Fwd: Re: Request for member withdrawal

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Thu Jan 21 02:37:07 UTC 2010

Forwarded, as noted.

Jesse Sheidlower

----- Forwarded message from "Cohen, Gerald Leonard" <gcohen at mst.edu> -----

From: Cohen, Gerald Leonard
Sent: Wed 1/20/2010 5:37 PM
To: American Dialect Society
Subject: Re: Request for member withdrawal

Dear ads-l members,
    I find this episode very troubling.  Mr. Zurinska's statements are of course his own responsibility, but to the extent the rest of us remain silent about them, we tacitly indicate approval for them as being within the realm of reasonable discourse.

    It is important that ads-l remain a welcoming group to everyone who wishes to participate in our discussions, but basic netiquette is required for this. In particular (and this is really basic), racially insensitive remarks should be avoided. They are toxic to the necessary good will required for the well-being of a group with any diversity in it.
I for one would not feel comfortable being in a group in which a member's anti-Semitic remarks were left unchallenged, and I don't see why African-Americans in ads-l should feel differently about racially insensitive remarks directed their way.

    I had been hoping that Mr. Zurinska would issue an apology (a sincere apology can usually go a long way to redressing a grievance), but that hasn't yet occurred.  So on one hand it is distatesful for me to join in requesting the expulsion of any member.  But in the present context it would be more distasteful to keep someone on board who is gratuitously making racially offensive remarks.  They really have no place in our discussions.

Gerald Cohen


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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