lappel at lappel at
Mon Feb 28 15:52:25 EST 1994

In all of this thread of responses to perceived homophobic and racist
remarks within a scientific posting, I seem to read only three types of
responses suggested:
-Censor the poster
-Attack the poster, either personally or in a generic flame
-Ignore the remarks

I find all of these choices objectionable.  Censorship is generally a lousy
answer to anything.  Attacks are almost as bad, and tend to get overblown.  And
ignoring hate speech allows it to be perpetuated as if it were acceptable to
the community at large.
What is really needed is merely to point out racist and homophobic statements
and assumptions for what they are.  That way, the poster (or speaker) can
clarify his or her point, in case the point was mis-stated or misinterpreted,
or reconsider the issue, in case they were really unaware of the racism or
homophobia that had crept into their thinking.  
It is hard to change a person's thinking by attacking them.  Education is much
more effective, and we all need help now and then.

Laurel F. Appel    			      LAPPEL at EAGLE.WESLEYAN.EDU
Genetics Group
Dept. of Biology                              My opinions are my own.
Wesleyan University                           Card-carrying member of the ACLU.
Middletown, CT  06459

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