dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #738

Sarah sarah-neko at dove.gen.nz
Thu Nov 6 17:33:46 EST 2003

> Sallyo:
>> I'm intrigued, Sally.  That's usually a language thing Americans make
>> (eg calling a black Englishman "African American").  Is the term used
>> that often in the wild southlands where you are?
> Nope. We don't have any people of that descent in Tasmania, and I've 
> never
> seen one in outer Aus, either. Therefore I use the term the USAers 
> seem to
> prefer themselves.
> In the old days, I would have said "Negro", but I understand that's not
> acceptable now.

'Black people' or 'black person' seems to be okay by most people 
provided it's not said rudely. (Heck, 'African American' can be made 
into an insult by tone of voice.) We do have black people here in New 
Zealand but the majority are first-generation direct from Africa, such 
as Somalian refugees, rather than a population who have been here since 
colonial times like the American blacks, or who started arriving at 
least a couple of generations ago, like a lot of the Afro-Caribbean 
population of Great Britain (who, of course, didn't originate in the 
Caribbean, but the poor old Caribbean natives were pretty thoroughly 
wiped out a long time ago, not before giving us the useful words 
hammock, canoe and tobacco). And there are not very many of them at 
all; a far smaller group than Pacific Islanders or Asians (by which I 
mean Chinese, Korean etc, not the Indian, Pakistani etc group referred 
to as Asian in the UK). I would imagine that there is a similar 
population in Australia, scaled up to allow for being a larger overall 
population, but I don't know about Tasmania; it's always struck me as a 
bit of an enclave island, though I'm sure the reputation for inbreeding 
is overstated *^.^*
I remember reading while studying 'Othello' that during the reign of 
*Queen Elizabeth I* a group of concerned citizens got up a petition to 
complain that there were too many blackamoors in London. Prats. 
Apparently *any* blackamoors were too many.
Now that I think of it, there are even New Zealand African Americans, 
that is emigrés - the bass player from the Commodores lives here (gigs 
on local TV) and so does Anthony Ray Parker who played Dozer in 'The 
I realise none of this information was asked for, but I'm a fount of 
that type of thing.

> deborah:
> Someone once told me that _Black Maria_ was renamed here for racial
> reasons, but I have much more faith in the notion that it was renamed
> here because Americans don't have black maria taxicabs, and we wouldn't
> know what one was if it ran over our collective foot.

I thought a Black Maria was a sort of police paddywagon?
Besides being, as Mig mentions, an Old Maid-type card game.

> - -deborah, feeling culture-shocked.  or maybe that was just the latest
> "Angel"

The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco?

> Irina:
>>> PS: Does anyone have an extra Navis lying around their house?
>> Yes, he is my husband.
> Hey, that's my line! Though I prefer to think about him as an extra
> Faramir.

But can Faramir raise one eyebrow without the other one moving at all?

> I suppose the latter applies to all of us! It's a tricky one, to be 
> sure (I
> copped out by saying 'African American' myself in a post yesterday). 
> But in
> Oz isn't the term 'black' already applied to aborigines (if they're 
> still
> called aborigines)? This could get terribly confusing if you wanted to
> distinguish them from more recent black immigrants.
> Charlie

While I don't live in Australia myself, my impression is that they were 
called blacks in colonial times but that this is now considered rude 
(there is a subtle but strong difference sometimes between saying 
'black people' and 'blacks'). 'Aborigines' is the modern, acceptable 
term. 'Abbos' or 'boongers' are the linguistic equivalent of 'niggers.'

> Erm... there's no such thing as a black maria taxicab. The Black Maria
> was a police vehicle used for transporting prisoners. (Which Katherine
> Kurtz got impressively wrong in _The Adept_ series, where Our Hero's
> Friend is favourably impressed by Our Hero arriving in a Black 
> Maria...)
> Oh, they haven't been used for a good few years.
> Roger

Thought so! (gives self medal)

> Watanabes in Japan?
> Hey, this is fun, any more for the list? :-)

Huangs in China? People with a name ending in sson or ssen in Sweden?

> We call them Aboriginals, Aboriginal Australians or Indigenous People. 
> They
> refer to themselves as "Aboriginal People" I think... and refer to "my
> people". This always puzzles me considerably when they are clearly of 
> mixed
> race. My daughter's sig-oth is (I think) 1/8 Aboriginal, which makes 
> him
> olive skinned with brown eyes. He is, technically (and legally), 
> Aboriginal,
> but I'm not sure what the legal position is on his other 7/8! He 
> doesn't,
> however, speak of "my people", so I assume he thinks of himself as 
> being Oz
> rather than any specific breed of Oz.
> Sallyo.

To my mind who you call 'my people' is more a matter of emotional 
affiliation and culture than of bloodlines. The majority of black 
people in the USA have a white ancestor somewhere in their family tree, 
due in part to the background of slavery and the frequency of 
master-slave sexual relations or abuse, but the social divide between 
black and white means that 'mixed race' is seldom seen as a valid or 
clearly identifiable category by either 'side.' This, I suppose, is why 
people were weirded out when Tiger Woods decided to call his own mixed 
ancestry 'Cablanasian,' not choosing to identify as one 'side' or 

> Me neither, in fact I don't generally fancy book characters- maybe 
> it's because I don't have a very visual imagination. The only one I 
> can think of is Sorry, from Mahy's The Changeover, and I think it's 
> because of Mahy describing his effect on Laura so well. In real life I 
> think I'd be wary of him.
> Jennifer

Dear old Sorry!
Er... my point... no, haven't got one of those.

> Me:
> I feel I'm always mentioning the (Mahy) Changeover, but your post put 
> me in mind of a question I'd meant to ask some time ago and then 
> forgotten.
> A few months ago I went to an academic conference on Magic, and in the 
> coffee break I got chatting to a group of witches, one of whom was 
> doing a research project on the teen-witch phenomenon, which she saw 
> as being largely inspired by Buffy. (She had a website where teen 
> witches could share their experiences, and was planning to use the 
> material in her PhD, I think.) Neither she nor anyone else in that 
> group had come across Mahy's book, which being published in 1984 
> predates Buffy by what - 10 years? - and is packed with stuff that 
> would make any would-be Wiccan drool.
> Can anyone think of an earlier example of a teen witch book? (I mean 
> specifically Wiccan, not the kind of thing you find in Jill Murphy or 
> even the Chrestomanci books.) I can't, off-hand.
> Charlie

Apart from the manual 'Teen Witch' by Silver Ravenwolf, a popular and 
agreeable if sometimes slightly naff American Wiccan author, really no. 
Indeed, 'The Changeover' (a book I, too, love to bits and pieces) 
predates the Wiccan part of Buffy by far more than 10 years, since 
there was no witchy content in the original movie. Even then, the first 
witch we see in the Buffy TV series is definitely a wicked one, and a 
more positive interpretation isn't introduced until the advent of Jenny 
Calendar, who calls herself a 'techno-pagan.' I think your friend is 
probably right about Willow and Tara (maysherestinpeace) leading the 
charge, as it were. The movie 'The Craft' may have influenced a few. In 
America, it also seems possible that some influence may derive from the 
culty popularity of magical girl anime, most notably 'Sailor Moon.' 
Although none of the characters are witches it's rich in imagery that 
plays well with a Wiccan interpretation. (Queen Serenity, NeoQueen 
Serenity and Princess Small Lady Serenity forming a powerful triune, 
crone, mother and maiden, for example.) This may have stimulated some 
young minds in a witchy direction.
It's just a shame 'The Changeover' isn't more widely known. It would 
make an excellent 'gateway' book for young people curious about 
witchcraft, emphasising responsibility and the inescapability of real 
life alongside the romance and power.

> You know, all you people suck.
> Yeah.
> However, you can return to my good graces if you can tell me where to 
> find
> all of these Navis/Faromir types that are lying around apparently
> everywhere, just waiting to be picked up as husbands ;-).
> 				---Kyra

Have you tried the Flate?
I'm looking for a Dryden Fassa substitute, but a Navis would also suit 
me quite well. Kyra, if you find the source and there are enough to go 
round, do let me know.

> I don't know about *all* of them, but I picked mine up in a writing
> group. I'd sent a story to the secretary that he (the secretary) kept
> in his pocket for five months before leaving it lying around where the
> treasurer picked it up, read it and fell in love with it. The treasurer
> then wrote me a letter apologizing for the secretary's indolence, and I
> fell in love with his handwriting. I phoned him and we arranged to meet
> for a drink, and we fell in love with each other.
>    Irina

And now the treasurer treasures you! *^.^*

> The answer is, just like himself at the age of fiteen.  :-)
> Oh, and in case any publisher chooses to change it, Millie is spelt 
> that
> way and not Milly, in the computer and the printout.
> Minnow

Fifteen-year-old Christopher.
One can imagine the spots and creaky voice phase of adolescence being a 
particular torment for someone so poised and fond of elegance.

> Why is 'negro' not allowable any more?  Is it derogatory?  And if it 
> is, is
> hispanic and is caucasian?  I always thought of these as being purely
> descriptive terms, nothing to do with any sort of value-judgement at 
> all.
> Minnow

I think it's just that 'negro' has acquired a bad vibe through being 
the word of choice of a lot of the  people who are not very *nice* to 
negroes. Hispanic and Caucasian are usually considered emotionally 
neutral, even respectful, perhaps because of their 
scientific/anthropological sound.
E you later,
(the artist formerly known as Sarah-neko)

Air and Angels Anime Shrines

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