I want to alert my readers to a new service that promotes quick and easy yet responsible activism on many of the issues dear to our hearts. I have already several times given ZGram space to the group that sponsors this service, and I know some of the people personally and consider them kind and concerned patriots. At the same time, I have some minor quibbles about what they are doing, and I would like to explain where I am coming from as an experienced writer of some stylistic sensitivity as well as a fighter for freedom of speech.
This group is called Resisting Defamation and is located in the San Francisco Bay Area. You may read their mission statement on their website at < www.ResistDef.org > They are providing a much-needed service.
They really "walk the talk." They have made quite a name for themselves in that they have gotten the government to declare a "Euro-American Day" which got them lots of press. They have also done street demonstrations and similar things on behalf of Euro-Americans to underline their grievances - all of which were sorely needed and widely applauded.
In my opinion, they are a mild political-activist group in the best democratic American tradition that people can join without fear of being smeared and labeled by the agenda-driven, political schmierfinks we all know so well. I urge you to check them out for yourself.
One of the services they have recently implemented is a strategically highly useful e-mail campaign. Here's how it works:
They scan and scout publications and the electronic media for slurs and defamation statements against European-Americans and provide their readers a reference where the offending statement appears - and how to e-mail to the editor to protest.
You can't get it easier than that.
I think in principle this is a wonderful service, and if I had more time than I do, I would do likewise in a very systematic fashion and urge my readers to correct the record on topics such as the Holocaust and Germany's true role in history.
What bothers me a tiny bit is the aspect of a two-edged sword - because if we are in the business of promoting freedom of speech, we ought not to impoverish our language and tell others not to use certain words - or we could possibly become like those we criticize.
I myself have been gently chided by this group several times already because I used terms such as "redneck" - which demeans the male working class, mainly of the South where they got red necks from working in the blazing sun. I agree! I should not treat my own people in a derogatory way.
But what if I have to use the word in a perfectly harmless but vividly descriptive context - as in, for instance, a reference to "The Patriot" where quite a few "rednecks" appear. Can I not say to a friend or even to my readers, "Can't you identify with that redneck who went bonkers in the film when he found his baby boy was dead..."?
The sentence loses something if I replace "redneck" with a less descriptive, neutral word - let's say, "actor"? I would not use "Honky" in this sentence - but I don't feel a quiver of political incorrectness if "redneck" sits on my tongue.
In this matter, I am between a rock and a hard place. I absolutely agree that we need to lend a hand and do our responsible part in stopping the non-stop defamation of Euro-American people. This Resisting Defamation net service is superb in that it makes it easy to hit the keyboard and give some PC scribblers a very fine piece of your mind.
Yet I find I am in the same fix with phrases such as "Gestapo tactics" or "quisling", which are powerful terms evoking instant responses even though they are demeaning. Such words can save paragraphs of ponderous descriptions.
If I said "NKVD tactics" - much more apropos! - who would understand me?
If I say "vassal" instead of "quisling", only half the visitors to the Zundelsite would know what I mean. (Quisling was a Norwegian patriot, yet he has become synonymous with "traitorous tool of an occupation regime".)
Now what to do?
I do not advocate intimidating or, worse, petty and nit-picking censorship. I leave it up to you, my readers, to find a middle way.
Resisting Defamation urges that your tone be mild, and that names of other ethnic groups not be used. Resisting Defamation also says: "Feel free to use our reasoning, or your own, and please send your message to the same address as we did."
Below are a few samples of what Resisting Defamation sends to its readers as sample letters, as well as a few reader responses.
* Sample letter Number One by Resisting Defamation to three editors at the "San Jose Mercury":
Resisting Defamation in very concerned about certain slurs promoted by the San Jose Mercury News. In particular, we believe that the "acting white" concept is a particularly negative stereotype that serves to demean and divide people in our community.
Therefore we are complaining about a white-bashing quote included in writer Anne Martinez's article [7/23/00, p. 13A] about Latino diversity. She quoted Professor Jose Angel Gutierrez about how some Latinos network "so they become more white."
This is the old "acting white" slur and white-bashing slur. It showed the professor's racism by his smothering European American diversity with a skin-color label. And it can't help but divide people in our community.
Please stop using terms and labels that defame and demean European Americans.
Sample Letter Number Two by Resisting Defamation to "Weekly Standard":
Subj: Anglos No!
We found it offensively racist that you would use the term "Anglos" to refer to all people who are not Latinos. We refer to a bizarre essay entitled "The Salsa Republicans" in your 8/14/00 issue at page 4 where you said, referring to George P. Bush's looks, "...drawing oohs and aahs of agreement from Latinos and Anglos alike."
Surely you are aware that the diversity among all non-Latinos does not disappear into Englishness when a Latino comes into the room. We keep on being Irish-, German-, Italian-, Polish- and Swiss-Americans no matter who walks into the room.
We have no grievance against Latinos, but we do wish you would stop smothering our diversity at your every opportunity. Anglos No!
* Sample Letter Number Three by Resisting Defamation to the San Francisco Examiner":
Subj: Rob Morse on "White Guilt"
Date: 08/10/2000 1:42:39 PM Pacific Daylight Time
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, morse@eXaminer.com
Dear S.F. Examiner:
At Resisting Defamation, we are very troubled by the mythical quality of "white guilt" as we do not believe it merited or deserved. Indeed, we believe that hateful references to it are an incitement to division and discord in our society.
Consequently, we reject language by Rob Morse on 8/6/00, p. A-2, as unfit for our multicultural society. Referring to the Republican convention, Morse says: "The idea wasn't to attract African Americans to the Republican Party. The idea was to make undecided white people feel less guilty about voting Republican."
Morse certainly was snotty and dishonest in his remarks. He was certainly racist in his remarks. And he certainly did nothing to advance understanding of our political system in his remarks.
We urge the San Francisco Examiner to consider ending racist and divisive usages like that which Rob Morse promoted.
This is how readers responded on their own - one to the San Jose Mercury News and two to National Review:
* On "acting white" in the San Jose Mercury News.
In her article about Latino diversity [07/23/2000], Anne Martinez quotes Professor Jose Angel Gutierrez about how some Latinos network so "they become more white."
Not only am I anxious to discover what it means to "become more white," but I am also curious to learn how this differs from "becoming more brown" or "becoming more black." Presumably, to "become more white" is based upon Professor Gutierrez's special, universal knowledge of what it means to "act white."
One who is privy to such knowledge should be capable of providing the empirical evidence that justifies its existence. Can Professor Gutierrez provide this evidence?
If not, then his language has the effect of stereotyping and defaming the members of all fair-skinned groups. Furthermore, Professor Gutierrez is seemingly the beneficiary of a status that elevates him above the journalistic criticism normally expected of one who publicly expresses such stereotypical sentiments.
Could it be that Ms. Martinez privately concurs with him?
In the future I hope to see such racist, stereotypical statements about fair-skinned groups challenged by the journalists writing for the San Jose Mercury News.
* On "white male" bashing in National Review.
In the July 31 issue of National Review on page 6 you wrote the following:
"Another outbreak of Selective Memory Disorder (SMD) has alarmed psychiatrists in Washington, D.C. An extremely rare condition, SMD afflicts mostly fiftyish white males who live and work around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, etc."
I am writing to ask you please not to use negative stereotypes of "white males," in your future articles because this adds fuel to an already out of control blaze of bashing white people that is loose in this country. It is my apprehension that demonizing white people and especially white men is going to go from bad to worse in the United States with the victory of capitalism over socialism. The liberals are in need of a unifying principle to replace the discredited one of class warfare. Racial demagoguery has the potential for great mischief in a country that is multiracial. It is necessary that this social evil be addressed and exposed to the light of reason before it gets even more out of hand than it already is. Thank you very much for your consideration.
* Letter Number Two: On "white male" bashing in National Review.
I join others in protesting your use of the insulting term "white males" in an article about the President and the Vice-President [National Review; July 31, 2000; p. 6].
Granted that the article was intended to be amusing, but stop for just a moment and consider: in an equally amusing article about, say, Colin Powell or Bill Richardson, you wouldn't use color descriptors. Yet somehow the term seems allowable to you when applied to European American men.
Please give all your subjects (and audience members) the same respectful consideration.
I urge you to investigate this service, Resisting Defamation, and give it at least a trial run. We need to learn to speak out about things that upset and offend us, and here is one fine way to learn to cut your teeth in writing Letters to the Editor.
The hard work has been done - and all you need to do is to use the e-mail address of whoever editor is in charge. It is already hand-picked for your use.
I join Bo Sears in asking you to keep your letter crisp and short and classy. Drop him a note if you want to sign up for this service. <ResistDef@aol.com>
Thought for the Day:
"What they learn, they incarnate."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Back to Table of Contents of the Aug. 2000 ZGrams