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28 October 2016 @ 06:43 am
Just the other day on Facebook, John Clute, who definitely knows more words than anybody else now that Bill Buckley is gone, mentioned hypodescent: a system of racial classification where even "one drop" of blood defines a person born of mixed parentage as belonging to the subordinate (in socioeconomic terms) group. Today, we have an example: a Republican saying on television that Tammy Duckworth doesn’t look white enough to have ancestors who fought in the American Revolution.

ETA: And someone with a Spanish name is accused of Extreme Cultural Appropriation for attempting to make off with the obviously Caucasian word hence.
Kalimac: puzzlekalimac on October 28th, 2016 12:49 pm (UTC)
We've already been through this with Obama's white ancestors from Kansas. This time it's even stupider, because at least Obama's name is from Kenya; nobody brought the name "Duckworth" from Thailand, so it's particularly stupid to forget that she's half-Caucasian, no matter what she looks like to Kirk's racist eyes.

re the ETA, what she was accused of wasn't cultural appropriation but plagiarism, on the grounds that someone with a Spanish name wouldn't use that word. A related but distinct fallacy.
Elenbarathielenbarathi on October 29th, 2016 06:39 am (UTC)
"re the ETA, what she was accused of wasn't cultural appropriation but plagiarism"

Was coming in to say this. But it's a totally bogus accusation, because what is she accused of plagiarizing? If a piece is copypasted from something online, it's easy enough to find the original by plugging sentences into Google.

Edit: "on the grounds that someone with a Spanish name wouldn't use that word."

That's not what was said. It was on the grounds that she wouldn't use that word; apparently no reason was given for that assumption.

Her name and her appearance may have nothing to do with it - perhaps she's got a regional/ethnic accent or speech pattern that her teacher is prejudiced against. Lots of people who write well don't sound so good in verbal speech.

Edited at 2016-10-29 07:20 am (UTC)
Kalimackalimac on October 29th, 2016 07:39 am (UTC)
Correction noted, but she certainly assumed that her Spanish name was deemed the reason she wouldn't use that word. Perhaps she's sensitive on that point. I once expressed exasperation at a man who replied, "So you think I'm a stupid Latino, right?" As his ethnicity was not on my mind at all, and I'd said nothing about it, this was dismaying.
Elenbarathi: Abandon hopeelenbarathi on October 29th, 2016 08:28 am (UTC)
I can see why. You couldn't exactly say "Half right; I do think you're stupid, but I hadn't noticed that you're Latino."

It may be that this lady's teacher does think she's a poor writer, but not because she's Latina. In any case, an accusation of plagiarism requires evidence beyond "I don't believe you'd use the word hence".
Elenbarathi: Abandon hopeelenbarathi on October 29th, 2016 07:04 am (UTC)
Heh, when I was in college, my dear friend was so slammed in his Organic Chem class that he had no time for his English class, which was doing Dante. I'm a Dante geek, so I wrote a paper for him - it was supposed to be about 'objective correlatives', but I wasn't too clear on what they were exactly, so kind of bullshitted around that.

Well, so, he turned the paper in, and a few days later the teacher called him in and accused him of plagiarizing it, because it was 'too good'. He, of course, truthfully denied plagiarizing, so the teacher told him to write another paper, and this time get those objective correlatives in there

Well, I was furious. I wrote the most excruciating paper of my life: The Keys To Pain: Objective Correlatives In The Depths Of Hell, focusing mostly on Ugolino and Ruggieri. My friend got an A, because clearly the second paper was the same writing-style as the first, and it was just chock-full of objective correlatives. But although it wasn't plagiarism, his teacher had been totally correct in her perception that it wasn't his writing.

He was an upper-class white Midwestern male, so no case could be made that he was being discriminated against.
Kalimackalimac on October 29th, 2016 07:44 am (UTC)
Have you read Robert Silverberg's Dying Inside? It's about a man who ghostwrites term papers for college students. He uses his mild telepathic ability to poke around in their minds to figure out what would be plausible for them to write, but he's losing it (hence the novel's title), and is stumped when trying to find an appropriate voice to write a paper on Greek drama for a 1970s-era black activist.
Elenbarathielenbarathi on October 29th, 2016 08:14 am (UTC)
No, I never heard of that one, but I love Silverberg, and will have to get a copy! I ghost-wrote papers all through high school and college in the late 70's - a couple of them for black friends, who may or may not have been activists. Nobody looks too closely at your basic Comp 101 theme paper.