perhaps i'm sensitive - re: dca/steve bailey controversy

Terrance Lamonte Bond tlb2b
Fri Apr 28 09:40:44 CDT 2000

my response is below

On Fri, 28 Apr 2000, JeMara J Atwood wrote:

> Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 05:54:29 -0400
> From: JeMara J Atwood <jatwood at OSF1.GMU.EDU>
> Subject: Re: perhaps i'm sensitive - re: dca/steve bailey controversy
> I realize that MANY people have written in to discuss the "sexist/racist"
> nature of Lupo's bio...I usually keep silent on the list serve concerning
> most issues but this one has peaked my interest.
>  Racism is a very strong word -- it seems as though many in the community
> have used it so much in and out of debate rounds that it has lost some of
> its meaning. I don't really care about the illusion of
> "coolness" that Bear seems to assign to the Emory debaters (quite frankly,
> I know too many of them to believe it:)) but I do care very much about
> inflated accusations of racism and the tendency to (in an attempt to
> police racism) read too much into innocuous statements. I understand that
> people make generalizations and wisecracks that have racist undertones but
> sometimes people make jokes that are simply misconstrued. My point is
> this; not only is it arrogant and incongruous to indiscriminately label
> statements as racist when the nature of the comment isn't fully known but
> it is also deleterious. Before you subject the community to another post
> reprimanding us for not being offended by something...make sure that it is
> something that we should actually be offended by. No one is saying that it
> is ok to make dsicriminatory or racist remarks on the list serve but just
> because you don't understand a joke doesn't make it racist --
> TERRANCE: I don't think that is Michelin's intent at all(to demand
that we should all take offense, that is)....i think her
point is that the community should be aware that  the
statements that we sometimes frame as "jokes" can be construed as
exclusionary. Highlighting the possibility of someone's communication
being misperceived by the "uninitiated" sounds to me like she's just
pointing out the fact that people should be responsible for their
commnication and that its effect isn't always uniform, even if that is the

Also, I think Michelin understood "the joke" quite well, which is why i
applaud her post. If you attribute her "lack of understanding" to a
willingness to be skeptical and critical of statements that privilege
the degradation of black males, then i think we should all be a little
less understanding.....even if we knew what our friends really meant.


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