August 23, 2009

Not from The Onion

From the Times of London:
Dozens of quangos and taxpayer-funded organisations have ordered a purge of common words and phrases so as not to cause offence.

Among the everyday sayings that have been quietly dropped in a bid to stamp out racism and sexism are “whiter than white”, “gentleman’s agreement”, “black mark” and “right-hand man”.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has advised staff to replace the phrase “black day” with “miserable day”, according to documents released under freedom of information rules.

It points out that certain words carry with them a “hierarchical valuation of skin colour”. The commission even urges employees to be mindful of the term “ethnic minority” because it can imply “something smaller and less important”.

The National Gallery in London believes that the phrase “gentleman’s agreement” is potentially offensive to women and suggests that staff should replace it with “unwritten agreement” or “an agreement based on trust” instead. The term “right-hand man” is also considered taboo by the gallery, with “second in command” being deemed more suitable.

Many institutions have urged their workforce to be mindful of “gender bias” in language. The Learning and Skills Council wants staff to “perfect” their brief rather than “master” it, while the Newcastle University has singled out the phrase “master bedroom” as being problematic.

Advice issued by the South West Regional Development Agency states: “Terms such as ‘black sheep of the family’, ‘black looks’ and ‘black mark’ have no direct link to skin colour but potentially serve to reinforce a negative view of all things black. Equally, certain terms imply a negative image of ‘black’ by reinforcing the positive aspects of white.

“For example, in the context of being above suspicion, the phrase ‘whiter than white’ is often used. Purer than pure or cleaner than clean are alternatives which do not infer that anything other than white should be regarded with suspicion.”

The clampdown in the public sector has angered some of the country’s most popular writers.

Anthony Horowitz, author of the Alex Rider children’s spy books, said: “A great deal of our modern language is based on traditions which have now gone but it would be silly — and extremely inconvenient — to replace them all."

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the Eurabia:


An overdraft? That'll be £200 at Lloyds TSB (but only £15 if you're a Muslim)
By Arthur Martin
Last updated at 9:46 AM on 22nd August 2009
dailymail.co.uk

Many Lloyds TSB customers are being hit with charges of up to £200 a month if they go into the red - while Muslims who use the bank are only being charged £15.

The part-nationalised bank has been accused of religious discrimination over the disparity between overdraft charges on its standard current account and its Islamic account.

The Islamic account was set up by the high street bank to attract Muslim customers by allowing them to keep faithful to their religion.

Sharia law does not permit the payment of interest so the 'typical' Islamic account at Lloyds TSB has been set up without an overdraft facility...



The people who make the babies make the future.

Either get busy making babies, or else getting busy becoming an archaeological artifact.

Or a fossil.

Dutch Boy said...

Newspeak!

Ross said...

"The term “right-hand man” is also considered taboo "

Left handers really are very sensitive these days, the touchy sinisterists.

J.G. said...

But how will they prevent dirty linens from looking darker?

James Kabala said...

I see no one's commented on the name Horowitz yet (doubtless several would have if Horowitz had been implementing the changes rather than complaining about them), so I will note that perhaps this is evidence of the claim of several commenters below that British Jews are more conservative and traditionalist than Americans.

James Kabala said...

Although come to think of it, Sasha Baron Cohen would be an obvious counter-example.

Anonymous said...

To be "in the black" is a good thing.

Richard said...

While I'm dismissing this as PC-driven garbage, I have to ask: outside of the liberal elite who wants to make sure everyone gets precisely the same amount of noodles, carrots, and bits of chicken in their identical bowls of soup, is race (specifically black/white) really that much of an issue there? I've spent time in various parts of the UK, and one of the things that stuck out for me was noticing that being black in Europe/the UK ≠ being black in America.

Ronduck said...

The worse thought is this is really a reflection back at us of our own purging of the language. Remember the flap over the word nigardly?

Anonymous said...

Dutchboy beat me to it. Doubleplusungood!

anony-mouse said...

Somehow I doubt that 'lily-livered coward', 'pale as a ghost', 'sickly white' or 'white flag of surrender' will be abolished.

M Stein said...

Ireland seems a good example of how EU refugee & asylum laws allow largescale African migration to Europe.

Here is a great blog which discusses the Irish situation.

http://irishsavant.blogspot.com/?zx=234bb4f2bf236b79

Anonymous said...

Why is the word 'black' considered offensive, since blacks are now called 'African-American's, or something similar in other countries ?

Anonymous said...

attention Europe: 1984 was a warning, not a manual.

Anonymous said...

It actually really baffles me how far off the deep end the UK has gone and how quickly. As late as the late 90s they were making fun of OUR silly pc... and then WHAM!. they are far worse than us.

I cannot believe that this is not being coordinated internationally..i would hate to get all conspiracy theorist, but this is not sponteneous

Nanonymous said...

It points out that certain words carry with them a “hierarchical valuation of skin colour”.

Black Death! Black Death in Europe - what are they gonna do with it? It does sound like the phrase carries a “hierarchical valuation of skin colour”.
Is it safe to use the phrase on the streets of London these days?

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe that this is not being coordinated internationally..i would hate to get all conspiracy theorist, but this is not sponteneous

I think it's because the implosion of the class system undermined their ability to educate and socialize the young. In the US, it's only the underclass that perceives improving oneself as aligning oneself with the oppressor. In the UK, the idea that acting on the desire for more and better for self and children is the behavior of a traitor is much more widespread. If you achieve a middle class income in the US, there is pretty much no social pressure on you to "keep it real," with the one obvious exception. That's not true in the UK. People in the UK deliberately cut themselves off from their own heritage by their stupid, venial class hatred. They're proud of being vicious, ignorant, slovenly, and intemperate, because that's *not* upper class.

But it is in the nature of man to seek what is higher than himself. PC nonsense and Islam fill the vacuum.

Anonymous said...

"It actually really baffles me how far off the deep end the UK has gone and how quickly. As late as the late 90s they were making fun of OUR silly pc... and then WHAM!. they are far worse than us."

Judging by my encounters with college-age Brits online, I have to agree with this. PC is worse there than here.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the English are disciplined team-player types by nature. Obviously, this is good in some circumstances and bad in others. They like rules. These are the new rules, and they're being very sincere in following them. It seems that in Scandinavia this stuff is even worse, and for the same reason.

Now compare that to the way Italians (both in Italy and in the US) and the cowboy Scots-Irish element in the US have handled PC. Perhaps the common element is that these two groups aren't as fond of rules as the English are.

Svigor said...

Why is the word 'black' considered offensive, since blacks are now called 'African-American's, or something similar in other countries ?

Surely you don't think logic or just cause enter into it? This is about power and hatred.

BM said...

"As late as the late 90s they were making fun of OUR silly pc... and then WHAM!. they are far worse than us.

I cannot believe that this is not being coordinated internationally..i would hate to get all conspiracy theorist, but this is not sponteneous"

Remember the Labour Party came to power in England in 1997. Identity politics has been a major part of left wing parties for some time, so it's not surprising they've installed various diversity initiatives.

Anonymous said...

British Jews are somewhat less leftist, less paranoid and less influential than American Jews.

Ron Guhname said...

I'm going to lose my f-ing mind.

Anthony said...

@James,

"Although come to think of it, Sasha Baron Cohen would be an obvious counter-example."

Right, in terms of his public persona (I sometimes wonder, though, if he actually has sentiments similar to some of the stuff he is supposedly satirizing). I thought I read something to the effect that he was relatively traditionalist in his personal life. Anyone know if there is anything to that?

Anonymous said...

Personally, i find "pales by comparison" deeply offensive.

But, strangely, leukemia doesn't bother me.

Felix said...

I recall a colleague objecting to the metaphor "white hot" as being racist.

Simon said...

Richard:
"is race (specifically black/white) really that much of an issue there?"

The (New) Left has been trying to make it an issue for decades, along with the rest of US identity politics. The race relations industry works hard to whip up US style racial antagonism. Despite this, and despite the usual black high crime rates, blacks and whites get along well in the UK. There are whites who hate blacks, and blacks who hate whites, but there is nothing like the general tension you get in most of the US. Lower class whites happily adopted lower class black Caribbean values, and the two groups have interbred so extensively that in places there are more 1st and 2nd generation mulattos (eg 'Londattos') than actual blacks. Children of white mothers and (often, but not always, absent) black fathers do not feel pressure to 'act black' as in the US, and are often indistinguishable in behaviour from their white peers. You also see many middle class mixed couples, including notably white male/black female, very rare in the US. That's not regarded as unusual.

Beastmaster said...

"I thought I read something to the effect that he was relatively traditionalist in his personal life. Anyone know if there is anything to that?"

He made his Aussie wife convert before marrying her. Look up Wikipedia.

"After three years of study, Isla converted to Judaism in early 2007, and has received the approval of Baron Cohen's observant Jewish parents."

Simon said...

Incidentally, in the UK lower class black boys do better at school than lower class white boys, despite an IQ gap similar to that in the US and elsewhere. Intact Afro-Caribbean and African families mostly show a strong work ethic. On the one hand this is a terrible waste of social capital - lower class white boys are clearly hugely underperforming, relative to their potential. OTOH it makes claims of white racism leading to poor black performance pretty hard to sustain.

Edward said...

If someone can cluelessly utter a hatephrase like "look how black it is outside", or "Man, that's a good coffee", they also are unlikely to have the awareness and verbal dexterity necessary to cover over the pattern recognition process with incoherent, wordy feel-goodisms.

The selection mechanism here is obvious. The power of the elite class depends on the prevention of pattern recognition anywhere it can be easily subverted. The present elite class relies on race and sex to divide and rule "stupid white men".

For the illiberal elites at the top of these government-funded structures language is an early-warning detector signal for rational thinking. Shape the environment and you will attract the agent to fit it, put off those that do not, and discover "off message" employees to weed out and replace with more highly paid/trained "on message" ones.

TH said...

that British Jews are more conservative and traditionalist than Americans.

To some extent, Jewish liberalism stems from the fact that Jews are smart and educated. It seems that British Jews aren't nearly as smart as American Jews. To what extent are British Jews Sephardic?

I looked at this list of British Jewish scientists. It appears that there have been a total of 12 British Jews who have won a Nobel science prize (all in all, about 90 Brits have won one, econ. prizes included). That's pretty impressive for a population of a few hundred thousand. However, if you look up who the winners actually are, you'll find something interesting: nine of them are immigrants, mainly Continentals fleeing the Nazis who had been educated in German-speaking universities. Of the three British-born Jewish science Nobelists, two are half-Jews, and only one, Brian David Josephson, is fully Jewish (besides, those other two, Kroto and Vane, had immigrant parents). So, of the about 90 British scientists who have received the prize, only one is British-born and fully Jewish.

Now, Nobel prizes aren't a perfect measure of intelligence and achievement, but they do tell us something. Moreover, there seems to be a general agreement that British Jews are, compared to many other Jewish populations, somewhat mediocre: staunchly middle-class and relatively well-to-do, yes, but not extraordinarely successful or powerful like, say, American Jews.

David said...

Anon. said

"To be 'in the black' is a good thing."

What have you got against Native Americans?

David said...

"Hideously white" will survive.

nanonymous said:

>Black Death in Europe - what are they gonna do with it?<

You mean the Plague?

David said...

These people aren't very bright...

Whoops!

David Davenport said...

From The Sunday Times August 23, 2009

Professor Paul Krugman at war with Niall Ferguson over inflation

America’s top liberal pundit is at loggerheads with a British don over how to save the world economy

One of them is a “poseur”. The other is “patronising”. One suffers from “verbal diarrhoea”. The other is a “whiner”.

A bust-up on the set of High School Musical 4 perhaps? A scrap behind the catwalk at a Milan fashion show? No. Those accusations were slung round in an increasingly bitter public row between two of the world’s most distinguished commentators on global finance and economics, professors Paul Krugman and Niall Ferguson, of Princeton and Harvard, respectively.

It started as an argument about bond prices. But last week it blew up into a row about racism, printing money, spending our way out of recession, and the fate of the global economy.


...

You can’t offer to lecture Krugman on Keynes, however, without expecting the return punch to be a big one. Earlier this month, Ferguson wrote another piece for the FT, comparing Barack Obama to Felix the Cat: “Felix was not only black,” he wrote. “He was always very, very lucky.”

Krugman saw the opportunity to deploy the nuclear weapon of American academic arguments — an accusation of racism. “I cannot fathom the state of mind that led Ferguson to think this was a good way to introduce a column,” he blogged furiously. ...


http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/economics/article6806419.ece

Anonymous said...

This is the Britain so many brave men fought and died for in two wars. It wasn't worth it.....call it the Kaiser's revenge!

Anonymous said...

Simon - Incidentally, in the UK lower class black boys do better at school than lower class white boys.

Really? Care to provide a source for that.

There was a survey back in 2004, the only link I can now find to it, that the BBC fell upon like a starving dog. It showed African girls academically outperforming white British boys, but only just. You will note they dont actually illustrate the gap, they just tell us it exists. I do remember seeing a bar chart relating to this survey at the time. You couldnt distinguish the extent of the gap from that, it was too close. Overall whites outperformed blacks, that was quite unequivocal.

Like I said, this was back in 2004. Perhaps everything has changed since then?

(I don't think so myself).