On 1/31/06, Giuseppe DAngelo <pippudoz(a)yahoo.it> wrote:
It's been clear to me for a while that the large wikipedias are as much
about furthering western hegemony as anything else. NPOV generally means
making western civilisation look like the absolute pinnacle, POV is when one
dares challenge this hegemony. Write about vikings or celts and you can say
anything you want without ever being challenged, dare suggest that something
originated in the mediterranean, and all hell breaks loose.
My participation has generally been limited to the English Wikipedia. 20th
Century Science Fiction and fantasy media including pulp magazines comic
books and comic strips. I also did one stub on a prominent Wiccan which was
amended because he was also a gay activist, and I just did a stub for the
late activist Stew Albert based on two Newspaper accounts and Jerry Rubin's
book Do It!. I'm not saying this just to toot my own horn, but to specify
one of two limited areas I have experience in. The other is Nigerian
Literature (don't ask).
Within these limited areas I see a very different Wikipedia from the one
which you describe. Influential but obsure writers such as the Nigerian
Cyprian Ekwensi have their stubs, and the Mexican comic book Fantomas is
described fairly in the larger Fantomas article.
Off-hand, I would say that while the English Wikipedia often uses the
language of Western Hegemony, it is actually very good and constantly
improving in its presentation of Third World Issues as they appear to the
people who live with them on a day-to-day basis.
I don't believe in objectivity, even as the Wikipedia defines it, which is
why I've posted in my user profile the specific request that anyone who
reads my posts be aggressive in their rewriting. Most people from third
world countries and cultures I've met (including family) use the language I
grew up with and which you are attacking quite comfortably. I find myself
having fewer qualms about using it myself as I get older. However, when I
listen to them or to myself, I find we are all saying things which are quite
new. I don't believe in objectivity but I do believe in some kinds of
courtesy and accuracy which for the most part I do see in the Wikipedia.
From this perspective, points of view exist and cannot
be excised totally,
but this is as true of efforts to edit the Wikipedia as it is of
Such sweeping statements don't help because they identify specific markers
as representing a point of view (Imperialist). My experience, following
mainly African and Latin American voices who are exerting more and more of a
voice on American Culture, specifically and also within the Wikipedia
itself, is that many of those who are directly exposed to the effects of
this Hegemony, and who are not happy with it, express themselves very well
using phrases which, if I understand you correctly, you would have a problem
with because of their historical identification with the North.