RESPONSE TO RACE LETTER
In the spirit of John Stuart Mill, I am going to respond to offensive 'speech' with more speech. Mr. Hoskins, in the last paragraph of your letter [ Windy City Times Letters, Oct. 17, 2001 ] you write that you are not a hateful person and that you hope that your letter does not come across a hateful or racist to Mr. [ Mubarak ] Dahir [ a Windy City Times columnist ] . I am writing because your letter came across as hateful and racist to me.
You affirm that anti-gay discrimination does not remotely equate with that now being practiced by the airlines against 'Arabs.' Yes sir, it does. Discrimination against groups of people is wrong and can never be justified by the actions of a few. If that were to be the case, it would be justified to discriminate against white people who have been responsible for discriminations against others in this society. This is a nation that has a short history and an even shorter memory, but those who have been terrorized at home by those who live in the same house do not. Many of us remember because it has not stopped. So your view of the 'general level of tolerance and antidiscrimination efforts' in this country is questionable. Non-white groups are profiled continuously now, even at the WTC site when they are there to assist.
It is unnecessary for you to know or care since you must not be a potential recipient. But 'the beat goes on,' some other folks have been added to the band.
You say that Middle Eastern communities should be encouraged to support our society and prove to the rest of us their cherished citizenship. Who is the 'our' in our society...who does this society belong to?? To you?? Exactly how does one 'prove' that they cherish their citizenship. I am not a felony offender, I work, I pay taxes, have I proven my citizenship to your satisfaction?? Do you have any reason/evidence to believe that members of the Middle Eastern community do not do those things??
You refer to the struggle for gay rights as if it is a struggle engaged in by saints. Do we not have members who are felony offenders, do not work, steal, kill, etc. Would pointing to those folks provide grounds for discriminating against us?? Have white people suddenly become saints such that they do not have to 'prove' that they cherish their citizenship?? You might remember, sir, that when we were at war with Germany and Japan, only Japanese citizens were encamped. Was that because they had not 'proven' that they cherished their citizenship?? During the Vietnam war, African-American soldiers did one third of the dying and we are still not full citizens. Did we not do enough??
You ask that the Middle Eastern communities help 'us' identify and stop those responsible for mass harm. Whoever the 'us' is are they without criminals in their community?? It may surprise you to know that living with terror is much the norm for many groups in this society, so much so that it is expected. It may be a surprising and disturbing experience for you...it is not for me.
I was saddened and surprised to read Greg Hoskins' letter in the Oct. 17 issue of WCT.
Saddened that within our communities we have not moved beyond kneejerk sympathies with dominant logic when interacting with those who they/we decide to regard as 'Other.'
Surprised that there is a need felt to publish, uncontested, such racist crap. WCT celebrates itself as "The Voice of Chicago's Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Trans Community." One of the many functions of racism is to silence.
One could argue that Mr. Hoskins has a right to yell fire in a crowded theatre. But does WCT need to hand him a megaphone? How many voices are drowned out in the resulting stampede?
This is the point where I'm supposed to argue/explain why Mr. Hoskins' letter is racist. Well, I'm not going to. It's like being asked to describe to the cops what a brick is when one has been thrown through your window. You know bricks, they are used to frame the structures in our city and they really hurt when you get smashed with one.
Mr. Hoskins, stop throwing.
WCT, seriously reconsider providing racists with a catapult. They have enough weapons.
Anne T. Leighton, Chicago