Well, Dan Dieterich responds

Subject: Well, Dan Dieterich responds
From: Dan Dieterich <ddieteri -at- UWSPMAIL -dot- UWSP -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 9 Jun 1994 21:47:18 -0600

Tech-Whirlers have addressed a half dozen flames to me about my
response to Mike LaTorra's message on sexism. I didn't respond because the
professional writers who composed them were unable to work up to much beyond
Mike's "Nyah! Nyah!" level. However, I try to take all seriousness seriously,
and Beth made some serious comments.

Beth, I honestly don't understand why one would be proud of one's
heterosexuality . . . unless, that is, it's quite a struggle for one to
overcome her lesbian inclinations or his homosexual desires. I face no such
struggle myself, so I don't find it anything to be proud of. I've never had a
homosexual inclination in my life. But, if others do, then they are welcome to
feel proud of overcoming them. (Is that what "I'm proud to be heterosexual!"
is supposed to mean?) I've got to tell you, though, that it just doesn't make
sense to me to think that people would choose to be gay. Would you choose to
do it? Don't you imagine it would be a living hell to have every straight
person you meet discriminate against you? Do you think that people actually
sit down and decide that they will be homosexual and have society hate them?
To me that's literally unimaginable.

You're right, Beth, that most of us agree that blacks have a right to
say they are proud of being black. What then is the problem with a white
person saying he's proud of being white? The problem is that blacks in America
were treated as subhumans by whites in America, for over a century under
slavery, and then for over a century after slavery before "separate and
unequal" treatment was made illegal. Even today, many whites treat blacks as
if they were subhuman. Since the seventeenth century, whites were the dominant
race in what is now the United States. Over the centuries, whites worked hard
to take away the pride of black people in this country. I don't know of any
group that has worked hard to take away the pride of white people. Therefore,
what does it mean to say "I'm proud to be white"? Does it mean, "I'm glad I'm
not black"? I honestly don't know, nor do I know why a white person would say

Finally, Beth, though I do know what you mean about women becoming
more assertive, I _don't_ understand why a man might feel that "things are
going the other way." Are you implying that a man might feel that women have
taken over the power structure in this nation? Given the make-up of the U.S.
Senate, House of Representatives, White House, and every corporate board room
in the nation, no man with a firm grip on reality could believe that women are
taking over the power structure from men. I also don't know what you mean by
men "feeling a need to be assertive." If you mean that men have a need to say,
"I'm proud to be a man," I'd again have to ask, "What does that mean?" Does it
mean, "I'm glad I'm not a woman"? Does it mean, "I'm superior to women"?
What's it supposed to mean?

You're welcome to get a kick out of Mike's post, Beth. As you can
probably guess, I didn't. Dealing with the flaming that erupted in response
to my message has'nt been pleasant. For me, however, keeping silence when
someone demeans and insults others is even less pleasant.

- Dan

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