It's one of the more depressing facets of human nature that in order to
encourage and facilitate inclusive behaviour we need to find little boxes
and labels to define those people we fear are being excluded and in doing so
can sometimes inadvertently end up either stereotyping or patronising the
A long, long time ago when I was doing advice work I was on a training
course that was supposed to be addressing equal opportunity issues (and that
label's another can of worms!) We spent a whole afternoon applying labels to
"disadvantaged"(!) people of various types using photographs cut out of
magazines to make sure that we were using the correct terminologies (which
are subject to fashion anyway). As an exercise in taxonomy and group
dynamics it was fascinating. As an approach to providing services for
collections of human beings with unique needs and requirements it was pretty
I'm not fond of the word "ethnic" myself, especially not in the context of
service development. It's easy to be either accidentally patronising or so
circumspect as to be almost willfully obscure. Perhaps the next productive
loop on the list could address ways of describing how we're trying to
address the library needs of people who don't read or speak English (or
aren't entirely comfortable in it) and the needs of those people who speak
English but have different cultural traditions.
Just my personal opinion.
Rochdale Library Service
Rochdale, England OL16 1JZ
Tel: 01706 864967
Fax: 01706 864992
Read any good books lately?
> From: Sarah Rands[SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
> Reply To: Sarah Rands
> Sent: 03 December 2002 17:26
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: e-books
> Apologies to anyone who may have been offended by my e-mail, I agree with
> Kathy's statement and whole heartily agree that "grouping" people into a
> particular "race", "type", "culture", colour or any other type of group is
> can be perceived as patronising and ignorant, fitting into a "group"
> I do however find that sometimes political correctness can go a little too
> far and will end up not being able to use any "un political words at
> I was really trying to lighten the subject and add a little humour which I
> though everyone would find appropriate!