yeti-sb150-13.jpg
EDITORIAL

The Problem with "Tribe"

Words Dave Tolnai
Date Jul 21, 2020
Reading time

Reply All had a great episode a few weeks back. They noticed a strange phenomenon where numerous Black people saw trivial amounts of money flowing into their Venmo accounts from their white acquaintances. They started to ask questions about why this was happening and stumbled upon an interesting story of white guilt and those who were making the least possible effort to assuage it. They finished the episode with a powerful message (I'm paraphrasing):

We don't need you to send us money for a cup of coffee. We need you to stop killing us.

This is simple and effective, and it speaks to some of the challenges that the world faces today. Most of us want to do the right thing. Most of us have no idea what that is. When we do find it, we're hoping that the solution is as easy as possible.

I've thought about this a lot over the last few weeks. On one hand, no battle is too small, and it would be really great if we all used our platform to create positive change. But on the other hand, diversity in cycling (which is the extent of how far cycling-specific circles have gotten on this topic) is probably somewhere around #536,324 on the list of things that people of colour are worried about right now. So, what could we possibly do that would have an impact, rather than just handing out proverbial cups of coffee?

Into this conversation walks Yeti with their decision to remove the word "tribe" from their marketing plans. This is a really small thing done in the name of fighting racism, and it will probably have a near zero impact on how Indigenous groups are treated in North America, but at the same time, of course they should! From that perspective, exactly the right thing happened here.

1 - Years ago, Yeti did a thing that most people didn't think too much about or have a problem with.

2 - Circumstances evolved, and some people pointed out that what was done might be problematic.

3 - Yeti had a conversation with groups of people that may have been personally impacted by their decision, and listened to what they had to say.

4 - Based on that conversation, Yeti changed what they were doing.

While this is not a world shattering decision that is going to solve racism, at least it's a brief shuffle in vaguely the right direction. Everybody wins! On the surface, there is almost nothing else to say on the topic and we can all move on to the next thing. Cue a Pinkbike comments section shitstorm to destroy that notion, as well as my faith in humanity. Without getting into too many specifics, some people are really angry about what Yeti has done, and their arguments boil down to a few key themes:

1 - Censorship! Freedom of Speech!

2 - I'm not personally offended by this so it therefore doesn't need to change.

3 - A small, vocal group shouldn't be allowed to bully us into bending to their will.

It saddens me that people within our cycling community could put up so much resistance over such a tiny little change. I'm not an expert on these topics, by any stretch of the imagination, but I feel a need to counter these arguments.

Freedom of Speech and Censorship

Laws governing freedom of speech differ from country to country. Generally speaking, the people yelling the loudest about it are speaking about the American interpretation of this idea. The right to free speech grants Americans the freedom to say what they want without fear of government limitation, intervention or reprisal (and not even that right is absolute!). What that god given right does not guarantee is a lack of personal consequences for the things that you say, prevent other private entities from placing restrictions on your speech, or restrict others from criticizing your speech.

Interpretations of "free speech" and "censorship" are sometimes put forward as the right to say whatever you want, whenever you want, without fear of consequence for those words. This is not an accurate interpretation. This is what is known as a "safe space", and nobody, anywhere, has ever suggested that the Pinkbike comments section is a "safe space" where your words won't be challenged. Similarly, here are some other places that are not "safe spaces":

  • The Internet in general
  • Any forum for marketing or advertising
  • The basement where I sit in my underwear and furiously type out angry comments in reply to yours

What has happened here with Yeti is not an infringement on the free speech rights of anybody involved, nor have ideas been censored. Yeti was free to say whatever words they wanted to market bicycles. People were free to criticize those words. Even more people were free to criticize the people criticizing Yeti. Nobody was prevented from saying anything. Yes, there were consequences from the words spoken, but that is not the same thing as having your right to free speech infringed. Limiting criticism is the antithesis of the concept of free speech.

Personal Offensiveness

I am the very definition of a person that won't be impacted by Yeti's decision, and for whom their words have no personal consequence. As a result, the only opinion that I should form about the topic is to defer to the opinions of those that are impacted by the use of these words. To put this another way, you insisting that this whole thing is preposterous because you aren't personally offended is about the same as me insisting that pregnancy is easy and periods are no big deal. I may be free to think that, but I sure as shit hope nobody makes any decisions based on that opinion (and, just to be clear, this is not my actual opinion).

I accept that some people will not be personally offended by any of this, but I think it's important to listen to the opinions of those who might be. That involves digging in to the use of the word "tribe". Let's start with what the Cambridge Dictionary has to say on the topic:

Tribe - A group of people, often of related families, who live together, sharing the same language, culture and history, especially those who do not live in towns or cities

From this definition we learn a few things. We learn that no one group has ownership over this phrase (which is another sticking point for certain commenters, somehow), and it applies to many groups, not just the Indigenous peoples of North America. But we also learn, perhaps most importantly, that this phrase in no way, shape or form describes the group of people linked by their ownership of Yeti bicycles.

We also need to accept that dictionary definitions seldom give us the whole picture. This article outlines some of the things that can be problematic with the phrase "tribe", and how it has been applied to certain groups of people.

  • "Tribe" promotes a myth of African timelessness
  • In the West, "tribal" often implies "savage"
  • "Tribe" reflects widespread bu outdated 19th-century social theory
  • The concept of tribe became a cornerstone for European colonial rule in Africa

Perhaps you don't agree with any of these interpretations or theories, but hopefully it is at least enough to show some of the nuance to the term, and that it might mean different things for different people. Further to that:

Under U.S. law, "tribe" is a bureaucratic term. For a community of Native Americans to gain access to programs, and to enforce rights due to them under treaties and laws, they must be recognized as a tribe.

Let's take a moment to summarize. The US Government took a loaded term, often used to imply savagery and primitiveness, and they forced a group of marginalized people to use that term in order to gain legal recognition. Then somebody came along, grabbed that term and used it to sell a bunch of rich people bicycles. That's fucking offensive! Don't take it from me, here it is directly from somebody impacted by these sorts of things - #93 on a list of 100!

Stop using the words, "tribes,” “tribe,” and “tribalism" as hip words for interest groups or groups of shared interest. This usage undermines the unique political, legal and social status of tribes.

This is pretty fucking simple, if you ask me. Nobody is banning the word "tribe", people are just asking that it is respected and used properly.

Caving in to the PC Outrage Mob

This is the point that I find the most baffling. Some people seem to be really, really angry that Yeti caved to any sort of external pressure, to the point where some are threating to never buy a Yeti because of this decision (see the one comment here). Which feels crazy! You're so upset about cancel culture that you're going to cancel Yeti?

I do understand some of this fear that the world has gone crazy and "you can't say anything these days!" Jon Ronson wrote a really great book about the phenomenon of people making mistakes and having the world pile onto them. It can be a very terrible thing. We've all heard comedians (mostly old ones who sleep comfortably on their piles of money) complain about how people are too sensitive, and they're ruining all the jokes. But this is lazy. There's a whole other crop of comedians that are gaining voices, and many of them are really fucking funny. This builds a world where there are more things to laugh about, not fewer! I'm not sure who said it, but the best response to all of this that I have read was something along the lines of "all people are asking is for comedians to stop punching down. There's no need to use cruelty towards marginalized people as a crutch for your comedy." This is pretty fucking far from "nobody can tell jokes any longer."

That is all that is being asked for here. A group pointed out that the language being used wasn't respectful to a certain subset of society. Does it matter if that is 1000 people or 1,000,000, or that opinions vary, even among the groups under discussion?

Another way that I've been thinking about this is to consider a large house party, raging into the wee hours of the morning. Sure, there's a large group of people enjoying themselves that see no problem with the music being cranked and the front yard being used as a urinal. But what about the handful of neighbours that aren't too stoked on what is happening? Does it matter that the partygoers outnumber them? Is everybody not entitled to a bit of respect? Or would it be "bullying by a vocal minority" if the cops show up and shut that shit down?

Conclusion

Let's bring this down to a personal level. Take yourself away from the Internet for a moment. Imagine that you are at work and you use a phrase that a co-worker takes exception to. Imagine that they take you aside and they explain that they would prefer it if you no longer used that phrase, and they explained their reasoning behind it. What would your reaction be? Would you keep using that phrase while insisting "free speech!" Or would you (begrudgingly) accept that not everybody has the same interpretation of things that you do, and make an effort to alter the things that you say?

I find it interesting that this concept troubles people so much when it is applied to larger, anonymous groups of people. Why are we so hesitant to hear the thoughts and ideas of groups that have been marginalized? How can people get so upset about something for which they are not personally impacted? But then again, If people get this upset about a small change to a marketing campaign, hundreds of years of oppression begins to make a lot more sense.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not arguing that Yeti deserves to be celebrated for their decision, but I do want to defend the idea of what happened, and encourage it to happen more frequently. This could be a model of the way to move forward to deal with similar issues in the future (not the model, but a model).

1 - Think about what you are doing.

2 - Listen to people that might be impacted by your actions.

3 - Adjust accordingly.

This is very simple, and not that hard. If every company (or person) used a similar template, we might start getting somewhere.


Uncle Dave's Music Club

I struggle with including Uncle Dave's Music Club at the bottom of an article like this, but this one feels fitting and I want to share it. Up until a few weeks ago, I had no idea about the history of the band Redbone.

Redbone were a Native American Rock Band that had several hits through the early 70's. You'll probably be familiar with Come and Get Your Love (which is a great fucking song!)

This live version is phenomenal too.

You're probably less familiar with their song We Were All Wounded at Wounded Knee. This song was a massive battle for the band. To start with, their label refused to pay for the recording, so the band funded that themselves. Then, the label refused to release the recording, so the band distributed a few hundred copies to radio stations throughout Europe themselves (and it hit #1 in a few countries!) Even then, their label still wouldn't release it in the US, and many radio stations refused to play it. I wonder why?

Tags: yeti tribe
Posted in: Features, Editorial

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Comments

Endur-Bro
+4 Cr4w Cooper Quinn Angu58 Beau Miller
Endur-Bro  - July 21, 2020, 2:47 a.m.

Seriously, when is Yeti going to release a Switch Infinity Link Gravel Frame?

Reply

bruce-mackay
+5 Pete Roggeman Heinous Angu58 Mammal Tremeer023
Bruce Mackay  - July 21, 2020, 4:31 a.m.

Daaaave...... stop making people have grown up thoughts.   Well written, this would do well in "mainstream" media.

Reply

Timmy
+1 Angu58
Tim Garland  - July 21, 2020, 4:32 a.m.

I take exception to you using the f-bomb word.  "(which is a great fucking song!)"  So, now what?  Free speech? Ignore it?  Assume that I am just a cranky old man?

Reply

rolly
+4 Cam McRae Tremeer023 Tim Garland ChocolateThunder
rolly  - July 21, 2020, 7:27 a.m.

I don't love it either.  But there is a difference to someone using a word that I find offensive because it is rude/crude etc, to someone using a word that reinforces a power dynamic where I'm continuously at the shi....crappy end of the stick through no fault of my own.

Reply

davetolnai
0
Dave Tolnai  - July 21, 2020, 7:58 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

davetolnai
+3 Cooper Quinn Cam McRae supercollider
Dave Tolnai  - July 21, 2020, 7:58 a.m.

You know, it's funny because I had these thoughts as I was writing this. Should I use the word "fucking" or should I keep it clean?  In hindsight, I probably should have kept it clean.  However, in my opinion, there's a difference between these two phrases:

"That's offensive!" vs. "That's fucking offensive!"

I felt the latter was more accurate, so I kept it in.  Once the box was open, I couldn't stop myself. It's my crutch.

Reply

rolly
0
rolly  - July 21, 2020, 7:27 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

davetolnai
+3 Cooper Quinn Pete Roggeman Beau Miller taprider DVT
Dave Tolnai  - July 21, 2020, 7:51 a.m.

Okay.  I'll bite.

First, you missed several other uses of the word "fucking".

Next, perhaps my argument was a bit messy, but I wasn't intending to suggest that all opinions of the minority should stand, I was countering the suggestion that minority opinions shouldn't be allowed to alter the actions of the majority.

This is a valid question though. Why am I allowed to continually use the word fucking, while you're being asked to check your language?  I guess if you can show me that my use of fucking strips you of your dignity or contributes to your oppression, I'm willing to hear you out and consider changing how I speak.

Reply

rolly
+2 Pete Roggeman Beau Miller
rolly  - July 21, 2020, 10:52 a.m.

Don't misread my comment.  There's a difference between me not liking something and me telling you to not do it.  We don't know each other at all.  I wouldn't ask this of you.  Also, this forum is not an inappropriate place for your word choice.  The "f" word is significantly different than the "n" word or other loaded terms that reinforce power imbalance.  I hope that is a little more clear.  I hope. . .

Reply

delusional
+5 Pete Roggeman Cooper Quinn Marc Fenigstein Tremeer023 Beau Miller
delusional  - July 21, 2020, 9:12 a.m.

There is a difference between something being offensive in the sense that "I am offended" and offensive in the sense of "an army going on the offensive". When we're talking about words that operate to re-inforce structural power dynamics that are literally killing people and erasing cultures we are saying something closer to the latter definition, when you don't like the word "fuck" because it upsets your delicate sensibilities you are talking about something closer to the former.

Reply

cooperquinn
+2 mrbrett DanL Pete Roggeman makudad Kieran Heinous
Cooper Quinn  - July 21, 2020, 9:23 a.m.

strawman.jpg

Reply

mrbrett
+6 Cooper Quinn Pete Roggeman Angu58 Tremeer023 Beau Miller Paul Lindsay
mrbrett  - July 21, 2020, 4:58 a.m.

I have to admit I cringed every time I saw news about a Yeti Tribe gathering. We shouldn't cringe when reading marketing material.

Any suggestions on how to bring up the idea to my supervisor at work that impromptu meetings can't be called pow wows?

I find people can be very unintentional with their words, without thinking of the greater social context associated with what they're saying.

Reply

kavurider
+3 Pete Roggeman goose8 Beau Miller
KavuRider  - July 21, 2020, 5:08 a.m.

A coworker and I just had a similar conversation at work. It does seem like there are a lot of euphemisms and slang in our language that could be considered offensive. I doubt most people realize the impact that can make. 

On the other hand, I had another coworker double down and echo many of the comments in the Pinkbike article when he was informed that some of his comments were racist. 

There is a very strange dynamic in the US right now.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+2 LAT Beau Miller
Pete Roggeman  - July 21, 2020, 9:13 a.m.

The 'aha' moment is going to come in different ways and at different times for everyone. 

I particularly liked Dave's house party analogy in this article, and think that re-framing arguments like that is likely going to help a lot of people see the light.

Reply

mb
-7 Tim Garland Brigham_Rupp Tremeer023 Will Lintilhac Morgan Heater delusional Beau Miller DCLee Andrew Collins ChocolateThunder Heinous makudad spud
Mikey Bikey  - July 21, 2020, 3:08 p.m.

" There is a very strange dynamic in the US right now."

It's called a redo of the French Revolution. We got a bunch of self righteous perfectionist Snow Whites pointing fingers at everybody else and demanding instant nirvana/utopia.

But as usual the wannabes can never figure out that in the end, the Revolution eats its own children. (Or maybe they figure they can make the cut and end up on top ala Stalin or Mao. Still, while it was close, Robiespierre didn't quite make it.)

The latest revelation was that the original owner of the NYTimes had slaves.

Frankly I could care less. Same when the Korean Jeoung something or other was hired by the NYT after making derogatory/racist comments about whites. But somehow the double standard only goes one way.

Tribe, tribalist, redskin whatever. If you're not English, you shouldn't be using the English language/words.

That ought to shut everybody up, including the whiners.

cheers

Reply

kavurider
+6 Cooper Quinn Pete Roggeman mrbrett Angu58 Peter Carson Beau Miller
KavuRider  - July 21, 2020, 5:01 a.m.

Great article Dave! 

That comments section...what a ride that is...

Reply

cooperquinn
+3 Pete Roggeman Peter Carson Beau Miller
Cooper Quinn  - July 21, 2020, 9:05 a.m.

I'm sure the FB comments will be really special.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+11 Timer mrbrett Jonas Dodd Niels Velocipedestrian Peter Carson Tremeer023 Beau Miller DCLee Andrew Collins ChocolateThunder
Pete Roggeman  - July 21, 2020, 9:14 a.m.

Brace for impact. Or, as I like to do - just pretty much ignore Facebook altogether. It has done almost nothing for me for years.

Reply

cooperquinn
+2 Peter Carson Beau Miller
Cooper Quinn  - July 21, 2020, 9:34 a.m.

Neckbeards shouting about cancel culture, and points Dave covered in the article they'll never read.

Reply

Kieran
-5 Jonas Dodd Will Lintilhac Peter Carson Morgan Heater Beau Miller
Kieran  - July 21, 2020, 1:41 p.m.

CQ - You could say the same thing about the SJWs - shouting on the internet on how unjust everything is but not doing anything positive about it.

Reply

cooperquinn
+1 Peter Carson
Cooper Quinn  - July 21, 2020, 1:45 p.m.

Oh, I won't argue that there's not plenty of people on the left doing nothing more than shouting on the internet! 

Neckbeardism doesn't know political lines.

alexdi
+9 blaklabl Timer Kieran Endur-Bro 4Runner1 Will Lintilhac Angu58 Nologo Tremeer023 TimBud Beau Miller
Alex D  - July 21, 2020, 6:17 a.m.

Let's not put Yeti on a pedestal. "Tribe" was manufactured to promote brand loyalty to this luxury product. They're removing the word only in service to that higher corporate imperative: averting controversy. And this token, minimal gesture that's wholly without sacrifice and utterly inconsequential to actual Native Americans gets them some nice press and puts them on the 'right side' of history. How special.

Reply

mrbrett
+12 JT Cooper Quinn Pete Roggeman Marc Fenigstein Cam McRae supercollider Will Lintilhac Angu58 Peter Carson Todd Hellinga Beau Miller DCLee ChocolateThunder Alex D
mrbrett  - July 21, 2020, 6:27 a.m.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not arguing that Yeti deserves to be celebrated for their decision, but I do want to defend the idea of what happened, and encourage it to happen more frequently. This could be a model of the way to move forward to deal with similar issues in the future (not the model, but a model).

1 - Think about what you are doing.

2 - Listen to people that might be impacted by your actions.

3 - Adjust accordingly.

Reply

alexdi
+4 Kieran 4Runner1 fartymarty Todd Hellinga Tremeer023 Beau Miller
Alex D  - July 21, 2020, 9:40 a.m.

Right, that's 2000 words into a rebuttal of the people opposing Yeti. Even if Yeti was only the prompt for the discussion, the defense still elevates them. Why was this even a press release? They could have dropped the verbiage without a peep, but they wanted a pat on the head. And they're getting it.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+3 mrbrett Beau Miller DCLee
Pete Roggeman  - July 22, 2020, 1:38 p.m.

That's not a fair take. If you're going to make a comment, you owe it to yourself and the author to read the whole thing to make sure you take it all in. You can skim gear reviews all you want, but pay attention to editorial because that's the shit that matters.

The folks that presented the petition to Yeti publicized that fact, in effect forcing Yeti to respond publicly. For them to say nothing publicly would open them up to a lot of criticism for not responding.

Thinking companies are going to make the necessary considerations and steps but then not responding when they've done so is wholly unrealistic. Yeti knew they'd take more hits no matter what they did. But as soon as that story went public, they became entitled to respond publicly.

If we want an environment where individuals and companies take appropriate steps to make things better, we also have to understand the environment within which they're being asked to do so. If you want to change your racist friend's behaviour, I don't think that coming at them like a screeching gargoyle is the way to do it - and yet a lot of really passionate entities are using that tactic. It's ineffective. 

If you start by yelling, you'll get a defensive response. A huge part of the problem with polarized society right now is that there's a lot more self-righteousness than there is a dedicated effort to engage in discourse. Spreading the learning and talking about differences is more important than 'being right' but both sides are still more focused on the latter.

Reply

alexdi
+1 Tremeer023
Alex D  - July 22, 2020, 5:17 p.m.

Let's look a little harder at this petition. The author is Renee Hutchens. 

> For her part, Hutchens has been pressing for this change for several years, speaking often to athletes and employees she knows within Yeti’s ranks. She sent a formal letter a year ago, and last week [6/31], she emailed a more personal version of the Change.org petition asking the company to reconsider its branding.

After no response from Yeti, she published the petition on Change.org on 7/6. The only coverage was a lone article on BikeMag that wasn't picked up by anyone. Then Yeti responded on 7/14, creating the leading story on over a dozen high-profile websites.

I'm arguing there wasn't enough press to merit a public response, but if you believe the opposite, it only shows how craven the decision was. They ignored her for years. This wasn't a fit of altruism, it was exactly what I said: a successful attempt to turn a controversy into a marketing coup.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+1 Beau Miller
Pete Roggeman  - July 22, 2020, 1:38 p.m.

That's not a fair take. If you're going to make a comment, you owe it to yourself and the author to read the whole thing to make sure you take it all in. You can skim gear reviews all you want, but pay attention to editorial because that's the shit that matters.

The folks that presented the petition to Yeti publicized that fact, in effect forcing Yeti to respond publicly. For them to say nothing publicly would open them up to a lot of criticism for not responding.

Thinking companies are going to make the necessary considerations and steps but then not responding when they've done so is wholly unrealistic. Yeti knew they'd take more hits no matter what they did. But as soon as that story went public, they became entitled to respond publicly.

If we want an environment where individuals and companies take appropriate steps to make things better, we also have to understand the environment within which they're being asked to do so. If you want to change your racist friend's behaviour, I don't think that coming at them like a screeching gargoyle is the way to do it - and yet a lot of really passionate entities are using that tactic. It's ineffective. 

If you start by yelling, you'll get a defensive response. A huge part of the problem with polarized society right now is that there's a lot more self-righteousness than there is a dedicated effort to engage in discourse. Spreading the learning and talking about differences is more important than 'being right' but both sides are still more focused on the latter.

Reply

rolly
+2 Cooper Quinn Beau Miller
rolly  - July 21, 2020, 7:31 a.m.

It is remarkable that a higher corporate imperative actually wants to do this, no?  Not a Yeti fan, but good for them.

Reply

DVT
+1 Cooper Quinn
DVT  - July 21, 2020, 7:38 a.m.

From a skeptic point of view. If you can lose money by not doing it. Why not do it?

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+1 Beau Miller
Pete Roggeman  - July 21, 2020, 9:17 a.m.

The owners and staff at Yeti are good people. I can definitely imagine Chris and Hoog getting that petition and then thoughtfully acting on it, as they did. Say what you will about 'Yeti-driving dentists' but spend 15 mins with either of those guys and this small change isn't a surprise.

Reply

tehllama42
0
Tehllama42  - July 21, 2020, 9:53 a.m.

I feel as though larger corporate culture responses to this becoming the norm does so much to dilute the effectiveness that good people making good decisions are going to get lumped into plutocrat jerk-offs making similar decisions out of pragmatism is an unavoidable thing.  Definitely becomes a seeming catch-22 in that large scale corporate virtue-signalling isn't something they can do anything about, but doing the right thing is going to still get a mixed response because of it.

Reply

alexdi
-2 mrbrett gregster77
Alex D  - July 21, 2020, 10:45 a.m.

> good people making good decisions are going to get lumped into plutocrat jerk-offs making similar decisions out of pragmatism

Does the distinction matter if neither contributes to the people from whom they appropriate? 

You don't need a pointy hat to be racist or to be a plutocrat to virtue-signal. The Yeti website is littered with it-- they've got a nice travelogue from a girl riding through Ugandan villages that have less collective wealth than the cost of her handlebars. Yeti's contribution? 1 bike a year to her nonprofit. The photographer was probably paid more. Sure looks nice on the site, though.

Reply

mb
-2 DCLee spud
Mikey Bikey  - July 21, 2020, 3:13 p.m.

It's time to eat the rich.
But not their bikes.

Because if the dentists are all dead, who's gonna fix your teeth, regardless if  you only snacked on the carbon frames, but not  the alloy?

cooperquinn
+3 Niels Peter Carson Beau Miller
Cooper Quinn  - July 21, 2020, 9:05 a.m.

...its almost like he covered all of those points in the article.

Reply

DVT
+1 Tim Garland Tremeer023 delusional
DVT  - July 21, 2020, 7:36 a.m.

Its sometimes sad how something that was supposed to be a positive can be turned into a negative. Do to a lack of historical understanding

A word is banned or considered hate speech 

I do understand it. 

Words should be accurate. Concise and keep its meaning. 

Like racist

No one has the right to call anyone that due to ideals. Or feelings. 

Words should either be able to retain their meaning consistently. Or have the ability to be changed. But always for a positive. Not a negative.

Reply

rigidjunkie
+1 Pete Roggeman
Allen Lloyd  - July 21, 2020, 7:43 a.m.

Perfectly written article.  The only group you missed, they may not be in the PB comment section, are the "but using their words shows that we value them."  I am sure the marketing people at Yeti had this in mind when they started the whole tribe thing.  When I heard what Yeti was doing the only thought I had was, they should take any profits from their tribe campaigns and donate it to native causes.

Reply

tehllama42
+5 Pete Roggeman DVT Timer Kieran gregster77
Tehllama42  - July 21, 2020, 9:14 a.m.

I guess my background as a linguist biases me towards always approaching words (particularly loaded terms) with more nuance, and as a result pretty much all of these things get filed into the 'PC Outrage Mob' response from me internally - I see this more as a missed opportunity to change the way the word is used, ascribe positive meaning and collaboration to an area that has a very mixed and frequently sad history behind it, but making risk-based corporate decisions on social media responses from a vocal minority has never inherently sat well with me, and even though it's usually a relatively principled decision, the lack of new direction in most cases smacks of being reactive to those knee-jerk minimum-effort slacktivism types in lieu finding creative ways of resourcing people who are actually out there bridging that gap and doing real work (not just ending participation at having 140char discourse on the subject).

Reply

cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - July 21, 2020, 9:25 a.m.

How would you suggest Yeti, "change the way the word is used, ascribe positive meaning and collaboration to an area that has a very mixed and frequently sad history behind it"?

Reply

tehllama42
+1 Mark
Tehllama42  - July 21, 2020, 9:50 a.m.

I'm not a professional marketer, and never would claim to be... honestly pivot towards something different and throw some videos explaining why the new direction is a better fit, but that the goal is to retain all of the positive aspects that are why they chose "Yeti Tribe" as what they felt to be the best moniker before.
Since marketing is an inherently perception-driven enterprise, that would always feel better to me as somebody in the fan base... rehash all of the positive aspects of that, and then (optionally) touch on why a change was needed, or at least the chosen path.

'Tribe' as a term is still generally a positive thing to me (despite my family being spread across what amounts to places where one sees the combined negative effects of low socioeconomic status, BIA bureacuracy, and externally enabled intratribal corruption and nepotism) because that unity of purpose across an entire people is something of an outlier in the modern world, and while there is a fair bit of negative connotation in how that has been used (ironically coming from areas with negligible interaction with indigenous peoples) that plays into that linguistic perception of being somehow lesser... to me there is legitimate anthropological and linguistic work to be done and appreciate why those groups remain unique.  The lifestyle still extant in the 21st century in some of these areas would make most bikepacking enthusiasts look like veritable oil barons, yet amazing things still exist and persist in that culture, even as it has been forced to exist alongside the arguably most effective cultural assimilation engine in history.  

I don't think it was a wrong decision for Yeti in the first place, I don't think it was wrong up until a couple of weeks ago, but neither do I feel that it's wrong for them to make a change - they are a business and selling bikes is what pays for them to employ aerospace-capable goofballs to play around in the woods and make awesome products for those who enjoy aspects of that same lifestyle.

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syncro
0
Mark  - July 26, 2020, 2:47 a.m.

Tehllama42 that’s probably one of the best responses to any question I’ve ever read on this or any other mtb website. 

It’s sad the effective use of language seems to be disappearing from social communication, thanks for showing why it’s worth putting in the effort.

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syncro
0
Mark  - July 26, 2020, 2:47 a.m.

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DaveSmith
+11 Cooper Quinn Marc Fenigstein ianterry delusional Gordonmcn Mammal Pete Roggeman Beau Miller taprider Heinous spud
Dave Smith  - July 21, 2020, 10:32 a.m.

I'm in brand marketing. I'm also very much about the words and know the power a misplaced noun, pronoun, comma and article of speech might have in broad communications. There was an amazing interview done with the Inuit NDP, Mumilaaq Qaqqaq on TSN1040 the other day in response to the Edmonton Eskimos name change. The net-net of that interview being that it is entirely up to indigenous people to decide what is appropriate and what is appropriation. Times change and evolution is necessary for a healthy and inclusive society. Man, I love that we are having these discussions and creating opportunities to learn - more of this and less roost stoke, please.

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cooperquinn
+2 Pete Roggeman Beau Miller
Cooper Quinn  - July 21, 2020, 11:30 a.m.

"he net-net of that interview being that it is entirely up to indigenous people to decide what is appropriate and what is appropriation."

Ding ding ding, winner!

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pete@nsmb.com
+1 Beau Miller
Pete Roggeman  - July 22, 2020, 1:44 p.m.

It is discussions like these that we'll be able to look back upon and take a bit of solace that maybe we were able to add just a touch of gravity to our decisions and influence as mountain bikers in some small way. I've been fairly pessimistic lately about MTB's impact in a greater sense, and it doesn't sit well with me that just because we're playing on bikes, that we can't also assume a sense of responsibility about wider issues.

This discussion and others lately are restoring a bit of that confidence, but there's a lot of work to do.

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CMore
-1 Brigham_Rupp
Chase Moreira  - July 21, 2020, 6:54 p.m.

Doesn’t linguistics generally include the study of grammar?

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blaklabl
-1 Beau Miller
blaklabl  - July 21, 2020, 9:52 a.m.

As if the PB comment section wasn't already a mess, the mods are over there in the new "Special Edition Yeti ARC" deleting every user comment that includes the word "Tribe".  Making an unreadable thread even more so.  

All of this is crazy AND sad.

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tehllama42
0
Tehllama42  - July 21, 2020, 9:54 a.m.

I know - I really wanted to just pop into there and whine about it not being quite long enough for my uses.

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mb
-2 Beau Miller DCLee
Mikey Bikey  - July 21, 2020, 3:14 p.m.

"All of this is crazy AND sad."

Sorry, you left out "stupid".

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sanesh-iyer
+3 delusional yahs Pete Roggeman
Sanesh Iyer  - July 21, 2020, 9:58 a.m.

Really well written article. 

Yeti Tribe, Squampton, old Marzocchi posters... I'd be interested to keep track of the microaggressions in cycling. I wonder if you could timeline those things as well (i.e. when did yeti start using tribe? When did it end?). There's certainly a sum of microaggressions that just become aggression. Putting together a history of those as well as a history of diversity in the sport would be interesting.

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davetolnai
+1 Pete Roggeman
Dave Tolnai  - July 21, 2020, 10:36 a.m.

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sanesh-iyer
+2 Pete Roggeman Beau Miller
Sanesh Iyer  - July 21, 2020, 11:57 a.m.

That article is fantastic. I really like how the author empathizes with all sides... we're missing that often. On the Squamish issue I personally think LeDuke has the right attitude, it's just time to move on. I disagree that Squamish and Compton really ever had all that much in common. And like, you can't fetishize the 'ton while also supporting weed legalization IMO.

Anyways, the reality is I think you just have to evaluate how much something actually means to you and Kondo it.I remember twice while I was a guide really offending people with words I didn't even second guess using. Really its no big deal for me to change those things so we can move on easily. The only solution to ignorance is education.

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Evil_Bumpkin
-1 AJ Barlas supercollider Beau Miller
Evil_bumpkin  - July 21, 2020, 12:21 p.m.

Ok fuck it. The Squampton situation is ridiculous. The way it was handled by the person at the center of it was self promoting, and then ignorant, and abusive of business and the history behind it. The article is interesting. 

The Tribe thing is not a cultural appropriation. Who decides this stuff? I don't care what Yeti does, but I applaud their business saving tactics. Like the Squampton situation they were bullied into change. So what ever. Keep up the good work people.

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pete@nsmb.com
+2 Beau Miller DCLee
Pete Roggeman  - July 22, 2020, 3:11 p.m.

Evil_b, re: 'the Tribe thing', this is where people need to check themselves. I had the same reaction, quite frankly - but that's because I didn't know the history and significance behind the term. So, rather than just proclaim that it 'isn't offensive', I actually went and read the petition and - what do you know! - I learned WHY it is offensive to some.

And if I've learned ONE thing in the last few months/years, it's that, as a white male, I don't get to decide whether something is or isn't offensive to someone else. 

I don't know anything about you - perhaps you're First Nations - and in that case, you are uniquely equipped to declare that is isn't offensive - to you. But you don't speak for the rest of the First Nations, some of whom are offended by the use of the term. Simple as that.

The Squampton thing - yeah, the way it happened sucks and as I mentioned above, people have to get better about how to approach this stuff. But ultimately, society is changing, and we all have to learn how and why it's important to keep up to those changes.

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Timer
0
Timer  - July 21, 2020, 10:30 a.m.

Not really concerned with anything yeti and totally appalled (once again ) by the PB comment section, I have a small comment to make:

Stating that use of language should change every time "A group pointed out that the language being used wasn't respectful to a certain subset of society. Does it matter if that is 1000 people or 1,000,000," is a bit short sighted. There is probably not a single thing or word or concept or thought that wouldn't have some group on the internet who are offended by it. In the case of yetis tribe, being respectful is of course fine, because there is meaningful historical and social context. But I sure hope you don't insist we all stop talking about pasta strainers because the church of the flying spaghetti monster is offended by our mundane use of their holy headgear.

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ohio
+1 Dave Tolnai
Marc Fenigstein  - July 21, 2020, 11:54 a.m.

It matters if the reason there's only 1000 of the offended people Is because they were victims of one of the largest genocides in human history at the hands of the culture now using that word.  Native Americans were murdered, raped, kidnapped and starved into near-extinction. If none of that had happened and there were now 50M cultural Native Americans living in prosperity and equality In North American society, the appropriation of the word "tribe" wouldn't be a threat and this would be a non-Issue.

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Evil_Bumpkin
+2 Tim Garland mike
Evil_bumpkin  - July 21, 2020, 3:55 p.m.

Really? This is where we are? The "word" tribe is owned my North American indigenous people? Yeti using the word "Tribe" to describe their fans isn't taking anything away from indigenous people. Maybe they were modeling their tribe on ancient Pictish tribal doctrine? Or maybe its fun to be in a like minded group, no matter your creed, and call yourselves a tribe. But again knee jerk prevails and instead of maybe a great marketing opportunity between indigenous and Yeti we end up with the current situation.

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ohio
+2 Cooper Quinn DCLee
Marc Fenigstein  - July 22, 2020, 10:08 a.m.

Sorry man, a list of "maybes" isn't as Important as a list of "is." Yeti and their fans aren't giving up a whole lot In this equation. I could name a new bike the "9/11" or the "Hiroshima" because of a dozen maybes but I wouldn't and I don't have to because I have other options. It's amazing the fight people are willing to put up over the smallest inconvenience... It's not that hard to show deference to a people that were wronged. It's not like the words "squad" "team" "family" "crew" "band" etc. don't exist.

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ohio
0
Marc Fenigstein  - July 22, 2020, 10:08 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

delusional
0
delusional  - July 23, 2020, 12:10 p.m.

Context really matters here. The Picts are long gone social group, with no real reverberations that can be said to be felt in the lives of people today. Indigenous peoples in the US and Canada are still very much here today, and still suffering under colonialism. Yeti are based in the US, their main market is the US, and in the US tribe is a term both legally and socially connected to Indigenous peoples.

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WalrusRider
+5 blaklabl Evil_bumpkin kiwizak yahs AJ Barlas
WalrusRider  - July 21, 2020, 10:34 a.m.

I just like mountain biking

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Evil_Bumpkin
0
Evil_bumpkin  - July 21, 2020, 12:23 p.m.

You have the right attitude friend. Have an uptick :)

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Morox
+4 Sanesh Iyer Cooper Quinn Gordonmcn Pete Roggeman
Brian Moreaux  - July 21, 2020, 12:42 p.m.

Mountain biking is a wonderful thing. It has enriched my life, sometimes defined my identity (try to stay away from too much of that) and keeps me sane. That said, I really value a community (in this case NSMB bikers) who are willing to examine themselves and the world around them through a unique lens and make some changes if indicated. 

Biking, like any activity, has effects outside of our bubble so I don’t think we can’t just call ourselves bikers and leave it at that. 

I do understand that for many of us biking is a healthy escape from it all...so I empathize when I read comments like this. I still go on rides when I need to take a break from the stress of life. My only counter to that thought process is that when there is so much frank injustice and so many people suffering in the world, I feel good knowing I have colleagues to hash it out with rather than bury our heads in the sand.

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zeedre
+1 Pete Roggeman
zeedre  - July 21, 2020, 10:36 a.m.

Nicely written article!

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Jonochurch
+1 Pete Roggeman
Jonochurch  - July 21, 2020, 11:30 a.m.

Thanks for this, I think you’ve summed this up perfectly

I also just discovered Hannah Gadsby and she is fucking GREAT

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nouseforaname
-5 TucsonMike supercollider Peter Carson Pete Roggeman DCLee
Nouseforaname  - July 21, 2020, 12:30 p.m.

This is the same level as those 'reaction' Youtube videos that Youtube personalities put out to talk about what some other Youtube personality did to drive clicks and outrage (and revenue). I hope scraping articles from the PB comments section isn't going to be a thing.

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tehllama42
0
Tehllama42  - July 21, 2020, 12:34 p.m.

To be fair to the PB comments sections, there have been some epic wins.  There was a 'Yoga with Abi' one about loosening glutes or something, and I expected an absolute train wreck... yet somehow found pages of insightful and useful discussion about adults who ride trying to find better ways to engage their daughters in riding.  Like, insanely wholesome and useful discussion, in a place that is usually a wasteland devoid of anything beyond somebody trying to hock 26x2.3" DHFs

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cam@nsmb.com
+5 mrbrett LWK Peter Carson Gordonmcn Pete Roggeman
Cam McRae  - July 21, 2020, 1:17 p.m.

Two things Dave doesn’t care about at all: clicks and revenue. He writes what he wants to write.

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DanL
+1 Pete Roggeman
DanL  - July 21, 2020, 3:22 p.m.

First three articles on the NSMB header are now - Yeti, Lusting for Luxury bike parts and a Porsche drive test - this place has changed in the last month.....

I kid, I kid

Excellent writing with, would you guess, excellent discourse.

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davetolnai
+3 Luix Cooper Quinn Pete Roggeman
Dave Tolnai  - July 21, 2020, 4:59 p.m.

When people flock to the worlds largest mountain bike website to express their anger of a fairly inconsequential change by a smallish bike builder, it suggests that something is percolating that needs to be discussed. The comments are the story. It doesn't really matter what the forum was. As well, almost all the articles that I saw posted about the subject had similar comments under them. Pinkbike was just the loudest and longest example.

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slimshady76
0
Luix  - July 22, 2020, 5:07 a.m.

Dave, I know this might be pulling the rope too hard, but the more I read your article, the more it came into my mind. The mainstream media has naturalized calling the USA residents "Americans", in accordance to the Monroe Doctrine dated back in the 1820s. Even you Canadians do, when you're the first country by surface in the continent.

As an Argentinian -a country which happens to be in America too- I feel it's derogatory and a blatant cultural appropriation case. And many other (mostly South American) residents do. You might not see that one because it's been mainstreamed since, well, 1821. As with many microaggressions, they are built into the language in such a strong manner it makes almost impossible to tell them apart from the rest of our speech.

Again, I understand this is quite a stretch from the question you address in your piece. But I still think it deserves to be highlighted.

Thanks again for giving us something to think about. I love the way you guys here at NSMB rattle our thinking cans.

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nouseforaname
0
Nouseforaname  - July 22, 2020, 7:09 a.m.

What were 'Americans' called before Monroe?

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slimshady76
0
Luix  - July 22, 2020, 7:44 a.m.

The Monroe Doctrine called for a US reign/governance over the whole American continent. The identification of the US population as "Americans" was hence formalized and universalized by the mainstream media.

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Brigham_Rupp
+3 Luix Pete Roggeman DCLee
Brigham_Rupp  - July 22, 2020, 7:42 a.m.

I try hard not to call the United States "America," because to me it feels dismissive of others in North and South America and reinforces an exceptionalism we tend to have in the States. At the same time, I wonder why people native to either continent are so anxious to be called by a name originating with an Italian merchant explorer. If anything I would expect them to be bothered by being called Americans in the first place. Thoughts? 

Just thinking out loud now: this is one of my serious struggles with some of these movements in modern society. If we're looking for reasons to be offended, we will surely find them and from some angle every name, every statement, every action can be seen as problematic for someone somewhere. Where is the end of this road? How far do we go to avoid offending, and is there a point at which we say "sorry, you'll just have to cope?" I don't know. I do know in my personal life I will never be able to prevent all possible offenses by those around me, but I can choose not to take offense, and to me that's a very powerful fact.

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nouseforaname
0
Nouseforaname  - July 22, 2020, 4:05 p.m.

@Luix I know about the Monroe doctrine - learned about it mostly from the other side - of the spheres of influence ideas that disrupted European powers in the regions. So from the colonial powers perspective. The question was: what did the rest of the world call the colonists in the place that became the United States between the 1600s and the 1820s? My research suggests that they were called Americans. And not out of some claim over the whole continent, as you suggested. Have you got any suggestions of where I can find what United Statesians were called pre Monroe? 

@Brigham - if you can see a logical end/future point - that you will disagree with - to a line of action, you should resist the line of action as soon as you realise that.

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slimshady76
0
Luix  - July 22, 2020, 6:07 p.m.

I completely understand the reasons you brought in. And I posted the current situation, but not a solution, since I don't have one. I thought of opening up the dialogue to find out other views of this issue, and I sincerely think we should be able to make the ends meet.

Truth to be told, none of the American independence movements would have started without the beach head of the US war against England. It showed the rest of the American nations it was possible to build a country of their own, away from the colonial powers of the time.

The Advent of the Cold War era and the Communist menace fired up some of the nastiest state terrorist acts of our history. And Henry Kissinger was the US establishment champion who laid out the dirtiest interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine back in the 60s and beyond.

I'm not holding anyone here responsible for those acts, it would be the same as going to Germany right now and slap someone in the middle of the street simply because they might have had a Nazi relative. But I still maintain there is merit in discussing this kind of things.

WalrusRider
+1 Luix
WalrusRider  - July 22, 2020, 8:10 a.m.

The United States was the first country in the Americas to gain independence from colonial powers which probably contributed to US citizens using the term American.

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slimshady76
+1 Pete Roggeman
Luix  - July 22, 2020, 9:01 a.m.

Yes, but at the same time and derived from The Monroe Doctrine (later expanded by Rutherford Hayes when the Panama canal was built, and even later by Roosevelt to address not only the USA territory but also "their interests", namely those of the USA industries in the continent) the expression "America for the Americans" was created to reinforce the idea of the USA dominance over the region. In these times when significant efforts to abolish colonialism and asymmetries are gaining traction, I think the introduction of this discussion is pertinent.

I don't know if you are aware of the atrocities comitted under the Operation Condor, or the horrendous torture methods taught at the School of the Americas by the US military to the South and Central American repressive forces.

In this context, the appropriation of the America name certainly hits some open wounds, as you might see.

Anyway, I recon this is quite a stretch from Dave's current (and excellent) piece. Thanks for the opinion exchange though!

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pete@nsmb.com
+1 Luix
Pete Roggeman  - July 22, 2020, 3:23 p.m.

This merits a further look for sure. And it came up recently in a conversation I was involved in. Definite uphill sledding! But I'm married to an Argentinian, and she has family that relates to your comment, Luix.

Appreciate the way you brought it up, too ;)

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slimshady76
0
Luix  - July 22, 2020, 6:11 p.m.

Hey Pete, thanks for the sympathy. You certainly looked for the farthest country in the continent to find your beloved one didn't you?

My family was also tragically touched by the violence of our last de facto government.

And as you say, it's a difficult subject to address, even today.

As I said above, I don't have an answer, although I'm really interested in helping us all find one.

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davetolnai
0
Dave Tolnai  - July 23, 2020, 7:14 p.m.

Not to ignore your comment, it just takes a while to get the stomach to revisit the comments.

I was reading some articles about this a few months back.  Definitely something to think about.  As Canadians, we tend to just roll with it, as it's a pretty continuous presence in our lives.  We should be more aware, for sure.

TucsonMike
+3 Pete Roggeman Beau Miller DCLee
TucsonMike  - July 21, 2020, 1 p.m.

Hardly ever go on Pinkbike anymore because the comments are always so Toxic. The latest Remy Metailler drone video was one of the coolest things I have ever seen and their comment section was just 40 different people saying how much the song sucked ( I thought it was rad). So nice to come on here, vital and cyclingtips and consistently see insightful productive comments and good interactions with the contributors. I honestly feel bad for the staff at pinkbike who have to delve into the comment sections along with their articles...that must be brutal reading the same negative comment over and over again on every piece they post.

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craw
+4 Sanesh Iyer Kieran Timer Tremeer023 Pete Roggeman Beau Miller
Cr4w  - July 21, 2020, 1:07 p.m.

As someone who was once asked if I was a Yeti, and who even owns a Lib Tech Skunk Ape snowboard, I'd like to know about the appropriation of the Yeti name in the first place. My culture is not your aesthetic. It's extra weird because this is a brand of let's face it, expensive regular people bikes. No Yeti would even be able to ride one. Just some Brett calling himself savage or whatever.

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mrbrett
+4 Tremeer023 Cr4w Pete Roggeman Beau Miller
mrbrett  - July 21, 2020, 1:32 p.m.

Hey, let's take it easy on Bretts.

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craw
+3 mrbrett Pete Roggeman Beau Miller
Cr4w  - July 21, 2020, 4:31 p.m.

Oh no you're different. You're one of the "good" Bretts.

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supercollider
+2 Pete Roggeman Beau Miller
supercollider  - July 21, 2020, 1:49 p.m.

Thanks Uncle Dave.  You were really able to articulate what i was feeling, but unable to say out of frustration from the comments.

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Brocklanders
+1 Peter Carson James Mehlos Beau Miller
yahs  - July 21, 2020, 10:11 p.m.

The thing I find offensive is the pricetag on the new yeti special edition hard tail..... Now that's offensive.

Btw I'm still gunna say Squampton so there!

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nobby
+3 Pete Roggeman Luix Beau Miller
Peter Carson  - July 22, 2020, 6:18 a.m.

I don't understand why this is so hard, all it is is being nice to people you don't know by not using words they would prefer you don't use. When asked to not use words it is not an affront to you as a person but a learning opportunity for how you can be nice to your fellow humans. Yeti heard some people wanted them to change because it would make them feel better so they did. Ok great, they are being nice to people who are different then them for the sake of being nice. Good job, now on with life. It seams so simple to me. Do you have to know people to be nice to them? Is it that people are only worthy of your niceness if you agree with them?

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Brigham_Rupp
+4 Brian Moreaux Pete Roggeman Luix ianterry lewis collins Beau Miller
Brigham_Rupp  - July 22, 2020, 7:26 a.m.

Good treatment Dave. Thanks. One thought as to why some people might be so bothered: 

It's easy to compare this to a neighbor asking you to turn your music down, and in this specific case I tend to agree: A marginalized group of people asked a company to stop using a word and it's not a big deal for the company to be kind and stop using it. Hard to say there's any harm done to everyone else. With that perspective it becomes easy to dismiss all the pushback as irrational and obtuse (i.e. the Pinkbike comment section), but this angle overlooks what seems to be a broader phenomenon:

I think what we're seeing in the PB comments section is a group of people struggling with society going through a significant shift in culture, morality, and systems of social control. For example, the story about Yeti is one in a long string of incidents that some see as an increasing shift towards a culture of victimhood. (see this scholarly article for food for thought on the topic.) These shifts have occurred throughout history and come with conflict and struggle. The conflict occurs over the rise and decline of competing values, the "rightness" and "wrongness" of which are not always so cut and dry as we'd like to pretend, but instead exist on a continuum where certain values are given higher regard in society than others. 

I'm still trying to decide where I stand in relation to some of these values: Free speech vs. avoiding offense, patriotism vs. globalism, justice vs. mercy, individualism vs. community, capitalism vs. socialism.  While we try to help our societies change for the better, we see people on all sides writing off those with contrary views as obvious fools while we tend to see ourselves as enlightened. I just hope we can be patient with each other and not too cavalier when someone else gives more weight to one virtue when we are inclined to favor another.

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pete@nsmb.com
+1 Beau Miller
Pete Roggeman  - July 22, 2020, 3:27 p.m.

Really well said. Big picture thinking applied to specific events is always important.

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nobby
0
Peter Carson  - July 22, 2020, 6:18 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

tdc_worm
+5 Nouseforaname AJ Barlas Evil_bumpkin mike Timer James Mehlos Beau Miller
tdc_worm  - July 22, 2020, 6:30 a.m.

Just for a point of accuracy on denotations of "tribe":

*Oxford English Dictionary (considered to be the most accurate dictionary)---A distinctive or close-knit group, A large number of people

*Merriam Webster---a group of persons having a common character, occupation, or interest

*Wikipedia---a category of human social group, two or more people who interact with one another, share similar characteristics, and collectively have a sense of unity

*Dictionary.com---a division of some other people.

*YourDictionary.com---a group of people, or a community with similar values or interests

*Cambrige---a large family or other group that someone belongs to

I think if we are going to consider the word and its use, we need to consider all denotations.  The premise that "Tribe" does not describe a close knit group of brand loyalists is not accurate.  Furthermore, Yeti was not attempting to denegrate nor demoralize the people that elected to share their common interest, let alone the historical inhabitants of this continent nor any other.  If a word has several denotations, its irresponsible to pick the most offensive one rather than understanding the context and picking the right one.

Does it offend some folks?  Sure.  Should they be offended?  As 1/8 Seminole, I cannot speak for anyone but myself.  I am, however comfortable, that Yeti's use of the word Tribe was not coming from a position of authority over me, which is where the negative denotations sit.  Yeti's only responsibility to me is to make bikes that don't break, the primary reason I exited their tribe.

As some others opine, I do agree that Yeti should not be held on a moral pedestal for the move, nor should anyone for virtue signaling.  They should be held on a business pedestal, as their only responsibility to themselves for operating a business is to make money and perhaps this will do that.

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Evil_Bumpkin
-1 Beau Miller
Evil_bumpkin  - July 22, 2020, 8:27 a.m.

Finally some fucking content! Thanks for this tdc_worm. I have a close friend who is Canadian first nations and he was confused about all the fuss over this. Pretty much echoed your sentiments.

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nobby
+2 Luix mudhoney
Peter Carson  - July 22, 2020, 10:58 a.m.

The use of the word in the US is equivalent to Indian Band in Canada. Tribe and Tribal Government are terms that are written into law in the US that describe indigenous people. Those indigenous people did not choose nor describe themselves by those terms before they were forced to by US government. After this was done there was a period where the term tribal was used as derogatory slang towards indigenous people, particularly in the Colorado to New Mexico region. I think it is super localized to that lived experience. Hence the small number of people that asked for them to stop. To me this is just them being nice to their neighbors. It is not a statement about the term Tribe in the global understand but a localized reality that does not harm them to make good on.

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tdc_worm
0 Evil_bumpkin Beau Miller
tdc_worm  - July 22, 2020, 1:25 p.m.

the point here is that Yeti is not calling the marginalized anything, they are referring to themselves.  imagine if there were universal outrage about calling oneself a name that is viewed as derogatory to others.  the colloquial use of derogatory terms is used by several groups to refer to themselves in both positive and negative ways.  honky, redneck, hillbilly are just a few.....

This confrontation is:  "please stop calling yourself that, even though the manner in which you use it is positive."

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nobby
+3 Pete Roggeman Luix Beau Miller
Peter Carson  - July 22, 2020, 3:06 p.m.

I was trying, although poorly I admit, to simply state that most of the internet has no idea of why the request was made. If Yeti thought it was legitimate who are we to condemn them for it. What I find fascinating about this is the outrage about Yeti saying they were going to change their marketing because they wanted to do something for a small interest group in their region. It barely sounds news worthy to me but some people obviously are very connected to Yeti's marketing and that I find much more interesting.

Out of interest I just read the actual petition. The group felt that their status as Tribal nations is being trivialized by the use of the word to describe groups that like the same stuff (obviously my words here not theirs) and that companies, mainly Yeti, were making money off the term while doing so. You could say they are being overly sensitive but they also have survived a genocide so I can understand where they may have a thinner skin with this stuff.

A direct quote: "It also diminishes and dishonors the unique political status of Indigenous people in the United States as tribal nations, that pre-date the United States and have inherent political sovereignty and the right to self-governance." I think the importance of that word to these specific people is much more than we can understand and even using it in a positive way does not honour that word in their minds. I will not understand this for sure but I can respect that they seem to feel very connected to the term and feel the need to protect it. I don't see why what Yeti did should be condemned.

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Timer
+1 tdc_worm Brigham_Rupp Beau Miller
Timer  - July 23, 2020, 2:24 a.m.

I doubt that the outrage is because of a connection to Yeti marketing. Theirs is a famous brand within our sport, but i wouldn't overestimate their importance.

It seems much more likely that the outrage is over the use of language. Specifically, the authority to ascribe meaning to words and the power to decide who is socially allowed to use which one. This is a thorny issue, because there are very valid reasons to declare terms as socially inacceptable (e.g. the N-word ). On the other hand, making the use of common words that are not used with derogatory intent socially inacceptible is a pretty strong invasion into peoples lives. Therefore i'm not surprised that even the perception that such a thing is happening can trigger strong counter-reactions.

davetolnai
+1 Beau Miller
Dave Tolnai  - July 23, 2020, 9:43 p.m.

This is just so wrong.  100%, groups that are marginalized are allowed to reclaim the slurs used against them.  In no way are people outside of that marginalized group allowed to claim a slur as their own and use it with the justification that it's okay because they're using it against themselves.  If anything, that perpetuates the slur.

Example - Take a homophobic slur of your choice.  If I all of a sudden walked around calling myself that, and when I got called out said "Don't worry about it. I'm only using it for myself."  You don't think that would be a problem?

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Timer
+1 tdc_worm
Timer  - July 24, 2020, 2:27 a.m.

Not sure how well the comparison works in this case, but positive appropriation of derogatory terms happens quite often. Not just by marginalized groups themselves. Take, for instance, the terms "sick" or "mental". Many of the words we use today in a neutral way had negative meaning at certain points in time. "pedestrian" or "rustic"  come to mind.

In general, if a derogatory term loses its derogatory meaning, i consider that a net positive for society. It also often implies that the target of the slur is becomming part of normal life instead of being shunned by society.

tehllama42
0
Tehllama42  - July 24, 2020, 8:02 a.m.

While positive appropriation of terms is a very common thing, there almost always exists a context in which that terminology can be used in a hurtful fashion, and ultimately what we're talking about is the grey area in that there exists people actively using the derogatory connotation of those terms, and that there remains a grey area where the damaging aspects of that may linger while broader perception from those unaffected is that there isn't a problem.  The true catch-22 of this is that despite how rant-prone most people decrying/dismissing this are, for the most part it's because it is truly hard to see how that could be misconstrued as derogatory in the first place.

davetolnai
+1 Beau Miller
Dave Tolnai  - July 23, 2020, 9:37 p.m.

I tend to tune out whenever anybody brings the phrase "virtue signaling" to the party.  At least show me the respect that I actually believe the things that I take the time to write.  Especially since the right is hardly immune to similar ideas, they've just done a better job of branding.  You brought one here yourself...this nonsense that "their only responsibility to themselves for operating a business is to make money..."  People start businesses for many reasons, and a lot of them are larger than simply making money.  Somebody just decided to sell us this myth as some sort of justification for certain corporations doing shitty things.

For the last two months a thought keeps coming back to me, at least twice every day. I think of this racist piece of shit that I worked with a couple of years ago.  He was in a position of power and he said whatever he wanted.  He bragged about how he was untouchable.  If we brought it up to our bosses, the response was always some form of "what can you do?  He's going to retire soon."  Every fucking day I feel badly that I didn't do more back then.  I spoke up, but I shouldn't have let people so easily shrug it off.  So, if anything, my convictions are far stronger than those contained in the article above, and I've vowed to not let this shit stand any longer when I see it.  Will I do a perfect job of that?  Of course not.

As for dictionary definitions, I see your point.  Honestly, I didn't cherrypick the one I used.  It was the first one I found and it seemed to work.  The original point was to spot one for the Pinkbike warriors and admit that they were correct and that no one group owned the word "tribe".  I came back to it in my final draft and added the bit about it not describing Yeti owners.  Honestly though, it doesn't really change anything.  What you have shown is that there are different meanings for different people, which is kind of the point that I was trying to make.

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tehllama42
+1 tdc_worm
Tehllama42  - July 24, 2020, 8:14 a.m.

I guess I was trying to show that there are ways to arrive at a cynical viewpoint of this without a starting point in cynicism.  Again, I don't consider virtue signalling to be a negative thing, ultimately it's the best 'soft stick' for getting people to stop passively being arses, it's only when appropriated for corporate uses that I tend to become deliberately skeptical.
Starting a business almost never starts off with making money as the primary incentive, but it's a hard enough enterprise that if you don't make that a top priority, whatever other goals exist are unlikely to be in the conversation, let alone met.  In practice, after a multi-month barrage of large companies running multimillion dollar ad campaigns thanking their essential workers (instead of providing any direct anything to them), and knowing the timeline of this, it's still a logical thread that has to be considered, even if the conclusion is that the decision came down to good people making the best decision they could for the right reasons.
Words always carry different meaning, and connotation exists because we don't have sufficiently shared experiences to immediately convey everything meant through a handful of arbitrary phonetic abstractions, and my bias is to lean on context more than definition, in which case I found nothing hurtful or negative about the original context.  Others bring fundamentally different epistemology to the concept of language, and I can see why there's a huge difference, but I struggle to see where the outrage comes that others use language differently, and why it's worth prioritizing that when jerk-offs from your example exist and need direct intervention to at least stop making other people's lives suck.

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tdc_worm
0
tdc_worm  - July 28, 2020, 6:21 a.m.

Seems to be a pattern of "tuning out" definitions that don't suit the narrative.  virtue signaling happens to be a thing, regardless of your political affiliation/worship (and thanks for assuming you know mine).   If the move were virtuous, Yeti would have made the change a long time ago.  however, much like the Washington football team that was facing the prospect of losing FedEx as a sponsor, the virtue is quite simply a move to retain/grow profitability during a civil rights movement.  Fighting external and prolonged pressure and only cracking under pressure signals a virtue that their "high moral standard" is very closely tied profitability.  Good business move?  Sure.  Virtuous?  Debatable.  And if Yeti's focus isn't to make money (and judging by the price of their wares relative to the market, I believe it is) so that they can pay themselves and their employees, then their tenure in the space will be a short one.  

I do believe that you believe the things you write.  After all, one's perception creates their own reality, and we have to respect that.  But that doesn't make somebody else's perception wrong.  This is where context enters the equation:  so we can chat like adults, dissecting the language and denotations, and understanding the intent.

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DemonMike
0
mike  - July 22, 2020, 9:47 a.m.

Really curious of the age group. That are feeling the affects of these now offensive names. What rock did they just crawl out of that enlightened them?

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Trezpass
+1 James Mehlos
Trezpass  - July 23, 2020, 10:09 a.m.

I love how these companies are so “woke” yet continue to have their products made in some 3rd world sweat shop. Guess they draw the line at any real change.

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Skeen
0 Beau Miller Greg Bly
Skeen  - July 23, 2020, 3:51 p.m.

Great article, thanks for articulating some very nuanced ideas.

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Flooooo
0
James Mehlos  - July 24, 2020, 9:02 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

Shoreloamer
+1 tdc_worm
Greg Bly  - July 27, 2020, 8:08 a.m.

Oh the irony. Pink Bike did not use the word tribe. NSMB did. I commented on Pink Bike as others did that Pink Bike deleted the word tribe in comments. That's what ruffled feathers on PB.

Pink bike did a story on a Yeti hard tail and had nothing to do with the controversy. Then Pink bike attempted to moderate the comments. 

This is click bait.

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syncro
0
Mark  - July 28, 2020, 11:40 a.m.

Has anybody stopped to look at where the word tribe originated from? Where Indigenous people classified into tribes before colonization? Same thing with the Americans debate, what was South American referred to before Europeans got here? As a word tribe can be completely innocuous or it could have negative connotations - yes context means everything. Maybe the solution should be to look at the negative connotation of the word and stop using it in that context instead of trying to stop the use of the word across all contexts. So in this case, if there is a negative association with the word tribe in the US then maybe we should stop using that word to describe Indigenous people in the US and they can decide how they want to be described? It seems that this problem and similar issues with words are a result of Europeans applying their own labels to other people, so maybe the solutions is let distinct peoples decide for themselves what their name is, similar to the suggestion Dave mention earlier - self affirmation.

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