Members views on this point of delicacy.

Discussion in 'Historiography' started by bamboo43, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    comerrrade fogden, stop waving that umbrrrrella round, you make me nerrvski...

    Не волнуйтесь, это не отравились.
  2. peaceful

    peaceful Senior Member

    Hello Bamboo,

    From your description of how the word was used, it is not hate literature. You plan to not censor other words such as Jap. If you mention in your foreword that this diary is published as written I believe you have forewarned readers and may stay true to the author.

    Literary works that are racist remain as written and are studied in school uncensored.

    This conversation hopefully shows that there is cultural sensitivity and the world is a good place!!

  3. 26delta

    26delta Senior Member

    I whole-heartedly agree. Publish the document in its original form. The NAACP in the US recognises that language changes over the decades. I've heard a few gentlemen state "Yes, I am a N____ and proud of it; deal with it." Those proud gentlemen have the same complexion as Gibson's dog, not the pale skin who are also subjected to the moniker. If we can't rise above the pettiness of political correctness, we are doomed to fail.
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Just to avoid any possible confusion for those who may wish to follow on with their responses, (other than on general points of censorship that is), this thread was started some months ago and the specific point raised concluded in post 32
    A massive thanks to everyone who has taken the time to reply to this thread.

    I have decided on leaving the text as is, with the view that the use of the language even then was not used against anyone personally or with any malice.

    I have stated my position thus, without mention of any particular phrase, sentence or words:

    "I have left the following account as the author presented it in 1943. This is to ensure authenticity and retain the full context of his words as and when he wrote them".

    Steve's webpage here:
    Eric Allen and the Lost Boat on the Shweli - Chindit Chasing, Operation Longcloth 1943
  5. Jon Horley

    Jon Horley Member

    Interesting subject - I worked for a non-fiction publisher of rigorous standards for a few years (still in touch with him, 40+ years on) and while any quotations from original writings would contain the language of the day, there would be a note in the Preface about anything that people might find offensive by modern standards. You can't rewrite history - well, you can, but then it isn't history, it's an interpretation of it dressed up for a modern audience. There are a lot of perjorative phrases which are behind us now, but a lot of others which have sprung up in their place. Fifty years from now, if the history of rap music is covered, it would be wrong to write of "Slap My ***** Up" (my asterisks!) for fear of offending a perhaps more evolved audience. What's said in an era has to be relayed truthfully, otherwise we may as well rewrite Shakespeare for every modern idiom: "Yo, bro, this be a shiv I see before me?"
  6. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

  7. Jon Horley

    Jon Horley Member

    Would there be some merit in perhaps removing concluded threads - as has been pointed out that this is, in fact - to another section? Something like 'Forum Gold' or a moniker which indicates they're available to read but not active any more.
  8. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    I agree with the others, print it as is. It would be a shame to alter it to appease the PC types. They are such miserable people who will find fault where they want it anyway. Keep it in historical context. It is a treasure to all who read it. You can indicate your position on the use of the word in a well developed forward to precede you text. I'd like to read it myself when you are done, as would many here.
  9. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Would there be some merit in perhaps removing concluded threads - as has been pointed out that this is, in fact - to another section? Something like 'Forum Gold' or a moniker which indicates they're available to read but not active any more.

    Wot??? And kill the possibility of raising zombie threads off??? That's the equivalent of ending the Antiques Roadshow :)
  10. obtwt

    obtwt Member

    Don't change the text. Enough of trying to make history fit into todays politically correct standards!
  11. Stig the Roadie

    Stig the Roadie Junior Member

    What is the point of n****r, everyone knows you mean nigger and fill in the gaps for themselves. Is it less upsetting? If you are going to be offended by a word substituting some asterisk wont make it any less offensive.
  12. Roxy

    Roxy Senior Member

    Would there be some merit in perhaps removing concluded threads - as has been pointed out that this is, in fact - to another section? Something like 'Forum Gold' or a moniker which indicates they're available to read but not active any more.

    Another Forum that I frequent encourages thread starters to add something along the lines of 'Completed - Thanks' in the thread title. It allows the thread to be read, allows for additional comments but ensures the reader that the thread starter has obtained the requested information. They also, eventually, move the threads to a 'closed' section.

  13. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    It is quite possible that a thread is never completed ,with the footfall we have here on WW2Talk there is always a new member with something to add.

  14. sherlock

    sherlock Member

    It says alot about today's society when we have consider changing history in order not to offend anyone. And that's what we're talking about here. People's attitudes and manners of speech are part of that history. Those may change over time, but they are essential for historians in their studies. Future scholars, when studying the present, may find some of our attitudes and phrases questionable, but hopefully their society will permit them to write about history, without rewriting it.
    Leave the diary the way it was written. Anything less would be disrespectful to the author.
  15. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    I know that I am straying a little from the correct use of words that have become un-acceptable in modern parlance, but I beg your indulgence if I re-tell this old yarn about the use of the word bastard.

    While writing on the BBC WW2 Peoples War site I fell foul of the "Bebe's" policy on the use of swear words.

    Like many other websites of this type, postings were put through a pre-scanning process before being accepted and certain swear words were strictly taboo.

    I had just posted a piece about my tank commander "Busty" Thomas
    BBC - WW2 People's War - Diary Entries 11th April 1945
    and to my surprise it was rejected by the moderators because I had used the word "bastard". This despite the fact that "bastard" was in every dictionary and had been used to quote an actual remark made by the aforesaid "Busty".

    I received an e-mail from the Moderators that said if I used asterisks (as in "BxxxxxxS) the article would then be accepted.

    I settled for this and the piece was duly allowed on site until, almost a year later, I was browsing through the recent postings and noticed that more and more people were using the dreaded word and, more importantly, getting away with it !

    I wrote to the Moderators and was told that the Bebe had decided to adopt a more relaxed view on the subject, to which I replied "Please can I have my BASTARD back ?

    I am pleased to report that Busty's actual words are now preserved for posterity

    Fred Wilson likes this.
  16. Old Git

    Old Git Harmless Curmudgeon

    Within the script the "N" word is used, in a totally soft and harmless way I should add, but there nonetheless.

    Should I leave it as an accurate representation of the document or delete it in some way so as not to cause any unwanted offence. I do hate all this PC stuff, but I need to be responsible here.

    My Kids are all watching the old Looney Tunes Cartoons from the 50's. Found them on DVD across 6 volumes, with multiple disks in each volume. Fantastic entertianment, the kids adore them and I try to remember which ones I saw when I were a kid, witha snotty nose at the Saturday morning minors!

    The thing of it is, those old cartoons reflect a heck of a lot of the racial stereotypes of their time and of-course in todays PC world a lot of that don't play too well. However, everything is there on the DVD's, verbatim! Not a thing changed...but get this they have a 5 minute intro from Whoopie Goldberg explaining how she loved Looney tunes as a kid and how they are a national institution. She goes on to explain about the racial content and then explains that to have taken it out, to have sanitised it, would be the same as denying these conditions ever existed...a bit like airbrushing the history. She goes on to say, enjoy the entertainment, but see the racial content in it's historical context, accept that that is how it was and be joyful that it has changed. Seems like sensible advice to me and to be honest that's all the caveat that you need put on your site! Let the historical record Cromwell said, "warts and all"

    to which I replied "Please can I have my BASTARD back?

    That made me smile Ron!
  17. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    Interesting thread, also interesting is the belief that the objection to the word is a modern fad of the 'PC brigade', whereas the OED clearly shows that the word when used by whites (oops, sorry about that!) was always offensive and offensively intended going right back to the 18th century:nigger, n. and adj.

    I. Senses referring to people.

    1. A dark-skinned person of sub-Saharan African origin or descent; = Negro n. 1a.
    This term is strongly racially offensive when used by a white person in reference to a black person. In written Black English and written representations of spoken Black English, however, there are usually not the same negative connotations. Recently the term has been reclaimed by some black speakers and used with positive connotations in various senses (esp. in the form nigga: see note in etymology, and senses A. 1c, A. 4, and A. 5). However, even among black speakers, use of the word is problematic because of its potential to give offence, as is clear from the following, from a black speaker:

    1995 N.Y. Times 14 Jan. i. 7 The prosecutor, his voice trembling, added that the ‘N-word’ was so vile that he would not utter it. ‘It's the filthiest, dirtiest, nastiest word in the English language,’ Mr. Darden said.

    a. Used by whites or other non-blacks as a relatively neutral (or occas. positive) term, with no specifically hostile intent.
    Quots. 1608, 1788, etc., expressing patronizing views, reflect underlying attitudes rather than a hostile use of the word itself.

    1980 R. Rhodes Last Safari i. i. 20 The Kaffir whore and the half-breed toto and the faithful nigger.
    1993 in Dict. Amer. Regional Eng. (1996) III. 789/2 I've heard livestock men speak in admiration of a black cowboy and noted rider in the Jordan Valley country simply as ‘Nigger Bill’.

    b. Used by whites or other non-blacks as a hostile term of abuse or contempt.

    1775 in F. Moore Songs & Ballads Amer. Revol. (1856) 101 The rebel clowns, oh! what a sight! Too awkward was their figure. 'Twas yonder stood a pious wight, And here and there a nigger.
    1811 Byron in Mem. F. Hodgson (1878) I. 195 The rest of the world—niggers and what not.
    1818 H. B. Fearon Sketches Amer. 46 The bad conduct and inferior nature of niggars (negroes).
    1849 H. Coleridge Ess. & Marginalia (1851) I. 164 A similar error has turned Othello..into a rank woolly-pated, thick-lipped nigger.
    1861 H. A. Jacobs Incidents in Life Slave Girl vii. 59 Do you suppose that I will have you tending my children with the children of that nigger?
    1931 D. L. Sayers Five Red Herrings i. 11 Waters.., like all Englishmen, was ready enough to admire and praise all foreigners except dagoes and niggers.
    1936 M. Mitchell Gone with Wind 401 ‘You're a fool nigger, and the worst day's work Pa ever did was to buy you,’ said Scarlett slowly... There, she thought, I've said ‘nigger’ and Mother wouldn't like that at all.
    1948 G. Greene Heart of Matter i. i. 3, I hate the place. I hate the people. I hate the bloody niggers. Mustn't call 'em that you know.
    1989 Washington Post (Nexis) 16 July d1, A belligerent [police] officer..snarling at me..‘I don't care who you are, nigga, get the hell out of here or I'll arrest you.’
    1992 Boston Globe Mag. 7 June 4/1 If a white guy gonna call me a nigger, he wants to fight.
    2001 Nation (N.Y.) 6 Aug. 21/1 Farther back in the crowd, William..heard a cop say, ‘We'll beat the hell out of you niggers.’
    But note too that the OED puts the word in full in all its historical quotations.
  18. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    It is a document from the time. Leave it is as it is.

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