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ディスカッション備忘録 Political Correctness

LingQグループディスカッションに参加しました。へれん先生が白人と黒人の間に生まれた子供の肌の色を“Biscuit skinned”と表現したのが面白くて、そこからpolitical correctnessの話になりました。日本で生まれ育つと周りはすべて日本人ということが多いので、他人の肌や髪、目の色を意識する機会はあまりありません。ところが、英語で書かれた小説などを読むと登場人物の特徴が詳細に記述されていることに気づきました。アメリカでは人口の約12%が外国生まれ ということで、見た目のバリエーションも多彩でしょうし、身体的特徴を詳細に述べる必要があるのではないかと思いました。



質問すると”blakamoor? 知らないわよ。イヒヒッ☆”というふうに笑ってごまかすような先生もいます。単に英語を話せるというだけでなく、ちょっとした質問にもちゃんと答えてくれて、文化的な情報も教えてくれる先生は貴重です。


Political Correctness

When talking in English, political correctness in racial issues is one of the most difficult topics. One possible reason for this is almost 98% of the people in Japan are Japanese, and the rest are mostly Chinese and Korean. As our skin, hair, and eye color are almost the same, I am not usually conscious of features. I found it very interesting that in English novels, authors describe physical features in detail. These descriptions are unnecessary in Japanese novels, because we don’t distinguish other people by color. I’ve heard that 12% of the people in America were foreign born, so the information must fit in naturally for people living in diverse cultures.


I talked with a British tutor on LingQ the other day. The tutor described a person as “Biscuit skinned”, which I felt funny at first, but it sounded discreet. As I don’t know how to describe skin color without offending people, I thought the topic was best not mentioned in discussions. Luckily, nobody showed up for the group discussion. I asked about words which I guessed were offensive. I’ve heard the word “blackamoor” to mention a dark-skinned person in a drama, but I wasn’t sure whether it was just quaint or rude. She said that the word reminded her of the times of Shakespeare. I learned that the word originally indicated North Africans, who occupied Iberia Island once, but it’s out of date and offensive. I was surprised, because the word came from Shakespeare himself in the drama, and she exactly guessed the person. Lack of cultural background also makes it hard to use words delicately. I need to read as much as I can to understand cultures as well as the language.


This is just an aside. I thought there were no politically incorrect words to describe a person in Japan, however, I was wondering why baldness seems the most striking feature when depicting a man. Of all the characteristic parts, baldness always comes first. If I say, “I forgot his name, uhmm, the bald man! ” my friends reply, “Oh, I see! ” It doesn’t matter if he is handsome or tall. I should ask this issue in a ladies-only discussion someday.

Should there be advocate groups for bald, I would be in deep trouble by writing this. I hope there aren’t any.




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