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CHAT: Race, ethnicity, and hyphenization (was Re: PC terminology)

From:Tom Wier <artabanos@...>
Date:Saturday, December 26, 1998, 18:01
Nik Taylor wrote:

> list James E. Hopkins wrote: > > I am an Irish-American (that is an American citizen of Irish descent)=
. I have
> > never been to Ireland but my heritage is important to me and I have n=
> > objection to the term :Irish-American. > > That I also have trouble with, any hyphenated American, for that > matter. To me, a better term might be American of Irish descent or > Irish American (no hyphen). Why? It seems to me that if you're an > American citizen, especially if you were born in America, that part is > more important. The Irish should be an adjective, or better yet, in a > prepositional phrase like "of Irish descent". I'm descended from Germa=
> and English ancestry, but I wouldn't call myself German-American or > English-American, or German-English-American.
I question why anybody feels the need to label themselves as somethingat = all. I mean, I surely think it's important to know your roots, and what kind of culture you have traditionally celebrated, but at base each perso= n is a unique individual, without parallel... so why pretend otherwise?
> > There is however a greater rationale for the adoption of the term "Af=
> > American". After several hundred years of being belittled and conside=
red of no
> > account whatsoever many "Black" Americans felt that it was time to av=
oid being
> > identified by skin color and instead (as other Americans do) use a te=
rm that
> > indicates place and/or ethnicity of origin. > > But Black is a race. It's a rational counterpart to "White", IMHO.
Well, from what I've read, using the concept of "race" to have anyreal me= aning is more or less an invention of society, and does not have any real biological significance. I would prefer to use neither term.
> And > don't get me started on "Caucasian". :-) Most "Caucasians" have no > ancestors from the Caucasus mountains.
Well, I think that has to do with the Indo-European postulated homeland.B= ut you're right: even there it's highly doubtful where exactly the IE peoples originated. (I prefer northeastern Anatolia, myself, because of some int= eresting matches between the lexical data and the local species found there).
> Actually, perhaps the best terms > would be something like Negro and Honkey, since those are non-derogator=
> terms that have no connection (in English) with color.
Where I come from, "honkey" is not only somewhat derogatory andstereotypi= ng, but it's just considered to be very crass, and is thrown into the category with mild curses like "damn", to be avoided in polite company. =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D= =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D Tom Wier <twier@...> ICQ#: 4315704 AIM: Deuterotom Website: <> "Cogito ergo sum, sed credo ergo ero." "S=F4=F0 is gecy=FEed / =FE=E6t mihtig God manna cynes / w=EAold w=EEde-ferh=F0." _Beowulf_, ll. 700-702 =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D= =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D