As a new resident in Maryville and a recent subscriber to The Daily Times, I am happy that my letter to the editor (Jan. 22) has provided fodder for your opinion page, having now elicited two (two!) responses — from Ann Owens Brunger on Jan. 30 and now Rosa Clark on Feb. 2. I enjoy a robust dialogue, but surely balance warrants equal time, or at least an opportunity for a rebuttal. I submitted a response to Ms. Brunger on Jan. 30 but received no acknowledgement from The Daily Times.
Your latest correspondent, Ms. Clark, is obviously a proponent of the type of divisive “identity politics” spewed by Professor Henderson and her ilk, and a critic of the current administration. (When Henderson was hired by the University of Kentucky last year to teach in its Gender and Women’s Studies and African American and Africana Studies programs, the university described her research interests as centering “around intersectionality as it occurs in black political thought, black feminist theory and social movements in the diaspora.”) https://uknow.uky.edu/campus-news/uks-new-faculty-hires-taking-african-american-africana-studies-next-level.
My original point was that such us-versus-them race-based rhetoric is contrary to Rev. King’s conciliatory call for a colorblind society in which people would be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. Neither Ms. Brunger nor Ms. Clark addressed this point.
In ironic contrast, Ms. Clark suggests that my objection to the term “white privilege” and reminder of the great strides the nation has made in the past 50 years “missed the point” (what point?) and, in fact, that merely disagreeing with Professor Henderson (as surely most eastern Tennesseans do) is itself evidence of “white privilege” (an attitude that “dismisses and diminishes another group’s feelings and even their reality”). People are entitled to their opinions, but they can’t make up bogus facts (“their own reality”) without expecting refutation. The self-righteous tone exhibited by both Ms. Brunger and Ms. Clark—“how dare you disagree with us!” — illustrates that liberals don’t brook dissent, and bristle at any criticism. In other words, they exhibit “liberal privilege.” Ms. Clark condescendingly urges me to “be open” and “be an ally.”
I respectfully decline. Professor Henderson’s inflammatory MLK Day remarks, as reported by The Daily Times (Jan. 20) were a partisan diatribe and contrary to the legacy of Rev. King, who urged racial healing, not the perpetuation of racial grievances.
If you are a fair-minded newspaper, you will print this letter.