OFF-TOPIC Bigotry on the list [was Re: Text-mode apps (Was :Who are the "spacists"?)]

Steve D'Aprano steve+python at
Mon Apr 3 13:55:12 EDT 2017

On Mon, 3 Apr 2017 08:31 am, Terry Reedy wrote:

> I refrained because it would be off-topic and a diversion from my point:
> all bigotry is inappropriate here on this list, 

Indeed it is not appropriate. But calling out bigotry is not itself bigotry.

I hope you agree with that.

If not, that leaves you with some deeply Unfortunate Implications.

Suppose you are right, and merely calling out "Ranting Rick" for his bigoted
attitude makes me an anti-American bigot. Then by *you* calling *me* out
for bigotry, that makes you equally a bigot. And so the only way to avoid
being a bigot is... to do nothing in the face of bigotry.

I didn't see you calling out Rick for his prejudice against those who aren't
American, his absurd belief that "most" people are satisfied with ASCII, or
his claim that the rest of the world don't need file names in their native
languages because the "majority" (his word) of them are illiterate. Do you
think those attitudes should be left unchallenged?

(In fairness, Rick doesn't say that the *entire* rest of the world is mostly
illiterate. He only includes China, India, Russia, Japan, Indonesia,
Arab-speakers, and Israel. So a bit less than half the world.)

> including anti-Americanism.

When have I demonstrated prejudice against Americans merely for being

I stand by my comment to Rick. It is *his behaviour and attitude* which
makes him an example of the stereotype, not the fact that he is an

Of course all people are unique, and all stereotypes are incomplete. People
are not their stereotype, and I'm sure that Rick is a wonderful and unique
person in his own way. Perhaps he loves animals and donates his time to
working in shelters for the homeless.

But nevertheless people do behave in stereotypical ways, and we've seen Rick
do exactly that. Insensitive to cultural differences, dismissive of those
who aren't American, ignorant of everything outside of the borders of the
US, and arrogantly certain that the American way is not just the best way
but the only way. And *wilfully* so. This is not just an isolated incident
from Rick, a mere momentary lapse. He has been expressing these sorts of
attitudes for years.

> (I actually think raw bigoty is inappropriate everywhere.  While there
> are places to discuss the relative average beauty and niceness of
> various groups of people, this is not one of them.  Even comparisons of
> computer languages is not the main focus of this list.)

I'm not discussing the "relative average beauty and niceness of various
groups of people". That's absurd. I'm discussing the behaviour and
attitudes demonstrated by one specific individual.

> Yesterday, Chris Angelico, I believe it was, asked someone to stop
> including anti-Jew messages in posts here.  So I asked the same of you
> regarding your anti-American expression.

Can you really not tell the difference between criticism of an individual
American for the views he expresses, and a blanket attack on all Americans
merely for being American?

>> Not all Americans, perhaps not even a majority or a plurality, are Ugly
>> Americans, but there are enough of them to screw it up for everyone else.
> Shall we discuss Ugly Australians, or whatever the appropriate epithet
> would be?

If one of them turns up and starts expressing those views, absolutely.

>> It's an ugly stereotype, not because it is a stereotype, but because it
>  > embodies a set of ugly attitudes and behaviours.
> I am sure I have seen similar things written by various other people
> justifying their prejudices.

As have I. Are you judging *me* by *their* behaviour?

“Cheer up,” they said, “things could be worse.” So I cheered up, and sure
enough, things got worse.

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