Long time no see!

Do you ever use that phrase? Well guess what? You are a racist!

Well I’ll be. I thought it was a riff on Standard Native American syntax. Right up there with the little gnats: noseeums.

But from the article, offense at the -man suffix hurts my brains. I was taught it is a relic from the German influences (ok, roots) on English. And of course, “man” in German is gender neutral. I mean, I guess it’s grammatically masculine (?), but in use it refers to [del]either[/del] er, whichever gender you care to presume.

:confused: By “German”, do you mean “Germanic”? Modern English and its ancestors are Germanic languages, but that doesn’t mean that their linguistic features are the same as, or derived from, their German counterparts.

In any case, while the ancient Germanic word “man” was indeed gender-nonspecific, the English word “man” has meant primarily “adult male human” at least since the days of Old English.

It seems kind of silly to argue that modern English speakers should just ignore the gendered connotations of the suffix “-man” merely because the original form of the word centuries ago was not gender-specific. By that reasoning we should also just ignore, for example, the longstanding pejorative sense of “bitch” because it was originally a non-pejorative word for a female dog.

As for “long time no see”, I think the university’s deciding to discourage its use in official university publications, without in any way forbidding students to use it or claiming that anybody who uses it must be a racist (contrary to the misleading OP), does not really warrant the extent of the OP’s pearl-clutching about PC run amok.

And I think that is one of the most blatant instances of PC run amok that I’ve seen in a while.

I was with you and that author on the silliness of taking offense to “long time, no see.” So since that was Pecksniffery #2, I looked to see what Pecksniffery #1 was.

Not going on board with that one. We really do need to think about moving into space without the baggage of sentiments like “conquest”, “frontier”, “settlement” and “colonization” because our history of those terms is sickening. The author then sweeps up a series of straw men and irrelevant nonsense in defense of a stirring cry of "I can say whatever I want,’ which is technically true but also crap.

I’n not about to start defending safe spaces and anti-microaggression language and repression of speakers with alternative viewpoints. Back in my youth, we waded uphill through microaggressions to and from school after having them cold for breakfast. But that screed went way too far over the line into the “words don’t really mean anything” fallacy.

There are some things you can be reflexively anti to, but changing word usage ain’t one of them.

First of all, talking about the “conquest” of space does seem odd. No one out there is likely to be shooting at us after all (whether with projectiles or death rays). And if there were someone out there capable of shooting back (including “people” who look nothing like us Terran featherless bipeds) I certainly don’t think we should “conquer” them.

Secondly, any instance of human [del]settlement[/del] [del]colonization[/del] going and living on other planets (or moons, or in space habitats) is very far off. It may never, ever happen.

But if it ever does happen that there are humans living some place other than Earth–I don’t mean going and doing a tour of duty on a collection of tin cans in Low Earth Orbit, I mean living on Earth’s own moon, or on Mars, or in a space station, or on Proxima b–it does seem very, very silly to object to calling that “settlement”, or even “colonization”. That would be exactly what we would be doing after all, and not calling it that would not somehow make it un-“problematic” if it were in fact “problematic” in the first place. If there are no “Proximans”–if, say, there’s life on Proxima b, but it’s only single-celled organisms–then why shouldn’t we “settle” or “colonize” Proxima b? (Assuming we could even get there, which is a mighty big assumption.) And if there are “Proximans” (I mean people, of whatever shape or biochemistry) then we shouldn’t try to boot them out of the place they’re living. But just calling that hypothetical action “planetary re-homing” or “an interstellar demographic shift” or “rightsizing the non-human population of Proxima b” instead of calling it “Mankind’s conquest and colonization of Proxima b” wouldn’t be addressing the thing that would make such a program “problematic”.

No I’m not.

I’m a better authority to determine if I’m racist then a wordpress web site.


Is something one person said.

The problem is that “colonization” has taken on a separate life from the simple founding of a “colony.” In the U.S. the blackest spots in our history are the genocide of Native Americans and the slavery of Africans. Colonies are what the country were formed from and so have a highly positive connotation.

Elsewhere in the world, though, former colonies are now looking at their colonial periods under the imperialism of European nations as their equivalent of genocide/slavery. Most of us, I’d guess, grew up with textbooks extolling the British Empire. Post-colonization countries have begun to look at the Empire as the worst blot on English history, perhaps equivalent to the way we look at Nazism. What would happen if we casually stated we were going into space to practice genocide and slavery? Now substitute colonization for those terms.

The Conquest of Space was a popular term in the 1950s, as we blasted into the New Frontier to establish settlements. Now it all sounds like a subset of militarization, not much different from colonization. Words accrue history and accrete meanings, and not always the ones their champions want.

In some ways, the history of colonization parallels white privilege. Whites in this country furiously resist acknowledging what to people of color seems obvious and ubiquitous. The way we look at colonies is not at all the way most of the rest of the world look at them. Columbus used to be a hero worthy of a national holiday. Today he’s a monster. You can’t read him out of history. Whether he “discovered” America or not, he changed everything. But we’ll never talk about being Columbuses discovering new planets for Earthmen again. That’s not a bad thing. Words matter.

Oh please. :rolleyes:

Yes Kemosabe.

But in what way is it doing anything that could realistically be described as “running amok”? Who is expelling or even disciplining anybody for using any of this “non-inclusive language” that the Colorado State administrators are encouraging students to think about?

“Anti-PC” oversensitivity, where even the calmest and most reasonable discussions of subjects like inclusivity, privilege, implicit bias and so on are interpreted as “PC run amok” or “censorship” or accusations of racism or what have you, is a tempest in a teapot.

It may be silly to put an archaic and thoroughly naturalized slang expression like “long time no see” on a list of examples of “non-inclusive language”. But it’s even sillier to freak out about it to the extent of claiming (with exclamation point) that the list-makers are actually accusing anybody who uses the phrase of being a racist.

It’s not intrinsically insulting or oppressive to respectfully ask members of a community—especially students in an institution of learning—to think about the language they use and how language relates to stated community goals such as inclusion and equality. That is not the same as censorship or infringement of free-speech rights.

Nicely put.

You owe someone an apology.

I see what you did there.

The appropriate response to this kind of PC gone wild is not sober reflection on racism. It is roars of mocking laughter.


Okay, how about the word “covenant?”

When I read a site like that, it is with roars of mocking laughter.

‘Oh’? Really? That’s it! You’re a RACIST!

As an Evergreen grad, I say the glaring irony here is that I always thought the prolific use of “covenant” was a touchy-feely (which, BTW, was the term we used for PC back in the cro-magnon 80s-90s, but is now undoubtedly verboten for its implication of unwelcome groping) way to avoid the over- authoritarian-cannoting word “rules”. Nice try hippy college founders!