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Old 02-26-2011, 09:48 AM
ledocs ledocs is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: France, Earth
Posts: 1,165
Default Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)

I don't think I agree with this, though there are some excellent points here. For me, Loury hit the crucial point by saying that the incident occurred in public, and within the context of a public institution. I think the apology could come either from the professor himself or, perhaps better, from the university, from one of its administrators. But apology there should be. Nor does one have to have the feeling that an apology puts an end to the affair, than an apology squares things. To the contrary, there can well be the acknowledgment on both sides that no apology is adequate to the crime, that forgiveness will not be complete, and so on. He who apologizes can make amends without making things good.

I don't agree with McWhorter's attitude. If there is an affront to taste in a comedy club, then the club should be made aware that it is sponsoring unacceptable behavior, that you, the client, won't be back, unless something is done, a change in policy, an apology, something. The "above it all" stance of McWhorter does not work for me at all. I am well aware that "affronts to taste" are in the nature of comedy, so what I am talking about would necessarily be very egregious and would probably be fraught with the danger of censorship in any event, but the Michael Richards incident can probably serve as a good example. My impression there is that Richards was forced to apologize but that he was genuinely contrite, that he had lost it, did not live up to his professional obligations, and had paid the price. I did not read a huge amount about the incident, but my impression is that Richards did discover a darker side of himself that frightened him and of which he had not been entirely aware.

McWhorter said several things in this dv with which I disagree fundamentally. In particular, I don't understand why he is so confident that there will never be a post-racial America. Never is a long time. I would find it more convincing if he said that there will always be prejudice of some kind, though not necessarily prejudice based upon "race."

Last edited by ledocs; 02-26-2011 at 09:50 AM..
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