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Is black hole a racially insensitive term?

  1. Jul 10, 2008 #1
    Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term?

    http://blogs.chron.com/sciguy/archives/2008/07/is_black_hole_a.html

    July 09, 2008

    Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term?

    Apparently to some. From the City Hall Blog at the Dallas Morning News:

    A special meeting about Dallas County traffic tickets turned tense and bizarre this afternoon.

    County commissioners were discussing problems with the central collections office that is used to process traffic ticket payments and handle other paperwork normally done by the JP Courts.

    Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield, who is white, said it seemed that central collections "has become a black hole" because paperwork reportedly has become lost in the office.

    Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is black, interrupted him with a loud "Excuse me!" He then corrected his colleague, saying the office has become a "white hole."

    That prompted Judge Thomas Jones, who is black, to demand an apology from Mayfield for his racially insensitive analogy.

    Mayfield shot back that it was a figure of speech and a science term.

    Judge Jones should be very glad that the central collections office has not become a white hole, a theoretical object that ejects matter from beyond its event horizon, rather than sucking it in. It wouldn't be fun for Dallas to find itself so near a quasar.

    Anyone wanting to know a good deal about black holes should read the excellent new book, The Black Hole War, by Leonard Susskind, which has just been released. I'm in the middle of it, and the book's a fascinating tour of modern physics written for the layman. It's just been marvelous so far.
     
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  3. Jul 10, 2008 #2

    cristo

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    Re: Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term?

    What is the world coming to?
     
  4. Jul 10, 2008 #3

    neu

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    Re: Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term?

    I don't understand this:
    What does he think he is correcting? What is he correcting it too?
     
  5. Jul 10, 2008 #4

    Lisa!

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    Re: Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term?

    X hole?(black, white or any other color that doesn't sound racist)
     
  6. Jul 10, 2008 #5

    arildno

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    Re: Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term?

    Actually, to me, most bureaucracies DO seem to be white holes, by spewing forth lots of documents scrambled into a totally incomprehensible form..
     
  7. Jul 10, 2008 #6
    Re: Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term?

    If he was calling a black hole a black hole, it would not be racially insensitive. Indeed there is no negative connotation to black holes that I am aware of. However, if he was calling an office that had black office workers a black hole, that would be different.
     
  8. Jul 10, 2008 #7

    arildno

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    Re: Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term?

    Calling an office filled with black workers "a black hole" as long as the word "black" refers to the loss of information there, rather than the workers' skin colour, is not wrong at all.
     
  9. Jul 10, 2008 #8

    Borek

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    Re: Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term?

    That's in a way close to the story I heard about a politician visiting sewage treatment facility. Person showing the facility told the politician that they are able to get pH of the leaving water down to 7. "Why don't you get it down to zero?" was the answer.

    It is also not far from the Aliso Viejo case, where city came close to banning styrofoam cups because dihydrogen monoxide was used in their production.

    Stupidity and lack of knowledge are eternal. Racial connotations are new.

    Is the term "black body radiation" racist as well?
     
  10. Jul 10, 2008 #9

    arildno

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    Re: Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term?

    Or brown dwarfs??
     
  11. Jul 10, 2008 #10

    Evo

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    Re: Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term?

    You can be banned for saying things like that. :bugeye:
     
  12. Jul 10, 2008 #11

    arildno

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    Re: Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term?

    That would be related to the attractive force referred to in "Black is beautiful"??
     
  13. Jul 10, 2008 #12

    ZapperZ

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    Re: Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term?

    It is all in the context and intent. Any ordinary, harmless word or phrases can easily be turned into something offensive given the "right" context and intent.

    There are many words in science that could be taken as "offensive" if it weren't for the fact that no derogatory intent was meant. Someone could easily be offended by the acronym FFAG, a perfectly respectable experimental technique/facility. Luckily, no one is complaining so far.

    Zz.
     
  14. Jul 10, 2008 #13
    Re: Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term?

    LA School District tried to ban the purchase of computers that used the term Master/Slave for racial insensitivity, so I have heard.
     
  15. Jul 10, 2008 #14
    Re: Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niggardly
    Almost the entire wiki article on the word 'niggardly' is about the various contraversies surrounding its use.
    There is also a book I was thinking about picking up called 'The Human Stain' part of which revolves around a teacher who gets fired for refering to two black students who never showed up to class as 'spooks' unaware that it has been used as a racial slur.
     
  16. Jul 10, 2008 #15
    Re: Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term?

    Later in the meeting, Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield found out that a box in Commissioner John Wiley Price's office contained much of the lost paperwork that was part of the processing route, to which Mayfield said, "We found the missing link in Price's office."----which Mayfield had to apologize for, also.
     
  17. Jul 10, 2008 #16
    Re: Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term?

    I should say I am amazed. There is no observational difference between a black hole and a white hole. They are indistinguishable, as far as I can gather from Hawking's original papers on the subject. So we have ultimate democratic principle. :rolleyes: What does Susskind's book say about that ? Is there a way to distinguish between black and white holes nowadays ?
     
  18. Jul 10, 2008 #17
    Re: Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term?

    hahah thats the most racist comment yet, it should be poop colored midgets to be politically correct hahaha
     
  19. Jul 10, 2008 #18
    Re: Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term?

    OK---Let's summarize all of this on a black board----
     
  20. Jul 10, 2008 #19

    arildno

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    Re: Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term?

    That is VERY insulting to call a small-titted Negresse.

    It isn't her fault, neither her skin colour, or the size of her breasts.

    Besides, there is this sexist innuendo here, of YOU being the active one, doing something ON, or to, a woman. You have objectified her!

    What a reprehensible individual you are, you wielder of a tiny piece of white chalk..
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2008
  21. Jul 10, 2008 #20
    Re: Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term?

    ahhhh....shooot........those small bumps on the black board make my chalk jump
     
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