Paul R. Lehman, Opinion writer salutes supporters of disparaging remarks

May 8, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Posted in American Bigotry, Bigotry in America, Media and Race | 3 Comments
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Saturday, 5/7/11, the writer of the Opinions in The Oklahoman made a strong statement of support for Rep. Sally Kern and  three Democrats who voted against reprimanding her.  Rep. Kern is the Oklahoma Congresswoman who made some disparaging remarks about women and African Americans (her term was blacks) in conjunction with her desire to discontinue Affirmative action in Oklahoma. The problem with the comments in the Opinion piece is that it seemingly shares the same misguided perceptions of Kern as well as offer encouragement to those who support her for making the comments in the first place.

One must certainly question the motives of someone who wants to discontinue a program that has offered more opportunities to European American women like Rep. Kern than to anyone else. European American women are the primary beneficiaries of the Affirmative Action program. Rep. Kern must believe that European American women and other American minorities have experienced enough success so now the program that was instituted to help them with opportunities that were never available to them be fore the program should  now be discontinued. Her actions indicate that she knows very little about the history of needs in society for opportunities for women and minorities.

In an earlier news report, a reference was made to the tearful apology made by Rep. Kern for her remarks. The problem with the remarks is that it does not address the real problem or the reason why Kern would feel at liberty to make them in the first place. Her apology was not for making the remarks, but for having the remarks exposed. An apology should be made for Kern thinking the thoughts that led to her remarks. That is, what was her mindset when she uttered the words that casted aspersions on women and African Americans? No doubt Kern sees herself as a fine Christian woman who loves her fellowman; however, one must wonder if she views all her fellow Americans as equals? Her comments suggest that she can sit in judgment of women and African Americans without regard to her so-called Christian values.

The Opinion writer apparently thinks making disparaging remarks about fellow Americans is perfectly in  keeping with common decency and respect for one’s fellowman. When a vote in the House was taken to reprimand Rep. Kern, and three Democrats did not support it. A fellow Democrat’s, from the Senate, Judy Eason McIntyre criticized them for breaking ranks. The Opinion writer added that McIntyre called the three “spineless.” The article continued with the statement that “on the contrary we’d say the three…deserved a salute for having the backbone to vote their conscience.”

To be clear on this Opinion writer’s comments, a salute should be given to three congressmen for voting against a measure to reprimand one of their colleagues who made disparaging remarks against women and African Americans relative to Affirmative action? In other words, if these three congressmen and the writer observed a bully taking advantage of a less fortunate person, they would applaud the bully. Why? Would they not want to know why the bully is picking on someone before supporting the bully? Evidently that is not the case. Seemingly what is embedded somewhere in the psyche of these the bully supporters is a concept of privilege that along with the idea of superiority make it extremely difficult to see other human beings as equals. They, along with Rep. Kern possible see the recipients or beneficiaries of Affirmative Action as somehow receiving unfairly from the program. Otherwise why would they applaud the remarks and defend anyone who agrees with the remarks?

One suggestion is that they have little or no grasp of reality except through the narrow prism of their personal perception and experiences. They cannot conceive of their thoughts as being irrational, so they believe them to be rational. The more people they can convince to agree with them the more they believe they are rational. We have a problem in America when people with a public voice can advocate giving praise to others who disregard the rights and privileges of others and try to make it seem that the ones who identify the injustice are at fault.

No one would criticize a fellow American for speaking his or her mind especially if the comments are in keeping with common sense and decency. However, when the comments are unfairly disparaging towards others, someone should speak to the unfairness. An apology for the remarks would be in keeping with decency and common judgment, but the real challenge would be to discover what caused the remarks in the first place. Chances are the problem comes from a lack of understanding and perception of the perpetrator. Being sorry for what one said is not the same as being sorry for what one thought. If the basis of the thought is not questioned, and hopefully corrected or addressed, then what was said will probably be said again, and again, and again.



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  1. Although I did not see the Op-ed piece you described I have, of course, heard about Rep. Kern’s remarks. Those remarks and the remarks of the opinion writer are symptomatic of the problem that continues to perpetuate the racial construct you are forced to discuss each week in your blog. From their perspective, the disproportionality reflecting high numbers of African Americans in poverty and prisons is their own fault because they don’t try as hard, aren’t as smart, and are obviously prone to crime, unlike European Americans. In other words, they, “African Americans” are THE problem. In reality, the opposite is true. Until European Americans understand how they are blinded by the racial construct, the outcomes will not change and the real intent of programs like affirmative action will continue to be misunderstood and even dismantled. Forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do!

  2. I could right a thesis on moral panic and the effects of “remarks” by prominent people on the general public.

    I do not understand where some people get their ideas from, but sometimes those ideas need as little media coverage as possible.

  3. I didn’t finish typing. My apologies. I was thinking of the political football asylum seekers have become in this coutnry and how they are demonised by the media and politicians alike.

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