[PD] [OT] Re: about sexism

Chris McCormick chris at mccormick.cx
Wed Oct 10 06:16:16 CEST 2007

On Tue, Oct 09, 2007 at 11:26:59AM -0400, Mathieu Bouchard wrote:
> On Mon, 8 Oct 2007, Chris McCormick wrote:
> >On Mon, Oct 08, 2007 at 12:41:22PM -0400, Mathieu Bouchard wrote:
> >>There's a difference between being sensitive to racism and dismissing
> >>history.
> >I wonder why we don't refer to the european hordes rushing into countless
> >continents, slaughtering and raping the local peoples for the last few
> >hundred years? There is a difference between dismissing history and
> >selective memory.
> Just because we don't mention it *here*, doesn't mean we don't know it or 
> want to forget it. We don't have quotas of representation of historical 
> facts on pd-list. If you want to balance the representation of historical 
> facts on pd-list, do your own share if you will, but pd-list has no such 
> duty.

Yeah of course, but Frank was not talking about the pd-list. He was
referring to a phrase in the Jargon File. I am not asking people on the
pd-list to be more sensitive or to enforce 'quotas of representation'.
It's a free world; people can say whatever they like and use whatever
phrases they like. What I am saying is that your statement that we
shouldn't "dismiss history", implying that the phrase "Mongolian hordes"
represents a historically valid viewpoint is perpetuating a western-biased
(racist) falsehood.

There is strong debate about whether the Mongolians were "uncivilised"
and how ruthless they were. To illustrate this point, consider that in
many cases recorded by the people being invaded they treated people much
better by comparison than European invaders, who recorded their invasions
themselves. To use the phrase "Mongolian hordes" is to reinforce a
factually incorrect racist cultural stereotype. It is to imply that
other people invading are "hordes" whilst when western people invade it's
"progress". The mere fact that everyone knows what we're talking about
when we say "mongolian hordes" whilst there is no similar widespread
cliche for western invaders in our culture is testament to this fact.

> Now, while you're back into that topic, can you point to me the reasons 
> why Canada refused to sign the last treaty about natives?

No, not really. I am sure you can find more information about it on the
net if you care to try. A search for 'UN indigenous rights' will yeild
many results.

The Canadian government has traditionally strongly supported this
UN action for indigenous people's rights, right up until the current
government came into power.

"Unfortunately, the provisions in the Declaration on lands, territories
and resources are overly broad, unclear, and capable of a wide variety
of interpretations, discounting the need to recognize a range of rights
over land and possibly putting into question matters that have been
settled by treaty,"
-- Canada's UN Ambassador John McNee

> You seemed to 
> assume that if Canada had not signed it, it had to be for the worst of 
> reasons,


> but have you actually read about the reasons?

A little. The conflict is similar to that in Australia. There are many
sides and they usually concern the ownership of traditional lands:

* Indigenous people's groups generally would like their people to have
the right to use their traditional lands.

* Conservationists would like to use the issue to further their own
agenda of environmental protection.

* Resource industry corporations would like unfettered access to the
land in order to dig valuable things out of the ground and sell them on
the global market. Unfortunately the remaining stocks of underground
resources are often located under traditionally owned lands these days.

* Ordinary people are reasonably ignorant of the facts and easily swayed
by sensationalist media headlines about indigenous land re-acquisition.

* In some cases the government has negotiated treaties with indigenous
peoples and they don't want those treaties to be disturbed.

There are many sides to the argument but I think these are generally the




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