diverse = 'ethnically different'

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 19 01:18:57 UTC 2011

I chose "ethnically" over "racially" because what he meant seemed to be that
"the Chinese" (particularly the Chinese in charge of the rest of the
Chinese) see and interpret things through a cultural lens that is different
from that of the U.S. of A.

The relative subtleties of "diversity" within China did not seem to be the
issue at all.

"Ethnic" is useful because it seems to cover both culture and race or

On Tue, Jan 18, 2011 at 7:09 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: diverse = 'ethnically different'
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Tue, Jan 18, 2011 at 12:29 PM, Jonathan Lighter
> <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > African-American Congressman on CNN just now: "China may be diverse
> compared
> > to us...."
> >
> There's been at least one occasion, IME, when I've found Jon's
> reliance upon his own intuitions WRT black speech to be utterly
> lacking. But, here, IMO, Jon is entirely correct in his intuition that
> the Congressman is using _diverse_ to mean "ethnically different" -
> though "racially different" is probably better - in the sense of "not
> a nation composed of white people or ruled by people of European
> descent and having a large minority made up of people of known,
> admitted, or claimed sub-Saharan-African descent." If any random black
> American who is not a scholar of Sinica has any idea that all of the
> "Orientals" in the Far East aren't "Chinese" sensu stricto - and that
> includes the Japanese - I'd be very much surprised.
> If you tried to explain that, strictu senso, China is *not* "diverse,"
> compared to "us," to the extent that one group of people, called
> _Han_, rule over a number of non-Han minorities, such as the Tibetans,
> the Uighurs, the Mongols, the Manchus ("Manchus!?" Whuh chu tawm
> 'bout, Wilson? Fu *Manchu* is the *quintessential* Chinaman! And how
> are these so-called "Mongols" supposed to be "different," when they
> *all* belong to the *Mongoloid* race! Just like *we* - from Jennifers
> Beals and Lopez, Mariah Carey, Paula Abdul, Eddie Murphy, Charlies
> Patton and Murphy, Thurgood Marshall, Johnny Otis, Johnny "Guitar"
> Watson, Johnny Mathis, Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Rae Dawn Chong,
> Patrick Chung, Tai Babilonia, etc. all be *Negroid*! Except when The
> Man goes into divide-and-rule mode, of course.)
> I once had a surprisingly-frustrating argument with a lawyer-friend -
> JD, Wash U in St. Louis. He wondered how it was that a Filipino
> gardener came to be fluent in Spanish and to be named "Ricardo." I was
> surprised that anyone could be so unaware of just the history of the
> American Empire, let alone that of the world, that he would find this
> surprising. IAC, he absolutely refused to accept my explanation,
> despite his agreeing with me that the U.S. had acquired The
> Philippines from Spain and that anyone whose native language is
> Spanish or who speaks with what is regarded by us blacks - or should
> that be, "by *we* blacks"? - as a "Spanish" accent, regardless of any
> other factor, is "Spanish." As far as my buddy was concerned, the
> gardener was "Chinese."
> OTOH, I recall that, when a Chicano prof of Spanish remarked to a
> Filipino class-member that she undoubtedly was already fluent in
> Spanish and was, therefore, aiming for an easy A, she replied, in
> effect, that she didn't know Spanish any more than any other random
> American without a Spanish accent would. (The subject came up as a
> result of the prof's telling the class to respond in Spanish to the
> question, "De donde esta usted?", to which she had answered, "Estoy de
> las Islas filipinas."
> I had assumed that this woman was black. That's not unusual, I guess.
> At Widener, a white student said to me that she had been referred to
> me "by a pretty black woman at the circ desk." Said "black woman" is a
> Filipino.
> Not every Filipino is Sinoid in appearance, needless to say.
> --
> -Wilson
> –––
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"––a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> –Mark Twain
> Once that we recognize that we do not err out of laziness, stupidity,
> or evil intent, we can uncumber ourselves of the impossible burden of
> trying to be permanently right. We can take seriously the proposition
> that we could be in error, without necessarily deeming ourselves
> idiotic or unworthy.
> –Kathryn Schulz
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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