Presentism and the use of historically sensitive words explained.

In historical writing and analysis, PRESENTISM introduces present-day ideas and perspectives into depictions or interpretations of the past. I believe presentism is a form of cultural bias, creating a distorted understanding of the subject matter. Reading modern notions of morality into the past is committing the error of presentism. I'm well aware that historical accounts are written by people and can be slanted, so I try my hardest to present fact-based and well-researched articles without interjecting any of my personal opinions.

NOTE: I present articles without regard to race, color, political party, religion, national origin, citizenship status, gender, LGBTQ status, age, disability, or military status. What I present are facts — NOT ALTERNATIVE FACTS — about the subject. You won't find character assassinations, hateful statements, insults, or attempts at humor.


When I write about historical topics, I follow this methodology regarding race terms:
  • "Negro" was the term used until the mid-1960s.
  • "Black" started being used in the mid-1960s.
  • "African-American" followed and began usage in the late 1980s.
I used the terms and words in the vernacular of time-period books, documents, biography, legal dockets, contracts, etc.

"SAVAGE" is a word defined in U.S. dictionaries as a Noun, Verb, Adjective, and Adverb. Definitions include:

  • a person belonging to a primitive society
  • malicious, lacking complex or advanced culture
  • a brutal person
  • a rude, boorish, or unmannerly person
  • to attack or treat brutally
  • lacking the restraints normal to civilized human beings

Unlike the term "RED MAN," dictionaries like Merriam-Webster define this term's one-and-only definition as a Noun meaning: AMERICAN INDIAN (historically dated, sensitive today). The term Red Man/Red Men was often used historically from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries.

"HALF-BREED" is a disrespectful term used to refer to the offspring of parents of different races, specifically the offspring of an American Indian and a white person of European descent.


Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.