Names, Flames & Getting It

Sat, 31 Dec 1994 12:45:06 EST

Hey guys--you just don't get it. /Guys/ includes Lief Hendrickson, Marty
Biskowski, CAVEMAN (an apt moniker--or is that maniker?), Bjorn Fry, and
Marius Johnston, and perhaps other assorted anthro-l-ers of various
genders. I come back from a Christmas holiday to this rather dispiriting
thread.....Let's assume that Bjorn used /mankind/ unthinkingly, without
meaning to be offensive to anyone. Fine. Let's also assume that Ruby
reacted angrily, without thinking much about it. Also fine.
But the hooha that has ensued means that a lot of you guys (which to
me is a genderless term) don't really understand why Ruby or anybody might
find /mankind/ offensive. Try two examples: first, if you are male, try
feeling what it's like to be part of a category called /womankind/, used
to describe all males and all females. You might not feel angry but you
might not feel part of the category either or you might think there must be
a better, more accurate way to describe the category. Second, as someone
has already suggested but without any graphic examples, suppose Bjorn had
used /nigger/ to refer to all African-Americans? Would anyone have
defended his language as neutral or as not meant to be offensive?
Languages change. Cultures can change. That's one of the
best potentials about being human.Whoops! should that be /hukind/? Oh
well, at least I know the difference between a /male carrier/ and a /mail
carrier/. Happy New Year!
Denise O'Brien