[lit-ideas] Re: August Thoughts on First Black President

  • From: "Eric " <mr.eric.yost@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 3 Sep 2015 15:37:39 -0400

Chris raises the issue of terminological racism, and through it the Gramscian
notion of redeeming minority narratives by changing terms. When I consider
"pejorative racial stereotyping of the indigenous peoples of North America ...
in the language" I see that the idea of Gramscian progress must confront "the
Presentism Fallacy."

Wikipedia defines the Presentism Fallacy in part as, "the anachronistic
introduction of present-day ideas and perspectives into depictions or
interpretations of the past. Some modern historians seek to avoid presentism in
their work because they believe it creates a distorted understanding of their
subject matter."

While Pound's political car crash with "savages" is to be deplored, I wouldn't
blame language per se. Rather there is a conflict between modern egalitarian
ideals and the belief that these are best advanced by linguistic means rather
than simple everyday actions.

All of our distant ancestors were savages. What matters, to my mind, is how we
treat people today, by just actions rather than by name-changing games.


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