The Word "Infidel"

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Michael, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, still not any kind of cliche. That's just a straightforward expression of racism, and if that doesn't provoke thought in you, that's a problem with you and not with the term "African American."
     
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  3. Red Devil Born Again Athiest Registered Senior Member

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    I do not think your remark can be cinstrued as racist, but it depnds on the person uttering the remark. To say, 'well they are all at it, them blacks', is racial. But to say that 'crime in predominant amongst black youth', is not racial. IMO obviously.
     
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  5. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, I suppose thought-terminating cliche' is pretty specific. I'm of the mind we're not so prone to these cliche's anymore - probably my grandfather's generations grew up taking folk wisdom more seriously than we do. We're always hearing about how something we thought was true is not so. That said, things must be slipping under the radar. Maybe not cliche's but perhaps something else - take memes for example.
     
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  7. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    That's great and all, but still has nothing to do with race in America. Race is not determined by looking up a person's ancestry, or performing genetic analysis, or comparing them to "pure" specimens from Africa. It's determined by appearance (mostly - there's a bit of space for cultural and linguistic signifiers). And, again, a certain percentage of European heritage is a normal, expected component of a black person. "Black" doesn't mean "African." It means "American descended from slaves."

    And the Melting Pot metaphor has long been visibly flawed. If we were really a melting pot, there wouldn't be any races at all, because the entire system would break down. But is has happened that people have selected mates of the same race as themselves at overwhelming proportions for the entire history of the United States, and so we still have white people many generations after mass migration from Europe came to an end. Many prefer the metaphor "Tossed Salad" to "Melting Pot" in light of this.

    This year's census form separated the question of "Hispanic" from that of "race" entirely. They were literally distinct questions, with neither "Hispanic" not "Latino" not any other variant offered as a standard replay to "race."

    I've lived my entire life in states that border Arizona, and spent a considerable amount of time there. I have many friends and colleagues who've lived there. I have no reason to imagine that race dynamics there work any differently than in CA, NM, UT or CO. There is no shortage of white Hispanic people in those states. And, yeah, many of them don't speak much Spanish. So what?

    So what? When was the last time anybody inquired about the circumstances of somebody's upbringing before deciding what his race is?

    Deciding which community one is going to socialize in is not the same thing as deciding what race one exhibits. When was the last time anybody inquired about which community somebody socializes in before deciding what his race is?

    So what? Race in the US is not determined by what some Japanese guy in Hawaii thinks of you.

    The USA.

    Of course. Everyone does that. That's how race works.

    Say that if you like but, on the one hand, I doubt it. And on the other, you only nominally manage to do so by muddling the question to the point of irrelevance.

    Refusing to aknowledge the mechanics of race in the USA is not a progressive value, and extremely unlikely to advance any of such. Rather the opposite, in fact - without operating from a salient understanding of how race actually works, you can't even begin to address its problems.

    I find this view of the 1960's both amusingly rosy (we actually have far less warmongering and racism now, believe it or not) and infuriatingly patronizing. You seem to think that you guys decisively won the culture wars, when all you really did was to ignite them and energize the reactionaries, only to beat a hasty retreat into yuppiedom.

    Those are origin categories, not skin color categories. The categories in question are "white" and "black," and these are not the same things as "European" and "African."

    Yes, race exists inside the context of nationality. Point?

    There most certainly are actual white communities in cosmopolitan cities. They exist right along side the integrated communities.

    It's been out of vogue for at least a decade now, excepting organizations that have it in their name (see also: "colored people"). Using "African American" over "black" is the telltale signifier of an older white person who is totally out of the loop on race relations (and probably lives in a small, isolated area devoid of any black people).

    And at the behest of black people, at that. One piece of progress in recent generations is that we let them decide what they'd like to be called, mostly. I would generally not use the term "African American" while addressing an actual black person.

    Actually, these days, "African American" and "black" refer to different things. An "African American" is a recent immigrant from Africa. A black person is an American who descended from slaves brought from Africa hundreds of years ago. In the cities that are sufficiently cosmopolitan for both categories to show up in numbers (such as the one I inhabit), one has to be careful to observe this distinction.

    You're conflating levels of reference. Nationalism is stronger than racism, and so all Americans are exactly that. This isn't exclusive of them also having races within that nationality.
     
  8. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

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  9. Gremmie "Happiness is a warm gun" Valued Senior Member

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  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Now that DNA analysis is used for everything from convicting criminals to mapping the paths of human migrations, how soon can we expect the analysis of this family's genes to be completed? This story isn't worth doodly squat without it!
     
  11. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

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    If the parents are OK with it, I think it could be really interesting data.
     
  12. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

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    Going back to the work "Infidel".

    From my POV when White people teach children to think "Fair is Lovely" is superior and being Dark is inferior. Well, that's immoral.
    Likewise, when Religion A teaches children to think "Religion A is Superior" and religion B is inferior. Well, that's also immoral.

    When people go so far as to come up with words like Nigger to describe people who are dark skinned. That suggests complete moral bankruptcy on the part of the person ascribing to such terminology. Likewise, the use of the word "Infidel" demonstrates a total disregard for other human beings.

    People don't choose to be born dark. Likewise, people don't choose to be atheist. If you don't believe me just try truly believing in Xenu. It's impossible to will yourself into believing in Xenu. Sure, maybe 10 years of cult-brainwashing and you may believe. Just as 10 years of drinking "Fair and Lovely" and maybe you'll be White. Forcing someone to undergo this is immoral. Coercing someone by making them feel inherently inferior is unjust and wrong.

    This is about discussing differences in belief or differences in skin tone. Which is fine. It's about using words like Infidel and Nigger to basely put oneself up and another down.



    How can I describe the sense of bewilderment I have when a perfectly sensible person, one who can clearly see the social ills perpetrated by teaching children to think being dark skinned is inferior, will turn right around and support doing exactly this in a religious sense? Teaching children to feel there is something wrong with them and their belief? That somehow, compared to Muslims, they and their belief are inferior. Their religious book is inferior. Their way being religious is inferior. They are in effect "Infidel" - or as racists say, a Nigger.



    What do we call that sort of blindness? Faith? Blind faith? What? I don't really get it. Which is why I was coming at this from the Thought-Terminating Cliche' point of reference. It seems to me that somewhere along the line, normal thinking is terminated in favor of faith. Why is that? On reflection I don't think this is cliche'. It's more than that. While I'm sure cliche's play a role in this behavior, I think there's much more going on here. Infidel is only the tip of the iceberg.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2010
  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    The people who translate the Arabic into English have very definite ideas about the gender and number of Allah found in the original Arabic - they never get them mixed up.

    I have heard a person speaking English from a home language that lacked gender in its pronouns (Finnish, IIRC) mistakenly swap genders in English - the effect is startling. Muslims talking about the Quran in even the most halting of English never make that mistake.

    Any such is a tradition of oppressing women. Feminism 101.
    Makes no difference to whom? I guarantee that would make a considerable difference to the overwhelming majority of Muslims, including their professional clergy and theologians.

    These blind spots of the religious are not small - we even have people arguing that "infidel" is not pejorative, much as the old southern plantation owners argued that "nigger" was just their term for those people.
    For starters, these aren't "cliche's", these terms and references. And they don't terminate thought so much as frame or route it - confine it within ceratin parameters by fitting the thinker with unexamined assumptions.
     
  14. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Since this is the linguistics thread, I am going to respond with this:
    Marginilising women in their own societies by telling them that they are wet fish is not feminism 101. Its actually a form of racism to dictate to women their choices because they "don't know any better" [being brown and non-western] if they adopt choices different from those of western women, since they are apparently incapable of even choosing what to wear without adopting oppression. It is one reason why such methods of enforced feminism not only fail, but fail so spectacularly that they often rebound in the direction completely opposite to what was intended.

    I think the western world has a long way to go before they see women as individuals capable of making their own choices. From what I can see, even the "liberation" of women in the west is a form of exploitation.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2010
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Nobody has attempted that.

    My observation, if that was the reference, marginalized nobody - it was completely inclusive of the entire benighted and oppressive culture and everyone in it.
    Somebody's bad political tactics does not mean the observation was false. Observing oppression and "enforcing" feminism are not the same activity.

    But the comment was not about the clothing - the comment was about the argument: that voluntary adoption means lack of oppression. That's a stupid argument, completely unworthy of even the fundies who make it. Yet it is very common, and its kind was just as common in Western societies before the feminist movement. That's how systems of oppression - fundie religion, rigid patriarchy, etc - work in real life; and how they are opposed, in real life, often at great personal cost.

    The word "infidel" is quite often a term of fundie religious bigotry, a pejorative on a level with nigger, (or maybe "fundie" itself, increasingly, at which time the term will no longer be useful)
     
  16. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    You know I completely agree with that. I see the image of women in western society, the endemic bulimia, anorexia, body image issues, botox, tanning beds, bikini culture and I can see how liberation is just another word for self delusion.

    Maybe we should do an experiment. Put a burka clad woman in a bikini and a bikini wearing woman in a burqa and see who feels less oppressed after the enforced change.
     
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Quite often, of course.

    And you would find most Western feminists agreeing with you.

    Now the trick is to see the oppression in your own culture, where it's harder. People who can look at a street full of burkas in a high latitude climate and not see it, have a very long row to hoe in that respect.

    Perhaps a recognition of a relevant fact might help: many - probably most - women in Western society don't do much or any of that stuff. They choose not to.
     
  18. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Indeed, because wearing full length clothes above the Tropic of Capricorn is a social disaster. Louis the XVI has already discovered how that pans out

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  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    A street full of people socially compelled - under threat - to dress like that at all times would be quite the scene, eh?

    King Louis was of course threatening - flashing his power - by wearing such unsuitable clothing.
     
  20. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    All you'd have to do is announce it is haute couture - haute couture being another thought terminating cliche

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  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    The whole point of haute couture is that the street isn't full of copies - either by choice or compulsion.
     
  22. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    And here I was thinking that the whole point of it was freedom of expression
     
  23. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

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    Which one is the peacock? Is the chick the man's plumage?

    Do you think Klanhoods are socially acceptable?






    S.A.M., this is the thing. Can you imagine what it is like for a little girl to be made to feel bad about her skin color? To feel bad that she's dark. To have it repeated over and over to her, her entire life, that she is inferior. Something is inherently at fault in her?

    Imagine what it's like being a little child and being labeled an "Infidel" in a city of Muslims. Where everyday of your life you have to live with that label. Imagine being made to feel inferior and being told your belief is inherently against God - the God you worship. Somehow your faith and you yourself are less. Imagine living your whole life in fear for your safety because Muslims think you're an infidel and then one day your mother is sentenced to death for daring to criticize the Qur'an or daring to suggest Mohammad was not a Prophet.


    You think it's all cotton candy but it's not. You don't get it but getting a child to resort to conversion to alleviate the social stigma of being an Infidel entails the same warped bigotry as making a child feel there's something wrong with having dark skin - and resorting to using Fair and Lovely to remove the color, removing what makes her less.

    I don't see how you can't see that this is immoral. Is faith THAT blind?
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2010

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