Re: [Gendispatch] Diversity and Inclusiveness in the IETF

Fernando Gont <> Wed, 24 February 2021 18:51 UTC

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From: Fernando Gont <>
To: Vittorio Bertola <>, Christian Huitema <>
Cc: GENDISPATCH List <>, "" <>
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Date: Wed, 24 Feb 2021 15:51:23 -0300
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Subject: Re: [Gendispatch] Diversity and Inclusiveness in the IETF
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On 24/2/21 14:47, Vittorio Bertola wrote:
> Now, while we are at it, I also note that sometimes there are extremely 
> offensive terms in my culture that are being commonly used in this 
> discussion. The main example is "race"; in Italy, in Germany(*) and in 
> other European cultures, using the term "race" to refer to a subset of 
> mankind, implying that more than one "human race" exists, or suggesting 
> that there are "race issues" and "race diversities" to be considered, is 
> considered outright racism. I was shocked the first time I saw the term 
> used as a category, but then I realized that there was no intention to 
> offend - just a different linguistic background - and I moved on.
> But if the principle is that nobody's sensitivity has to be offended, I 
> think that we should definitely stop using the term "race" in this 
> conversation or anywhere at the IETF.

As noted, it seems to me that a lot of the discussion around language is 
how a specific group feels about a specific set of words, because of 
their own historical background...where the rest needs to learn about 
those cultural issues and adapt accordingly (probably without the same 
policy necessarily applying the other way around).

I should also note that, if people are also concerned about historical 
background of words, I'm sure they should also be concerned about 
anything that contains a national symbol/flag or religious symbol (*).
And in that light, there should also be a recommendation in that respect.

(*) e.g., a simple rosary would be deemed as completely harmless in my 
place (I do wear one, although it's not visible),  but it may certainly 
come across quite differently to e.g. people in some parts of Bosnia or 
Belfast (for obvious reasons... which I do understand... and which you 
don't need to go back a long time in history to understand).

Inclusiveness and diversity seem to be way more complex than what some 
seem to imply, and it implies a lot more than cherry-picking on specific 
items that would make a group look "nice and following the trend".

Fernando Gont
SI6 Networks
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