Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Owed Explanation I (Was Re: Ebonic Xmas)

Date:Friday, January 14, 2000, 20:45
Thank you for the note on the sub-specie thing.  Though I have to say that
given the reaction I received to my comments, I doubt there are scientists
out there who would even dare to try to find some genetic differences.
Though, as you said, there is probably nothing to find.

The poem was not an inter-group joke.  It was an in-group joke within the
list.  People did not like it--fine.  Was it racist?  No.  Was it intended
to belittle blacks?  No.  Was it confused?  So what?  Is every person who
tells a bad joke racist?  No.  The difference is the melodramatic reaction
blacks and whites have to black culture (which, despite the fact that
immigrants are able to adjust to their new-found country's culture, is yet
to fully 'melt' into lack of differentiation) being misunderstood.

Yes, it might be difficult to know what the shared experience is.  But
given that I am yet to hear a logical explanation of it, there is little
reason to put faith in its existence.  And as bad hair, overly much fat is
as physical as dark skin; I once again feel it would be merely wishful
thinking to imagine that the latter is so much more horrible an injury than
the first two.

As before, do write if you can; perhaps we shall find a middle ground.

John Cowan writes:

> (Private reply) > > > Races: the scientific term is "sub-species", for humans > > there are three which are clearly distinguishable, colloquially; > > asians, blacks, and whites. > > The great majority of physical anthropologists now reject > the notion that human beings can be usefully divided into > races or subspecies at all. As species go, _Homo sapiens_ > shows very little genetic or morphological variation. > Indeed, at the DNA level, there are more differences between > orangutans on Borneo and those on Sumatra than between > the entire population of human beings and chimpanzees > taken together! Skin differences are indeed skin-deep. > > > or more to the point the socio-economical stereotype that was > > appearant in the poem "Ebonic Xmas" is, and has been for a while, > > endorsed and indeed used comically by black comedians. > > Hardly. As other listmembers have made clear, the stereotypes > of the verse are hopelessly mixed and confused: they show not > the slightest trace of insight into African-American culture. > > > The difference? The color of the speakers skin. Prejudice > > against whites--racism. > > No, the difference between within-group statements and > between-group ones. > > > What is the black experience? Is it a lifetime of slavery? Is > > it having to hide from the authorities even when one has not > > committed a crime? Is it unjustified poverty and no easy way to > > get out of it? > > It's difficult to know what constitutes an experience shared > by a group when you don't belong to it. Even if you do, the > knowledge may not necessarily be fully consciously available. > > > A black man stopped by a racist policeman (who's up for no good) > > is in no different a predicament than is a female driver stopped > > by a sexist policeman. > > Perfectly right. > > > And for that matter, nor is the average > > Joe Schmoe any better off stopped by a policeman who is not very > > moral and is getting very bored, thus deciding to fool around with > > the next passing-by motorist. > > But that is a different proposition altogether: it is the random > act of an individual, not the product of a systematic, long-held, > deeply embedded social convention. > > > A black child teased for the color of his skin is no better nor > > worst off than is a child teased for wearing glasses, being too fat, > > not having the right clothes, or one who was trashed by the most > > popular kid. None of these things should be happening, but being > > black does not make it any worse. > > I doubt that either of us knows that. > > -- > > Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis vom dies! || John Cowan <jcowan@...> > Schliesst euer Aug vor heiliger Schau, || > Denn er genoss vom Honig-Tau, || > Und trank die Milch vom Paradies. -- Coleridge (tr. Politzer)