Re: anthro-l flame wars

Franz Aubrey Metcalf (fmetcalf@CRL.COM)
Tue, 3 Jan 1995 22:25:29 -0800

All in the Thread,

As someone who has participated in and, in doing so, critiqued
the level of discourse in this thread, let me offer my thanks for the
turnaround that seems to have occured, lately. Recent contributions
have been thoughtful and, for me at least, provocative. Some have
persisted in seeing things as black and white, but the grayness that
Mr. Yee describes is a rich medley of colors, one I am happy to see.

Is is oppression to force everyone to use inclusive language?
Is is it oppression to use exclusive language? What if, and this is
the terror of living in the real world, both are oppressive and we
have to choose, instance by instance, which usage to employ? I believe
Mr. Tommaso was making roughly this point, but was too disgusted with
the thread to knock us hard enough over the head with it to make it
sink in. Why is it so hard for us (especially as anthropologists and such
like) to accept the situation is always messier than we want it to be?
I would say it's a reflection of the difficulty to sustaining values and
meanings in this fragmented world; we must close off some of the booming
buzzing confusion of life, even if it is someone else's truth.

To struggle against this seems to me the duty of the human
scientist (if not the human person). [Hey, how 'bout that for avoiding
exclusive language? Had a nice ring to it, dont 'ya think?] And this
struggle is truly hard; it may be harder (as Ms. Golden suggests) even than
carrying the heavy but pure cross of a zealot. But, (if you can forgive
my pretention; I told you before I was naive) isn't this our job? There
are always plenty of zealots, never enough scientists.



Franz Aubrey Metcalf That ol' U of Chicago
But now happily dissertating in Los Angeles