Dear Gracie, Or; How To Miss The Point
By: Barry Belmont

Dear Gracie,

I read what you write sometimes. Whether it’s on the Sagebrush website or your failed Senate blog or (more recently) on the VisLupiGang’s blog, I read your stuff. I read your stuff and I am appalled. Appalled sometimes at the grammar and syntactical structure. Appalled sometimes at the use of overly passive aggressive langauge. Appalled at all those idiosyncratic personality quibbles that make you and I unrelatable to one another — I seek to destroy that which you seek to maintain. But lately I am appalled at the utter pointlessness of your remarks.

On the ViLuEsGre blog, in the comments, you said something to the chagrin of:

In talking about diversity, you only talked about race and gender, not other things like socioeconomic status or sexual orientation.

Implying that “diversity” is  not “only” made up of “race and gender” but also “socioeconomic status” and “sexual orientation.” A perfectly reasonable position. When people talk about the concept of “diversity” in regards to “diversity initiatives” in colleges and workplaces they generally mean to include such things as race, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, etc… Nothing wrong with that definition. You then went on to state:

You also didn’t even analyze the races close to what they would have classified themselves [...] Furthermore, you have not listed or analyzed the entire Unity Commission, as three (to my knowledge) are not listed– which consist of two males and a female, all of different ethnicities.

Regarding the “races” of the Unity Commission’s members. And while it’s a mangling of phrasing, your meaning is fairly intuitive: the article you’re commenting on misrepresented the amount of “diversity” (in this case, in the form of “racial diversity”) in the U Commy, a fact that can easily be born out by the the evidence. You hold that there is a fair amount of racial diversity in the U Commy and this is a good thing. You then go on to say something about Republicans and end by saying:

you should probably do a bit more research, before trying to label somebody a specific race–you should probably also take other diversity classifications into account, and then, maybe, you could have an argument.

Now, I don’t see the big, important, F-ing deal with the determination of specific “races” because as a biology major (and born after 1967) I know the term “race” has no real meaning except as a way to put people into arbitrarily different groups, but hey, to each their own. Let those who want to call this person White and this one Black and this one Brown have their way and say so to their hearts’ content.

After you, an anonymous poster, Not Gracie, had this to say to you in response:

In other words, “See, there are brown colored people in the commission. And poor people. And men. And probably some gays, too!”

Honestly, do you realize how incredibly offensive you sound Gracie?

I don’t see myself disagreeing with Not Gracie. I mean, granted Not Gracie put it a little more blatantly than you, but ultimately you were claiming that there were enough shades of skin color on the U Com to be of a satisfactory diversification. Some people might take offense to these kinds of claims, I  mean, after all, why is racial diversity important? Isn’t it just sort of a new form of segregation? Separate but equal? Equal and separate? It is just a way to say You are DIFFERENT from Me in a SIGNIFICANT way.

But ever the responder to That Which It Is Better To Not Respond To, you, Gracie, retorted to Not Gracie with:

Offensive? [...] I’m not taking a stance on whether race, gender, etc define diversity, as I’m fully aware that’s what the Unity Commission is trying to combat. Labels (like sexual orientation, race, gender, etc.) don’t soley [sic] make a person/group “diverse,” by any means.

I urge you to go back and read your words as this is precisely what you did (the first quote, and the bold portion of the third). But as if this wasn’t enough you made the statement regarding the raging debates about “diversity” that prompted this letter to you:

I’m not agreeing with any argument.

You might as well say “Chicken tastes good and I like to eat it because of it” while discussing what color to paint your house. Every statement must be for or against some position if it is to be of any use at all. You either have something of merit to bring to the conversation in which case your opinion will be critiqued or you have nothing to add to an argument and you just shut the hell up. Either you think diversity involves all the things you claim it does or it doesn’t. There is only one right answer on that matter.

So, Gracie, I leave you with three things to think about:

1. Your remarks were offensive as they uphold the notion that there is such a thing as race. The entire notion of racial identity is sickening and antiquated. It promotes bigotry and elitism in equal amounts. It makes of people both criminals and victims. Racism can only exist when there are “races” upon which people can misplace their frustrations and hatred.

2. There exists right and wrong in this world. You and I hold mutually exclusive positions on a great many things. For each of these positions only one of us is right, the other is wrong. I think “diversity” as a concept is pointless and hurtful. If you think anything other than that, then only one of us will be right on this issue. I am not so presumptuous to assume it’s me, but I am aware it is not both of us.

3. Please spend more time thinking about your responses than typing them. Gut reactions are not befitting you. You make careless mistakes, you play yourself as an unknowing victim, you often only respond by saying Well, if you come meet with me or come to the senate meetings (as if many of us gave enough rats’ asses to waste our time with such trivialities), and rather than let any criticism soak in and take to heart, you immediately dismiss it and let it glide off you like rain from a duck’s behind.

Let this mix and marinate with your brain juices for awhile.

Rather insincerely,
Barry Belmont

P.S. Thanks VisLupiGang for the recent kinda-nice post about us.

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View Comments Posted in Diversity
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  • Corinna

    I am amused by Mr. Simon Belmont’s collectivist notions of both SFL and VLEG. Well, Mr. Vampire Slayer, I am an individual. A deranged, liberty-loving, white individual.

  • graciegeremia

    Mr. Belmont,

    You are more than welcome to criticize my grammatical errors and poor sentence structure, as I am the first one to admit to that. However, an argument such as “there is only wrong and right in the world,” is offensive beyond belief. In my view of diversity, we foster different opinions and beliefs. That's a HUGE component of diversity. I hear your argument that classifying based on race causes racism, and I could easily agree. But, one could also argue that classifying based on race brings in a greater discussion of ethnicity and culture and backgrounds. Some people are proud of their heritage.

    I think you read my argument too fast and didn't catch my point. The author was dissecting the unity commission by “labeled” diversity, such as gender and race. I DO NOT think that the Unity Commission should be analyzed by those measures, but it's a lot easier to point out the simple mistakes, like how the author omitted a chunk of the commission, he didn't take any other “social” labels into consideration, and he's labeling somebody hispanic that isn't even from that region when trying to prove HIS argument. I could easily argue that the Unity Commission is diverse, because they all offer diverse opinions and beliefs. They come from all different walks of life, bringing forth different experiences, but I would have to write a novel to prove this. I'm pointing out the false claims represented in the blog post. I'm trying really hard not to state my opinion, but only prevent half-truths from being spread. He made a poor argument, as I was merely pointing it out in my statements.

    I understand your argument about race and I am actually really interested in it. I don't completely disagree by any means. You find me using the word “race” as offensive, and i find you not open to new ideas and dialogue offensive. You “seek to destroy what I maintain”? You think there is only “right and wrong in the world.” I may use the word “race,” but clearly I think you can benefit from a lesson on diversity. I may publicly argue and state my opinion through VisLupi, this, Sagebrush, etc, but I don't close my mind and think I'm the “right” and everything else is the “wrong” in society.

    I can, now, understand why somebody might be offended by my feeding into the system that classifies, but you're doing the same. You're classifying “those who are right” and “those who are wrong.” I've made mistakes. I've been proven wrong. I've been passive aggressive. I make grammatical/sentence structure errors. I can admit all of these things and still have an open heart and mind. My worry is that you can't.

  • Shane

    Barry, some sexual tension?

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