dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #739

Sarah sarah-neko at dove.gen.nz
Thu Nov 6 21:37:11 EST 2003

> Is there anyone here who can speak up from an insider perspective, and
> is willing to?  I take it no?  Hmm.  I feel somewhat uncomfortable
> having this conversation as it becomes clear that we seem to be 
> leaning,
> as a group, toward the white end of the spectrum (I always list my
> ethnicity as "Jewish" and not "white", but for the purposes of this
> conversation, I think I count as white).
> - -deborah

Well, even if we ain't them, we can still talk about them... it's not 
as if anyone here has said anything patronising or offensive about 
black people. An inside perspective would be valuable, yes, but that 
doesn't devalue observations from outside.

> I'm sure I've heard recently that the preferred term for hispanic in 
> the US
> is now Latino.
> Anyway, why are Caucasians called that? Anyone know? Is it something 
> to do
> with the misty depths of Indo-European history?
> Charlie

And I thought 'Latino' or 'Latina' only referred to people whose 
background was from Latin America - which doesn't include Mexico, does 
'Caucasians' comes from the Caucasus Mountains in Russia. I can't 
remember why it is applied as it is but I remember it was addressed 
once on www.straightdope.com - go to the archives and search under 
'Caucasian,' I guess.

> Well, I haven't read either of those (loved the first title, though!), 
> but
> from what you say I guess they're not going to be very Wiccan. *Teen 
> Witch*
> came out in 1989, right? Or so the Library of Congress tells me. Five 
> years
> after *The Changeover* - which I'd nevertheless say is a book 
> permeated with
> Wiccan ideas both general and specific - though perhaps wrongly (I'm 
> hardly
> an expert). And not a black fingernail in sight - there can't be 
> anything
> too goth about a book where the heroine wears a one-size-too-small 
> school
> dress and the hero rides a Vespa!
> Charlie

He does like to sit around in a black dressing gown petting a black 
cat... but that's an affectation *^.^*

> You can also use 'black' for African-Americans and 'brown' for the
> Latino/Latinas in certain circumstances.  For instance, brown people
> have taken over the position of largest minority in the USA.
> 'Brown' does tend to include Native Americans as well, partly because
> the Latino/Latino mix includes indigenous blood.

Don't forget the multitudes of Polynesians, who often describe 
themselves as brown. Actually, the hordes of Jango Fett-alikes in the 
Star Wars movie 'Attack of the Clones,' played by New Zealand Maori 
actor Temuera Morrison, were misread by some commentators as a metaphor 
for white America's fear of being overrun by Hispanic immigrants. 
Morrison has also played a Hispanic character in 'Speed 2,' an Indian 
helicopter pilot in 'Vertical Limit,' and a cat-man in 'The Island of 
Dr Moreau.'
In the movies, brown seems to equal ethnically interchangeable.

> It comes from those 19th century racial origin
> theories when it was believed that the Indo-European
> peoples originated in the caucasian mountains and that
> this was the origin of the "white" races. Aryan was
> also a term used for the same peoples which is now as
> un-PC as it is possible to get. Not all traditional
> European populations are Indo-European, and a large
> part of the population of India and Pakistan are
> Indo-European (and are also part of the Caucasian
> ethnic group). Modern genetic studies are making a
> mockery of the whole idea of racially distinctive
> ethnic groups anyway.
> An afterthought on Aryan, I wonder if we will have a
> move to rename Iran Persia for PC reasons and the the
> word Iran is the same word as Aryan.
> Jon

'Persia' sounds prettier!
There's all the justification you need *^.^* Cultural differences are 
worth understanding but yes, it's about time people realised that 
racial 'differences' are so minor as to be unimportant.

> But funnily enough I would say"African American" rather than using my 
> system of "Kenyan" etc.
> Maybe because they've been there so long and may not know where there 
> ancestors are from?
> Emma

I believe I've read that most of the black population of North America 
is descended from prisoners of war sold to slavers in the great but now 
fallen kingdoms of Western Africa; Cameroon and that part of the world. 
But yes, the lack of ancestral records and frequent splitting up of 
family groups and giving people different names (when one bought a new 
slave, one would often give him or her a new name regardless of what he 
or she had been called by the previous owner) during the period of 
slavery mean that it is almost impossible for an African American to 
identify as a member of a specific African nation.

> Oops! That was my mistake, reading the LoC catalogue (I didn't know 
> they
> even had videos on their shelves!). Well gosh, 1998 is very late isn't 
> it? I
> know a lot of people out there are Buffy buffs, so correct me if I'm 
> wrong
> (again) but wasn't her friend Willow a recognizably Wiccan witch from 
> an
> earlier date than that? Maybe not. This is just from my vague memory 
> of what
> the witch at my conference said when she gave her paper - I don't 
> follow
> Buffy.

Willow begins to learn witchcraft towards the end of season two, which 
was first on TV in 1997-1998. 'Recognizably Wiccan,' however, is kind 
of a moot point, since she never seems to adopt Wicca as a *religion* 
and indeed continues to refer to herself as Jewish sometimes. Her 
girlfriend Tara seems more of a paid-up, serious Wiccan. Willow has 
dilettante tendencies that turn out positively dangerous.

> Perhaps I should have added, btw, that I'm not saying *The Changeover* 
> is
> Wiccan through and through, because there's a lot of other stuff in 
> that
> book, only that it uses quite a lot of Wiccan material, referencing 
> things
> like cones of power that are well known in that tradition but pretty 
> obscure
> outside it. Its overall ethos, too, particularly in terms of the
> relationship of the witches with nature and natural energy, seems very 
> much
> in line with what (little) I know of Wicca.

It seemed that way to me too, and I'm sort of loosely, still-learning 
Wiccan. Because the book seemed to come to me at a time when I was kind 
of unaffiliated and gave me some inspiration, it holds a special place 
in my heart.

E you later,
(the artist formerly known as Sarah-neko)

Air and Angels Anime Shrines

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