VERBAL ABUSE

Rahul Mahajan rahul at hagar.ph.utexas.edu
Thu Feb 22 00:28:23 MST 1996


All right, I guess I've provoked a shit-storm and I should deal with it. I
hope this can put an end to the matter because the last thing I want is to
increase the amount of pointless diversionary nonsense on the list.

First of all, Rakesh, I was trying to prove nothing at all. I was
responding to Ralph, who I recall making statements about orangutans
swilling their own vomit or something of the kind with regard to the MMM.
If I was going to say it at all, I should have said it in a private message
because it certainly served no point.

If anyone was driven off the list by it, I'm sorry. If it serves to further
degrade the level of discussion on the list, I'm sorry about that too.
However, I'll be damned if I'll apologize either for the word or for the
"attitudes" it supposedly represents.

I can't imagine how a word becomes an argument for bigotry. There was
absolutely nothing bigoted that I said. I don't think of or treate black
people anyone differently from non-black people, nor do I say different
things about them. I wouldn't join any skinheads of the type Jay Miles
mentions on a bet, and if I did I'm sure they'd beat me up. It's sad that
there are so many people on the list afraid of a word. It's also amusing to
see a bunch of white (mostly) people jumping on me for being a bigot or at
least for being offensive. Not, of course, that being white means you don't
have the right to oppose bigotry, even in us oppressed people of color.
It's just amusing, that's all.

To address Rakesh's other points. Like many radicals from the middle class,
I tend to overcompensate and associate more virtue with coolies than with
businessman. I don't think the circumstances of my birth are relevant.
Finally, it's true that I don't really know how a black person feels when a
non-black person calls him or her a nigger. Nor do I know how a woman feels
when a joke about rape or even using the word "rape" is told. I know how I
feel when everyone gets all prim and prudish around me, though. It's a lot
like how I feel right now. The right to offend people is a precious one
that we shouldn't either throw away or attempt to stifle in others. In this
case, as I said before, there was no purpose served by the offense.

Rahul Mahajan

P.S. It's a shame the rest of you couldn't respond as temperately as Ralph.

P.P.S. I can't stand Dinesh D'Souza.

P.P.P.S. I'll soon be posting on truly offensive writings by Gayatri Spivak
and Stanley Aronowitz, among others.




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