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Thread: Wizarding Political Correctness

  1. #21
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    I could see the term Squib sticking, or at least, perhaps another variation of the word, but ultimately with the same meaning. You can introduce political correctness in everyday language, but it's the more ingrained ideas that are harder to shift. Being a Squib is considered something almost shameful - Filch, for example, is horrified that Harry may have seen his KwikSpell letter - but it's held in far higher esteem than being simply a mere Muggle. Arabella Figg lives in Privet Drive, but she still remains connected to the magical world. It's not a tie that many people would be willing to give up, I imagine. While ultimately being a Squib is in fact no better than being a Muggle (I'd even consider it to be worse, living and growing up in a world you could never truly belong to or be accepted by) it still traces back to that supremacist 'Magic is Might' belief. I think Squibs would endeavour to make that distinction, regardless of new terminology regarding political correctness.

    /mytwoknuts.

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  2. #22
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    *Maple tiptoes in, as she is kind of not huge on PC*

    I think that as people of the groups call themselves it (ie Mrs. Figg calls herself a Squib), it's not really a huge deal. I mean, maybe it's just me and my area of the world again, but I don't really see how it's that different from ethnic background. I know in my region of the world, people are like, "I'm British" or "I'm German" or "I'm East Indian" or "I'm Dutch and proud of it". I mean, isn't blood status like the same thing? It's simply your ancestry. Yeah, people are going to have bias based on what your background is, but is it really that huge of a deal? I mean, people still say waitress and waiter, host and hostess, actor and actress, it's not really dirogatory at all (at least I think)...and if it helps, Hogwarts isn't just a school of wizardry, it also is a school of witchcraft
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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAPF
    I know in my region of the world, people are like, "I'm British" or "I'm German" or "I'm East Indian" or "I'm Dutch and proud of it". I mean, isn't blood status like the same thing? It's simply your ancestry.
    The thing is that it's not just about ancestry. What you're describing there is nationality, which no one has an issue with. Blood status isn't nationality, though, it's more about ethnicity. JK Rowling set it up as a deliberate parallel to the Nazi's persecution of the Jews, which was nothing to do with nationality and everything to do with ethnicity, religion and culture.

    Lucius, for instance, appears to have no problem with the foreign wizards at the QWC and wanted Draco to attend Durmstrang, but he had a real problem with Hermione sitting near him in the box.

    As far as waiter/waitress goes, you're right that those words are still used, but it's when they start to become derogatory that the definitions need to change. Should you be able to tell someone's gender by their job title? Is it better that we refer to people who fight fires as Firefighters rather that Firemen or Firewomen? They're still doing the job. They're still as hard working and as brave - they should get the same pay, so do they need different job titles?

    My MSW will put a green squiggle under the word waitress because it sees that as:
    Quote Originally Posted by My MSW
    Gender-Specific Language
    Although the marked word or phrase may be acceptable in some situations, consider the suggestion that includes both men and women.
    It suggests 'server' or 'waiter' instead.

    I think many females who act these days refer to themselves as 'actors' and not actresses, partly because they see their job as exactly the same as their male counterparts.

    Hogwarts isn't just a school of wizardry, it also is a school of witchcraft
    Yes, Hogwarts makes that distinction, but if they had just called themselves 'Hogwarts School of Wizardry' then does that mean they'd only teach wizards? (which is my beef with the term Wizarding World). Beauxbatons is an 'Academy of Magic' - I think.

    My comments about 'wizarding world' are mainly based on university lectures and PC gender issues I had when writing essays referring to mankind, Man, manpower etc etc when I meant the human race or the workforce.

    I'm also pretty sure that JK Rowling would prefer to be known as a Writer or an Author rather than Authoress (which makes her sound either cosily wrapped up in a pink fluffy cardigan, or an old harridan with pince-nez) because she used her initials for the books.

    ~Carole~

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  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAPF
    Didn't JKR use her initials because her publisher told her to?
    Probably, but that would be because boys are less inclined to read books written by women in case they feature fairies or kissing.

    If you think about it from the male side, they didn't get offended that they were a waitor while women were waitresses.
    Er, no of course they wouldn't be offended, but I bet they'd be offended if they were called 'waitress' whilst a female waiter is actually fine with the term 'waiter'.

    I'm not seriously suggesting that the terms wizard and witch should be obsolete, but I could see Hermione getting twitchy at terms like Triwizard Cup and Wizarding World. She gets annoyed with Ron for getting her to do the cooking - he's right saying that it's because she's the best at Charms, but he still never offers to actually cook anything.

    Changing a word won't make any difference.
    Actually, I disagree with you. Changing the word can start to make a big difference. Words that we now consider offensive (the 'n' word, for example) were once common place (heck there was a paint colour called that on most paint charts), but by changing the words, you get people to think about why they're offensive. I'm not saying it solves everything, but it does start to chip away at the prejudice. 'Mudblood' in Phineas Nigellus' time was probably quite common and they didn't care who they offended, even Lucius is cautious about using the word in the trio's time.

    Yes, people get picked on for just about anything, but getting called 'shortie' if you're less than average height (I'm using myself as an example here), might be annoying, but it doesn't underpin a whole prejudice against short people. Using a word like 'Mudblood' does. Being short has not made me a victim of discrimination, just as being blonde (dyed admittedly) hasn't closed any doors for me. Getting teased - or even bullied --for that type of thing is not the same as discrimination.

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  5. #25
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    I had a sort of epiphany while shoveling snow...

    So in my area, there is quite a lot of stereotyping towards a certain group of people. The government, however has encouraged these people to identify themselves as that group of people, whether they be full or half or whatever. For me, I don't really think there would be any reason to switch the Pure-blood, Half-blood, Muggle-born terms. Changing a word won't make any difference. It is who you are. There is going to be some degree of discrimination against you on one base or another, and changing the word doesn't do anything about it. There is huge discrimination on base of race, religion, and gender, yes, but there is also discrimination based on little things, such as clothing, hair colour (ie. blonds, redheads), height, grades in school, etc.

    I never ever saw an issue with putting a different label to a job depending on your gender. I don't think it is a discrimination thing to say waitor or waitress. We had this discussion in my philosophy class (does language have to have gender specific words), and I personally believe that sometimes political correctness can lead to more issues. I know I personally would have no issue with the witch and wizard thing, and I would rather be called a witch then a "magical person". If you think about it from the male side, they didn't get offended that they were a waitor while women were waitresses.

    Didn't JKR use her initials because her publisher told her to?
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  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maple_and_PheonixFeather
    So in my area, there is quite a lot of stereotyping towards a certain group of people. The government, however has encouraged these people to identify themselves as that group of people, whether they be full or half or whatever. For me, I don't really think there would be any reason to switch the Pure-blood, Half-blood, Muggle-born terms.
    Does your government encourage them to identify exactly what ratio of ethnicity they are? I've never heard of anyone being encouraged to call themselves a "halfbreed." You might want to Google the "one drop rule" and how in the American South there used to be a whole lexicon for identifying exactly what percentage of your ancestry was "tainted" by non-white blood.

    Terms like "Pureblood" (implying that anyone is else is impure) and "half-blood" and "Muggle-born" serve no purpose but to identify groups for which there is no rational reason to distinguish between them, which is exactly why Rowling showed us how it served to enforce the bigotry that existed in the wizarding world.

    Changing a word won't make any difference. It is who you are.
    It can make a huge difference. There are lots of words we don't use anymore that people used to say are "just who you are" ("you" always being someone else).

    There is going to be some degree of discrimination against you on one base or another, and changing the word doesn't do anything about it.
    Really? You don't think the fact that it's become socially unacceptable to use certain pejorative terms has made any difference in how the people addressed by those terms are treated by society?

    If the wizarding world continues to label people as "half-bloods," "pure-bloods," and "Muggle-borns," it implies that they still believe that "blood" matters.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equinox Chick
    I'm not seriously suggesting that the terms wizard and witch should be obsolete, but I could see Hermione getting twitchy at terms like Triwizard Cup and Wizarding World. She gets annoyed with Ron for getting her to do the cooking - he's right saying that it's because she's the best at Charms, but he still never offers to actually cook anything.
    Wasn't she more annoyed at the fact that Ron was complaining about how much her cooking sucked and he didn't offer to cook. I don't really think that it was because she was a girl...

    Quote Originally Posted by Carole
    Actually, I disagree with you. Changing the word can start to make a big difference. Words that we now consider offensive (the 'n' word, for example) were once common place (heck there was a paint colour called that on most paint charts), but by changing the words, you get people to think about why they're offensive.
    That's not quite what I meant (clearly I am not good with expressing myself with words...)
    The thing with it, is that someone needs to decide to be cantankerous and be like, oh, I find that word offensive, even when there's really nothing overly offensive with the term. (Maple racks her brains to find a word...) Fine, I'll go with the "n" word. The "n" word (if I"m using the right one) is simple "black" in Spanish. Again in my area, you can say that someone is "black" in English, and no one says anything, but once you switch languages, it's all of a sudden bad. I don't get it. The point is, no one really gets offended with the term "Muggleborn", "Half-blood", or "Pure-blood" in the books. Do they find the word "Mudblood" offensive? Well, yeah, but that word was supposed to be an insult. At one point in the books, Hermione actually states that she is proud to be a Muggleborn.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carole
    Being short has not made me a victim of discrimination, just as being blonde (dyed admittedly) hasn't closed any doors for me. Getting teased - or even bullied --for that type of thing is not the same as discrimination.
    In Holland, redheads were subject to discrimination. Until Voldemort came along, there wasn't much discrimination against Muggleborns (I do believe that Grindewald's campaign was to have wizards rule over Muggles, could be wrong though). Hermione isn't discriminated against in school, she is simply bullied.

    Quote Originally Posted by Inverarity
    Does your government encourage them to identify exactly what ratio of ethnicity they are?
    I'm not sure, I'm pretty certain they do though due to the incentives there are that go with it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Inverarity
    Terms like "Pureblood" (implying that anyone is else is impure) and "half-blood" and "Muggle-born" serve no purpose but to identify groups for which there is no rational reason to distinguish between them, which is exactly why Rowling showed us how it served to enforce the bigotry that existed in the wizarding world.
    Pure: "of unmixed descent or ancestry" (Dictionary.com).
    Impure: "mixed or combined with something else" (Dictionary.com)
    This isn't really offensive, at least to me. I'll be the first to say that my ancestry is impure. Later, it probably won't matter what one's acestry is, but it's still their ancestry. For example, it doesn't matter if you are British, French, or German, you can still be a great composer, yet you are still are identified as being as such. If you go to somewhere very multicultural, like say Canada or the U.S., there is no reason to identify yourself as being anything other than Canadian or American, it makes no difference in getting somewhere in life, but you still do because you are somewhat proud of your ancestry, and its part of what got you to where you are.

    Quote Originally Posted by Inverarity
    It can make a huge difference. There are lots of words we don't use anymore that people used to say are "just who you are" ("you" always being someone else).
    What about the term ginger then? I've heard people say it's offensive, but it really is just who I am.

    Really? You don't think the fact that it's become socially unacceptable to use certain pejorative terms has made any difference in how the people addressed by those terms are treated by society?
    Um, did I actually say that? But when you think about it, the tabooing of the "n" word didn't change how society treated the African American population, it was them standing up and saying that they had the right to be treated equal that changed it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Inverarity
    If the wizarding world continues to label people as "half-bloods," "pure-bloods," and "Muggle-borns," it implies that they still believe that "blood" matters.
    Well, we still label ourselves by our ethnic background, but does that really matter? Everyone is my class identifies themselves by their skin colour, but does that matter? We all identify ourselves by our ancentry, even though when it boils down to it, "It matters not what one is born but what they grow to be" (Dumbledore).

    I know everyone is going to disagree with me when I say this, but a word isn't offensive until someone makes it offensive.
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  8. #28
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    Wasn't she more annoyed at the fact that Ron was complaining about how much her cooking sucked and he didn't offer to cook. I don't really think that it was because she was a girl...
    No, she was complaining that she thought Ron expected her to cook because she's a girl. He counters that with the observation that it's because she's better at Charms.
    There's another case in HBP where she thinks the 'Prince' could be a girl and Ron and Harry protest. Her argument is they obviously don't think a 'girl' could be good enough. Harry says he knows a girl could be good enough because he's been friends with her for all those years.
    What I'm getting at is Hermione's perception of sexism. She clearly does think there's an issue, despite Ron not really thinking there is one. Perhaps that's because she's from the Muggle world where it is still an issue.

    In Holland, redheads were subject to discrimination.
    Were they? I didn't know that. I have found the Redhead Festival in Holland, and the furore caused by an episode of South Park (especially in Canada and the US) and I don't doubt that there is bullying, but actual discrimination ... really?

    Redheads in medieval times were discriminated against, usually because it was a racial characteristic (Celtic, Pict, Norse etc). Views changed in England when Henry VIII came to the throne. You can't discriminate against the King, after all.

    By the 'n' word I don't mean the literal translation of black to negro. It was the corruption of the classification that led to the insult. When that was deemed an insult and offensive by the people it affected, then it becomes taboo. Yes, you're right that a word only becomes offensive if someone deems it so, and thus you could make a case for any word, but where the word is used to subjugate a section of society then it is wrong.
    Declaring a word taboo makes people think about not just the word but the way it demeans people.

    Until Voldemort came along, there wasn't much discrimination against Muggleborns (I do believe that Grindewald's campaign was to have wizards rule over Muggles, could be wrong though). Hermione isn't discriminated against in school, she is simply bullied.
    There was discrimination long before Voldemort. Phineas Nigellus frequently uses the term Mudblood. It shows that the prejudice was firmly embedded in magical society centuries before. Various members of the Black family were blasted off the family tree for being either Squibs, marrying Muggle-borns, or championing Muggle-born rights. Perhaps Grindelwald wasn't that bothered about Muggle-borns and was more concerned with ruling over Muggles, but he was foreign and that may not have been as big an issue in Durmstrang. (Although, I tend to think Durmstrang was far more pro pure-blood than Hogwarts, but that's my interpretation)
    Hermione wasn't really bullied, either. She was insulted by Draco and that was before she knew what the word meant, but I wouldn't say she was bullied exactly. Snape bullied the Gryffindors but that was because they were Gryffs and nothing to do with their blood purity or otherwise.

    I think the trouble with the word pure is that whilst you're right that it does mean unmixed ancestry, the other meaning of the word is that pure is the best. Pure gold is better than impure. We rid water of 'impurities'. The word pure conjures too many other images.

    I'm not sure the Magical world would change these terms. Hermione is 'Mudblood and proud of it.' In effect she's reclaiming the term and turning it on its head. Perhaps they should just abandon the terms. Is it necessary for people to have any other classifications other than Witch, Wizard and possibly Squib?

    ~Carole~

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  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equinox Chick
    Redheads in medieval times were discriminated against, usually because it was a racial characteristic (Celtic, Pict, Norse etc). Views changed in England when Henry VIII came to the throne. You can't discriminate against the King, after all.
    Haha, that's funny...who knew Henry VIII was a redhead...explains a lot though
    Hm, My English teacher always told me it was because of the conitations behind redheads...(passions, lust-full desire, sexual...apparently all prostitutes wore red wigs).
    Quote Originally Posted by Carole
    I'm not sure the Magical world would change these terms. Hermione is 'Mudblood and proud of it.' In effect she's reclaiming the term and turning it on its head. Perhaps they should just abandon the terms. Is it necessary for people to have any other classifications other than Witch, Wizard and possibly Squib?
    Er, I guess this is maybe a perception/cultural thing. Where I'm from, everyone is super proud of their ancestry, so if you were a wizard, you'd probably be like "I'm half-blood" and be all proud... Maybe.

    I feel like I"m like picking on you, so I hope you know I'm not, I just like discussion, your points are very very valid and awesome, actually probably more so than mine

    ~Mapleeeeee
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