Engineer_comp_geek, are you *aware* how racist this moderation sounds?

Merriam-Webster: rejected or cast out by society

American Heritage: one that has been excluded from a society or system.

I don’t think it’s a particularly felicitous choice. It’s not a word I would have personally chosen. But I also don’t think it’s horribly wide of the mark. Those children who were stolen were literally cast out from where they belonged.

And a key point here is that the “agency” of outcasts doesn’t come into play, which was one of the repeated complaints. Innocents can be outcasts. Even if the word is wrong, it’s not so far afield as to automatically imply guilt among those who were stripped away from their homes and families.

That’s perfectly reasonable, of course.

But to repeat, what it “usually means” still does not automatically imply guilt. “Outcast” includes those wrongfully cast out.

More broadly: Precision in word choice is a high hurdle to demand of other human beings, most especially when precision in word interpretation is also imperfect. When you get down to it, basically no-one speaks or reads well off the cuff.

Were they rejected or excluded from the families that they were taken from?

I really don’t see how that follows. If someone kidnaps your child, did you cast them out?

Yes they can be. In some societies, children are sometimes rejected or excluded from the community through no fault of their own. This was not what happened here. These children were taken.

It is the attempts to defend this term more than the arguments against it that most sway my opinion that it is a remarkably terrible label to put upon these children.

No, they were not - “cast out” would mean that their place of origin did the casting. Casting as an action is one of pushing, not pulling. That was not what happened here.

“Stolen” and “cast out” are mutually exclusive.

And continuing to insist they’re synonyms is starting to seem like deliberate misuse. And continuing doing so in a thread that’s about mod action against someone who got justifiably angry at such mischaracterization seems unnecessarily provocative.

They were not cast out by the society they were part of. They were deliberately kidnapped and dragged out of it by the society that had won the war. If someone is taken away by force, or for that matter if they leave voluntarily, they are not “cast out.”

Again, I have never before seen anyone trying to claim that kidnap victims have by the act of kidnapping been “cast out”.

Of course innocents can be outcasts. That’s not the point.

The objection isn’t that calling the kidnapped children outcasts is putting blame on them. The objection is that it’s categorizing their treatment as being no different from the way society often treats individuals outcast by their own society, rather than being – as it explicitly was – part of an intention to destroy an entire society.

When I read “outcast” in the original thread, it didn’t ping my radar as problematic. I was initially confused why Banquet_Bear found it insulting. But I listened to him, and thanks to his explanations (and yes, his anger), I realized it was offensive as hell. If I were kidnapped, would I be bothered to be called an outcast? Fuck yeah.

We all have blind spots. That was one of mine. It’s not a character flaw to have one. But it’s a problem if you aren’t willing to listen to others and examine your blind spots.

For those saying you don’t see the racism, or “outcast” is valid from a certain perspective, try looking from someone else’s perspective. For those arguing that we still need civility, look at the way you are saying it. Listen to the BIPOC who are telling you that it is offensive.

It was, repeatedly, a point of the poster I was referring to even if it was not the point in your own posts.

The claim was made, repeatedly, that the word was used to assign blame to victims as if they had “agency”. This can easily be cited, if you missed it.

I accept that this is not your point, and in your estimation not the point. And that’s fine. I think you make a good argument here. I’m inclined to agree with you. I would just point out that it is easy to miss the point from your perspective when one of the primary purposes of my own post was to point out that this assumption of agency, from another poster who was not you, was not well founded.

Likewise this:

I think that’s also a reasonable argument.

“I don’t think it’s a particularly felicitous choice.”

“It’s not a word I would have personally chosen.”

My “defense” of the word has hardly been iron.

This paragraph basically encapsulates my broader views here:

I think people are – still, again, repeatedly – expecting perfect precision in a context in which it is not possible.

People aren’t expecting perfection, but we are hoping for listening, acknowledgement of an offense, and attempt to repair the damage. Instead I see a lot of defense.

It’s not asking for perfect precision to not call kidnapping victims “outcasts”.

And it would be fine if the poster then said, “My bad, you’re right, they are not outcasts.” But instead they doubled down and insisted it was appropriate.

That is sort of a point – but the victims were not only the children. The victims were also their parents, their other relatives, and their entire communities. The implication of calling the children outcasts is in part to blame those victims.


A response of ‘whoops, that was terrible wording, sorry, what I meant was x’ would have been one thing. To have multiple people insisting that there’s no reason for anyone to take offense from the words is something else altogether.

His post was in no way racist.

There was no genocide denial in that thread, as there was no genocide.

You simply declaring that horrible episode “genocide” does not make it so, even if you say it in over and over and over.

Now, this, this is an excellent point about how and why the “outcast” wording causes offense.

Modnote: Let’s not get into a debate on what is and isn’t Genocide. This is the ATMB. IF someone wants to start a thread on this issue, please try GD or even The Pit. So to posters on all side of this argument, please drop the Genocide conversation. It isn’t appropriate to ATMB.

OP is an example of what I’ve called out as paternalistic tone policing. I’m not a fan, which is why I started this thread:

That one wasn’t specifically about racism, but the mod trend of “I don’t like your tone, mister” seems like a big departure from years past, and not for the better. Seems like OP has spotted another one.

What I would want to see in situations like this is the old no-fault “everyone dial it back”, and "you in particular are close to crossing the line, followed by a direct PM assessing “this topic seems to send you over the line pretty easily. Others have noticed, we’ve noticed, you need to reel it in.”

It’s pretty gross to say “hey buddy, you’re getting too angry, don’t be angry.” I wouldn’t say that to anyone at all, and I doubly would not say that to POC.

How about just putting an end to the tone policing.

This is true if the children were members of First Nations society ONLY and were not part of nor had any place in a wider Canadian society. To me, that seems problematic. The residential school system persisted in Canada into the 1990s; regardless of the brutal history of how the nation was created, is it fair to say that by that late date, “Canadian society” and “indigenous society” were wholly separate and ne’er the twain shall meet?

Having read what you and others have written, I will agree that calling them outcasts was not a well-chosen turn of phrase, and I do sincerely apologize for the offense I have caused.

My intent was to say that Canadian society, writ large, disregarded indigenous children and cast them aside. That was not how my words were received, however, and that is my fault.

This apology would sit better if it wasn’t immediately after a whole paragraph of you just doing the same thing again.

I just wanted to point out that there is indeed a thread in the Pit on this subject right now.

I had understood this usage of ‘outcast’ to mean not that the individual children were ‘outcasts’ as a result of being kidnapped, but rather that every single indigenous Canadian was an outcast from the larger power structure of Canadian society. ‘Outcast’ is still a strange choice of word here, since it seems to have to have once been a part of the society and been cast out from it, which is not the case here.

A useless thread.

Modnote: With this “useless” post that does not belong in this thread, I am now going to tell you to stay out of this thread.

Actually on that modnote, I think it is a good time to close this. I can say this entire situation is being discussed in the modloop. It is not be ignored. There seems to be 2 related pit threads at this point, maybe 3 and the original thread.