Thursday, May 29

Contact Google; Boycott If They Don't Respond

I wrote:

Please change the mouseover text of your front page graphic ASAP. It is HIGHLY offensive and makes me want to avoid Google for the day and go use Yahoo or something. And makes me want to spread the boycott via blog if the caption lasts. It reads, "Anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Everest." That is ridiculous and erases people of color's history by implying that the only things that the entire world bothers to count when it says "First," etc. are first-world Westerners' history. Please change it to, "Anniversary of the first outsider ascent of Mount Everest" or "Anniversary of the first Western ascent of Mount Everest." Thank you.

Write what you like, but submit a comment to them, then change your home page, hide your toolbar, and search with something else until the word gets out that they've changed the "mouseover" text of that image on the front page of

I'm not sure if the above comment link is better or if this one is. I sent my comment to both.


Kai said...

Methinks this is making mountain out of a molehill (no pun intended :P).

If you want technical correctness, how about "first documented ascent"? The whole fascination of climbing up something for the sake of climbing it without any practical gain or benefit is a very Western idea, and I very much doubt that other cultures even care, much less be offended. Are there Nepalese and Tibetans who are offended by this, or is their offense just the speculation of Westerners? Finally, not all Google locales are even showing the logo. en-US is. zh-CN isn't. Haven't tried others.

Macon D said...

Thanks for pointing this out, KitKat. No, it's not a molehill-to-mountain thing that you're pointing out, I'd say. There's a kind of blithe, unexamined Eurocentrism at work here. I followed up in my own way--the naming practices involved in all this are what bother me the most at this point.

Kai said...

"blithe, unexamined Eurocentrism"

Unexamined by who? I posit that the people who need to examine Eurocentrism are those who are "victims" of it, so that they can learn from why Eurocentrism was historically possible and so that their culture can regain prominence. You are suggesting patching up a the symptoms of the success of European culture, when the real problem is that other cultures should be learning from what made European culture so successful. One method results in a static backward-gazing world and the other moves the world forward. Darwinian evolution doesn't just apply to species, but to culture as well. Live with it.

Macon D said...

kai, you're asking me, here and at my blog, to just live with a Eurocentric definition of "success." But look, for instance, at what that sort of success is doing to the planet--endless expansionism and an ever-expanding "economy" are not, I think, things that other countries, peoples, and their cultures should emulate. I think that instead of others learning from the West's example, more of the opposite should happen.

Also, how can other culture's regain prominence simply by looking reverentially to the West, when so many elite power-blocks in the West are actively keeping others from gaining prominence so that they can continue extracting their countries' resources?

Recent headlines from the blog "Black and Missing but Not Forgotten:"