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Endnotes for my open letter (#1104)

Topics/tags: Rants, end-notable, postscripted, short

In my latest musing, I wrote a long public letter to Grinnell’s president and Chief Diversity Officer. As I reached the end of the draft, I realized that I’d been using endnotes, fewer endnotes than I normally use, but endnotes nonetheless. The endnotes seemed inappropriate for the letter, even if I"m directing those recipients to a Web page. But I can’t bear to throw things away, so I have moved them here.

Let’s see if I can remember the context.

After discussing a pair of troublesome terms in CS, I suggested that I can identify many other problematic terms and approaches in the history of CS, but it’s not worth going into more depth here. Endnote [1] annotates this comment.

In discussing my opposition to the term brand, I wrote those complaints were ignored. Endnote [2] was intended to annotate the comment. It is both honest and problematic.

Endnote [3] was intended for the discussion of the terror of the Honor G. I ended up incorporating it in the text.

Yup, I kept myself more in control. I’m not sure that I did so in the longer musing, but I was frustrated. And, as I’ve told my Tutorial students, too-long letters now seem to Grinnell’s newest tradition [4].

Postscript: I should also have added a postscript of the form

[English Teacher], I apologize. You taught me to write better than this letter suggests. My time was limited and I considered it important to get the ideas out in a timely and public fashion. I can’t promise that I will do better next time, but I will do my best to consider the principles and practices you helped me learn.

Postscript: I also should have included an introductory note. Something of the form

I was trying to use this week to write notes of appreciation. But it seemed I needed to respond to President Harris’ letter sooner rather than later. I hope I can return to the notes soon.

[1] in an old language design manual that I had students read. In discussing the different kinds of data you might record for people, the author notes that while they would have strings for first name and last name, they would use three numbers in the record for women but not for men. Negotiating the complexity of describing why someone would associate three numbers with a woman while still acknowledging the harm reading about it might cause was a challenge, but one that I think my students appreciated.

[2] I was going to write fell on deaf ears, but that is also a slur.

[3] No, I am not calling for the banning of the Honor G.

[4] Perhaps that should have been an endnote to the original. Perhaps a Postscript.

Version 1.0 of 2020-07-22.