Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Being and Nothingness

Yesterday's events celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. were much covered in the local newspapers today. There were calls for peace, love, understanding, justice, caring, and universal brotherhood. For a moment, it was easy to believe, then I got to the editorial page.

The Other is alive and abused in Northwest Arkansas. Irate callers and writers who have never read Erving Goffman or Jack Douglas, much less Hegel or Lacan, are busy defining all difference as deviance. No understanding of or compassion for those who look different or speak differently, by the demanding advocates of all that is white and right.

Diane Patton of Centerton
, where they don't even know the mayor's name, lectures the Fayetteville City Council that it "is just ridiculous" to name a street in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King. "Aren’t there more important things? What is wrong with the Fayetteville City Council? Do they not have better things to attend to and spend the city’s money on?"

Eileen Bruno of Rogers, who previously claimed that the only reason children had no health insurance was because their parents chose lifestyles of drugs and AIDS, is now offering advice on electing the next president of the United States. It should not, she opines, be anyone who is black or female. That leaves only those Republican white boys to continue the Bush legacy.

Scott Shackleford writes today about an unnamed
reader who phoned to say that she was beside herself with a story in the Northwest Arkansas Times about the efforts of the Washington Regional Medical Center to teach staff members a bit of Spanish, to ask questions about patients' medical history and current illnesses to improve the treatment the hospital provides. "Why, she wished to know, is the hospital giving these people special treatment?" You know, being able to talk to "them" and provide appropriate medical care.

We can still dream that
one day all God's children will live in a community where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, or their gender, or the language they speak, or the rantings of insecure shrews who stigmatize them as deviant because they are different, but by the content of their character.

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