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MatPlus.Net Forum General Let's stop using the word "pickaninny" now
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(61) Posted by Alain Villeneuve [Saturday, Aug 15, 2020 21:26]

Immensely happy to be "behind the times". About the "political agenda", I could inform you, but it would be off limits of this forum. Only 2 possibilities : you are ignorant, or complicit.

Anyway, it is exemplary about what I said about the rainbow revolution.

Have a good time in your "new world"... but without me.
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(62) Posted by Alain Villeneuve [Saturday, Aug 15, 2020 22:30]

Very funny is your "slippery slope". You don't slip anymore, you are already in the hole.

I see you coming, so please don't qualify my words "extreme". 40 years ago, I learned this lesson that all these years have confirmed :

People qualify as extremist any person who has more information than you.
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(63) Posted by Alain Villeneuve [Sunday, Aug 16, 2020 12:49]

To conclude : enough said in my previous posts. I shall not have the cruelty to ask you how many "nigger" problemists have complained about "pickaninny".

Like some organizations (with a "political agenda") you artificially created a problem that does not exist. Unfortunately, we don't like it, because it was not a chess problem.
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(64) Posted by Siegfried Hornecker [Sunday, Aug 16, 2020 20:33]

Yea, Darko. Or you take the pawn's starting square into account.
"Pawn cross" certainly sounds impressive.

(EDIT: Although it might seem jokingly, this actually is a serious suggestion. If we replace the old term, then this would be IMO a decent one.)
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(65) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Monday, Aug 17, 2020 02:18]

A short notice to give my support to Andrew, Neal, and others.
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(66) Posted by Darko Šaljić [Monday, Aug 17, 2020 10:47]

OK, maybe you are right.
I test it by using that word in some mobile game chat and it wasn't aloud, it was marked with ******* as a bed word.
I apologize for my previous post, just felt real bad for changing 100y tradition.

I am sure that delegates in WFCC will make right decision.

Cross can also be unacceptable as religious meaning (but we already use it for other peaces) but it seems fine.
To keep traditional spirit and connection to origin my proposal is to call it by authors/inventors names.
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(67) Posted by Zalmen Kornin [Monday, Aug 17, 2020 16:53]

"pequenino" pronounce 'pe•ke•NEE•noo' is a completely harmless word used until today in Brazil with the 'proper' meaning. Diminutive: "pequenininho". It's really a pity that the term, after passing to the Pidgin, and arriving to North America, was used by a few cotton planters' foremen as a derogatory nick, firstly to children, and then to a whole group. And that this jargon parlance contaminated the whole States, then the English language and finally the planet. But, please: "Black Albino" is awful. Call it a "Janet", with a coherent historical root, as already hinted by Darko above...
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(68) Posted by Andrew Buchanan [Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020 04:08]

Thanks so much!

Wow I really like "Janet" - great idea! Frank Janet does have several mentions in the encyclopedia as a creator of terms and composer of example problems, but he has no theme until now! :-)
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(69) Posted by Torsten Linß [Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020 09:42]

I consider it a good idea to name the theme after its inventor/author of the first setting. But who was that? The earliest example I've found in the Albrecht collection is a problem by Shinkman from 1885.

And yes, I too agree that the word "pickaninny" has become a derogatory and racist term, and I second Andrew's effort to make a change here.

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(70) Posted by Neal Turner [Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020 17:44]

So now it seems we're moving towards a consensus on discarding "pickaninny", do we need to start a new thread for "pickabish"?
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(71) Posted by ichai [Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020 18:39]

There is no reason
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(72) Posted by Alain Villeneuve [Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020 18:46]

And no "consensus".
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(73) Posted by Alain Villeneuve [Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020 23:17]

It is an incredible lie (or mistake) to say there is a "consensus" here (sorry Neal).

If you read all the interventions, you see there are 2 camps :

-- the ideologists, who want to change the reality according to their wishes
-- the healthy people, who see the reality and want to change it only when it is unbearable

In some countries (unfortunately France, but also others), the ideologists dominate. I thought (was it a mistake ?) chess problemists were not in this category.
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(74) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Wednesday, Aug 19, 2020 10:53]

I really didn't want to partake, but...

The problem is, who/what decides when an insult is dealt?

a) Naive approach: the insult is in the word itself.
Methinks this is untenable for various reasons:
- complete innocent origin of the word (even the N one)
- changing meaning (even by "reclaiming")

b) Camp 1: Only the speaker can deal the insult.
I confess I'm strictly in this camp, but it deeply disturbs
me that Johnson still knows this word enough to fling dung.
(I rather would have guessed even the most educated KKK
gentleman has forgotten it since...)

c) Camp 2: Only the receiver can claim an insult.
This can become very dangerous due to vested interests,
moreover language cleaning is a game that can't be won.

Never the positions of Camp 1 and Camp 2 can be reconciled,
and I rather plea the moderator to close this thread
*before* it gets heated beyond repair.
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(75) Posted by Joost de Heer [Thursday, Aug 20, 2020 12:08]

You forgot
d) Most people understand the concept of 'context'.
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(76) Posted by Olaf Jenkner [Thursday, Aug 20, 2020 18:45]

Frank Zappa on “bad language”:

“There is no such thing as a dirty word. There is no word, nor any sound, that you can make with your mouth that is so powerful that it will condemn you to the lake of fire at the time when you hear it. ‘Dirty words’ is a fantasy manufactured by religious fanatics and government organizations to keep people stupid. Any word that gets the point across is a good word. If you wanna tell somebody to ‘get fucked,’ that’s the best way to tell him.”
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(77) Posted by Zalmen Kornin [Saturday, Aug 22, 2020 15:41]

*** @Andrew: Thanks to Darko Saljic for the suggestion. A correct, minimalist and elegant approach to this issue...

** According to White & Hume: "The Good Companion Two-Mover" (1922, in the Christmas Series *): Janet has been most active in discovering all the possible squares which the BK can occupy (...) In other words , he has been the greatest student of the possibilities in this theme. (* not verbatim). In fact, of the four examples presented on page 76 of this same book, three are by Janet. His # 2 from "Good Companions" 1914, First Prize, was also featured in the book "Mate in Two Moves", by Brian Harley, another classic of literature from the early decades of the last century. (And by the way, still an excellent text book and introduction to Composition).

*I don't think it was a case of looking for a chronological precedence. If we were to revise the nomenclature in this way, we would not have some names already enshrined in very important themes. For example, Loveday's Indian, or Zagoruiko, etc. I believe that it would be necessary to find a suitable name, one that was both historically coherent and unmistakable: the Janet.
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(78) Posted by Zalmen Kornin [Saturday, Aug 22, 2020 15:41]

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(79) Posted by shankar ram [Sunday, Aug 30, 2020 11:59]

From _The Problemist_, September 1991, Page 407. A note by the late Paul Valois:
Pickaninny and Albino. Thanks to Bengt Ingre and Jan Roosendaal for correspondence about the origin of these terms (indicating respectively 4 distinct variations from the moves of a BP or WP on its starting square). The earliest known example of the Albino is by Sam Loyd in 1858. In his book, Jan refers to an article on the Albino by F.W.Nanning in Het Belgisch Schaakblad 1930, where Nanning states that about 1928 he had suggested the term instead of “White Pickaninny” which was then current. After the publication of Nanning and Koldijk’s Themaboek in 1948, Albino became the universally recognised term. Regarding Pickaninny, the oldest example Jan knows is by Shinkman (seemingly Loyd did not compose an example), but the name is said to have been coined by Frank Janet, according to The Good Companion Two-mover. Zelepukhin's dictionary states that the 1914 example we quote here was the first to be labelled a Pickaninny, but curiously I cannot easily find the term used in the pages of the Good Companions. The Oxford English Dictionary states that Pickaninny comes from “pequenino” (very small) - a word used in the Spanish West Indies and southern USA for small black children. Albino is also of Spanish/Portuguese origin, being used by the Portuguese for white negroes on the coast of Africa. Jan says that Pickaninny was used on the plantations to describe cotton-pickers. I would be very grateful if anybody can add further information, in particular where the term Pickaninny was first used in print. PSV

Seems the term Albino is also a no-no...
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(80) Posted by Kevin Begley [Wednesday, Sep 23, 2020 15:16]

While I certainly appreciate the counter-arguments made here (especially Joost's sarcasm), I side with Kostas, Andrew and Steven Dowd.
That said, I must admit, there's a caveat to the argument Kostas makes.

Extreme Hypothetical:
Suppose a number of top composers spend months chasing a very difficult technical task, when you discover a unique matrix makes it all possible.
In fact, the position can't be rotated or mirrored -- to your knowledge, there's one unique position which achieves the task, and only you have found it.
To you horror, you discover this unique diagram forms a figurative swastika.

Question: How long should you search for an alternative matrix before you surrender to publishing the problem displaying a swastika?
Should you never publish?

In my view, you should publish (within the hour, if need be).
Your realization of an artistic idea should always be considered of paramount importance, and you should never surrender to the fear that a figurative interpretation of your diagram might offend people.
Afterwords, feel free to search for an alternative diagram (devote as much time as you deem worthwhile), but be realistic -- remember: there's no way to avoid a figurative diagram, and there's no way to know what might figuratively represent some future equivalent of the swastika.

If some joker (falsely) suggests you intended to offend, you simply disavow their figurative interpretation.
It's better we all presume the composer made an effort to avoid any offense.

That said, I still agree with Kostas, Andrew and Steven Dowd -- they rightly remind us that we can avoid offense in this instance, at little cost.

It boils down to this:
1) what have we to gain, and
2) what have we to lose.

Alternatively, consider Joost's sarcasm...
Joost satirically makes the case that chess may be viewed as racist, sexist, and religiously biased (before satirically suggesting the game should be ditched completely).

I am prepared to accept his premise, but not his remedy.
Chess (the game, the artistic endeavor) is paramount -- if it must offend, so be it.
We are compelled to consider alternatives, which might render our artistic endeavor less offensive, and to consider the costs of each remedy. Nothing more.

We could easily alter the game, to dispel the offenses Joost describes.
In the interest of sensitivity (or political correctness, si vous preferez), we could change the colors of chess units (to eliminate any racist interpretation), and we could change the names of some units (to eliminate any interpretation of sexism or religious favoritism).

But, consider: what do we gain from these changes, and what are the costs?

For starters, changing colors is easier said than done.
Black and White offer an ideal contrast -- we may insist the official colors are Silver and Gold, but diagrams will still opt for an ideal contrast.
So, we tried to change the colors to avoid any racist interpretation. It's just not realistic.

Similarly, there are costs associated with altering which color moves first, and which color "wins" in directmates/selfmates.
This is arbitrary, but the alteration of history is considerably costly.

What about removing the religious prejudice?
Not everyone calls them Bishops, and the Bishop title is hardly exclusive to Christianity (any religious group -- including non-religious groups -- are free to use this title).
Was Bishop the ideal historical title for a chess unit? Certainly not.
Is it worthwhile to purge this error? Hardly.

What about sexism?
Could chess enthusiasts avoid any perception of sexism by renaming the King and Queen?
Are these really sexist terms?
Who says a woman can't be King? I believe at least one woman became Pharaoh, and another became Pope, why not King?

There is a profound difference between satirical changes Joost asks us to consider, and the change suggested in this thread.
White, Black, King, Queen, and Bishop are hardly offensive terms.
They would require an alteration of vast historical works, whereas the overtly offensive term used to describe a specific problem task is a less costly modification with far greater benefit.

We should change that term.
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MatPlus.Net Forum General Let's stop using the word "pickaninny" now