Social Question

prolificus's avatar

How can one write concisely without using stereotypes?

Asked by prolificus (6540points) May 2nd, 2010

…Or write concisely without using labels or short descriptive phrases to identify one type of person or group of individuals, etc. without potentially offending someone?

Political correctness rules! Gentleness, kindness, and empowerment – they all rule! But, still, in my line of work, I have seen the population whom I’ve served be called by at least 10 different terms over the past 10 years.

In attempting to be concise in my academic and non-academic work, I’ve unintentionally offended others with labels and terminology.

If writing must be concise, how can one describe or identify an individual or group of people without using stereotypical language? Especially considering the ever-evolving political correctness of language?

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63 Answers

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

First of all, let go of the PC nonsense. PC talk is divisive.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Use facts in your writing. Avoid using words such as “all, always, and never”. Instead use “many and sometimes”. Always quote statistics when talking about a certain population of people and be sure to always cite the source of those statistics.

Trillian's avatar

Being PC holds no interest for me. One cannot spend one’s life trying to avoid offending people. And what @Seaofclouds said. Stats are great, and you can use phrases like “Seem to” and such.

The_Idler's avatar

“Political correctness rules!”

No, it is ridiculous, pointless and encourages people to actively look for ways to be offended by words and phrases with 0 malicious intent. It has thusly directly caused the predicament you find yourself in.

liminal's avatar

You can always acknowledge it.

“I think of him as a stereotypical cat wrangler.”

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

I had to revisit this.
I don’t think I was forceful enough the first time.

Political correctness is a sham that leads people to say “asian american, alternative lifestyle individual” rather than “George Takei”. It’s beyond stupid.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Unfortunately many flutherites are not fans of being PC. Of course many of those who aren’t are also not of the groups who are targeted when PC is not used. It’s easy to knock something when you aren’t the one at the burden of it when it is gone.

To answer your original question I might need an example. How exactly is PC not concise?

Trillian's avatar

@The_Idler Eacstly! There are people out there who look for things to be offended about. What a waste of time.

The_Idler's avatar

“Of course many of those who aren’t are also not of the groups who are targeted when PC is not used.”
Of course many of those who aren’t are also of the “groups” who are “targeted” when “PC” is not used.

The point is that in the vast majority of cases nowadays where this is an uproar from the all those PC-obsessed single mothers with nothing better to do, there is no “targeting”.

What is the point in dithering over words, when there is simply no malicious intent? The only result is an ever growing list of ever growing phrases, which actually lose meaning with each extra word tacked on.
You end up with idiotic things like “African-American” being used to describe all blacks. African-American would mean the child of an African and a native American.

You even get Americans calling actual Africans “African-American”.

Why not just call them “black” or “African”. Why is that suddenly offensive, when “white” and “European” is not?

If I told you that I found your calling me “European” offensive, would you stop?
How about if I said you should call me “M’Lord”...?

If I went into an area and remarked “Wow there’s a lot of blacks here!” that would be offensive, and it would end my career if I was a politician.
But for some reason going to a European Quarter in an Asian city and saying “Wow there’s a lot of whites here!” just isn’t offensive…

If I have to call all gypsies “travellers” (even if they don’t travel… o.O), I want all gypsies to call me “the landed”, even if I don’t have any land.

rebbel's avatar

I am (almost) always using words like most, almost, some, sometimes when asking a question.
I don’t know how we call those kind of words in English.
Have no idea where that came from but i automatically am ‘careful’ with who i could possibly offend.

The_Idler's avatar

It’s good to be careful not to offend,
but not to the point of only using this month’s officially approved jargon.

TexasDude's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy, George Takei doubleplus good!

MacBean's avatar

I think often when people get into the political correctness debate, they forget that there’s a middle ground. For example, it’s not a good idea to refer to women as a group as “cunts.” It’s not PC. But you also needn’t refer to them as “individuals possessing two X chromosomes.” (Not least of all because then you get people like me coming in to point out that that’s not necessarily accurate, either, because of the trans community.) That’s too PC.

The_Idler's avatar

Yeah, the ‘middle ground’ is called normal, colloquial, common or garden speech.

Which doth generally suffice.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@The_Idler The point is that in the vast majority of cases nowadays where this is an uproar from the all those PC-obsessed single mothers with nothing better to do

Using stereotypes to support your argument won’t get you very far.

What you said does not speak to my argument. A large majority of those who do not support PC are not from communities of people who are targeted when it is not used. Yes there is targeting. Have you not heard of oppression? Or do you simply think it no longer exists?

It is simple. We use PC because people from those communities prefer said terms. In majority (of course it won’t be true for everyone). We also use PC to avoid oppression. When a person of color sits to read the newspaper should they have to read the word negro over and over again? PC solves this problem.

Yes it can be tedious at times and quite frankly sometimes it is out and out wrong, as in your example of African-American for African people. But it does serve a purpose. And until people from the communities it helps start saying stop we should continue to use it.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@MacBean You make a good point, complete with good examples.

The_Idler's avatar

“A large majority of those who do not support PC are not from communities of people who are targeted when it is not used. Yes there is targeting. Have you not heard of oppression? Or do you simply think it no longer exists?”

A large majority of those who do support PC are not from communities of people who are targeted when it is not used.

We don’t need to invent nonsensical terms to “avoid oppression”. We just need to “not oppress” people…

Do I think oppression no longer exists?
Do you think I’m stupid?
Do you think in most cases of oppression, around the world, the phraseology used in referring to the oppressed is anywhere close to the primary concern?
Do you think that calling your slaves “individuals of colour” makes a blind bit of difference to the actual oppression!?

RedPowerLady's avatar

A large majority of those who do support PC are not from communities of people who are targeted when it is not used.

This is true. But not my point. My point is simply to let those who suffer from oppression lead the way. If others choose to support them then great. If others choose to take it “too far” then shame on them but that shouldn’t negate the entire point of it.

We don’t need to invent nonsensical terms to “avoid oppression”. We just need to “not oppress” people…

I agree. However there are so many people out there that don’t even know where to begin when it comes to avoiding oppression. They need a set of “rules” to follow. These PC terms are part of that set of rules. But I would say it even goes farther than that and part of “not oppressing” people is just simply not using terms that are loaded with hatred, bigotry, and negative history. These PC terms help with that.

Do you think in most cases of oppression, around the world, the phraseology used in referring to the oppressed is anywhere close to the primary concern?

This is a good point. The terms we use to refer to people may, in fact, be a smaller point on the scale of oppression. But that doesn’t mean that ignoring it is a good idea. The terms we use to describe people go a long way to forming societal norms. We may now be stuck in this PC driven universe but it is much better than our previously acceptable social norms of referring to people using hate-terms. Maybe we are stuck out on the far side but it is much safer than where we previously were. And until our society accepts that speech goes a long way to making hate “normal” or accepted by society then we probably will need some rules to guide society on what is okay and what is not okay to say.

lynfromnm's avatar

You needn’t use stereotypes or labels. The actions of the characters identify them, it’s as simple as that.

The_Idler's avatar

being “PC” doesn’t mean refraining from saying “all dem niggers is the same!”
That’s just not being a stereotyping, racist prick.

being “PC” means refraining from saying “I love the black music of the 60s”.
being “PC” means saying “I love music of African-American and Afro-Caribbean origin of the 60s”

Now say I’m talking to an African guy about this.
If I say “I love the black music of the 60s”, he sure aint gon be offended.
If I say “I love music of African-American and Afro-Caribbean origin of the 60s”, he sure aint gon be offended, but he is gonna think I’m totally ridiculous.

I counter your main point @RedPowerLady, I don’t think we need a set of “rules” on how to speak, to “not oppress” people. I just think we need to not speak with malicious intent.

“But I would say it even goes farther than that and part of “not oppressing” people is just simply not using terms that are loaded with hatred, bigotry, and negative history.”
But being “PC” is not just simply not using terms that are loaded with hatred, bigotry, and negative history, I would say it goes further than that.

There is the one thing, “not using terms that are loaded with hatred, bigotry, and negative history”, and then the other, “PC”.

Now I’m not going to call a Pakistani a Paki if he doesn’t want me to, but I fail to see how that is oppressive or hateful or bigoted. To me, it is the logical abbreviation of a long word. It’s like me getting offended for being called a “Brit”.

Obviously it’s offensive if you say “Fuckin smelly filthy Paki!”,
but how much is that improved by making people say “Fuckin smelly filthy Pakistani!”

The hate and malice is clearly in the intent of the words, rather than the specific terminology.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

If your writing is concise, fact-based and free of pejorative terms, then… where’s the toehold for anyone to legitimately take offense?

I listen to criticism and either:
1. Acknowledge that it’s good criticism—what I thought were facts were outdated, wrong or improperly drawn conclusions from other facts—and I correct my error or rethink my premise, or

2. Defend my thesis.

Sometimes I improve my writing, too. But my writing is at least generally clear and about as accurate as I want it to be.

If you’re using stereotypes in your writing, then it’s not concise. If you’re mis-stating a lot of facts, then your research is bad. If you’re arriving at unsupported conclusions, then you have some logic issues to improve.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@The_Idler

I just think we need to not speak with malicious intent.

This is where our opinion differs. Because I think many people quite ignorantly say things that are very hurtful and oppressive with no maliciousness intended. On a personal level this isn’t really a big deal. But at the institutional level it is. Even if the CEO of CompanyX didn’t mean to be malicious his negative words could cause tons of people to feel they are not welcome using his product thus creating a large system of oppression.

I’m talking of PC at the institutional level. Not what you say to your African friend. I’m not even talking about calling the guy down the street a hateful word (with malicious intent) even though it is obviously wrong. I am talking about what we do at a systematic larger level.

The_Idler's avatar

I’m not really grasping this, so could you give me an example of something a CEO could say that has no malicious intent, but would “oppress” people, by causing them to feel unwelcome using a particular product, and explain how “PC”-phrasing the same statement would have prevented this.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@The_Idler

I have a real life example. It was Outkast the music group. They did a show at an awards ceremony. The catch of the song is “hey hey ya”. No one thought anything about it. No one thought it had anything to do with Native Americans. But at the awards show this is how they depicted themselves:
Outkast Picture

They thus isolated the Native community. Then when Native said hey that was a completely stereotypical image of us they refused to apologize. They didn’t intend to be malicious. They were just ignorant. It caused a bit of an uproar.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Of course they could have avoided the whole situation by not using stereotypical native images to match their lyrics. Thus being more PC.

The_Idler's avatar

Sorry I don’t see how that could be offensive to native Americans. I’m not playing dumb, I’m just not familiar with any connection between green shredded paper outfits and native American culture.

Nor can I see any references to native Americans in the lyrics, stereotypical or no.

Were they definitely trying to look like American Indians?

—————————————

Also, if this song was about native Americans, how should they have portrayed them? Where is the balance between stereotypical and unrecognisable?

Portraying an Am. Indian as a brutal, hatchet-wielding barbarian is offensive stereotyping, but portraying an Am. Indian as someone with typical Indian clothing and a headdress on is stereotyping, but how could it possibly be more “PC” or less stereotyping, without the portrayal losing meaning.

If you don’t use ‘typical’ imagery and ideas in a portrayal, people just won’t recognize it.

It’s like saying Westerns stereotype cowboys because theyre all wearing those hats and drinking whiskey and squinting, but if you did it PC and had the cowboy wearing non-stereotypical clothes and doing non-stereotypical things, just so you don’t offend any cowboys, he just wouldn’t be a cowboy.

Trillian's avatar

Well, another thing is that there is a difference between “offensive” and “oppression”. I’d like to hear of an example of a CEO oppressing an entire group of people.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I should have explained.

First yes they were definitely trying to look like Natives (they also had teepees on stage). Second the phrase “hey ya” is stereotypically associated with Native music. It is very common.

There are two primary reasons it is offensive.
1. It isolates the Native community. It is a bunch of non-Natives using stereotypes of Natives. Isolation is a corner stone of oppression.
2. It spreads cultural stereotypes. They had single feather headbands, their “regelia” was bright green, they had teepees on the stage. None of which accurately represent the Native culture. All of which are very popular stereotypes. The problem is that then a bunch of people watch these stereotypes and will think of them while hearing the song thus spreading the idea that these stereotypes are acceptable.
And a third problem is that when this was pointed out the group adamantly refused to apologize.

Here is some more information
and Here is a news article on topic

Now perhaps this isn’t the best example b/c I would prefer a written representation vs. a visual one but is the best I could think of for now.

Also as ashamed as I am, i’m a Native who doesn’t know how to spell teepee, don’t think that is right, haha

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Trillian Can you provide me with an example that is offensive and not oppressive? Oppression stems from these offensive acts and I fail to see how such offenses are not oppressive.

The_Idler's avatar

oppression (countable and uncountable; plural oppressions)

—— 1. The exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner.

You are misusing the word.

A child saying “Fuck you!” to his teacher is offensive, but not oppressive.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@The_Idler That example is a personal level not an institutional level.

I’m not misusing the word. I quite exactly know what it means. I think instead there is confusion over what is institutional vs. personal.

RedPowerLady's avatar

The reason the above example is personal and not institutional or oppressive is because a child has no exercise of power over his teacher.

The_Idler's avatar

So you’re saying that, as being offensive is only oppressive in situations where the offender has power over the offended (what power has OutKast over the Natives, again?), “PC” is only useful for guiding the actions of those in positions of power over those likely to be offended?

Yeah, that’s “PR”, “PC” has always been a part of that. Not offending/oppressing your customers/clients/employees has generally been a pretty important part of training for people who have to communicate with them.

Now, if it’s only good for them, why is it being rammed down the throats of everyone else?
That is what “PC” has come to mean, in the minds of the majority of the population.
That is why it is hated. Because it is, as you say, meaningless at personal level.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@The_Idler
I think we are beginning to talk circles. I explained above how Outkast has power over offended. They performed at the Grammy’s. Millions of people saw the stereotypical performance. They had the power of voice and visualization. The Natives did not and even their quiet request for an apology was declined. It is quite obvious who had the power in said situation. It’s like asking how does tv or the media have power over people? The answer is numbers. It affects millions in one viewing.

That is what “PC” has come to mean, in the minds of the majority of the population. That is why it is hated. Because it is, as you say, meaningless at personal level.

I think you make a good point here. I would not argue that it be rid of though, rather that people become educated and realize what the difference is. It is needed at the institutional level and people need to relax and realize where it is useful and where it is not. And I do take a bit of issue with “majority of the population”. That is because a large part of this majority is those who the issue of PC does not affect, as stated previously.

The_Idler's avatar

So when I go to N America or Asia, there are “british” bars and “british” food, which are crude and clumsy imitations of true Britishness, and I say I’m British they’re like “Oh so you love tea and biscuits and beer and fish and chips?” and I say “Yeah.”

Obviously there is more to Britain than that, but I don’t see much to be ‘offended’ or ‘oppressed’ by, so I guess you’re right, the issue of PCness does not affect me or the majority of Britons, because we just fucking get over it.

I mean it’s like if some Chinese band dressed up as EurAmericans, wearing baseball caps, drinking coca-cola, break-dancing in front of a cardboard cut-out of the White House. Who cares? Obama? Look at this! What would you expect them to do? Explore the subtle nuances of modern American culture and make an accurate and respectful representation of lifestyle and society?
It’s a pop group.

TexasDude's avatar

@The_Idler, lol that video is hilarious and I don’t even know what they are saying!

RedPowerLady's avatar

@The_Idler The difference is power. That is what oppression is about. Does Britian have power over them? If not then it isn’t oppression. Or institutionally wrong. Just individually so.
Same for the Chinese band. Do Chinese have power over EurAmericans? No.

That is what we keep coming back to. Not understanding that difference right there.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@RedPowerLady look, you wear your sensitivity on your sleeve… in your user name. If you want to be offended by yahoos at a ballpark doing the “tomohawk chop” or college football fans cheering “Go, ‘Noles!’” or “Go, Illini!” or whatever other Native American mascot they’ve adopted for the school in less sensitive and culturally aware days, then be as offended as you want.

Your oppressor is the US government, not drunken football fans, who are merely offensive at worst.

Yes, the difference is power. Which is why getting offended at Outkast for being boorish, tacky, rude and insensitive (at best) is pissing into the wind. If it makes you feel somehow morally superior to them by being offended and not making reciprocal black stereotypical (and false) portrayals, then we can even agree that you are the better person here. (And since you’re a jelly I automatically confer that status upon you.)

But “oppressive”? Get real, sister.

RedPowerLady's avatar

uh i think my 1st sentance was meant to be the other way around, apologies i’m also taking care of a 3 month old while i type/read

The_Idler's avatar

I don’t see why you care so much about ignorant fools making ignorant foolish representations of your culture, which noone is going to take seriously anyway.

Anyone who actually looks at that and thinks that’s what being Indian is… do you really care what they think? Because you shouldn’t.

When I said
“So when I go to N America or Asia, there are “british” bars and “british” food, which are crude and clumsy imitations of true Britishness, and I say I’m British they’re like “Oh so you love tea and biscuits and beer and fish and chips?” and I say “Yeah.”

Obviously there is more to Britain than that, but I don’t see much to be ‘offended’ or ‘oppressed’ by, so I guess you’re right, the issue of PCness does not affect me or the majority of Britons, because we just fucking get over it.”
I was giving an example where I am in the minority and the people who are stereotyping me have a “power” over me. Would you call this oppression? I don’t feel “oppressed”... probably because I am not being “oppressed”. Just stereotyped. And not maliciously.
Or is it because I am immune to non-PC reference to me in all circumstances?
I guess so, because, like I said I just fucking get over it.

Seems like most British people are like that though, I don’t know anyone who would start crying about oppression if they went and lived in America or China or Japan or anywhere and saw a national TV show where the British were portrayed as wearing paper bowler hats and drinking stupid amounts of tea, because, like I said, we just fucking get over it.
I guess it’s just because we are the noblest race on Earth… NOT.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@CyanoticWasp
Forget Outkast for a moment since I already agreed it wasn’t the best example. I could try and go back to it if you insist but first…

Let’s talk about the Illini. That is oppressive b/c it is a University. Many Natives have faced real threats there. Heck even I did, all the way here in Oregon. I got nasty, borderline threatening emails from Illini students when I openly suggested their mascot was offensive. I fail to see how isolating an ethnic group from a University is not oppressive. I fail to see how threatening Natives who disagree with their mascot is not oppressive. And furthermore I fail to see how a University, our archetype of education, who portrays Native culture in an offensively stereotyped way is not offensive.

The_Idler's avatar

Are natives not allowed into this particular university? That is definitely isolating them and totally unfair.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@The_Idler No they are allowed. Just threatened if they oppose the mascot. Creates an unsafe learning environment, and heck living environment.

RedPowerLady's avatar

The reason I said isolating from the Univ. is b/c many Natives rightly will not go there b/c of what I said above. They are not making an effort to change so I assume they like it that way.

The_Idler's avatar

THIS!?
offensive!?

So is the burger king mascot offensive to traditional European culture?

Does it oppress the Royalists?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@RedPowerLady to use your examples just given, let’s say that we stipulate to the “offensive” nature of the mascots.

But that doesn’t mean that a few morons emailing you is “oppressive”. “Threatening”, perhaps, if you saw it that way and report it. “Criminal”, maybe, if you can get a prosecutor to press the charge.

How is it “oppressive”? What power do Illini football fans have over you, anyway?

I fail to see (because you didn’t make a case for it) how “isolating an ethnic group from a University is… oppressive”. (And don’t forget that I’m stipulating to “boorish”, “rude”, “insulting”, “demeaning” and “improper”. You have to make the case for “oppressive”.)

RedPowerLady's avatar

@The_Idler

Wrong. This is what is offensive.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@The_Idler
I don’t see why you care so much about ignorant fools making ignorant foolish representations of your culture, which noone is going to take seriously anyway.

Well here is the deal. Many people aren’t so intelligent as you and I and they do take these things seriously. Especially children and teens. In fact the APA agrees. I think they have a little insight into the American psyche ;).

Anyone who actually looks at that and thinks that’s what being Indian is… do you really care what they think? Because you shouldn’t.

Here is what I care about. I care when it is a person who has power over Native people. Which essentially is every other person in this country. But especially when they have the power to create oppression. So if the work in the media, they work in the government etc.. Or when it changes the minds of children so that they enact these stereotypes at school causing Native children to feel unsafe or not get the same quality education b/c people are always making fun of their culture.

Now I have to go re-read all that British stuff b/c It’s giving me a headache.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@CyanoticWasp I make three cases for how it is oppressive:
1. Native people who disagree are threatened.
2. It isolates Natives from the University.
3. It is an archetype of education that supports ethnic stereotypes.

Oppression is using power in a burdensome, unjust, or cruel manner.

Case 1: When you threaten someone you are being cruel. Students who do not oppose the mascot are in power because their numbers are greater and because the institution supports their viewpoint. So you have higher numbers and an institution backing you. You use that power to threaten someone. That is oppression.

Case 2: Native people do not want to be threatened so they don’t go to the University. Or they don’t want to support disgusting stereotypes of their people. The institution of the University is using their power to allow the threats to continue and to allow the negative stereotyping to continue. It is also quite clear that Natives do not support either decision. They are using their power to allow these things to continue despite the fact it creates isolation of Native communities. This is equivalent to the days when African-American people were legally allowed into buildings but would be threatened if they went into them.

Case 3: I think this is pretty self evident. The University supports the stereotypes. They use it for their own gain. They are using their academic power to support stereotypes. That is certainly burdensome to Native culture and unjust.

Even if you don’t like one or two cases there is another. Are you really saying that all three examples above are “wrong”?

RedPowerLady's avatar

Okay re-read the British example. Again I fail to see how it could be oppression because the British people have not suffered painful histories at the hands of the North Americans or Asians (have they?). The North Americans or Asians don’t have a power-hold on British people. Therefor how can it be oppression? It can’t. So it is easy to get-over b/c there is nothing to fear.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

1. “Threatening” is a misdemeanor crime. No more and no less. The University certainly wouldn’t support or defend such conduct.

2. Which Natives are isolated from the University? Certainly not Illini. Maybe Sioux, Cheyenne, Apache, Hopi, Navajo, etc. Even then, they self-isolate.

3. It has nothing to do with ‘education’. It’s a damn sports mascot, not a real person.

Do you think that I’m offended or oppressed by the New England Patriots? After all, my family pre-dates the Revolution in New England and I’ve had relatives in most of our wars (up ‘til the middle of the last century, anyway), so we qualify as patriots if anyone does.

If I’m offended by anyone it’s the damn New York Yankees. Anyone with a brain knows that “Yankees” are from the six New England states… which leaves out New York. But they don’t oppress me. (They seem to oppress the Red Sox lately, though.)

The_Idler's avatar

Mneh, pretty lame, but commercialism bastardizes and ruins everything in its path.
At least you have a real culture.

It’s not a dig at your culture, its just a classic American commercial perversion.
This is something that permeates your society. Sure, dislike it- but rise above it.
I hear Las Vegas is filled with a load of ridiculous imitations of world cultures. I’m sure theyre pretty pathetic and cringe-y as well.

I suppose its different in America, you certainly paint the picture that they live up to their reputation for being a load of ignorant children. In Europe we just brush it off with “pfff, they are silly ignorant children.” I know it’s harder to do it, if you live inside it, but I’d rather you did, than cry about it. It makes you look petty and just as childish. It isn’t such a serious problem.

Even if you do want tiresome immature stereotypes of Indians to be suppressed, you gotta admit that all the “PC” lingo is just absurd.

Also, final point. You fear the EurAmericans? I know they fucked over your ancestors, but that’s history. Does a crude EurAmerican imitation of an Indian strike fear into your heart? It shouldn’t.

I know we haven’t been invaded for 950 years, but I don’t think that should make a difference. “Indian” mascots in USA are no more an “oppression” of the Indians in America, than a Japanese caricature of British culture is of a Brit in Japan, because the USA is so much MORE accommodating to minorities (institutionally) than Japan.

You think it’s hard being an Indian in a USA school? try being a foreigner in Japan? They wouldnt even understand the concept of “PC” (see obama link, above).

I’m really sorry, but, when its just ignorance with not malicious intent, I just think people have gotta get over it. Or do something yourself to teach people about genuine Indian culture.

Forget about the mass media, theyre always going to be crude and immature.
They don’t have power over you.
It means nothing.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

As much as I hate to agree with the entirety of @The_Idler‘s answer (because of his routine slap at commercialism as if that was all there ever was to America), he pretty much nailed it, otherwise.

You need to ignore some of this nonsense, @RedPowerLady. You’re tilting at windmills here.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@CyanoticWasp We can argue mascots all you want but let me say that you can’t be offended by the New England patriots because they haven’t experienced a history of oppression! Same with Yankees. The people we would call “yankees” hold the power in this country.

1. The university does nothing to stop it. Is that not a form of support? In fact they have stood by these students.
2. Why do you say not the Illini? The Illini (or living decedents of that tribe) have written letters to the Uni stating how it does offend (and thus isolate) them. And how is it self-isolation?
3. It is a University setting. Hello! You cannot simply choose to ignore context.

Anyhow forget this post and read the next one. Because quite simply we don’t agree and we could go round and round arguing those three points.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Here is another point to consider. First I think you would both agree that oppression does exist today. If not please let me know (so I can yank out your hair or maybe just mine..).

There may be cases where people who have undergone oppression do get over-reactive. But that is simply because they live in oppression. I mean what do you expect? Let’s stay on topic here. Look at the case of the Illini. Maybe you disagree that it is oppressive or even offensive (sigh). Think about it from the perspective of Native people. Native people have the highest poverty rates (not by choice but by reservation), they don’t even have true freedom of religion, their culture is used and misused by non-Natives for their own gain but those same people won’t stand up for Native rights, they very land they live off of is being tarnished by the government. When you are facing those struggles (of oppression) on a daily basis and see a University (where you hope to send your kids to get educated and change the system) depicting your culture in an insensitve way you see it as another component of oppression. You can’t really take it out of context. It doesn’t stand alone. It stands with everything else. So even if you don’t see it as an agent of oppression in and of itself you should understand why people react as if it were oppression. It is just “icing” on the cake. It makes matters worse. It’s kinda like “leave us alone already”.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@The_Idler

(read above)

Even if you do want tiresome immature stereotypes of Indians to be suppressed, you gotta admit that all the “PC” lingo is just absurd.

I have to laugh b/c I think I said quite poignantly that I personally feel there is an appropriate use for it. Although I do agree it can be over-used.

Also, final point. You fear the EurAmericans? I know they fucked over your ancestors, but that’s history. Does a crude EurAmerican imitation of an Indian strike fear into your heart? It shouldn’t.

Yes I absolutely do. Read what I posted above. I don’t have freedom of religion even. They may have done the overt killing and racism back in the day but today we still live in serious oppression. Serious Oppression And if you don’t believe that then you are just contributing to that oppression. I would then recommend you do some research on the topic. Ignoring the problem won’t solve it.

Plone3000's avatar

In the case of cyber space you should except that anything you write could offend some one. You should aslo expect that anything you post could get you a nasty comment in return.

That is why fluther can get a little ridiculous sometimes(the advisers are probobly going to delete this comment as soon as I post it).

So to anser your question I would say “no”. There is no way that one can write concisely without using stereotypes, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Anyhow forget this post and read the next one. Because quite simply we don’t agree and we could go round and round arguing those three points.

You seem to revel in it.

If you’re choosing the U of Illinois as your target for “oppression”, then you’re aiming at the wrong target. Aim at the US government, and I’ll join you. Aim at the U of I and I’ll just laugh at you. Wrong target. Waste of time.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@CyanoticWasp I do enjoy my fluther debates, haha ;)

I will happily aim at the government but that is a much larger task than aiming at the U of I. I prefer to fight both battles. Nice to know I have some support on the larger front however.

The_Idler's avatar

Yeah I see how it adds insult to injury, but I don’t see the point in pursuing it how you do.

You solve this “problem” and you say yourself that you’d still be oppressed. They’d just be “nice” about it.

You say that similar behaviour doesn’t affect me because I’m not oppressed in the first place.

So the ignorant portrayal of culture still affects both of us relatively little. You’d still be oppressed if they didn’t have an “indian” mascot, but then you wouldn’t care about it, if you weren’t oppressed in the first place, so I say go for the root cause of this “oppression”.

If you hate the cake, blow it up. What would you care about the icing then?

RedPowerLady's avatar

@The_Idler Oppression can’t be solved in one whole big swoop (although it would be nice). We have to start somewhere. It wouldn’t end oppression but it would cut a slice out of the cake.

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