[racket] sad user face?

From: Neil Van Dyke (neil at neilvandyke.org)
Date: Tue Feb 21 16:59:48 EST 2012

Neil Van Dyke wrote at Sun, 19 Feb 2012 05:40:56 -0500 (EST):
> John Clements wrote at 02/18/2012 08:48 PM:
>> On Feb 18, 2012, at 5:43 PM, Luke Vilnis wrote:
>>> To weigh in on this - when I was an undergrad, women routinely called themselves "freshmen."
>> I think this is becoming less common.
> Even Brown U. and the few Seven Sisters that I checked seem to use
> "freshmen" in current official communications.  (Not a lot of
> "freshwomyn" in Google.)  I'm guessing that at least some of these
> schools are sensitive to current thinking on feminism.  Perhaps they're
> a bit ahead of the curve?
> For more PC yet recognizable in the US, you could say "first-year" or
> the catchy, one-syllable "frosh".
> Around the world, I'm guessing that "first-year" is the most recognizable.
> As for the issue J. Ian Johnson raised, of Chad, the hero of the Realm,
> being male... that's a tricky problem, especially if he already appears
> in a lot of illustrations, and you can't just text search&replace half
> of the scenarios to have Charlene instead.  Half-joking solution, if you
> do have lots of Chad illustrations: if you imply that Chad is gay, that
> might let you keep the illustrations without alienating nearly as many
> contemporary college women. (But then, oh dear, those shoes!)

J. Ian Johnson wrote at 02/19/2012 10:29 AM:
> Er.... you may think that's funny, but that kind of gender insentivity is what this thread is trying to avoid. The implied amount of work to introduce a new character so that the book is gender neutral makes (non-half-assed/unintentionally offensive) plans too expensive. Unfortunate.

I should not made the "shoes" joke, which I could have anticipated might 
have offended someone here needlessly.  In hindsight, I can also see how 
the solution I half-seriously proposed might hit a sore spot with 
someone, so I might have framed it differently.

Regarding why the sensitivity oops... I've spent many years in highly 
liberal and progressive communities, as well as done lots of activism in 
the past, and my message was mistakenly calibrated for people in those 
circles, and who'd also have a pretty good idea where I'm coming from.

In a corporate environment, of course I would tiptoe and simply make no 
reference to any of a laundry list of problematic topics.  In the small 
world of a liberal arts college environment, I'd make my point and then 
be prepared to discuss/deconstruct/debate with even the most 
frothing-at-the-mouth, hair-trigger, loose-canon activist.  On this 
global email list, however, I should have considered that people are 
coming from a broader diversity of societal and social contexts, and 
that the pain and delicacy of such topics varies widely.

If anyone was personally offended (no white knights), I'd appreciate 
hearing from you, so that I can consider any thoughts on this that you'd 
be willing to share.


Posted on the users mailing list.