Thank you, Piper. This is exactly what I meant to say, and a very good explanation. I appreciate your time and energy.

On Tue, Jun 30, 2020, 09:23 Piper Thunstrom <> wrote:
> The original request for the change had absolutely no hint that the current text was racist in any way; then we find out that, apparently, we've been harboring white supremacist ideals by prescribing when to use apostrophes and commas?  That commit message (not the commit itself) took what should have been a simple change and turned into a platform for political grandstanding of the worst kind:
> - False, as far as I can tell (until given confirming examples from the S&W text)
> - Only colored people are mentioned (and other /native English speakers/)
> - Zero mention of non-native English speakers

So, I think I can explain. (Not with references because I've lost most
of them over the years, but bear with me.)

The actual advice in The Elements of Style are mostly inoffensive when
taken on their own, and out of context. The problem is that the
Elements of Style (And many works like it) are built on a system of
white supremacy. The grammarian movement, in general, was built on
elevating a very specific form of English over others. It specifically
was chosen to avoid "lower class" usages and things like AAVE (though
that term would not exist for decades after the movement reached a

The commentary in the commit message is a plain and simple description
of the effects of the grammarian movement to someone who has studied
the topic.

Strunk & White is just one possible edifice of that history. As
mentioned already in this thread, it is not the name of the authors
that is the problem, but the movement and history of Standard English
that is the edifice of white supremacy. You cannot evaluate the book
strictly outside of the context in which it was written and used and
declare it's not white supremacist.

In summary:

The thing being objected to was the idea that we should choose
Standard English as our basis for our language guide. Further, S&W, a
classical work on how to write Standard English well, is a bad guide
when discussing in light of that fact. Each individual who likes
Elements of Style is not wrong for liking the book, you can keep it on
your shelf and no one will be angry. But this argument about Standard
English is propping up a hegemony that affects multiple axes of
oppression, and we should be aware of that.

Piper Thunstrom

My public key is available at
Public key fingerprint: 8FF9 3F4E C447 55EC 4658 BDCC A57E A7A4 86D2 644F