Re: Summary and looking ahead [cr-95/10/19]


The issue of hate speech has gotten people more incensed than anything
else on this list.  Different forums have different mores, so I'll go
along with the desires of the readers and not cut words on this list
any more.

But along with complaints (and occasional support for my action)
people have made some interesting side points, so read on.  I learned
some new viewpoints from the debate.



Sender: •••@••.••• (Kurt Guntheroth)

I am not deeply offended to have my words censored.  It is however an object
lesson in the dangers of censorship.  I selected those words deliberately
for their shock value.  The entire artistic point of the paragraph was that
people were shocked by the stereotyping of people as <ethnic slur>s, but
were not shocked by the stereotyping of information as lewd or immoral.

When you get right down to it, both are equally reprehensible.  We are in
the unfortunate position of having to retrain an entire population to a new
kind of sensitivity to perjorative labels.  Information must not be forced
to bear labels any more than human beings should be forced to wear a yellow
star on their sleeve (another ugly methaphor).


Sender: •••@••.•••

So, Andy's a censorship freak!  What else is new?

He COMPLETELY censored 2 consecutive posts I submitted back in early
September.  I haven't bothered participating since.

But here, at last is some insight into his psycho-political-pathology.  He
censored one of my posts because I was going after a libertarian by
counter-attacking his misrepresentations of history, and using some
flamboyant language to do so.  (After 30 years of fighting these guys, and
not hearing 1 new argument since the first 2 weeks, -- which was back in high
school as a freshman! -- I do tend to get flamboyant!)

Now, I am used to liberals censoring radicals.  Civil Rights, Vietnam, you
name it, they said, "Privately I agree you've got some good points to make,
but...."  Phil Ochs said it all in "Love Me, I'm A Liberal!"

But here, Andy let's us see a little deeper into his 6-inch soul ;}.

>In another phase of my free-time activities (away from the terminal,
>I'm happy to say), I'm on a diversity task group and deal with issues
>of tolerance and sensitivity training in my home town.  I've learned a
>lot while doing this.  I think it helps me to moderate a list that has
>a broad, international audience (and which we want to make even
>broader and more international).
>One of the members of my diversity group let the "N" word drop in a
>situation like that set up by Kurt Guntheroth in his message to our
>list.  My colleague said that people like him who worked for more
>integration and diversity were sometimes called "n-----lovers."  Even
>though he obviously abhored the term, his use of it made a black
>member of the group speak up.  She calmly explained that the word had
>such a long history, and she had heard it used with so much hate, that
>any mention was painful to her.  (Even if lots of African Americans
>use the term too!)

So, here's the set-up.  This white guy opens up about being called a nigger
lover.  It hurts.  I know it hurts.  I was called a nigger lover all the time
when I was a teenager.  It hurts in no small amount because it makes
something good and just and decent sound like something dirty and despicable.
 It hurts a lot less than being called a nigger, I'm sure, but it hurts
nonetheless.  SO this guy is opening up about something -- or so it seems
from this report -- and this black lady pulls inverse skin privilege on

Sorry, Andy, you're a god damn fool!  That guy was, at least potentially, in
pain and in a very vulnerable position.  Why was he telling that story in the
first place?  Why was he openning up?  WHat was the purpose of his speaking?
 And why was all that AUTOMATICALLY trumped by this black woman, who has done
so little work on herself that she can't distinguish between someone using a
word to dis her and someone reporting on others using that word to dis him?

Sorry, Andy, that lady is playing your liberal guilt for everything it's
worth.  Do you actually think it respects her to treat her as if she
absolutely can't cope with the mention of the word "nigger"?  Hardly!  Your
image of her -- unconscious, I will grant you that -- is that of someone who
is totally swallowed up in her victimhood.  I guarantee that she is not that
person & she is just running a number on you.  And, no, I'm not dumping on
her, either. She's probably doing that because she can't get close to
expressing what she really wants.  Its the job of real political organizing
to get beyond all that defensive BS, all that surface stuff and jump into the

Apparently, that's something you've just never experienced.

I should let you know that the first person to try and run a "white devil"
routine on me was a guy who'd passed as white for many years.  Any chance
that shit would work with me vanished as soon as I found that out.

>She is not alone.  I also participate on some mailing lists about
>multi-culturalism and diversity.  People on those list also complain
>about teachers assigning stories where the "N" word appears (including
>the famous case of Huckleberry Finn).

Yeah, I remember the first time I heard blacks complain about Huck Finn.  I
was sort of glad.  "So, black folks can be just a stupid as white folks,
given half a chance."  I thought to myself.  And smiled.  It meant that I no
longer needed them to be perfect for me -- if I ever had that need.  After
all, I grew up on Billie Holiday & I knew how she died.

Don't bother agonizing over censoring this one, Andy.  I'll cc: it to
everyone I want to get it! ;/

Paul Rosenberg
Reason & Democracy


Sender: "Steve Eppley" <•••@••.•••>

>> Why is it that we revolt when one person labels another "n--r", "k-ke",
>> or "g--k",
>[text elided]
>> (Moderator's note: I cleaned up Kurt's language, not out of fear of
>> censorship, but because I have often heard that people find the words
>> so offensive they get upset to see them, even when the context is
>> meant to criticize the use of the words.--Andy)
>I assume that the first paragraph is the one that has been "cleaned
>up". Just what is the difference between "cleaned up" and censored?

I don't see any c#ns%rsh*p in what Andy did to "clean up" Kurt's
message.  After all, I was able to reconstruct the missing letters
with no difficulty, so I knew exactly what Kurt wrote.  I prsum
evryon els hr is cpbl of doing the sam.

However, I don't see the need for our moderator to modify anyone's
language.  If we get to vote on it, I vote that all modifications
cease, except maybe for the subject line (and the original subject
line can be moved to the top of the message's body).

I'd also vote to make the list unmoderated.  Moderation slows down
communication too much; time is of the essence.

I'd also vote to eliminate the list signature at the bottom of all
the messages.  :-)

Any seconds?

---Steve     (Steve Eppley    •••@••.•••)


I didnt realize all the stir over your editing some words. I appreciate
that, at times, you must walk that tightrope between the C's. Censorship of
word usage and compassion for others who justifiably take offense to
certain words. I think you made the right choice in this case. Im not
incredibly PC in my speech but I do feel concern over someone not hearing
my meaning cause of my word choice. So I watch myself and my word choices
as you watch this group and its meaning. So Im moving on and wont bother
you with this again, but I wanted you to know that I think your actions
were prudent.


Rethink what activism means - Isnt it just participation?

                      Internet Users Consortium
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Sender: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re: Summary and looking ahead [cr-95/10/19]

>I did not keep anybody from saying what they meant to say; I just
>substituted a couple hyphens as a signal that I understood the pain
>(and more serious hurt) that words can convey.

I would not call what Andy did "censorship". the substitution of a couple of
hyphens did not change the meaning or intent of the text.  All he did was
alter their appearence in deference to those readers who may be sensitive to
the sight or sound of those words.

>Perhaps people are too sensitive.  You can say that, but I want to be
>sensitive where large groups of people are sensitive!

My previous comment notwithstanding, I also happen to think that people can be
too sensitive. And many people simply take themselves and everything else way
too seriously.  I would encourage them to develop sensitivity to context and
intent as well as vocabulary.

I too am member of an oppressed minority. I belong to a group that it is still
ok, even in "politically correct" circles, to discriminate against, publicly
ridicule and insult, and refuse to serve or accomodate. We are victimized by
stereotypes, misconceptions and misinformation. There are no laws protecting
us and our language is full of trigger words that cause hurt and anguish when

I am a fat person. For the curious, I weigh over 500 lbs. I personally have
objections to the word "obese", among others, but I don't go apoplectic when I
see it or hear it. There are times when you just have to roll back your eyes,
shake your head and say "Tsk tsk tsk!" I am working for acceptance and
enlightenment by belonging to NAAFA (National Association for the Advancement
of Fat Acceptance)   <-----Shameless Plug

Once an activist, always an activist I guess.

>Ridiculously over-sensitive?  I don't know, but I know that the educator now
uses the >term "easel."  I don't like the idea of perfectly useful words being
taken out of the >language because someone uses them for hateful reasons

I would never be so presumptious as to label someone else's sensitivities as
"ridiculous", but there are thousands of common words that can or have been
used for hateful reasons somewhere at sometime. If we start eliminating words
that might offend someone, there won't be much left of the language.

The quotes in my signature are there for a reason. I don't think that they are
contradictory, but rather compliment one another.
David L. Allwardt
"If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not
 due to the thing itself but to your estimate of it; and this
 you have the power to revoke at any moment." -- Marcus Aurlieus

"Power conceeds nothing without demand, it never has, and
 never will... The power of tyrants is prescribed by the
 endurance of those whom they oppose." -- Frederick Douglas


Sender: •••@••.••• (Michael Henits)

Andy appears to have said:

  [major snippage]

> Did you know that "flip" is a derogatory term for Filipino?  An
> educator in the field of multi-culturalism (yes, that field has
> existed for some time) was told this by a Filipino student.  The
> student was actually upset that the educator talked about her "flip
> chart" in class.  Ridiculously over-sensitive?

Yes, ridiculously over-sensitive.  At this point, pretty much
anything anybody says or believes is bound to horribly offend
some person or persons and generate friction.  Shall we all just
stop talking to avoid this possibility?  Things have gotten way
out of hand.

Michael Henits


Sender: Korac <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: Summary and looking ahead [cr-95/10/19]

On Tue, 24 Oct 1995, Cyber Rights wrote:

        You are free to choose whatever words you like, be they
thoughtful and considerate, or negative and offensive.  That is why this
country is a good place.  Tolerance works both ways.   How is it that
many "politically correct" people seem to think that the first amendment
has some clause in it to the effect that you have a consitutional right
not to be offended?   I assure you the first amendment is in place
BECAUSE there IS the right to offend and criticize up to the point of
libel and slander.

        I find your arbitrary censorship of another's words as an attempt
to impose your morality on the rest of us....which to me is far more
offensive than seeing a few swears on my screen.  Please refrain from
this activity in the future until the Exxon driven Internet/Thought
police mandate that you do so.  "Cleaning up" language without consent
and before any legal requirement to do so is similar to flagging down a
police car at 2 A.M. so they can search your house for contraband before
they come to the door with a warrant.   Such submissiveness to authority
and fear of hurting people's feelings are hardly shining qualifications
for moderating any discussion group that is willing to debate all sides
of many issues, where conflicting opinions and ideals are bound to ensure
somebody's never happy with the general tone of things.

        Maybe moderation should be limited to making sure that the
posters stay on topic and don't start crossposting from soc.flaming.liberal.
Just my opinion, I know its not popular but I have the right to voice it
(for now).

"Those that give up essential liberty for a little
security, deserve neither liberty nor security."
                                - B.Franklin

"When ID's are mandatory, its time to leave the planet."
                                - Lazarus Long
                                  (a.k.a. R. Heinlein)

 Posted by Andrew Oram  - •••@••.••• - Moderator: CYBER-RIGHTS (CPSR)
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