Re: "Watchdog..rugged individualism..."

Ralph L Holloway (rlh2@COLUMBIA.EDU)
Wed, 7 Feb 1996 18:50:41 -0500

On Wed, 7 Feb 1996, Ruby Rohrlich wrote:

> Regarding Adrian Tanner's use of the term "watchdog" relating to gender
> bias, I, for one, do not view myself in this light. As an anthropologist
> I consider it important to eliminate exclusivist language and concepts,
> and wonder if those who want to retain such language and concepts, under
> the guise of rugged individualism, are not only using them on the list
> but also teaching them to their students, notwithstanding their training
> in one of the four traditional fields of anthropology, linguistics. It
> would be helpful to the maintenance of a democratic list if many more
> anthropologists participated in this goal or similar ones, so that the
> fallacious term "watchdog" for a few is eliminated. Ruby Rohrlich

How much more of this is going to consume our time? Having only been on
the group for something over a year, I recall that most of the arguments
that have developed between Ruby and others on this list (including me),
have been reactions to what certainly has impressed me as a "watchdog"
role for Ruby. Now I discover that those with whom she disagrees are
operating from a "rugged individualism" philosphy, and despite their
training in the four fields are still subverting their students into
sexist language and concepts. I have seen very little sexism here on this
list, and I think the above description is careless and deserving of
rebuttal, and I sincerely doubt that the archives would support this
viewpoint. I haven't read anyone here attempting to maintain
"exclusivist language and concepts" because of their rugged
individualism. Have I missed some important exchanges recently? Perhaps
Ruby does not intend to be inflammatory, but surely these attributions
(including a previous attribution of retardation to me) can be taken that
way quite easily. Why go on and on with this? I for one, as a physical
anthropologist, am particularly careful not to use exclusionary language
when I teach students about human evolution. I haven't seen anything
sexist from Tom Rimkus, Tom Kavanag, or even Lief for that matter, who
was the only one I remember who felt that the use of the evolution of
Mankind wasn't necessarily a sexist happening, yet we have been the
principal targets for Ruby's flames. There is so much else happening out
there worthy of discussion, I sincerely wish we could get to it.
My apologies in advance if this offends anyone.
Ralph Holloway