Re: Amerind an offensive term (was: Early Amerind assimilation

Joel and Lynn Gazis-Sax (
Mon, 12 Aug 1996 09:51:55 -0800

Stephen Barnard wrote:
> Toby Cockcroft wrote:
> >
> > I don't think that there will ever be a solution to this problem of naming
> > so long as Indians (please don't flame me for this one) are in a
> > culturally and politically empoverished position vis-a-vis the dominant
> > anglo culture.
> >
> > Furthermore, I don't see this as an isolated instance of naming. Blacks,
> > women and the disabled (probably all politically incorrect terms) have all
> > fought for control and escape from anglo male culture.
> So now "women" is a politically incorrect term? Holy Moly! What are we
> supposed to call them now? People of the female gender?
> Steve Barnard

Scoundrel bells always go off in my mind when I see the term "politically correct"
used. And in true, high form, the evidence in this case is entirely made up.

On one hand, I must admit that it is a bit harsh to single out all anglo males
(Check my pedigree -- no Anglos in mine!) as bearers of a culture which has
destroyed many other cultures. I point to the example of the Quakers and other
dissenters to show that this is not genetic. Culture is in all cases no more
determines what an individual will do than biology. At best, it is a rough
mold that can be defied.

So, if I may criticize some of those with whom I otherwise agree, let us remember
that the battle is mostly intellectual in nature. Anglo males are no more
damned to idiotic racism than black males are damned to crime. We discuss because
we believe that change is possible through discussion.

But to return to Mr. Barnard: I have found that "politically correct" is most
often invoked by persons who believe that freedom of speech also means freedom
from rebuke. This is a common flaw on the InterNet and when I first started
a few years ago (1989), it took the more direct form of "You can't criticize
me for holding the views that I do." Usually the views being defended are
racist or otherwise offensive to other people. Freedom of speech does give
one the right to utter such views, but it does not protect one's speech from
criticism. By using the term "politically correct", Mr. Barnard is feebly
trying to turn his right to be offensive if he pleases into a dictatorship
of one where no one can criticize him at all.

There's another dimension to this and that is one related to FACT. Mr.
Barnard has effectively put words into the mouth of Ms. Cockcroft. We
are often told by the Fat Boy of Incorrect Rightness (Rush Limbaugh)
to "look it up". At some future point, I am sure that Mr. Barnard or
some other will throw at Ms. Cockcroft the factoid that she said that
"women" was politically incorrect.

What these boys are missing is simply this: That some of the language
they use is offensive. And that as we deal in a society of individuals,
we have to be somewhat flexible. They decry the inflexibility of others,
but the lie inherent in this accusation is plain when the solution to
their problem of language is simply addressed thusly:

"What do you prefer I call you?"

Like the sociobiologists and other determinists, the ultimate problem
is the utter inflexibility of this group in dealing with individuals
in a culture. To some degree, some members of the Left also have this
problem, but for the most part, I have found Leftists more amenable
to understanding the problem. Whether you like it or not, living in
society demands that you either be able to think or face the social
consequences. Some consequences are not particularly
good for the society. But we are not damned to them, merely capable
of them.

The challenge made by the Left is nothing more than a simple democratic
respect for others. To put it another way, the conflict is between
those of us who believe that "Every one is a person" versus those who
believe "Every man is a King." Any form of dictatorship, no matter how
it is played, causes undue suffering for others.

Mr. Barnard and his friends need to recognize the dictator in themselves
and have the courage to make it into a true democrat.



___ ___
/\ _|_ /\ Joel and Lynn GAzis-SAx
/ /\_|_/\ \
/ / /\|/\ \ \
\ \ \/|\/ / / "If we try to flee from our human condition into
\ \/_|_\/ / the computer, we only meet ourselves there."
\/__|__\/ William Barrett