Thursday, November 18, 2004

Fallout 

Of course the flap over the picture on our announce list (see the story immediately below) continues on campus. We have examples of anger...
... it is always, each and every time, a problem to me when I see or hear my heritage being diminished. AND HELL NO, I won�t get over it! Indeed, I view suggestions that I do so as fighting words. Racism unopposed, whether due to omission (ignorance) or commission (hate/fear) both perpetuates and sanctions future inappropriate acts. By not responding I allow such nonsense to grow stronger and become more commonplace. When you use my heritage for your entertainment, you not only insult me, you convey your disdain for me and people like me.
...bewilderment...
When his apology came out, I still didn't quite get the issue - the first thing that popped into my head was that some people might be offended by the idea of dressing animals in human costumes. The Native American issue had not occurred to me. And that got me to thinking.

Am I racist because I don't notice things that might be insulting to others?

And doesn't specifically pointing out differences draw more attention to them, rather than building bridges that overcome the divides? Am I wrong in hoping that my new baby will continue to be blind to the differences in skin color at his day care? Where's the line between celebrating difference and making difference a means to divide?
...self-flaggelation...
It's easy for me to laugh at a caricature of Germans (my ancestry) as stubborn, thick-headed rule-bound or militaristic. Such caricatures are rare and carry no power to hurt me. No one follows me around in stores or pulls me over without cause because of my German ancestry. I have not been restricted in my access to education, housing, credit, insurance or general respect on account of my German ancestry. Indeed, as a white man I have benefited from unearned advantages due to past and present racism.
...to clueless.
Is the only response to a request for respectful communication the assumption that someone's "free speech" is being challenged?
To answer the last question, yes, it is the only response. More later tonight.

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