On 5/20/06, Steve Bennett <stevagewp(a)gmail.com> wrote:
On 5/20/06, Sarah <slimvirgin(a)gmail.com> wrote:
Even if Harold Shipman was Jewish and there's a good source for it,
there's no reason it should be in the intro. His ethnicity/religion
wasn't in any way relevant to his notabilty.
I'm probably straying into dangerous territory here, but I do notice that
ethnic origin is very frequently cited in the intro for people with, shall
we say, more positive contributions to humanity. "Jim Smith was a Jewish
scientist of Polish origin best known for his studies of geraniums" seems
like something you would come across fairly often.
I agree that it's a matter of editorial common sense. If the ethnicity
is relevant to the person's notability, it's fine to mention it in the
intro. If it's harmless, ditto. But if it's irrelevant and arguably
racist, anti-Semitic, or Islamophobic, then it's important not to
mention it with unseemly haste. We shouldn't have articles starting
with: "John Doe is a British Muslim convicted of child rape," or "Jane
Doe is an Afro-American who murdered all four of her husbands."
There's no harm in mentioning ethnic background in the bio section,
but it shouldn't be used as a stick to beat people with (or to beat
their ethnicity with).