Talk:Ian Smith

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Former featured articleIan Smith is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Main Page trophyThis article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on August 2, 2018.
Article milestones
February 8, 2014Good article nomineeListed
March 15, 2014Featured article candidatePromoted
April 25, 2020Featured article reviewDemoted
Current status: Former featured article

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Ian Smith/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Lemurbaby (talk · contribs) 05:18, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

  1. Is it reasonably well written?
    A. Prose quality:
    B. MoS compliance for lead, layout, words to watch, fiction, and lists:
  2. Is it factually accurate and verifiable?
    A. References to sources:
    B. Citation of reliable sources where necessary:
    C. No original research:
  3. Is it broad in its coverage?
    A. Major aspects:
    B. Focused:
  4. Is it neutral?
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. Is it stable?
    No edit wars, etc:
  6. Does it contain images to illustrate the topic?
    A. Images are copyright tagged, and non-free images have fair use rationales:
    B. Images are provided where possible and appropriate, with suitable captions:
  7. Overall:
    Pass or Fail:


  1. I am claiming this article for review and will provide comments in the coming week. - Lemurbaby (talk) 05:18, 12 January 2014 (UTC)
Sorry this is taking so long to get to - I came down with the flu last weekend but hope to return to it over the coming one. - Lemurbaby (talk) 03:03, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Full references are needed for the shortened Harv refs for Daume 1980 and Fisher 2010; shortened ref 166 needs the year; there are no refs in-text for book White (2010) or article "Ian Smith vows to stay on ranch in Zimbabwe" (Post-Gazette 1982)
  • This image needs proper source and US copyright tags.
  • I've added the US copyright tags to the other images lacking them
  • In the lead, let the reader know earlier that there were other nationalist leaders - particularly that some were militant and leading an armed movement (provide their names earlier).
  • I have tried to beef up the information on this in the lead to make this clearer, but I don't think providing their names earlier is really practical; it is all very convoluted and putting this in the first paragraph would detract from it somewhat, I think. In any case Muzorewa and Mugabe did not come to real prominence until the 1970s; only Nkomo was really known before then. Cliftonian (talk) 18:05, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
  • The use of semi-colons in the section headings doesn't seem correct to me. It may be trying to squeeze too much information into one line. In some instances maybe breaking these up and using Level 3 headings would be good, or joining pieces with commas and/or the word "and", or simply making them more general
  • Okay, I have tried to trim some of these down. I hope this is better Cliftonian (talk) 18:05, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Under "Graduation, marriage and entrance to politics", when he names his farm, instread of "local black people" do we know the name of the ethnic group living there?
  • Yep, they were Karangas (part of the Shona group) Cliftonian (talk) 18:05, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Under "Forming the Rhodesian Front" and elsewhere, rather than describing the notion of this government as based on merit, it would be good to be more precise - it sounds like it was based on specific criteria like wealth and education, which many people could "merit" but are unable to obtain due to societal barriers or other circumstances (if these were the only criteria, detractors could argue it could just as soon be termed government based on privilege). The word merit is a bit subjective
  • Hmmm. I put that because that's the terminology they used, but on reflection I think you are right, this is contentious. You are correct that the vote was at this time based on financial and educational qualifications. It would be tiresome to list all the various possible combinations here but they were not impossibly high (one could get onto the "B" roll with £132 a year and primary school education; the "A" roll required a high school diploma and £330 a year). The reasoning behind the "merit" term was that if politicians were elected who lacked the ability (or inclination) to govern properly, they would lack competence, or "merit". The RF perceived this as something that was more likely to happen under a one man, one vote system. To try to make this clearer I have changed "merit" to "merit and qualifications"—is this better? Cliftonian (talk) 18:05, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Under "Deputy Prime Minister..." why was status quo in Southern Rhodesia an embarrassment for the UK? Lack of majority rule or something else?
  • Basically, yes, but the factor that really made it embarrassing for the UK government was the lack of international understanding regarding Southern Rhodesia's unique self-governing status. When the issue of minority rule in Southern Rhodesia came to the fore in the UN around 1961, Britain was repeatedly called upon to simply remove the colonial government and introduce majority rule by force—the UK's insistence that it was not that simple convinced few and angered many. Cliftonian (talk) 18:05, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Same section, "collaborating with black Africa over a Rhodesian settlement" also sounds too monolithic. What about collaborating with the "governments of neighboring majority rule states" or "governments of black African led states" or something like that?
  • I have altered to "with black African governments" to try to be concise; is this better? Cliftonian (talk) 08:34, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
  • In "First Years under Mugabe", when exactly did he get his Zimbabwe papers back? Reword this: "Having regained his Zimbabwean papers, Smith declared his intention to renounce his British nationality in 1984..."
  • I have reworded to "Smith regained his Zimbabwean papers after about a year. In 1984 he declared his intention to renounce his British nationality ..." I hope this is okay. Cliftonian (talk) 08:34, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
  • In the "Land Reform Programme" section, I had to re-read the section on his nationality and passports a few times as I couldn't recall anymore whether he still had the British passport or not. Could you find a way to make it clearer that he may have had a right to British citizenship but hadn't claimed it by keeping a British passport (if this is the case)? Otherwise his statement that he was stateless won't necessarily be understood in its full context by the reader (or at least me).
  • I have clarified to "Insisting that Mugabe's government had no right to strip him of Zimbabwean citizenship, Smith refused to renounce his right to British nationality, though he had not held a UK passport for years." (The ambiguous term "for years" is used because I don't know when the UK passport from 1983 expired; it would probably be either 1988 or 1993 but we don't know). Is this okay? Cliftonian (talk) 08:34, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
  • In "Final Years and Death", at this point I had forgotten that Jean and Robert were his adopted children. It would be good to restate the relationship since it's so far along in the article.
  • Good point. I have clarified to "Smith's stepdaughter Jean"; I don't think we need to do the same for Robert as I think restating the relationship to Jean will remind the reader who Robert was as well. Cliftonian (talk) 08:34, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
This has got to be up there among the 100 best articles on Wikipedia. Meticulously researched and referenced, thorough, fair, brilliantly worded. WP is lucky to have you. Do you have a career in writing, by any chance? :) - Lemurbaby (talk) 00:42, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
Thank you so much for the incredibly flattering words! Not to mention the fine review. I hope my answers above are all adequate and that you are well. To answer your question I had sports articles published in the Luton News and the Scunthorpe Telegraph when I was younger but nothing like this. I'm glad you like my writing so much! Thanks again and have a great rest of the weekend. =) Cliftonian (talk) 08:34, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
  • The changes look great. Excellent as always. I hope your talents continue to find a home off the web as well as on it! - Lemurbaby (talk) 13:15, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

" rem footnote that only gives one side"[edit]


Why should one single footnote have to meet NPOV? We have to do this over the article as a whole, but what reason is there to remove a single footnote, because in isolation it only gives one side? Andy Dingley (talk) 12:08, 11 November 2015 (UTC)

Because across the article as a whole, including that footnote, we have only criticism of the Pearce commissioners and no rebuttal of that criticism. Indeed we have more criticism of them a couple sentences later (when Smith calls them "naive and inept"). Not that it really matters, but it was me who added this footnote in the first place. I think it might work better after the criticism from Smith. I'll put it there now so you can see what I mean. What do you think? —  Cliftonian (talk)  12:17, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
So is the problem relevance? Quality of the footnote? Or balance?
If it's poor quality or irrelevant, then remove the footnote. If it's an issue of balance though, then leave it in place and add something else for balance.
Note though that we're here to be neutral, not necessarily balanced. Maybe the commissioners really were "naive and inept" and there's simply no other viewpoint to give. It's a mistake (and on WP in 2015 it's one that counts as naive and inept) to think that "All must have prizes" and that neutrality is achieved by counting lines of coverage pro and anti. Who did support the commissioners at the time, and is their commentary robust? Andy Dingley (talk) 12:37, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
I do not recall finding anything rebutting the criticism of the commissioners when I researched and wrote the article. So yes, I would agree with you that based on that there doesn't seem to be another viewpoint to give. Who's "naive and inept"? I do hope that wasn't a not-so-subtle dig at me. There's really no need for that. Cheers, —  Cliftonian (talk)  12:47, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, spill-over from another article where exactly that is being used as an excuse to avoid calling a celebrity idiot an idiot. Andy Dingley (talk) 12:50, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
Exactly what? "another article where exactly that is being used as an excuse to avoid calling a celebrity idiot an idiot"? Eh? I'm sorry, Andy, but I really don't follow here. The footnote is back in the article, just relocated from its former position to right afterwards, after the comment from Smith in the main body. Is the issue not resolved? —  Cliftonian (talk)  12:55, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
Yes, it looks fine. If anything turns up giving an alternative view of the commission, then I'm sure it could be added. Andy Dingley (talk) 13:20, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
Okay, great. Thanks for your help and I hope you're having a great week. Cheers —  Cliftonian (talk)  14:04, 11 November 2015 (UTC)

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Was Smith Agriculture minister as well as president? Wizzy 18:01, 21 February 2018 (UTC)

I don’t believe so, no. (He wasn’t president either, he was prime minister.) Cheers —  Cliftonian (talk)  19:14, 21 February 2018 (UTC)

Infobox image replacement[edit]

@Cliftonian: Would this image from a campaign poster in 1964 be Public Domain since it os over 50 years old and presumably locally produced? Kges1901 (talk) 14:42, 30 June 2018 (UTC)

sorry, have only seen this now. If there’s no identifiable author then I think so. Cheers —  Cliftonian (talk)  07:41, 4 August 2018 (UTC)

"majority rule"[edit]

This article currently says this:

in the following year helped [...] form the all-white, firmly conservative Rhodesian Front (RF), which called for independence without an immediate shift to black majority rule.

If the shift to majority rule was to be one in which the right to vote did not depend on race, then it should not be called be called "black majority rule", but simply "majority rule". Michael Hardy (talk) 20:04, 2 August 2018 (UTC)

agreed. Will change this —  Cliftonian (talk)  07:31, 4 August 2018 (UTC)

Article Far Too Sympathetic and even White-Washing in places.[edit]

The article is very well written being richly detailed and well cited. It does, however, does engage in the whitewashing of the Rhodesian state with very little of its content being devoted to his government negative policies and in times it takes a far too favourable view of his actions letting his dubious claims stand unchallenged. Zubin12 (talk) 03:48, 3 August 2018 (UTC)

I don't think it does. Indeed the first section about his tenure as PM clearly talks about his crackdowns on the black nationalist organisations and bans. The Royal C (talk) 10:13, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
@Zubin12: specifically how do you feel it’s a whitewash and which policies do you think are not mentioned or expanded upon sufficiently? If there are specific examples we’ve missed I’d be very pleased to see them added in. Which actions/policies do you think are viewed far too favourably? We quote his points of view, explanations etc as part of this biographical portrait of him but that isn’t the same as agreeing with him. And I think there is a fair bit of challenging to all this in the legacy section, for example. The article more than once has people call him racist, stupid etc. Hope this helps. Cheers —  Cliftonian (talk)  07:40, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
I'd also point out that this article is about Smith, not his government or the history of the country. To be sure, there are overlaps among these topics, but specific criticism of the government's policies, etc., is better directed to those pages, with a reference or two here. --Piledhigheranddeeper (talk) 15:36, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
@Zubin12:, I couldn't disagree more with your claim that the article is "too sympathetic" to Ian Smith (although I do agree with your assessment that the article is "well written, richly detailed and well cited"). The article is perfectly neutral, and presents the facts without editorializing; it also provides adequate context for such facts by presenting opinions of Smith's contemporaries regarding his life, views and work. There are plenty of fora in the Internet to express one's disapproval of Smith's policies and of white-ruled Rhodesia generally, but an encyclopedia article is not the proper place for that. AuH2ORepublican (talk) 15:41, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
Without a response from @Zubin12: and consensus appearing to be against the claim, I have removed the template. The Royal C (talk) 07:27, 10 August 2018 (UTC)

"White Supremacist"[edit]

Hi AuH2ORepublican first of all I didnt add anything this was removed here without giving a reason in the talk page or in the summary. You were the next editor in the history but you didnt revert what he did but when I ruturned the article to what it was I got reverted by you this in fact shows how biased you are and how you are trying to whitewash these facts. Remember that facts dont care about your feelings. Anyway there are tons of reliable sources that label this guy as a whitesupermist and it doesnt even look like a matter of debate even his party was labelled as white supermist party. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] SharabSalam (talk) 14:13, 29 January 2019 (UTC)

@SharabSalam, this article was first written on April 3, 2003, and it existed without the tag "White Supremacists" for over 15 years, until August 2, 2018, when the tag was added as the 13th of the 39 edits made that day by approximately 25 different editors. (Unsurprisingly, August 2, 2018 was the date on which the article was Wikipedia's "Featured Article.") Understandably, few, if any, editors noticed the POV edit amidst those 39 edits (I certainly didn't), and it remained in place until an alert editor noticed it on December 5 and deleted it. I fail to understand why you believe that it is evidence of "bias" on my part that I did not revert the edit on August 2, 2018 but did so now; if I was biased, wouldn't I have reverted the edit right away? Or are you implying that I am biased against *you* in particular? That's a serious allegation, which you're making without any evidence whatsoever, and I ask that you reconsider your views about me (someone about whom you know absolutely nothing) as well as your attitude towards fellow editors, who, like you, want to make Wikipedia a more complete and neutral source of information.
Returning to the subject at hand, Ian Smith never described himself as a "white supremacist," and always insisted that he was opposed to Marxism, not to blacks voting qua blacks voting. He did not try to establish a law that prohibited voting on account of race (blacks who owned the requisite amount of property had the right to vote even during the worst days of white-minority rule in Southern Rhodesia and later Rhodesia), and later worked hand in hand with black leaders to try to establish a government that respected the rights of all Rhodesia Zimbabweans (as the country was renamed), serving in the minority in the black-majority government established in 1979 (but was later overthrown at the insistence of Marxist rebels led by Robert Mugabe, who then became a dictator for the next 38 or so years). I can think of many public figures from Smith's era for whom the appellation "white supremacist" would be more fitting than it is for Smith, and it adds absolutely *nothing* to this article to tag the article with such pejorative term. Have you bothered to look at the persons whose articles have been tagged with "White Supremacists"? Only 17 other articles have such tag (one about a fictional character); Adolf Hitler and former KKK Grand Dragon David Duke are not described as "white supremacists" in the tags to their respective articles, yet you wish to add the tag to an article about a person about whom use of the term would be, at best, questionable.
The Wikipedia article on Ian Smith was listed as a Good Article and nominated as a Featured Article back in 2014 (long before anyone added "White Supremacists" to its categories) because it presents its subject in a complete and unbiased way. Smith is presented warts and all, and sourced comments from contemporaries who considered him to be a racist are presented alongside sourced comments from contemporaries who had a more positive view of his regard for and treatment of persons from other races. Please note that the editor that added the "White Supremacists" tag on August 2, 2018 started a conversation in the article's Talk page the following day in which he accused the article of being an example of "whitewashing of the Rhodesian state" and letting Smith's "dubious claims stand unchallenged"; no other seconded such accusations, and several editors (myself included) defended the neutrality of the article. While all articles can use some improvement, adding bias by labeling Smith as a "white supremacist" (as opposed to staying neutral and permitting the reliable sources cited within the article describe Smith the way that they saw him).
In my opinion, tagging the article as if it were about a "white supremacist" would be as nonconstructive and biased as would be to tag it with "African Hero" or some such. You, obviously, disagree, and believe that the category "White Supremacists" should be added to the article. This is the type of issue that needs to be resolved by the editing community writ-large, which is exactly that for which the Talk page exists. For this reason, I will revert your edit to return the article to the status quo ante (with "White Supremacist" not listed as a category, which is the way it was for over 15 years until August 2, 2018) and will invite interested editors to comment on the issue in the Talk page. I also have corrected the title of the Section so that editors know where to go (you wrote "white supermist" instead of "White Supremacist").
Editors, please use this section to post your opinions as to whether adding "White Supremacists" as a category adds or detracts from the article's neutrality. AuH2ORepublican (talk) 16:45, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
@AuH2ORepublican: ALMOST ALL sources say that he was a white supermists in fact I found old archive of Arabic news from 1976 that call him a terrorist not to mention that I have gave you some of many sources that say he is a white supremacists in fact according to a source "the murderous Ian Smith regime killed thousands of innocent black people in Rhodesia, and Zambia in the 1970s".[6] here are some other sources that say he is a white supremacist [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] there are enough sources for the dispute to be solved and yet you havent provided any source that backs your claim. as I said there are tons of sources that say he was a white supremacist you on the other hand using whataboutism arguments and pushing POVs also you said he never said he is a white supremacist? well haha thats because white supremacy is an insult for example no one would call himself a dictator even if he is a dictator we usually rely on third party statements so your argument there, was in my opinion with all respect to you idiotic. Asking other members in wikipedia who you choose indiscriminately is fine. also thanks for correcting me. my English isnt so good I hope you understood what I said.--SharabSalam (talk) 19:40, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
@SharabSalam, of course you can find a lot of sources that call Ian Smith or the white-minority Rhodesian government "white supremacist." Similarly, I can find one hundred times as many sources that call Yasser Arafat a terrorist. But while the article on Yasser Arafat includes statements by persons who condemn Arafat as a terrorist (just as the article on Ian Smith includes statements by persons whop condemn him as a racist), the Arafat article does not include the category of "Terrorist" because it would not be NPOV to do so. Subjective opinions on the subjects of Wikipedia articles, as expressed by reliable sources, certainly have a place in such articles, but it must be done within the body of the article, with adequate sourcing and without bias; but the article itself must be objective, and subjectivity cannot seep into the title of the article or the categories under which it is being listed. This is an encyclopedia, not a Facebook page for you to present your opinion and to use pejoratives willy-nilly.
As for your personal attacks against me, I am warning you for the second time to cut it out. AuH2ORepublican (talk) 20:13, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
@AuH2ORepublican: You are again using whataboutism arguments and continuing this disscusion with you is obviously a waste of time. and for what you called a personal attack and it wasnt it was an observation when you reverted my edit asking me to go to the talk page and in the IP edit that had no summary or disscuion you stayed silent even though you were the next editor after him. ALso when you said "This is an encyclopedia, not a Facebook page for you to present your opinion and to use pejoratives willy-nilly" you should be saying this to yourself you literaly have not presented any source or reference but your opinions. Ironically its you who think that wikipedia is a facebook page --SharabSalam (talk) 20:26, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
And just for the record all the sources I presented are unbiased and reliable.--SharabSalam (talk) 20:29, 29 January 2019 (UTC)

@SharabSalam, so you are upset because I did not revert a NPOV edit (that removed "White Supremacists" as a category for the article) but reverted your POV edit (that added "White Supremacists" as a category for the article)? Aren't you aware that articles are supposed to be NPOV?

I will reiterate that the article on Ian Smith presents his entire life and legacy in a neutral way, including the points of view of numerous reliable sources, and that adding a "White Supremacists" label to the article takes away from its neutrality. Given our disagreement on this matter, I don't believe that it would be productive to continue to discuss this until other interested editors have chimed in. When I reverted your edit and restored the status quo ante, I invited all interested editors to come to the Talk page to discuss the issue, and I suggest that we wait to see what others have to say. AuH2ORepublican (talk) 20:44, 29 January 2019 (UTC)

No ofc not I am not upset in fact I am editing in wikipedia for entertainment and you havent made me upset yet. Anyway NPOV doesnt mean you white wash facts that are supported by reliable sources. What you should have done though is to not put the article to what the IP editor has edited which in his edit he made no consensus in the talk page. You reverted my edit saying this in the edit summary "Reverting POV edit; if you wish to classify the article as one about a "white supremacist" you should explain in the Talk page how such appellation is consistent with NPOV and seek a consensus from editors before making such change" when its actually the IP user is the one who you should have said this to..--SharabSalam (talk) 20:57, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
@AuH2ORepublican: You said you invited all interested editors? but in your contribution page I see you havent invited anyone!! Did invite these editors via phone calls or e-mails?--SharabSalam (talk) 21:05, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
SharabSalam, you have it backwards. That IP user from December 5, 2018 was reverting a POV edit that should have been reverted immediately but fell through the cracks because it was the 13th out of 39 edits made on August 2, 2018. The August 2 editor did not initiate a discussion in the Talk page in which he expressed why he believed that it was NPOV to add a "White Supremacists" category to the article, and it is ludicrous to expect an editor who is reverting such POV edit to seek consensus before restoring the status quo ante.
But, as I mentioned at the outset, the editor who added the "White Supremacists" category did go to the Talk page the next day, but it was to complain that the article was "whitewashing" history and was biased; several editors (I was among them) chipped in with their opinion that the article was neutral, pointing out that Smith's actions were presented neutrally and that anti-Smith opinions from reliable sources were prominently featured in the article, and after no one seconded the complaining editor's claims the matter was put to rest. The "White Supremacists" issue was not discussed then and there because the complaining editor did not mention his edit when he posted to the Talk page and, I imagine, none of the other editors were aware of his edit (I certainly wasn't aware of it, or I would have reverted the change at the the time).
By the way, after I pointed out that the David Duke article did not have the "White Supremacists" category, you edited the article to add that tag. Now *that* is an appropriate and uncontroversial use of the category. Do Hitler next. And then the hundreds of other avowed white supremacists with Wikipedia articles about them. But if you start applying the category to articles about historical figures whose views on racial matters are inconsistent with our more enlightened views of today (but who were not prominent exponents of white supremacy) then the category will become meaningless.
Oh, and if you check the edit in which I reverted your edit and returned to the status quo ante, I specifically wrote in the comment to the edit (which would be seen by all editors who have the article on their Watchlist or who visit the article's history) "please visit Talk page and join the discussion under "White Supremacist" so that we can come to a consensus on the appropriateness of the proposed tag." How else do you suggest that I "invite" interested editors to come to the Talk page? AuH2ORepublican (talk) 21:34, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
  • He wasnt reverting an edit he didnt leave any edit summary how am I suppose to know that he was reverting an edit and the article had no problem until he removed it also calling the addition of the category a POV when it is supported by almost all reliable sources is wrong.
  • Yes I did. Thank you for pointing that there is an article that should be in the category. There are a lot of reliable sources that support that Ian Smith was a white supremacist in fact it was in the introduction of this article but was removed later by an ip and he didnt need to seek a consensus like me but its okay because I have a lot of reliable sources that support my position and I believe soon or later the category and the vandalism that has happened to this article will be fixed I have also found that there are a lot of things that are missed in this article and I am planing to fix this article neutrality when I am free.
  • ohhh sorry I thought you are going to message some editors who are interested in the subject. well thanks for explaining
SharabSalam (talk) 22:11, 29 January 2019 (UTC)

Pictogram voting comment.png 3O Response: Looking at Category:White supremacists, it seems to contain individuals or leaders of anti-establishment groups, often though not exclusively American, often though not exclusively modern. It has sub-categories for Neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members etc. As far as I can see, it doesn't have heads of governments, such as prime ministers of South Africa, prime ministers of Rhodesia or governors of Alabama, to take a few examples. I don't see this as an NPOV or RS issue. Whether Smith could be called a white supremacist is a different argument from whether he should be in that category. Given the convention about what the category contains, Smith should not go in. Scolaire (talk) 16:40, 3 February 2019 (UTC)

@Scolaire, thank you very much for your analysis and input. AuH2ORepublican (talk) 17:06, 3 February 2019 (UTC)
@Scolaire: Thanks for your help. From what I see here is that you don't have any opinion about whether Ian Smith was a white supremacist or not. Then I will be fixing this article with sourced information because I believe these sources I stated are reliable and should have a place in this article. Thanks--SharabSalam (talk) 04:46, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
@SharabSalam, you, of course, are free to try to improve the article, but if you inject POV to it, or give WP:UNDUE weight to opinions of persons speaking about the Rhodesian government's policies, you likely will be reverted. Please note that just a few months ago an editor argued that the article was biased and engaged in "whitewashing," and he was shot down by the editing community, which pointed out that the article already gives due weight to opinions of contemporary critics of Ian Smith, including some who called him a racist. AuH2ORepublican (talk) 06:52, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
@SharabSalam: I understood that I was being asked to give an opinion on whether the category should be left in or removed, and that was the question I addressed. If you're now asking whether the article should say he was a white supremacist, then I'll answer. It can say so if, and only if, a biography of Smith or a history of Zimbabwe or a scholarly work on white supremacism written by an acknowledged expert in his/her respective field argues at significant length that he was one. The nine links that you posted above were to throwaway remarks in works that were not primarily about Smith or his regime (including a novel by Wilbur Smith). None of them would be a reliable source for the purpose of making the statement. Scolaire (talk) 12:06, 4 February 2019 (UTC)

Misleading Narrative presented in this article[edit]

I've raised this issue before but due to reasons stemming from lack of time I had to drop it, but I'm going to push on now that I have more time. The narrative given by this article is highly misleading and whitewashing at times, attempting to present Smith as a moderate in favour of racial equality that was demonized by unfair critics. It heavily relies on biographies written by those sympathetic to white supremacy and takes great pains to contextualise any statements he makes where he demonstrates racism but no such care is taken when instead violence or instability is blamed on "black nationalists" which this article seeks to point as the main cause of Rhodesia many failings. There is no discussion in this article regarding the war crimes committed by Rhodesia during the Bush War which Smith oversaw. The article is undoubtedly through and well-written but that is perhaps it's greatest failing, as in that broadness it paints a very selective and not-consensual view of Smith that ignores the majority of academics that point to the state as it was, a white supremacists warzone.

Zubin12 (talk) 14:29, 7 December 2019 (UTC)

Okay, can you please be more specific about examples and historians? Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 02:21, 8 December 2019 (UTC)

Ok, there is no discussion of the segregation present in Rhodesia under Smith despite the fact that it underpinned the society that he fought to maintain. There is little mention of Rhodesias use of biological weapons and chemical weapons during the bush war or the resulting death toll. The land apporimtnet act is also missing despite the fact that its reservation of the majority of agricultural land for the white minority drove opposition to his regime. Zubin12 (talk) 08:41, 8 December 2019 (UTC)

Stop trying to push your point of view. You removed all the pro-Smith stuff from the opening paragraphs, but left all the anti-Smith stuff in. If we are to say what his detractors thought, we should also say what his supporters thought. PopesTouch (talk) 07:36, 8 December 2019 (UTC)
The views of his detractors aren't fairly put in proportion with their prevalence among general scholarships surrounding Smith. Zubin12 (talk) 08:05, 8 December 2019 (UTC)
Not true. The academic consensus around Smith is more positive than negative, and this article gives equal weight to both perspectives. You tried this before in August 2018, and other editors rejected it. PopesTouch (talk) 08:13, 8 December 2019 (UTC)
Citation needed for the claim that consensus regarding Ian Smith is positive given that both his goal, to maintain a white-dominant goverment( Which this article tries to brush over) where they possed legal privileges and disspraopinate power over the vast majority is considered abhorrent. And his method of engaging in a hopeless campaign futile. Zubin12 (talk) 08:21, 8 December 2019 (UTC)
"His goals were abhorrent and his methods were futile" are opinions, not facts. You and your friend have been at this for over a year - give it up. PopesTouch (talk) 08:25, 8 December 2019 (UTC)
They are the consensus on Smith by modern historians who reject the values he aim to make. An uncritical article such as this that attempts to whitewash the actions of the subject matter must be changed. Zubin12 (talk) 08:41, 8 December 2019 (UTC)
You are clearly reading biased sources, since other editors (like the ones you asked about this in August 2018 above) agree with me. PopesTouch (talk) 08:52, 8 December 2019 (UTC)
That's not an argument, it's an appeal to popularity, and if you are certain that you are in the majority launch an RFC to resolve this dispute. Zubin12 (talk) 14:30, 8 December 2019 (UTC)
I already started a dispute resolution process PopesTouch (talk) 02:18, 9 December 2019 (UTC)
@PopesTouch: No, you have not managed to start the dispute resolution process yet. As you by now have been told repeatedly, the process will not start until you have given the necessary notifications. --T*U (talk) 10:50, 12 December 2019 (UTC)
You have not. No RFC has been started Zubin12 (talk) 08:01, 12 December 2019 (UTC)

The article doesn't mention the fact that he and his regime is a white supremacist which is reported in most reliable sources[edit]

Like the NYT,this this,this, this and many other sources. It is widely known that this guy and his regime were white supremacist. There is not a single mention of "white supremacy" or "white supremacist" in the article[source ctrl-F]. If I have time I will work on this White washing issue. Also including statements from unnamed supporters in the lede(his supporters are probably white supremacists bigots) like Ian SSmith understood "tHe tRuTh aBoUt aFricA". The scholarly consensus is that Ian Smith was White supremacist and is not by any means in favour of this guy.-SharabSalam (talk) 18:59, 11 December 2019 (UTC)

The article makes crystal clear that Ian Smith opposed black-majority rule in Rhodesia (until he was forced to capitulate in the late 1970s). It also includes statements by contemporaries accusing him of racism. What would it add to the article to describe him with the POV term "white supremacist," particularly when the views ascribed to him were shared by most Western political leaders of the first half of the 20th century (even if they had fallen out of favor in the West one or two decades before Smith's rule)? It would be the equivalent of editing every article about Christian or Muslim religious leaders of the 18th century and branding them as "Christian supremacists" or "Muslim supremacists" (not to mention, in both cases, "anti-Jewish") who thought that their religion was the one, true religion and that other religions were inferior. How would that be more informative than prejudicial, and how would that not give Undue weight to a typical human failing of the time?
The Ian Smith article is a remarkably well written and balanced article, and I don't think that anyone who reads it will come away with the impression that Smith was colorblind or that his government did not discriminate because of race. I don't believe that it would be encyclopedic to introduce loaded, anachronistic terms such as "white supremacist" to this article, just as I do not believe that the article should be tagged with "Articles about white supremacists" as you tried to do a year or so ago (and regarding which a third-party arbiter ruled that such label should not be used for the article). AuH2ORepublican (talk) 20:59, 11 December 2019 (UTC)
AuH2ORepublican, the guy has died in recent years while still being white supremacist and loved by White supremacists and the sources make that clear. If you have multiple reliable sources that say someone is white supremacist, anti-Semitic or whatever and you dont find any mention of it in his article then add it. Also who said that Ian Smith is "a man of integrity and vision who understood the uncomfortable truths of Africa"? his white supremacists supporters? Why do we have their opinion in the lede while the scholarly consensus says that he was a white supremacist? Why should we give the same weight to his white supremacists supporters and the scholar consensus that he was a bigot? and what are the "uncomfortable truths" of Africa?--SharabSalam (talk) 21:16, 11 December 2019 (UTC)
SharabSalam, you are showing circular logic when you assume that people who believed that Smith had positive aspects were white supremacists, and then remove the sourced quote from the BBC's obituary of Smith because the views of white supremacists don't deserve inclusion in an article. Have you ever seen BBC reports of Ian Smith? I have, and believe me, the BBC did not "whitewash" anything. It surely pained the BBC to report that Smith had the admiration of many, and a balanced view of any historical figure cannot exclude such nuances. And what's with replacing the objective "white rule" with the loaded term "colonial rule" to describe the post-UDI Rhodesian government (which no longer was a British colony)? Wikipedia's audience is the general public, not members of a Social Justice Warrior page on Facebook. Encyclopedia articles should be NPOV, not biased in favor of a particular view. We are editing Wikipedia, not Wokeapedia. AuH2ORepublican (talk) 18:41, 12 December 2019 (UTC)
Smith was not a White supremacist. His views about Black people were somewhat paternalistic, but he didn't hate them the way the KKK did. The pages on George Wallace, Adolf Hitler, and Strom Thurmond do not call them White supremacists, and all 3 were markedly more racist than Smith. A racist US senator, James Eastland, complained about how Black people were allowed into the same hotels as White people in Smith's Rhodesia. PopesTouch (talk) 07:46, 12 December 2019 (UTC)
He belived in the supremacy of the white race and their right to rule others, by definition that makes him a white supremacist. Zubin12 (talk) 07:55, 12 December 2019 (UTC)
He didn't believe in biological racial superiority...he even said in his interview with William Buckley in 1974 that he wasn't sure that the European way was better than the African way. You seem to have an ax to grind against Mr. Smith for some bizarre reason. PopesTouch (talk) 07:57, 12 December 2019 (UTC)
That literally doesn't matter he led a state that was founded on the principle of the right for whites to rule out of context meandrings don't cover up that he spent most of his life leading a state founded on the principles of white supremacy. I have an axe to grind against people who try to rewrite the narrative to justify white supremacists. You have decided to engage in the stupdendous task of arguing that somebody who founded a state to avoid having to enfranchise native africans isn't a white supremacistsZubin12 (talk) 08:00, 12 December 2019 (UTC)
He wasn't trying to avoid enfranchising native Africans...he created a constitution that would gradually create a parity between Africans and Europeans in the parliament, with 50 seats for each group, plus 8 additional seats elected by local tribal chiefs. He just believed in evolution, not revolution. I don't think he was perfect, and the article doesn't canonize him, but he deserves a fair article, and this article is fair. PopesTouch (talk) 08:12, 12 December 2019 (UTC)
He wanted to give 5% of the population most of the power, that boilerplater white supremacy don't rewrite history and distort facts.Zubin12 (talk) 08:46, 12 December 2019 (UTC)
The qualifications for voting were not racial. Try again. PopesTouch (talk) 09:13, 12 December 2019 (UTC)
They just so happend to give white people effectively total control of the state despite only being 5% of the population Zubin12 (talk) 09:53, 12 December 2019 (UTC)
But it wasn't because they were White, it was because they were the ones who generated the vast majority of tax revenue, thus, they should be the ones to determine how the money was spent. PopesTouch (talk) 10:27, 12 December 2019 (UTC)

RfC: Regarding the introduction[edit]

This RfC concerns Ian Smith, a controversial and polarizing figure in the history of the country then known as Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Some six years ago in 2014, this article was promoted to featured article, at which time it read like this. In this RfC, it is alleged that the article is biased.

On the basis of the short debate below, which involved a small number of editors, the only finding available to me is that for the time being, there is no consensus to make the changes described in this RfC. This means that for the moment the status quo ante should continue.

That is the end of my formal close, but taking my RfC closer hat off and putting my editor hat back on, I'd suggest that there is an opportunity to go to featured article review for an in-depth look at the neutrality issues. If it turns out that we have, indeed, promoted a whitewash to the status of featured article, then that's rather troubling and we will need to learn to do better.—S Marshall T/C 17:33, 23 March 2020 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Should the following changes Changes be included in the introduction ?

As part of an attempt to remedy an unfortunate pro-smith bias in the article which I have elaborated in previous talk-page discussion, I made some changes to the introduction to correct this imbalance. The introduction is emblematic of the way the article is subtly biased with meaningless cruft from an obituary put into prominence " a man of integrity and vision who understood the uncomfortable truths of Africa,[1][vague] while critics describe" which don't mean anything without context regarding what exactly those uncomfortable truths are. Furthermore, the use of the term predominantly implies some level of non-white representation in Rhodesias Goverment but during the UDI there was not a single non-white minister in the government. The figure of only 500 black electors is from the Book State of Africa which is extensively used throughout the article. Zubin12 (talk) 10:33, 3 February 2020 (UTC)
Generally support changes to the first paragraph, which make it more clear and concise. I don't understand why you changed the comment about the Bush War ramping up in 1972 to "As his position became increasingly untenable,". To me the former seems more clear.
Also FYI the diff is not the enaction of Zubin's changes but the reversion of them. buidhe 14:15, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
  • Support change. I don't know wny you were reverted by the editor. A rather strange revert if you ask me! I have added this article to my watchlist couple of years ago and intended to come back to it. However, I've been really busy with real life and other articles. Although I've been checking some of the changes in the past couple of months everytime it pops up on the top of my watchlist, I have not been making changes to it as the article require a lot of work. It is biased from beginning to end. I am glad someone is brave enough to tackle this pro-Smith biase. It's about time! Senegambianamestudy (talk) 19:31, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
  • Opppose change the article is balanced as it is. You have a clear bias against Smith, whom you regard as racist, and you want to slant the article against him. — Preceding unsigned comment added by PopesTouch (talkcontribs) 10:07, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
  • Partial oppose - as we have 5 different changes I will provide a detailed breakldown:

predominantly/entirely - I would drop predominantly and leave it simply as "white government"
South African backed - that is fine addition
supporters/critics - while this whole part is subpar, I dont see the proposed change as an improvement. I think it should be rewritten from scratch and placed at the end of the lede as is usually done with such assessment/legacy sections of controversial people (Salazar, Mao etc.)
Bush War/increasingly untenable - no, the current version with Bush War reflects the article text better
only around 500 blacks - this is in the main text so it must have a properly formatted reference to go with it, if one is provided then this addition is ok
--Staberinde (talk) 10:11, 8 February 2020 (UTC)

    • The government wasn't entirely White, there were 50 Whites and 16 Blacks. That's about a 3:1 ratio, or about 1/4 of the government being Black, which is 1/4 more than the Jim Crow South. PopesTouch (talk) 10:24, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
Under a Westminster system, Goverment typical refers to Cabinet which did not have a single non-white minister at the time of the UDI. Additionally Rhodesia was 95% black meaning that the level unrepresentation was probably greater than in Rhodesia than jim crowunited states at the time given that a few black congressmen where elected in northern states. Regardless that is an irrelevant comparison that responds to nothing. Zubin12 (talk) 11:13, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
They had Black parliament members, who cares about the cabinet, that is less important than the parliament (which is equaivalent to the Congress) PopesTouch (talk) 11:44, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
The English Language cares when we say somebody served in goverment under a Westminster system that means they were members of cabinet or governing parliamentary caucus. Rhodesia was a parliamentary system of goverment meaning that the appropriate convention should be followed. Not a single black MP in the Rhodesian parliament was either a minister in his cabinet or even part of his parliamentary caucus. It's like saying that the current British Goverment can't be called Tory because Labour Mp's exist. Zubin12 (talk) 11:54, 8 February 2020 (UTC)

"Not a single black MP in the Rhodesian parliament was either a minister in his cabinet or even part of his parliamentary caucus." Wrong.

I can't prove a negative, give an example of a black minister or MP that was part of Smith's goverment when he declared the UDI ?. Zubin12 (talk) 13:42, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
 Wojturski1912 (talk) 11:46, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
  • Opppose change The Pro-SMith bias you talk of does not exist. "Predominantly white" is fine because contrary to your belief, the Smith Government had black ministers. "South African-Backed" is tolerable, but just seems out of place as other nations do not have statements of who supported them etc. Makes Rhodesia seem like a SA Puppet. Wojturski1912 (talk) 10:23, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
When it declared it's UDI, it did not have a single non-white minister those came later in the 70's as part of an attempt at "reform". The inital cabinet lacked any such non-white representation. Zubin12 (talk) 11:09, 8 February 2020 (UTC)

Yes but, as you admit, there were black ministers. Therefore the government wasn't "entirely white". Wojturski1912 (talk) 00:34, 9 February 2020 (UTC)

That wasn't the goverment that declared the UDI hence the paragraph is wrong.Zubin12 (talk) 02:01, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
  • Support changes I have always argued that the article is full of whitewashing. It seems like if this is not Ian Smith that I read about.--SharʿabSalam▼ (talk) 14:09, 4 March 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose proposed changes The article is exquisitely researched and eminently viewpoint-neutral, and is so well written that it was a Featured Article a few years ago. It would violate NPOV to inject political or racial ideologies into the article, as is being proposed. This is an encyclopedia article, not a Facebook page. AuH2ORepublican (talk) 15:11, 4 March 2020 (UTC)
Which is why it should be repersentive of mainstream academic views towards him with are primarily negative rather than attempt to white-wash his faults as it does here. Zubin12 (talk) 07:24, 6 March 2020 (UTC)

*Oppose proposed changes The article is already neutral, and was even a Featured Article several years ago. What's clear is that there are a group of users here trying to push an anti-Smith viewpoint, and that is not helpful. PopesTouch (talk) 01:12, 11 March 2020 (UTC) PopesTouch voted twice.--SharʿabSalam▼ (talk) 04:59, 16 March 2020 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


After reading the page many times over and viewing the discussions on this page, I do not feel that the neutrality is in question here, it all seems pretty straight forward to me.--BestOnLifeform (talk) 21:10, 14 February 2020 (UTC)

Care to tell us how? Senegambianamestudy (talk) 21:18, 14 February 2020 (UTC)
Senegambianamestudy, a clear cut example is that there are a lot of reliable sources calling him and his party White Supremacists/White Nationalists(e.g [16][17][18][19][20]) and yet there is no mention of the word "White nationalist" or "White supremacist" in this whole article, not even once. Instead, we have got opinion stuff from his White nationalist supporters who say that "[he] understood the uncomfortable truths of Africa" in the lead section.--SharʿabSalam▼ (talk) 07:53, 6 March 2020 (UTC)
I agree @SharabSalam: I agree, that's why I was taken back by the OP's stance. Senegambianamestudy (talk) 12:00, 6 March 2020 (UTC)
As somebody who contributes frequently to apartheid-related topics and Southern African political history articles (and furthermore as somebody from a country with a relatively recent colonial past), I've found this article to be quite neutral. At least neutral in the sense that it does nothing to actively promote the views espoused by Smith's most vocal proponents (that he was safeguarding Western, Christian, and British imperial "civilisation in a primitive country", as per his comments upon UDI), neither does it actively promote the views by his most vocal critics (that he was a barefaced white supremacist guilty of crimes against humanity by his brutal repression of the black masses of modern day Zimbabwe). Now, to those who are accustomed to only hearing either the proponent or the critical view, this looks like whitewashing, either in favour of, or implicitly weighted against, Smith. If all you've been taught all your life is that the man was a hero who stood up to godless communists or he was a racist despot who hated black people, then of course a neutral article which presents just the facts will look like it's missing an important part of the narrative, rather than just following the rule of NPOV.
I think this is especially problematic where regions like Southern Africa were concerned, since both the colonial/minority regimes and the nationalist movements trying to overthrow them were obsessed with propaganda and rhetoric, and this is reflected in the narratives those sympathetic to one side or another have produced (more on that here). But, as I said, it isn't an issue with the article itself, just the extremely polarising context in which the topic matter has been remembered. --Katangais (talk) 23:36, 12 April 2020 (UTC)
I have to agree with Senegambianamestudy, SharabSalam and disagree with BestOnLifeform Katangais. This page is clearly glorifying an unrepentant white supremacist. What “uncomfortable truths of Africa” he understood? To starve and steal them and then justify colonization by calling them poor and unskilled? I am also pretty astonished to see that "Daily Telegraph" a pro-tories paper has been overused for this article which can better rely on WP:HISTRS. The "FA" tag looked like a joke at this stage. Harmanprtjhj (talk) 04:56, 9 May 2020 (UTC)

FAR for Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence[edit]

I have nominated Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence for a featured article review here. Please join the discussion on whether this article meets featured article criteria. Articles are typically reviewed for two weeks. If substantial concerns are not addressed during the review period, the article will be moved to the Featured Article Removal Candidates list for a further period, where editors may declare "Keep" or "Delist" the article's featured status. The instructions for the review process are here. buidhe 11:20, 30 April 2020 (UTC)

  1. ^ BBC 2007.