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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • I think that summary of the author's point is this:

    "If white people find this restriction on their vocabulary unreasonable they need only bring forward the day when racism is eradicated - a day all black people look forward to - after which they can say what they like."

    I think for white people to not respect the fact that black people don't like to hear white people say it is just fucked up. Just because a black person says something or acts in a certain way does _not_ mean that it's okay for a white p
    • I understood his argument, but I found it fundamentally irrational, or at least irrationally expressed. It was not "the word is bad because..." but instead "this upsets us (or really, some of us), although you wouldn't really understand it".

      Moreover, it's founded on a basically flawed theory of meaning -- the idea that you get to judge words based not on their intended meaning (because that would really be "context"), but on however listeners or passersby want to willfully misconstrue [uiowa.edu] them.

      I run into a similar thing with American Indians -- as a linguist, every so often I get email from earnest Natives who want me to prove that "squaw [straightdope.com]" is offensive with my expert opinion that it's borrowed from some obscure obscenity. But I say, no, everything seems to point to it coming from an everyday Algonquian word meaning simply "woman"; and moreover, arguing meaning from etymology is fallacious; and in fact, the concept of having to "prove" that something (word or not) is offensive, is pretty shaky. ("Saying that cultural objects [including words] have value is like saying that telephones have conversations" -- Brian Eno.)

      I await the day when some fringe group announces that it (hereby) finds prime numbers offensive.

      • That's all very nice but...

        As a white person its not really your position to be telling black people what they can or cannot be upset over.

        Honestly, it sounds irrational to me too, but I suspect that this comes from the racism of being white. More importantly, I realize that if I made the argument you're making, black people would interpret it as racism. At which point you'd say something about how irrational that is. Except the fact is, that given the average black person's experience, assuming raci
        • I realized that its hard to communicate some of this stuff online, and I don't want this to sound really accusatory or hostile, because I'm not trying to single you out as some paragon of white racism.

          I hope that we'll have a chance to chat about this face-to-face in the future at YAPC or OSCON.
        • As a white person its not really your position to be telling black people what they can or cannot be upset over.

          Then I say the converse is necessarily true: it is not a black person's position, as a black person, to be telling white people what words they can or cannot use.

          I personally don't think anyone has any business telling people what words they can or cannot use, or what they should or should not be upset about, and further that this never has one damned thing to do with color.

          Honestly, it sou

          • Speak for yourself. I am not racist in the slightest.

            It is simply not possible to be white and not be racist. You have enjoyed white privilege your entire life, at the expense of people of color. That is racist.

            Now as to how I'd define white privilige [whiteprivilege.com], just follow [utexas.edu] the [dickshovel.com] links [disciples.org].

            I doubt you could honestly tell me that you haven't experienced those privileges. If you have. but maybe you've never noticed them, that's a privilege too.

            That is the heart of racism. Its not about whether you think black peo
            • It is simply not possible to be white and not be racist.

              Only insofar as it is not possible to be human and not be racist.

              You have enjoyed white privilege your entire life, at the expense of people of color.

              No, I have not.

              I doubt you could honestly tell me that you haven't experienced those privileges. If you have. but maybe you've never noticed them, that's a privilege too.

              I refuse to bow to your desire to use the word "privilege" to mean "normalcy." Please use words properly. Yes, I know

              • >> You have enjoyed white privilege your entire life, at the expense of people of color.

                > No, I have not.

                Yes, you have.

                People of color are less able to compete with white people for things like quality education (starting with elementary), college admissions, jobs, housing, loans, etc.

                That's not to mention the fact that if you get arrested you're more likely to get a light sentence (no jail), you're less likely to get arrested in the first place, you're less likely to be beaten by a police
                • People of color are less able to compete with white people for things like quality education (starting with elementary), college admissions, jobs, housing, loans, etc.

                  I do not compete with anyone for any of these things. Education? It was public, open to everyone who lived there. College? Nearly everyone got in to my college, and I would have had a better chance if I were not white. Job? Probably no difference, but if there were, it would be easier if I weren't white. Housing? I was the only one

        • As a white person its not really your position to be telling black people what they can or cannot be upset over.

          Isn't that perpetuating segregation? I thought we were all human beings.
          • No, its not perpetuating segregation. The "we're all human beings" argument sounds like your average "color blindness" argument. IOW, something like this:

            We all need to treat each other as individuals, not as white or black. We should ignore each other's skin color and deal with people one on one.

            This is a particularly common argument among geeks, who tend to be strongly individualistic and get really upset at being lumped into a group (like "white people").

            But the fact is, _only_ white people have
            • But the fact is, _only_ white people have the privilege of being able to ignore race

              It's not a fact, I'm sorry I won't accept it as such. As an example, my wife did her A levels as a mature student at Uxbridge College in London - a predominantly asian community, and suffered what would be known as racial abuse. Ergo, your statement is untrue.

              I can't accept that desiring integration, which you call ignoring race, is going to hinder progress towards racial equality. I just can't accept that, it goes again
              • Did that so-called abuse significantly restrict her access to wealth and power in England? I doubt it. It might have been personally painful, and I think that sucks. But its not the same as the institutional oppression that affects people of color.

                And my statement was obviously not 100% true. There are times when white people cannot ignore race. And there are times when people of color can. But by and large, it just isn't like that.

                I'm all for integration and ignoring race, but not until after sys
                • OK, then forget the rest of the discussion, what do you want to *do* about it?
                  • Well, I try to do stuff about it all the time. I consider educating others (white people, in particular) the best thing that can be done right now since white people are the ones that are the problem and because they also have the power to fix things.

                    I consider the Perl community a good target for this effort because I know people here already (soft targets) and I consider many of them intelligent enough and open-minded enough to be willing to have these discussions.

                    Its certainly a better use of my tim
                    • You didn't say what should be done to fix things. You just reiterated that white people are to blame.
                    • Some things I'd like to see off the top of my head:

                      - civilian police review boards for all police forces. These boards should include a racial mix representative of the communities they serve.

                      - reparations for native americans and black people for genocide and slavery. Note, I am not talking about giving money to people, but rather taking that money and using it to support communities of color, provide scholarships, provide low-interest loans for homes/businesses, etc.

                      - more positive media represent
                      1. Civilan review boards, fine. They should include not a racial mix representative of the communities they serve, but a social mix. That could be racial, it could be economic, it could be religious, etc.
                      2. Those are separate issues. Native Americans are a different story; we made and broke treaties, and we should honor the treaties or settle them in various ways. However, I have no problem with helping communities that need help; I just see no need to limit that to communities of certain races. As I sai
                • Did that so-called abuse significantly restrict her access to wealth and power in England?

                  Seriously though - had it caused her to not wish to go back to college and thus fail her exams (which in fact it was partially why she didn't go back, but she did pass regardless, but only because she's extremely smart) she would not have A-levels, not got into St Andrews university, and not be at Oxford now. So yes, it could have had that effect on some "white" people. Absolutely. It's not a one way door.

                  It all in