Request for member withdrawal

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Jan 21 16:41:51 UTC 2010

Bravo!  This is what I would write, if I were not an American-born
white, and could write.  Although I too was offended by much of what
Tom has been writing recently.

I don't know or care whether Tom's racism is intentional or ignorant;
I condemn it in either case.


At 1/21/2010 11:16 AM, Salikoko Mufwene wrote:
>Bill Palmer wrote:
>>And it seems so bizarre for a bunch of whites (I'm assuming here,
>>to decide what is offensive to those of African descent.
>I am a foreign-born black/Black and I wouldn't dare make some of the
>comments that Tom has made about terms for African Americans. It's a
>matter of respecting the feelings of the referents, who could actually
>retaliate with terms that are offensive to some of us. People decide
>what terms are offensive to them and how they prefer to be referred to.
>The emotions associated with particular terms change with time (we
>learn/teach this in introduction-to-linguistics classes), while some of
>the terms remain locked in historic phrases and the like. Speaking a
>language appropriately entails learning when a term may offend
>individuals associated with it, and good communicative skills tell you
>when to make comments publicly and when not to, unless you are brave or
>stupid enough to defy social norms. I think this is the gist of what
>people have been condemning in Tom's verbal behavior. It seems to me
>that he is so proud that he offends even while he may intend to
>apologize. Whether or not Tom should be removed from the list is less
>important to me than pointing out that he has been insensitive to
>feelings of some people. It's a matter of being civil and he has not. I
>think the point has been made and we all have better things to worry
>about. I am writing now because I don't think it is a righteous
>whites'/Whites' thing. It's a matter of common sense.
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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