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Sender: Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2007 08:55:20 -0500
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From: Hal Bush <[log in to unmask]>
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The very odd aspect of this discussion is the extreme resistance that many
feel in our culture when others point out to them that something they have
said, or some symbol they have invoked, is objectionable, or offensive.
It's the (predictable) knee-jerk response that both fascinates me, and
horrifies me.

Rather than repent and change their ways, they often decide to defend their
dubious usage or their quaint, outdated symbols, usually emotionally and in
some weird way.  I believe I am correct to say that an authentic ethic of
love would have a very different response.

Defending phrases or symbols that are clearly offensive to many people truly
misses the point.  Here's the point:  the words or the symbols that you have
chosen is deeply offensive.  When I read the original line "white enough,"
it was immediately obvious to me that this phrase betrays racial
ramifications that ore objectionable.  It is surprising to me at this late
date that some people do not discern or admit that.  I did not immediately
conclude that the writer was a "racist," though the thought certainly
crossed my mind.  As such, I would think the writer would welcome criticism
pointing out that his words suggest a racist view, even though he may not
mean to project one.

The best example I know of this phenomenon is the by-now inexplicable
defense of the Confederate flag that many southerners still continue to
promote, despite the fact that millions of Americans, both black and white,
rather despise that flag and everything it stands for.

Another common contemporary example is the brouhaha that now arises when
team mascots are criticized and/or changed.  The "Illini" mascot at the
University of Illinois (a wild, shrieking, whooping Indian) was banished
last year, and the cries of indignity and charges of pc were astonishing
(though sadly predictable) in response.

Why not just recognize that the Confederate flag, or the mascot, are symbols
whose time has passed, and that they both just need to go away?  Surely it
should be obvious to any intelligent person why so many people react
negatively to them??

Frankly, I can't believe that we would even need to point any of this out in
the 21st century, but I guess that's just me!

Harold K. Bush
Saint Louis University