on that; the OP cut and pasted a news item without offering any comment, which is perfectly fine of course.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 09 Jun 13 - 05:14 PM

Does anybody here dance the "Black Bottom"?

The Black Bottom - from 3:01!


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Subject: RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'!
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 09 Jun 13 - 06:36 PM

Oh, my lovely Auntie Lil used to dance the Black Bottom and the Charleston in the twenties. She was a real 'flapper', and when I was small she'd show me the steps. I've never before considered that it might refer to black people. What are its origins Bonzo3legs? And is it non PC nowadays?


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