Tuesday, February 7, 2012

To those who defended bigotry last night


To those who defended bigotry last night:

I was in a little internet flaming war yesterday with a person who called herself Janet. We were wrangling over the recent Pete Hoekstra ad and whether it was "racist."

Mind you, this silly woman (or man) had no interest in the details of this repulsive TV spot, nor the far worse website it was set in. She had no interest in what it means to be Asian American (not that I am, but still...) and see an ad like that during the Super Bowl (which many Americans seem to hold sacred, if you remember the nip kerfuffle a few years back). She had no interest in American's historic tendency to hold Asians in this country responsible for activities going on overseas.

Nope. She couldn't have cared less.

She was spreading offensive sugar on the ground, trying to draw in "liberals" for a fight.

I was bored. I let her have a fight.

While she ignored all logic and direct answers to her direct questions, she accused and acted a fool.

Actually, since my name was tied to it, she opened with this:

"Sharon, you'r clearly obssessed with gay and lesbian issues occurring in Troy. Remember when school was about educating kids and not about social engineering? I long for those days. Maybe the next issue you can take up is supporting the rights of petafiles !"

Hm.

I guess she preferred the good old days when gay people stayed closeted and sometimes destroyed themselves or their families because cranks like this lady insisted they hide their true selves.

But I digress.

She knew me. I didn't know him or her.

She was mean. She was so outrageous, after several hours, Patch finally pulled the plug and erased all of her comments.

But what was weird was, at the same time (toward the end of our tiff) I was at home watching the Troy City Council meeting. The Chairwoman of the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission, Sook Wilkinson, came to speak about the slurs uttered by Mr. Schepke, whom the mayor had nominated for a very important city commission position, for which he is not really qualified. Also a leader of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission had words for Troy, too. They both said the language used by Mr. Schepke was intolerable and that Troy should be cautious that it isn't seen as the mental backwater that Ms. Daniels seems destined to make it.

Did any member of council greet these state leaders and dignitaries? No.

Did anyone apologize?

Dave Henderson did the typical, "How DARE anyone criticize this wonderful man!?" Not seeing that the wonderful man had slimed a fairly large portion of our town's population.

Well, Mr. Fleming did a nice job, at least considering the idea that such words can hurt and should be frowned upon.

Did Mr. Schepke aologize? No. He said he meant to slur the government of China, though as he used a plural form of the slur, I'm not quite sure to which governments he was referring. By the way, the same day he slurred Asians, he also repeatedly criticized Detroit and said things like "those people" can't afford to shop here, implying that we would have no reason to want them to get on a bus or train and come here. Then he went on talking about crime and prostitution. He's a bigot, plain and simple. But his friends can't see fault with their own kind, apparently. They only see fault with "other kinds."

Another black eye on Troy, was last night.

But that takes me back to Janet. Early on in my discussion with her, she said that she grows, "very tired of the race card being played against every comment a Republican makes."

Pretty funny! Maybe her friends shouldn't talk about race, so much.

That comment made me laugh out loud. I do not feel that all of any party are good or bad, but couldn't Janet and Dave Henderson and all of those indignant defenders of Mr. Schepke have thought for a moment last night that maybe it is wrong to use racist words, even if you feel justified? That maybe if the words Mr. Schepke used brought out the state's civil rights leaders, something untoward may have happened? 

Don't they realize that when Mayor Janice Daniels said to a gay woman's face that she has a dangerous lifestyle (when she's in a monogamous relationship with two small kids), she is being insensitive, rude and actually downright stupid? There she is looking at a family woman, but all she can imagine is a scene from some 70s porn film?

I don't propose to know why these people and I have such different feelings... why Janet thinks people of color should just stop being so darned sensitive every time a Republican talks about race, why Janice Daniels can't hide how she sees gay people as so inferior she can speak to them that way, why Mr. Schepke and his friends think he's a victim...

I am simply humiliated to live in the same city with them.

14 comments:

  1. Agree, not looking like a class city at all.

    Mr. Schepke aside, the mayor or at least one or more of the city council in the reponse to public comment time, should have made a statement against the hateful and degrading speech that I heard during the public comment section by one individual that evening. Especially following the impassioned and articulate speech of the two representatives of the APIA and the executive director of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and NO responce from the city council, it comes across as a slap in the face and condoning race baiting.

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  2. I was actually shocked by the hatred, hypocrisy, and bigotry displayed last night by a few of the "regular offenders". It was nice to see that the audience started to shut them down and even Daniels told them to "watch their remarks". Schepke stood there and said he wasn't going to apologize and wanted to justify it. Another guy was saying the Jan 9 meeting with the mayor was an "ambush" and that the City's youth should say a few words then get "kicked the hell out". And then there's the guy suing the City, he was exceptionally vulgar. It kills me that these people always scream "free speech" and that people need to "toughen up and not be so sensitive", but when you call them out, they threaten to sue you! How dare we say things about them because they slur groups of people?! The hypocrisy is OUTRAGEOUS! And yet again, Janice Daniels missed a good opportunity to show true leadership by making a statement against using slurs, with members of Civil Rights groups sitting right there in the audience. What does she do? Asks Council if they have any response to Public Comment, makes none herself, and then rushes to nominate the bigot. If I didn't watch it with my own eyes, I might not have believed it.

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  3. Has anyone tried to defend Schepke with the old "well he came from a different time," diatribe? It's an honest question, actually not being rhetorical. The TCU page is falling back on the old "word in a dictionary" nonsense. If I'm not mistaken, doesnt Deb DeBacker moderate the TCU page? She thinks the world is a television program that takes place in the 1950's so we certainly cant expect any common sense from her. It seems to me that a good portion of that crowd (and I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt that not all of the TCU people are ignorant bigots) are a bunch of smug and negative idealogues. So I wonder, who are they going to belittle, demonize, and make slurs about next week?

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  4. You can't fix stupid. You can't cure ignorant. You can show them the door if they can't find it themselves.

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  5. I can just imagine Dr. Wilkinson (APAIA chairperson) and Daniel Krichbaum (Executive Director of Mich Civil Righs Commission) thanking their stars that they don't live in our city after the public comments session. And I can't imagine anyone let alone our Councilman Henderson defending the particular racist ("I threw them a nickel and they came running like dogs") and vulgar individual on the basis that this individual served his country...I know of MANY Asian Americans that have served our country and wouldn't be allowed even the slightest hint of stereotyping of Americans of European ancestry in a public forum, no less.

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  6. I also noticed she didn't skip a beat to nominate the bigot whose words caused almost an hour and half of public commentary. It's like she goes to her happy place so she doesn't have to hear the truth. Wade didn't really apologize as make excuses for Mr. Schepke that he doesn't know his heart but knows he's a good person (what?). It was all pretty humiliating for the city. As for Janet - she is one of the main 3 on the TCU site in all probability. And also, did they really need to go over the rules for an hour so she could say things like "we really need a space here and this should be a new paragraph and people should have multiple opportunities to talk because I love lively discussion". It was an illustration of just how out of her depth she is.

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    1. Agree, it is disturbing how she seems to have no idea of the relative importance of issues. There's a firestorm of a public council meeting where Troy comes off looking like Bigots R US, and a haphazard selection process for a most important committee (reminiscent of kids trading cards--Wade giving 'em one of these, if he could keep two of those). This is followed by the closed door session where she is nit-picking over underlining this or that area in their meeting agenda "so it will be easier to make out". plus a long discussion of why she should allow her mail to be opened. Turns out she wants to be able to receive her fan mail in private..."what if I get a letter from a supporter in Lincoln Park, the city shouldn't open that", paraphrasing here, my eyes were rolling to the back of my head at this point.

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  7. If we don't think this is a problem in Troy in spite of all we have heard at the council meetings . . I stood outside the Baptist Church on Long Lake near Coolidge with my "Yes, Library" sign in the fall. Almost to a person, people were supportive. I had one guy stop and talk to me about how hard a decision it was. His no vote boiled down to, "I go to the library and all I see are Chinese kids there", which even if true, so what? Well he just couldn't say yes when only Chinese kids were using it. I said, Chinese kids don't deserve a library? Nope. I said, but their parents pay taxes and own homes here. Nope. That is when I walked away because I didn't trust myself not to lose my temper! This is what we are dealing with here. It was my first taste ever of this type of bigotry in Troy and I hoped it was a one time incident. Turns out he has friends.

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    1. Yeah, right, probably said this right after coming out of church...that pastor's not doing his job ;-).

      You probably were aghast and shocked, but if you were to sink down to his level of looking at people as racial entities and not individuals, you could have said "Well, isn't the problem that, goddurn it, we can't get our white kids to use the library, and become National Merit Scholars, too?"

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  8. I truly believe that if it were not for the Asian populations, Troy schools would be just another mediocre school district. Looking at the awards and recognitions given in the schools, the majority of the students are of Asian descent. Obviously, these families value education more than the families of Caucasians. I hate to say it, but it is the students of these populations that bring up the grade point averages of our schools.

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  9. I also want to add, that there is a direct correlation with property values and school MEAP scores. Any realtor will tell you that schools with high MEAP scores are desirable places to live. I think the residents of Troy residents should keep their bigotry to themselves, and instead we should welcome families who value education.

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    1. Ah, at last common ground, property values. Bigots are not going to change but at least they should have the common courtesy and smarts to shut the f%$# up during public comment and not ruin it for the rest of us. Which has been Janice's problem, too, come to think of it, failure to keep her bigotry to herself.

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  10. Bigotry is 'conditioning' -- acquiring attitudes, thinking habits, and beliefs by repeated exposure and social pressure.

    I would say that someone who has been conditioned like this is rarely interested in tolerance in the first place, but when that happens, that is a significant personal breakthrough.

    The main strategy for combating bigotry within oneself is self-awareness: being able to observe ones' own thoughts and challenge them, and being aware of the mechanisms which keep distorted beliefs in place.

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    1. Sadly, the Troy Tea Party is a closed little group of good ol' boys and girls who will defend to the teeth each other, no matter how egregious the display. Within such a tight supportive group as that I don't see how any individual breakthroughs could occur.

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