LINGUIST List 11.974

Fri Apr 28 2000

Disc: Political Action/Linguistic Organizations

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <karenlinguistlist.org>


Directory

  1. Zylogy, Re: 11.928, Disc: Political Action/Linguistic Organizations
  2. Douglas Wharram, Re: 11.928, Disc: Political Action/Linguistic Organizations
  3. M. J. Hardman, Re: 11.928, Disc: Political Action/Linguistic Organizations

Message 1: Re: 11.928, Disc: Political Action/Linguistic Organizations

Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2000 17:16:34 EDT
From: Zylogy <Zylogyaol.com>
Subject: Re: 11.928, Disc: Political Action/Linguistic Organizations

In response to several of the latest salvos, I would like to extend my 
warmest invitation to all conquered and otherwise forcibly incorporated 
peoples around the world to stop fighting for their separate identities, 
languages, faiths, political goals, etc., and thank their lucky stars for 
having been spared outright annihilation by obviously morally, 
technologically, and organizationally superior cultures. To those not so 
lucky all we can say is "oops, sorry about that, Chief". Open discussion is 
nice, but eventually there comes a point where you have to fish or cut bait. 
In most places linguists have to deal with the repercussions of political 
issues- it's almost impossible to avoid it. From an intellectual point of 
view it certainly can be stimulating to dance around the subtleties of the 
semantics, but in the end it comes down to dealing with the fact of mass 
murder, theft, suppression of survivors, and self-serving denials or 
laughter-filled admissions. Maybe one might deflect the issue of degree of 
personal responsibility off onto the group, or from the current generation to 
those preceding. Some nations have had their noses rubbed in what they've 
done and have had to come to grips with it. Those with nobody to tell them 
what to do continue to waffle, when they have any moral pangs about it at 
all. While it is perhaps unfortunate that the real world sometimes intrudes 
into the ivory tower, that's just the way it is. 

Jess Tauber
zylogyaol.com
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Message 2: Re: 11.928, Disc: Political Action/Linguistic Organizations

Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2000 14:21:55 -0300
From: Douglas Wharram <dow96001uconnvm.uconn.edu>
Subject: Re: 11.928, Disc: Political Action/Linguistic Organizations

For whatever reason (perverse curiousity, perhaps), I read Patrick C. Ryan's
last missive (Vol.11.928) in the Political Action/Linguistic Organisations
thread. And though I've found Ryan's numerous messages on the topic to be
largely devoid of points, he certainly -- possibly inadvertently -- raised one
in the final line of the last one. The relevant snippet follows:

> Well, if one grants the premise that minority groups have a "right" to be
> hypersensitive, then your logic is impeccable.
> 
> I do not. And I think it is time for minorities, like the Amerindians, to
> identify themselves as Americans --- at which point the controversy becomes
> moot.

If Ryan doesn't find that offensive, then I'm not entirely shocked that he
doesn't find the "chief" mascot offensive either.

There may indeed be a legitimate discussion to be had as to whether the LSA
should wade into the debate (though I'll admit that after looking at what has
been written and seeing what the LSA's actual plans are, I can't understand why
it wouldn't). But there's no damn way that there can be a legitimate discussion
about whether the mascot in question is offensive. IT IS, as is Ryan's quote
above.

In an earlier message (Vol.11.927), Ryan provided a supposed analogy with the
Vikings which is either deeply flawed or simply hateful.

> I think the bottom line here is that Scandinavians have never
> protested against the use of the term 'Vikings', and sheepherders are
> momentarily quiet on the subject of 'Rams'.

To my knowledge, the ancestors of most present-day 'Vikings' fans never partook
in the wholesale massacres of the Scandinavian peoples, nor does their society
persist in attempting to erase most traces (i.e., any traces not beneficial for
tourism and financial gain) of the Viking culture(s). The flip-side of this
should be obvious.

 - Douglas
- -----------------------
U-1145, Department of Linguistics
University of Connecticut
341 Mansfield Road
Storrs, CT
(USA) 06269
During 1999-2000 academic year:
709.737.2332 (o)
709.739.5578 (h)

http://www.sp.uconn.edu/~dow96001
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Message 3: Re: 11.928, Disc: Political Action/Linguistic Organizations

Date: Mon, 24 Apr 00 11:03:19 -0400
From: M. J. Hardman <hardmanufl.edu>
Subject: Re: 11.928, Disc: Political Action/Linguistic Organizations

>
>-------------------------------- Message 4 -------------------------------
>
>Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 06:49:37 -0400
>From: Trace Mansfield <tmansfieineural.com>
>Subject: Re: 11.807, Disc: Political Action/Linguistic Organizations
>
>
>As a side note to my earlier response about the mascot issue, I would
>appreciate being told whether anyone has asked the Native American group in
>question if they *want* the LSA's involvement.

Materials produced by native people on the issue include the video In 
Whose Honor? (info at website http://www.inwhosehonor.com/) and the audio 
tape Spirit -- the Indian in the Global Mind, both of which I use in my 
language and culture/violence courses. There was also a very long thread 
on the topic on the native List a couple of years ago -- also with 
excellent material. I'm sorry I don't have time with finals, etc. to 
look up the full references to these things -- but there is a lot of it 
out there.

MJ Hardman
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