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

  • From: Mike Geary <jejunejesuit.geary2@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 3 Sep 2015 16:46:35 -0500

You guys (and gals) are simple, dim-witted savages when it comes to
appreciating the complexities of bigotry and prejudice as manifest through
race, national-origin, social status, religious affiliation, gender, and
cross-gender identity, to name but some of the more common prejudices we
here in the South love to engage in. Come spend a day, just one day, in
Mississippi or a week in Memphis -- you'll be thrilled by the varieties of
bigotry and fascinated by the subtleties of expression.

On Thu, Sep 3, 2015 at 2:37 PM, Eric <mr.eric.yost@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

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


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