Political correctness in science

kelly tetro 4klt5 at qucdn.queensu.ca
Mon Apr 1 11:21:00 EST 1996


Mr. Wah's comments and the reaction to them has got me thinking 
and I am greatly concerned. By it's very nature, science requires
communicating with a wide variety of people from a wide variety
of cultures. To me,communicating requires an exchange of ideas
through words and gestures. The speaker says words and makes 
gestures and the listener interprets these words and gestures
based on their culture, history and/or mood at the time.

What concerns me, and maybe you can help me with, is as the speaker
how can I make myself aware of all these things that go on in
the head of the listener? There seems to be no rules because what
offends one does not offend others (eg. I don't find terms such as
lady, my dear, love etc demeaning when used in general, but I know
that many other women I have communicated with are deeply disturbed
by these terms and then proceed to tune out the rest of what is
being said).

Is communicating a progressive thing? For example if the speaker
said something offensive to the listener, and the listener said so,
and the speaker apologized and corrected his speech wouldn't
that be more admirable than if the speaker continued the offensive
behavior?

As for Mr. Wah's comments, IMHO, Mr. Wah was responding honestly
to someone's questions. Mr. Wah supplied a valuable insight into
what is REALLY thought of women in computing science, and by
doing so provided the tools to overcome this "misconception" about
women computer scientists. I would thank Mr. Wah for supplying his
honest opinion, and his hints on how to succeed in that environment.

Kelly.
4klt5 at qlink.queensu.ca



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