Peter’s followup on fb: "Addendum to my previous post:
While using the term “abo” is racist in a global context like the internet, using the term “neoaboriginal” is problematic as well (I’ve also seen it shortened to neoabo). It’s no different than saying neonative or neoindigenous. It’s whiteness usurping the identity of a minority. I don’t condone either. While rewilding is about becoming place-based (one meaning of the word indigenous), we live in a context where identity and the language around it is important for minority groups. It dilutes their struggle when their descriptors are appropriated. To build allyship, to begin to collaborate, we can easily pick and choose language that isn’t offensive or appropriative on many levels. It’s really not hard. When crafting language as rewilders we need to do more research into etymology, current contexts, and differing communities. “Limitation creates art.” Compassion creates community. Roll up your sleeves and get to work. "
Curious what people think about language, changing language to be inclusive, where the line is for that (if there is one). Thoughts?
Online or in printed writing in general, this seems really hard; what you write today, may get condemned if not tomorrow then perhaps in a hundred years.
In conversation, I start off with throwing in some alternatives and considerations, seeking what will work for the community present.
Peter, thanks for this. I feel this is vitally important for us to not just discuss but also act upon. It’s difficult territory to cover for a number of reasons, but all the more reason to keep at it. I’d like to ask you, what do you envision when you think of “the line” you mention?
EDIT: what I mean is, not “where” is the line, but “what” is the line? (line between what and what?)
perhaps approaching this as a fluid and constantly evolving goal is the best way forward? it can certainly be difficult, but it seems to me that I will be spending the rest of my life working on this, which i’m committed to doing, so there is no static right / wrong “line”. anti-oppression work is essential to rewilding for me, and i’m starting to also understand the need to “un-learn” the constraints of the English language I was raised with, so they sort of flow together nicely for me. What do you think Peter, Anneke? Others?
this is an awesome point. i read the original post a while ago & agreed. lately, i’ve been thinking about it in terms of something i learned while looking into healthy communities. i was reading “the empowerment manual” by starhawk (who helped found the reclaiming tradition of witchcraft & who has facilitated, created, protested, & otherwise worked with collaborative groups for decades). in that, she talks about the differences between common respect, catering to/enabling victims, and supporting the resilience of victims. this is especially important in many intentional communities, where there can easily be overly-strong but not so well thought out reactions to finding that a given person is a victim in some way. in many cases, folks will immediately jump to this far end of the spectrum, of assuming the victim should be pampered, catered to in all their requests, and held super gently. starhawk instead suggests not unthinkingly catering to the continuation of a victim mentality, but instead lovingly & respectfully supporting their healing & resilience (at a pace comfortable for them, to be sure).
i’ve been thinking of this in terms of many of the conversations going on lately re: racism, fascism, sexual assault, etc. it may be that some day in the future no one will care any more what words are used, because minorities are no longer being victimized. so long as oppressed groups are Actively being oppressed, they deserve whatever level of respect & consciously altered communication we can offer them (ESPECIALLY when they specifically request it). until we either have a drastically different country, or at the very least some strong pockets of resistant, resilient, & inclusive communities, i imagine we’ll stay in this tangle of using careful language so as to respect & honor the struggles of others.
hopefully in the coming years we’ll be seeing more thorough, full-time safe spaces where folks of color, indigenous, queer&trans, women, disabled, abuse victims, etc can feel comfortable building resilience among like-minded allies, rather than only having recourse to temporary spaces just for those who identify in the same way.