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

Matt Silberstein (
Tue, 27 Aug 1996 00:57:59 GMT

In sci.archaeology wrote:

> (Matt Silberstein) wrote:
>>In sci.archaeology wrote:
>>>Stephen Barnard <> wrote:
>>> I have been quietly and intermittently watching this thread but
>>>now I think its time for me to have my say.
>>>I have seen at least one Native American who's name I can not
>>>remember, try to teach, yes teach white America a thing or two
>>>about Native Americans and how they view themselvs, White America
>>>just can't seem to get it! It is no longer up to white America to
>>>decide what is or is not offensive to anyone but white America!
>>>These postings are for sci. archaeology and sci. anthopology but
>>>it appears that no one is interested in learning or understanding
>>>anything but their own narrow and many times arrogant points of
>>Why do you feel it is acceptable to refer to "white America"? In what
>>reasonable way am I "white"? If we are referring only to skin color I
>>prefer the term "pink". It does a better job describing the color. (I
>>would love to get into a ((stupid)) discussion on whether my "pink" is
>>closer to "red" than a Native American "brown".) Or do you want to
>>assign certain political positions to me because of my color and want
>>to assign moral guilt to me because of my color?

>Well, I'll say this once again. I was just a bit irritated when
>I wrote this post. I simply called it as I saw it. I think
>that Steve and I are squared on this.

>Are you taking what I said personally? My words were meant only
>for those who fit the shoe.

I have lost track of the order of many of the posts/issues here. I am
not insulted by anything here. I forgive you for any trespasses. I am
trying to be sincere and open in this thread.

Also, I like to talk about being "pink". It throws lots of people.

>Besides myself and the flat world; newspapers, magazines,
>official documents etc. use the word "white". This indicates
>that this is an accepted and non-offensive term, however, if
>this word offends you I will be more than happy to refer to you
>in any manor that is non-offensive. *You* choose.

I do not find the term offensive. I just don't like to distinguish
people by the color of their skin. I just don't find skin color
important. I don't want to be referred to as a member of group just
because of my skin color. By country of origin, culture, religion,
political orientation, or profession. This I don't mind, they say
something about who I am. But not skin color. All skin color means to
me is that I do not enjoy summer.

>As for "moral guilt" it makes no difference if your ancestors
>arrived on the Mayflower or yesterday. We in America have all
>benefited from the pain and suffering of the Native people.
>Anyone who enjoys the fruit, past or present should have and
>should take some moral responsibility.

The American government owes significant moral, legal, and economic
debt to the Native peoples. As a reasonable successful taxpayer I am
fully prepared to pay that debt. I, as an individual, do not owe a
moral debt to them. I do owe a moral debt to the righteous people who
help people survive the holocaust. By extension I owe a debt to people
who have help the Native peoples. Does than make sense? It may be that
we are using different concepts of moral responsibility. Not
contradictory, just different ideas.

>The tree was planted over 500 years ago and the fruits are here
>now for us to pluck but the Native American has to *shake* the
>tree for theirs. Shame!

>>>For starters - white America does not have American sports named
>>>according to skin color or the lack thereof, white America have
>>>not been herded on to a piece of foreign territory and told to
>>>live, white America has not had the culture of the old world
>>>ripped from memory
>>The use of nicknames for teams is reprehensible. In terms of herding,
>>I could swap you stories for hours. It does not make me righteous
>>because misdeed were done to my ancestors.

>I'm sure you can but so can the Chinese Americans, Japanese
>Americans, African Americans, Native Americans.....need I
>continue? They all have their stories too.

That is, to a major extent, my point.

>I was taught that the evil
>>done to my ancestors gave me a special responsibility to not do evil

>A lesson we can all learn from and thereby refer to the
>indigenous people in a manor they deem appropriate!
>To them not to is evil!

Only a small part of the responsibility, but I agree.

>>>and white America has not had any of her
>>>emmigrant ethnicities (tribes) become extinct.
>>For this to be true you need to have a special, narrow definition of
>>"white" and culture.
>>>>A few people have questioned my motives in starting this thread. Well, tough.
>>>Did you take any time at all to wonder WHY people questioned your
>>>motives? Judging from your post you could have cared less.
>>>>I'm not anti-Native-American. I *do* happen to find the hypersensitivity of
>>>>some ethnic groups to nomenclature to be unfortunate. Can you believe that
>>>>some white-bread Midwesterners actually think that "Jew" is an offensive term,
>>>>and that you should say "Jewish person" instead?
>>>Your words shoe that you are anti Native American and very smug
>>>about how some of those, you know, minorities react to white
>>>Americas nomenclature. My question is what kind of an American are
>>>you? And as for the lack of hypersensitivity from the Indian
>>>newsgroup -news flash- people will have more tolorance when they
>>>are addressed or referred to in a fashion that THEY, not you, deem
>>>Well the white-bread midwesterners may be on to something. Does
>>>the word Hebrew ring a bell? JU-daism is a religion. Remember, the
>>>one that came before Christianity and Islam, numero uno in the
>>>chronology of the big three!
>>So, in your opinion, who gets to decide how to refer to a group? And
>>do you refer to a Catholic person rather than a Catholic? A Moslem
>>person rather than a Moslem? Or a Protestant person rather than a

>If referring to those who observe the religion of Judaism as
>Hebrews is offensive please advise and who gets to decide!

For what it is worth, the term Hebrew to refer to a person is probably

Verbing weirds language - W. W.