Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

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sparkleBrony
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Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by sparkleBrony » Sun Sep 14, 2014 10:42 am

I'd like to cross-post a comment that I left in one of the plug-n-play threads on /r/BurningMan/:

--------------------------
Just so you all know, "Sherpa" refers to a specific ethnic group in the Himalayas, and though I don't speak for them, I suspect that it's somewhat insulting to this people to refer to anyone who works as a porter or other type of paid servant on an expedition as a "sherpa" just because that's a type of work that this group is well-known for doing. It would be like if you started calling all tech support workers "indians" or gardeners "mexicans".
--------------------------


I suggest a different, more racially neutral word:
-"burner-for-hire"
-"burnout" ("burner" + "sellout")
-"turner" ("turnkey" + "burner")

What are your thoughts on this matter?

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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by graidawg » Sun Sep 14, 2014 10:54 am

you know i think people get pretty damn ridiculous about political correctness. sure sherpa is prolly a bit rascist, but rasvism is about intent not the words you say. I can sound rascist calling someone African-american in a certain tone of voice. Maybe that just a british talent though.

anyway you worry about it or not i certainly won't anymore than i worry about calling foxfur a redneck
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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by Elderberry » Sun Sep 14, 2014 10:54 am

Hahahaha. Not bad for your first post.
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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sun Sep 14, 2014 11:11 am

I bet almost any of you that wanted to go but couldn't get a ticket would have taken a job as a turnkey server if offered.
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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by A-RockLeFrench » Sun Sep 14, 2014 11:18 am

Would you have?

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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by FlyingMonkey » Sun Sep 14, 2014 11:35 am

sparkleBrony wrote:I'd like to cross-post a comment that I left in one of the plug-n-play threads on /r/BurningMan/:

--------------------------
Just so you all know, "Sherpa" refers to a specific ethnic group in the Himalayas, and though I don't speak for them, I suspect that it's somewhat insulting to this people to refer to anyone who works as a porter or other type of paid servant on an expedition as a "sherpa" just because that's a type of work that this group is well-known for doing. It would be like if you started calling all tech support workers "indians" or gardeners "mexicans".
--------------------------


I suggest a different, more racially neutral word:
-"burner-for-hire"
-"burnout" ("burner" + "sellout")
-"turner" ("turnkey" + "burner")

What are your thoughts on this matter?
My first thought was "Fuck off & take your politically corrrect morally superior attitude with you". But then I thought you may have a point and after doing a single google search & clicking on the first hit, I learned everything there is to know about Sherpas. Thank you Wikipedia!

It was only then that it occured to me how many Tibetan Buddists that must have active ePlaya accounts & I really felt ashamed for all of us. We really need to police our speach here and ensure we don't offend anyone.

Generally I feel it's never good to over-generalize about any segment of a population and lump people with similar traits in to a single group & label them.
And come to think of it, you did just that by categorizing a diverse ethnic group in to one entity supposing that they would all feel the same way about how their name is used. Shame on you for marginalizing them.

I suspect some would be offended, some would feel proud, & some wouldnt give a crap.

BTW, I know a buddest who owns a Camaro, go figure.
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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by tamarakay » Sun Sep 14, 2014 11:40 am

No. I wouldn't.

But I agree with the op. This doesn't seem to be too politically correct.
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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by GreyCoyote » Sun Sep 14, 2014 12:12 pm

OMFG. The very thought of a "politically correct" thread on eplaya just tickles the fuzzy fuck outta me...

Next thing they will insist we call nudists "naturally robed". :mrgreen:

I think Simon said it best here: viewtopic.php?f=325&t=63254&p=905825&hi ... er#p905825
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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by maladroit » Sun Sep 14, 2014 12:59 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:I bet almost any of you that wanted to go but couldn't get a ticket would have taken a job as a turnkey server if offered.
Promised one half-day to explore Burning Man if there's time? No thanks. Even Hawaii is pretty far up the list from that.

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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by Simon of the Playa » Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:01 pm

hilarious.
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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by theCryptofishist » Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:05 pm

*ahem!*
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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by GreyCoyote » Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm

So naked hippie sherpas would be "sky-clad, rainbow-wrapped, naturally-robed, hemp-enhanced odiferous parasites from the K-hole".

I'm totally with ya. :)
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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by maladroit » Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:45 pm

It's not racist if we say Sherpa-Americans.

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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by Lonesomebri » Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:46 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:I bet almost any of you that wanted to go but couldn't get a ticket would have taken a job as a turnkey server if offered.
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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by some seeing eye » Sun Sep 14, 2014 2:05 pm

Probably. Capitalization counts. And Sherpas in Nepal are paid better than sherpas at Burningman.
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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by FIGJAM » Sun Sep 14, 2014 2:58 pm

So a group of people that go to burning man = A lump of Burners??? :?
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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by Jovankat » Sun Sep 14, 2014 3:45 pm

I'm sure it will come as no surprise that I'm with the OP on this issue, co-opting the name of a people to describe a certain behaviour perpetuates the idea that their entire culture is that one single thing, it simplifies them into a neat easily dismissable little package. It also demonstrates how arrogant we are as wersterners, "Oh that's the name of your people? Well I think I will just take it and use it for something completely differnt because fuck your culture"

But even putting the racial stuff aside because it's very clear not everyone around here is on board with that, Sherpa as a synonym for guide or event coordinator or party planner might be one thing but I think calling someone a Sherpa who's job is manual labor, cooking, cleaning and/or dish washing is quite a stretch. If a person is employed because of their burning man experience to act as a tour guide that's pretty different to someone just being hired to do menial tasks. And if you don't make that distinction in the use of the word Sherpa it kinda seems like you either fundamentally do not understand what it is Sherpas in the Himalayas do, or you're deliberately ignoring the skill and experience required for the role and assuming their work is equivalent to low paid menial work because they're an ethic minority working for white folk. And that would definitely be racist.

So yeah be as racist as you like but try to be a little more accurate about it.

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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by theCryptofishist » Sun Sep 14, 2014 4:08 pm

Does anyone have another term?

Do we have less sympathy with the person who worked under those conditions for that camp because they used that term?
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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by maladroit » Sun Sep 14, 2014 4:15 pm

I don't mind coming up with another term. Someone said Sherpa once and it stuck. But another name that more accurately depicts the situation would be fine, I'm not attached to Sherpa.

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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by Eric » Sun Sep 14, 2014 4:55 pm

Type "sherpa" into the googlebox and the first two hits are the people. The rest of the hits are a mobile personal assistant app, adventure wear, an accounting firm, a pet carrier manufacturer, a Brazilian publisher, a food delivery service, personal training, walking & cycling holidays in Europe, and on and on - all called "sherpa", and none seem to have campaigns going on to get their names changed.

Personally, I'm quite capable of hearing a word & recognizing that it can mean more than one thing, and I don't find it's use racist at all. However, if you want something more "PC", just call them serfs (or lackeys. I've always liked the word lackey).
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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by gaminwench » Sun Sep 14, 2014 4:59 pm

She ( the whistle-blower) self-appointed the sherpa name.

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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by tamarakay » Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:05 pm

gaminwench wrote:She ( the whistle-blower) self-appointed the sherpa name.

I prefer minions.
Everyone should have minions.

I call mine ken
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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by pink » Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:25 pm

Actually the whistleblower didn't self- appoint the Sherpa name. The employment contract actually called them Sherpas.
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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by Jovankat » Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:29 pm

I'm not convinced that "lots of people use the word" is the strongest argument ever for something not being racist. Wasn't the n-word in common casual usage at one stage?

But anyway, my biggest issue with the word in this context is I don't think it accurately describes the work, to me sherpa sounds like you're doing burning man alongside these people and helping them along as you go, you're on the same journey as them, not you're doing their dishes while they do whatever they please. And I think the anti-PnPers who are using the word, rather than something more accurate like minion, lackey or serf, are actually doing themselves a disservice because the tour guide image I (and I'm guessing others too) get in my head whenI hear that word looks a whole lot more acceptable than the more realistic dishwashing scene. I think there are better choices of word that would be both more accurate and better at eliciting an emotional response.

And, for what it's worth, the term was being used here well before that particular post was made on Facebook, that whistle-blower (almost certainly) didn't come up with the term herself.

EDIT- interesting Pink, I must have missed that in her post, it seems like maybe the word being used in this context maybe has a couple of origins. And I think "Pete" using it to describe the work to his prospective employees supports by arguments above, it glorifies the work being done.

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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by Aurelia » Sun Sep 14, 2014 6:13 pm

Good Grief,
you are simply becoming bored now that the main event is over.
"
Please pass me the assistance of a couple of "those" people to do my work
I would appreciate their help no matter what they are called !

In fact among my friends we have been joking about how to gather enough collateral to "borrow" some help .

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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by tummler » Sun Sep 14, 2014 7:44 pm

Not racist, since the Sherpa are not a race. If you use "sherpa" to mean "schlepper," for fuck's sake, at least use lowercase.

Unnecessary appropriation, for sure. Who says, "Jew someone down" or "get gypped" any more? How are those different from calling the hired help "sherpa"?

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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by Bin Noddin » Sun Sep 14, 2014 7:52 pm

Let's call them "strines" (lower case) in honor of Jovankat.
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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by Jovankat » Sun Sep 14, 2014 8:08 pm

Strine is not a collective noun for Australians. It's what we speak. You're after the word 'Strayans' but again that word doesn't describe what the situation is. As far as an attemp to communicate an idea it would be a worse failure than sherpa

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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by pink » Sun Sep 14, 2014 9:30 pm

Before the website was taken down, I had a chance to peruse all of 'Popsicle' camps stuff, including the sales contracts. There are screen shots floating around the web of some of it, but I didn't make any.
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Re: Is calling a turnkey employee a "sherpa" racist?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Mon Sep 15, 2014 12:05 am

maladroit wrote:
Captain Goddammit wrote:I bet almost any of you that wanted to go but couldn't get a ticket would have taken a job as a turnkey server if offered.
Promised one half-day to explore Burning Man if there's time? No thanks. Even Hawaii is pretty far up the list from that.
OK, the people who were desperately seeking tickets, traveling from far away, holding up cardboard signs, offering their soul for a ticket.

However... I'm on Oahu right now and I'm finding Hawaii is a HELL of a lot better than Burning Man!
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