e-mail me at billdeg@umich.edu


on wimping out

No easy way to say this. I punked out a few days ago in a big way. I took the wimpy, quiet route and regret it. Someone spouted the vilest, most cartoonish and extreme hatefulness I've heard in some time and, though I expressed displeasure, I stoppped short of saying "That is ignorant and I reject every premise, every piece of garbage and hate that just came from your mouth." That is what I should have said. That is what I am saying now, too late.

Calling out racist hate is an obligation. This time I failed.

What did the hate speech sound like? Unrepeatable (not in the least clever) terms that referenced Barack Obama. References to his support of gay rights that talked about his love of "perverts." Maybe the worst part was the praise of Ann Coulter, who has made a career out of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism. She offers NOTHING to political discourse except racism. She's not smart. She's not original. She has no redeeming qualities. I can think of no explanation for her celebrity aside from her racism: the (sublimely inaccurate) suggestion that "all terrorists are Muslims," the free and unrestricted use of terms like "raghead," etc.

These laudatory comments about Coulter were made in front of people who happen to be Arabic and Muslim, and should have been challenged more strenuously. Not cool. And maybe they were said in part to get a rise out of me. If so, then I regret that I in any way inspired such sentiment. I only see the person who said these horrible, horrible things once a year or so, but I see good people who are black, gay, Arab, or Muslim every day. Not cool.


bonnie lenore kyburz said...

suckage. i'm sorry you had to deal w/ that. or, that you're feeling badly about how you dealt w/ it. it's always hard to know just what to say/do, esp. when you imagine that someone is just dying to get you all riled up.

i like the cool, quiet, "that's just wrong."

peace ;)

bdegenaro said...

Well said. How to respond in ways that are peaceful but also vigilant? That's a rhetorically difficult line.