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Old 19th August 2020, 05:29 PM   #1
The Atheist
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UN conducts racism survery... includes racist term!

This is just brilliant!

The UN decides to conduct a survey on Racism, ostensibly to help eradicate racism.

The questionnaire includes a place for respondents to state their race.

One of the options is "Yellow"!

https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...-survey-yellow



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Old 20th August 2020, 04:43 AM   #2
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Looks like none of the options was Asian. But even that is less sensible as offering European as an option.
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Old 20th August 2020, 04:45 AM   #3
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So white and black are fine but not yellow?

They're just broad categories. Sheesh.
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Old 20th August 2020, 04:57 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
So white and black are fine but not yellow?

They're just broad categories. Sheesh.
They forgot "Red".
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Old 20th August 2020, 04:59 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
They forgot "Red".
No, that's part of asian.
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Old 20th August 2020, 05:02 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
No, that's part of asian.
Native Americans are called "red" here, historically.
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Old 20th August 2020, 05:04 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
Native Americans are called "red" here, historically.
Yes, but that's still part of the asian group. But for some reason you can call caucasians and africans by their skin colour but not asians.
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Old 20th August 2020, 05:08 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Yes, but that's still part of the asian group. But for some reason you can call caucasians and africans by their skin colour but not asians.
How do you get that as being part of the "asian" group? Unless "white" is part of the "european" group, and Black part of the African/Australian group ?

"Red" is specific to Native Americans. As seperate and distinct from Asians.
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Old 20th August 2020, 05:14 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
How do you get that as being part of the "asian" group? Unless "white" is part of the "european" group, and Black part of the African/Australian group ?
...what?

Quote:
"Red" is specific to Native Americans. As seperate and distinct from Asians.
No. Native Americans are part of the 'yellow' group. They come from Asia, remember?
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Old 20th August 2020, 05:20 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
...what?



No. Native Americans are part of the 'yellow' group. They come from Asia, remember?
In which case "white" is part of the European group- having come from Europe. "Black" is either African group- or Australian- since that is their origin. No?

Or perhaps they are all simply part of the "African" group- having all come from there?
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Old 20th August 2020, 05:22 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
In which case "white" is part of the European group- having come from Europe. "Black" is either African group- or Australian- since that is their origin. No?
No.

And yeah, that's if we even acknowledge the existence of "race". I don't know how it's done today but I know they used to split the human species into three larger, broad and fuzzy 'groups': white, black and yellow. If you're going to be ok with calling two of these groups by their colour, why not the third one, is my question.
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Old 20th August 2020, 05:26 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
No.

And yeah, that's if we even acknowledge the existence of "race". I don't know how it's done today but I know they used to split the human species into three larger, broad and fuzzy 'groups': white, black and yellow. If you're going to be ok with calling two of these groups by their colour, why not the third one, is my question.
You argue that Native Americans are part of the "Yellow" group- because their distant ancestors migrated from Asia.
"White" people migrated from Europe, then, and are the "European" group. "Black" people came from Africa- and are therefore the "African" group.

I don't know what the genetic history of Australian natives is. Are they "Asians" who have experienced genetic drift? In which case- I guess they belong in the "Yellow" group.


"Brown" is also included as a category. Which of the "three fuzzy groups" is brown?
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Old 20th August 2020, 05:31 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
You argue that Native Americans are part of the "Yellow" group- because their distant ancestors migrated from Asia.
No I didn't. I flat out said that they were part of that group, and gave you a reminder as to the population relationships.

Quote:
"Brown" is also included as a category. Which of the "three fuzzy groups" is brown?
What do you mean by "brown", exactly, and why are you dodging my question?
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Old 20th August 2020, 05:38 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
No I didn't. I flat out said that they were part of that group, and gave you a reminder as to the population relationships.



What do you mean by "brown", exactly, and why are you dodging my question?
"Brown" is a category on the test referenced in the OP. As is Yellow, Black, and White.

If Yellow, Black, Brown, and White, are categories- "Red" is a logically consistent option.

I agree it is stupid. I don't imagine anyone would check the "red" box, nor would anyone check the "yellow" box, but if arbitrary color distinctions based upon historical labeling are being used- "Red" should definitely be in there.
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Old 20th August 2020, 05:41 AM   #15
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Our options here are not limited to "I can see no potential problem here" and "This is so obviously racists as to be outrageous."

It's a problematic term they probably shouldn't have used, but not necessarily worth outrage.
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Old 20th August 2020, 05:42 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
"Brown" is a category on the test referenced in the OP. As is Yellow, Black, and White.
You might have noticed, if you've read my posts here, that I was not refering to the categories in the test per se.

Quote:
If Yellow, Black, Brown, and White, are categories- "Red" is a logically consistent option.
Logically consistent? They are arbitrary groups based on observable but non-discrete characteristics. ANY grouping of humans based on those characteristics is just as valid as any other one. My point is that at some point in the recent past those three groups I named were used in publications, and I find it silly that one of them is seen as racist and the others not. If we want to avoid colour names then let's use "asian" or "mongoloid" or whatnot, but then we have to ditch "white" for "causasian" and "black" for whatever else works.
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Old 20th August 2020, 05:44 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
You might have noticed, if you've read my posts here, that I was not refering to the categories in the test per se.



Logically consistent? They are arbitrary groups based on observable but non-discrete characteristics. ANY grouping of humans based on those characteristics is just as valid as any other one. My point is that at some point in the recent past those three groups I named were used in publications, and I find it silly that one of them is seen as racist and the others not. If we want to avoid colour names then let's use "asian" or "mongoloid" or whatnot, but then we have to ditch "white" for "causasian" and "black" for whatever else works.
And you might have noticed that I was.
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Old 20th August 2020, 05:46 AM   #18
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"Race" by any traditional definition is so much arbitrary nonsense.

But that doesn't mean "skin tone" doesn't exist. A "white guy" and a "black guy" do have a distinct visual difference, same as a guy with red hair and a guy with blonde hair do. We can't be expected to just never allude to that.

But as a counter to all this I'm still a big believer in the idea that racism is one of those things you can't be "technically" right or wrong about.
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Old 20th August 2020, 05:47 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
And you might have noticed that I was.
That you were what?

Seriously, do you have a point to make, here?
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Old 20th August 2020, 05:51 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
That you were what?

Seriously, do you have a point to make, here?
The initial one.

They Forgot "Red".

They included Black, White, Brown, and Yellow- those choices are based upon arbitrary historic labeling. "Red" is a logically consistent category in a grouping such as that.

If the survey designers expected anyone to select "Yellow"- they should also expect someone would select "red".

If they wanted to categorize based on a different set of outdated labels, they would have made "Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Negroid" the choices.
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Old 20th August 2020, 05:57 AM   #21
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Again racism isn't something you can point at either logical consistency or technical dictionary definitions and prove yourself right or wrong.

"Well other groups don't mind when they are called linguistically equivalent terms!" is several zip codes away from the point.
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Old 20th August 2020, 06:00 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
The initial one.

They Forgot "Red".

They included Black, White, Brown, and Yellow- those choices are based upon arbitrary historic labeling. "Red" is a logically consistent category in a grouping such as that.

If the survey designers expected anyone to select "Yellow"- they should also expect someone would select "red".

If they wanted to categorize based on a different set of outdated labels, they would have made "Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Negroid" the choices.
They also forgot all sorts of shades but that's irrelevant to the point I made.
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Old 20th August 2020, 06:03 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
They also forgot all sorts of shades but that's irrelevant to the point I made.
What other "color" word has been used as a historical label for an ethnic population the way "yellow" has?
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Old 20th August 2020, 06:04 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
What other "color" word has been used as a historical label for an ethnic population the way "yellow" has?
What are you even asking here? White and black are STILL used today!
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Old 20th August 2020, 06:31 AM   #25
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I'm less interested in the etymology of the terms, and more interested in the provenance of the survey. It's annoying that the Guardian has nobody willing to speak on record, no sample or copy of the survey, no copy of the accompanying email, no name for organziation or department within the UN that organized the survey or sent the email, etc.

It's absurd on its face. Entirely plausible, but also absurd. Something this absurd, I find myself wondering what really happened. Did the survey really contain this question? Was it perhaps misunderstood or misrepresented by the anonymous UN staff, or by the Guardian reporter? Has the reporter even seen the survey themselves, or the email that came with it?

The article says the UN has no comment, but the UN is a large organization with many departments. Who did the Guardian actually try to talk to? Was it even the right department to answer their questions?

What really happened? The point of reporting is to report on what happened. This is just click-baity gossip that may or may not bear any resemblance to what really happened. Don't fall for this crap.
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Old 20th August 2020, 08:44 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm less interested in the etymology of the terms, and more interested in the provenance of the survey. It's annoying that the Guardian has nobody willing to speak on record, no sample or copy of the survey, no copy of the accompanying email, no name for organziation or department within the UN that organized the survey or sent the email, etc.

It's absurd on its face. Entirely plausible, but also absurd. Something this absurd, I find myself wondering what really happened. Did the survey really contain this question? Was it perhaps misunderstood or misrepresented by the anonymous UN staff, or by the Guardian reporter? Has the reporter even seen the survey themselves, or the email that came with it?

The article says the UN has no comment, but the UN is a large organization with many departments. Who did the Guardian actually try to talk to? Was it even the right department to answer their questions?

What really happened? The point of reporting is to report on what happened. This is just click-baity gossip that may or may not bear any resemblance to what really happened. Don't fall for this crap.
The article states the email accompanying it was seen by Reuters:

"The email accompanying the survey, seen by Reuters, says: “This survey will provide us with the needed data to understand the depth of racism within the United Nations.” It adds, “we are not immune to the issue.”"

Yeah though, bit weird the survey itself wasn't added.
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Old 20th August 2020, 10:02 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by RolandRat View Post
The article states the email accompanying it was seen by Reuters:

"The email accompanying the survey, seen by Reuters, says: “This survey will provide us with the needed data to understand the depth of racism within the United Nations.” It adds, “we are not immune to the issue.”"

Yeah though, bit weird the survey itself wasn't added.
That's another problem with the article. It's the Guardian reporting that Reuters is reporting that... And in this case, the Guardian can't even be arsed to link to the actual Reuters report. Even if this report turns out to be true, it's still some crappy-ass reporting. And I'm sure the Reuters article doesn't actually report what really happened.

Assuming this report is even accurate as far as it goes, all we really know is that some asshat at the UN forwarded a **** - stirring email to Reuters and made some claim about a survey, but only on the condition that Reuters absolve them of any accountability for making the report.

And then Reuters, without citing any on-record confirmation, decided to publish this "news" anyway.

And then the Guardian, hungry for clicks and even less interested in doing actual journalism, also decided to publish this "news".

And then The Atheist accepted it uncritically and posted it here, where it met with further uncritical acceptance.

This whole chain of events is utter crap - and that's before we even get to the survey itself. Assuming it exists as described. Or at all.
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Old 20th August 2020, 11:18 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
...
Skepticism on a skeptics forum. How dare you.

Did you mention that this might be internal false-flag sabotage?
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Old 20th August 2020, 12:08 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Skepticism on a skeptics forum. How dare you.

Did you mention that this might be internal false-flag sabotage?
It hadn't occurred to me, but I'm open to the possibility.

I had gotten as far as wondering what kind of douchebag gets this kind of intra-organizational communication, and think it makes sense to go crying to the press about it.

Did they not have an internal department to talk to about this? What did that department say? Does it even care? These are questions I would ask, if I were a reporter trying to write a report on what really happened.
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Old 20th August 2020, 12:13 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
So white and black are fine but not yellow?

They're just broad categories. Sheesh.
It's called history. If it was popular with a bigoted group even if it is just a color name it can take on an derogatory connotation.

https://aaregistry.org/story/negro-the-word-a-history/
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Old 20th August 2020, 12:43 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm less interested in the etymology of the terms, and more interested in the provenance of the survey.
You could have spent 10 seconds looking rather than 5 minutes typing waffle, but I guess that's a personal choice.

The UN itself ok as a source?

Quote:
United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the survey would be “taken off-line and revised appropriately taking into account the legitimate concerns” that had been expressed.

“We acknowledge the need to formulate these categories with greater sensitivity and will take immediate steps to rectify this,” Dujarric said.
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Old 20th August 2020, 12:51 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
You could have spent 10 seconds looking rather than 5 minutes typing waffle, but I guess that's a personal choice.

The UN itself ok as a source?
Congratulations on doing some basic legwork. No need to get snippy about the prompt. A simple thank you would suffice.
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Old 20th August 2020, 12:52 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
That's another problem with the article. It's the Guardian reporting that Reuters is reporting that... And in this case, the Guardian can't even be arsed to link to the actual Reuters report. Even if this report turns out to be true, it's still some crappy-ass reporting. And I'm sure the Reuters article doesn't actually report what really happened.

Assuming this report is even accurate as far as it goes, all we really know is that some asshat at the UN forwarded a **** - stirring email to Reuters and made some claim about a survey, but only on the condition that Reuters absolve them of any accountability for making the report.

And then Reuters, without citing any on-record confirmation, decided to publish this "news" anyway.

And then the Guardian, hungry for clicks and even less interested in doing actual journalism, also decided to publish this "news".

And then The Atheist accepted it uncritically and posted it here, where it met with further uncritical acceptance.

This whole chain of events is utter crap - and that's before we even get to the survey itself. Assuming it exists as described. Or at all.
I see no reason to suspect anything in the article to be untrue.

What, if anything, the facts mean is a different question entirely for a number of reasons. Even if we accept Yellow is a slur in western society, the UN consists of many cultures and many languages, not everything is going to translate very well. This is going to be especially true when it comes to something like “race” fuzzy and undermining to begin with.
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Old 20th August 2020, 01:19 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
It hadn't occurred to me, but I'm open to the possibility.

I had gotten as far as wondering what kind of douchebag gets this kind of intra-organizational communication, and think it makes sense to go crying to the press about it.

Did they not have an internal department to talk to about this? What did that department say? Does it even care? These are questions I would ask, if I were a reporter trying to write a report on what really happened.
My first thought was that the word Yellow here is possibly like a found noose.

A reported claim of, "The word Yellow was found in the UN Survey", could be similar to a reported claim of, "A noose was found at UN Headquarters."

False-flag sabotage would possibly involve an Asian person inserting the word Yellow for the purpose of creating directed chaos. This is what Smollett did.

It's still way too early to know what happened, and the UN itself may be trying to figure it out.
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Old 20th August 2020, 02:39 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by lomiller View Post
I see no reason to suspect anything in the article to be untrue.

What, if anything, the facts mean is a different question entirely for a number of reasons. Even if we accept Yellow is a slur in western society, the UN consists of many cultures and many languages, not everything is going to translate very well. This is going to be especially true when it comes to something like “race” fuzzy and undermining to begin with.
Exactly. I'm not saying there's reason to believe the alleged facts are untrue (though I wouldn't be surprised if at least some of the facts are wrong).

I'm saying that when somebody does something so apparently stupid, I want to know what really happened there. I despise rhetorical indictments of the form "how could the UN include such a racist term on a survey about racism?" I'm very much interested in serious investigative questions of the form, ""how could the UN include such a racist term on a survey about racism?"

As you say: Maybe the people putting the survey together acted with good faith and due diligence. Or some combination of that and run-of-the-mill human error which isn't actually newsworthy.

I'm also wondering why anyone at the UN thought this was worth reporting to Reuters, and why anyone at Reuters thought it was newsworthy.
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Old 20th August 2020, 02:42 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
... and the UN itself may be trying to figure it out.
Going by the response, I'd say they already have.

My guess as to how it came about is someone doing a job they didn't quite understand. There are hundreds of different types of "black" for starters and someone a little on the naive side thought the simple answer was to give Asians yellow as a choice.

Language may have been an issue as well.

It wasn't malicious or racist by design, but it sure is funny.
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Old 20th August 2020, 02:53 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
Going by the response, I'd say they already have.
We await the explanation, if any is forthcoming.

Quote:
My guess as to how it came about is someone doing a job they didn't quite understand. There are hundreds of different types of "black" for starters and someone a little on the naive side thought the simple answer was to give Asians yellow as a choice.

Language may have been an issue as well.

It wasn't malicious or racist by design, but it sure is funny.
I don't know much about the United Nations but I imagine it as layers of bureaucracy. I just wonder how many eyes saw the word Yellow before it went to print. Do you wonder this too?
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Old 20th August 2020, 03:03 PM   #38
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I also do not know about the internal culture at the UN. Somebody could have put "Yellow" and then nobody dared say, "Hey, that is racist. It has to be different." Or worse, "Hey, that is racist. You are now ousted from the United Nations. Goodbye."

If the person(s) who put the word Yellow there was actually an Asian person (with no bad intent) it could make it difficult to explain that the word is actually racist against their own race.

I'm saying that there might be an internal culture that somehow prevents the correction once the word is in place.

We don't know.
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Old 21st August 2020, 11:35 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Our options here are not limited to "I can see no potential problem here" and "This is so obviously racists as to be outrageous."

It's a problematic term they probably shouldn't have used, but not necessarily worth outrage.
Agreed. If anthropological terms were used (i.e. Caucasoid, Negroid, Mongoloid), it probably would have been a problem because of public perception (and not very useful). I don't think that it would be worthy of outrage though.
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