Saturday, December 03, 2005

Sensitivity issues?

I hate to be one who said I told you so but yesterday I couldn't help but to. Previous post in my blog I talked about an issue in school and this time I will provide the entire story i.e Verbatim what exactly was said and to whom it was addressed. Bare with me.

Columnist opinion:
"When I write a column about something that people disagree with I expect to hear about it. This never bothers me. After all, I wouldn't write this column if I wasn't afraid of some banter. This happened last week when my angry rant against Halo 2 somehow ended up linked to a pretty highly visited Halo 2 website. Needless to say my popularity dropped pretty quickly. Anyway I had a couple random guys from different states add me to MSN messenger so they could do a little arguing with me. Thats all fine and dandy, until one of the pretentious bastards decided to basically tell me I know nothing because I'm from **insert my beloved hick town**. Hey, wait a minute. You can bash me all you want for my views on Halo 2, but you are playing with fire when you call me stupid and then link it to where I grew up. The problem is, this know-it-all is not alone. The citizens of State XYZ end up getting this ignorant hick stigma against them, simply from being from the Midwest.
What angers me the most is that its a form of widely accepted discrimination. Now, if I had said to that genius from Seattle (the pretentious bastard) that I thought all black people were "worthless piles of crap" that only commit crime, he would have let me have it. Off course I don't think that way, but I am sure I could find you some example to fit that description..............(written by R)

Rebuke from the black students:

" I agree it is incorrect to judge a persons intelligence based on where they're from. But to compare this to saying that all black people are "worthless piles of crap" who only commit crime just doesn't make sense at all. Then, to make matters worse, you say "Of course I don't think that way, but I'm sure I could find you some examples to fit that description." So, you're trying to tell me that you personally know some "worthless piles of crap" who only commit crime, but you don't believe that's all they do? Well when you come up with a good list, you let me know. What does insulting where a person grew up have to do with insulting an entire race? Nothing. It's a false analogy! In case you don't know what that is, I'll tell you. False analogies are comparisons between two situations that are not alike in most, or important, respects. I hope you see the point I'm trying to make." (Written by V)

"For R to "hypothetically stereotype" all black people is ignorant. For the editor of the **Name of Paper** to let her publish such a thing is equally ignorant. The statement in the column was inappropriate and unprofessional in the least bit. Undoubtedly, the individual in Seattle was bias towards small towns, but to match his ignorance reflects a lot about your own character. For you to lash out at black people as a whole and try to use race as if you were trying to prove a point is absolutely inappropriate. I was hurt by your statement "Now, if I had said that I thought all black people were worthless piles of crap that only commit crime." There isn't an "if" about it. YOU JUST SAID IT! According to you, black people have no worth and we are big piles of manure who do nothing but commit crimes. So all black people, including Rosa Parks, are criminals? But you didn't stop there. You could've been political about the situation. You could have used your journalistic instincts and rose above your own ignorance and shown some intelligence. But you said, "Of course, I don't think that way, but I'm sure I could find you some examples." YOU JUST CONTRADICTED YOURSELF IN ONE SENTENCE. "I really do think like that, but if I say that I don't, then it seems as if I don't." That is how it came across. Then you say, "I'm sure I can find someone if I look hard enough." So that means that you would have to go out a find someone that fits the bill, and it wouldn't be hard to do................................
Nevertheless, the article was very unprofessional, unfair and untrue. In my opinion, no discretion or common sense was used in the article. The comment you made was very disrespectful and without tact. If I may ask, what did writing such a derogatory statement toward African Americans accomplish? It further led me to agree with the man from Seattle. You absolutely have no clue what is going on in the world and not because you are from State XYZ, but because you are who you are. And yes, sorry to burst your bubble, but you might be the biggest hick in ..." (Written by M)


"I just want to clarify something before anybody kills me. In my last column, when I made the derogatory reference to black people, I did not mean it to be taken literally. The only thing I was trying to prove is how stupid it is to assume things like that. I wanted to use such an extreme example that nobody could possibly think I would believe that way. Evidently, I failed. When I said I could find an example of a black person that fit that description, I was just trying to prove that there are bad apples in ANY race and people should not judge the rest of the people in that group using the worst example. Much like calling all people from State XYZ dumb hicks because of meeting one hick from here. That's all I was trying to prove. I have no problem with any race, nor would I ever write anything that could be so purposely offensive and stupid. I apologize if I offended anyone. I just want to make very clear that my intentions with my column were not racist, but were to point out how mindless discrimination actually is." (Written by R)

"When running a paper, the editor has to choose what should be printed and how things should be worded. There is a fine line between freedom of speech and printing a column that is more than offensive. It was my job to decide if the column should be run. At the time, my impression of the article was that it made very direct accusations. However, at the same time, I believe strongly in freedom of speech and being able to say what you truly feel. However, I failed to edit the story for its derogatory remarks. I belive a point can be made without using certain words that were chosen.I personally am apologizing for letting the article go to print as written. Working on the **Name of paper** staff is a learning experience for all of us. My staff doesn't only put out a paper each week, they learn how to design pages, how to make things look better, what makes a good article and what can be printed." (Written by Editor)

Reaction from a student to Apologies:

" I think M was too harsh on you, overreacted, and missed the big picture. Even though I may not like it, I fully acknowledge that hicks exist in State XYZ, but that doesn't mean everyone living in State XYZ is a hick. M, if you don't think R or anyone else couldn't find a couple of black people in the United States who are detriments to society, you are simply in denial, as I would be if I tried to claim no one in State XYZ was a hick. In saying this, I am in no way trying to declare that all black people are that way. If you missed the point made by R's comparison, here it is: no matter how people are discriminated (by race, sex, creed or national origin) it's hurtful and disrespectful. My "XYZ-ness" can be disrespected the same as your "Blackness." (Written by a Senior)

I beg for your indulgence once more because I had to paste this reply in its fullness.

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." This quote by Mahatma Gandhi is pretty self explanatory: practice what you preach.In reference to the letter to the editor by M, before you criticize one for being a racist or ignorant, take a look at your own actions. I looked up your Facebook profile and found it littered with the very language you criticize. Using racial slurs like "nigga" are not only disrespectful to the people who fought against that, it makes you look more ignorant than the person you wrote your letter to the editor about. How would Rosa Parks feel about that? In regards to your "there's no 'if', you just said it" argument, there IS an 'if.' This makes it a hypothetical situation as you stated. An educated person should be able to recognize this situation as an extreme example towards the argument at hand: that stereotypes are ignorant. Had the sentence been, "I told him that I think all black people are worthless piles of crap who do nothing but commit crime," you would have been justified in your argument. As for writing professionally, next time you want to seem credible in your letter to the editor, don't include a personal ad. Being educated, intelligent, tall, dark and handsome has nothing to do with your argument.
Moving on to V's letter to the editor. She has a false analogies argument, in which she states that racism has nothing to do with making fun of where someone grew up. This can be answered in one sentence: "We don't tolerate racism, so why is OK to make fun of XYZs?" Here is where the previous examples in the article tie in. It's not about race, as most people have viewed it. Rather, it is about prejudice. In case you don't know, prejudice is the unjustified bias against someone based on his or her race, culture or region. As for the editors of the **Name of Paper**, apparently you hadn't found the comment derogatory until someone else made a fit about it. If you are going to print a column, you should stand by the author of that article. The words not only reflect on the author, but on your own opinions as the editors. I feel that your spineless actions have not only sided with the R-bashing, but have also made you look as if R is a little kid who cursed and you have to apologize for it because she doesn't know any better. Why do you feel that you would have to explain the situation when R has already addressed it with a follow up column? By apologizing, you make it appear that you have something to apologize about-- which you don't. If anyone had actually read the article and taken it for the message it was trying to convey, nobody would have any reason to be mad ... except for maybe that guy from Seattle." (Written by a Sophomore)

You be the judge of this mountain out of a mole-hill situation.

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