Request for member withdrawal

Tom Zurinskas truespel at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 21 03:45:01 UTC 2010

Please find for me one racially offensive remark, which I assure you was totally unintentional and I will apologize for it.  The trend of the posts was that someone said the words "Negro" and "colored" were offensive terms.  I said I did not think so.  Dr. King said the word "Negro" 15 times durig his "I have a dream" speech and "the NAACP has the word Colored in it.  Why would they be offensive.  And "darkies" was in the FL state song.  Was it offensive too considering the times back then.

I also said the term "black" has some negative connotations and that possibly another word could be found that was better.  How about an African term, Watusi, which I assume means "black people" in Swahili, a popular language in Southern Africa.  And then I said that term has other uses, so "black" seems to be best.

That's it folks.  Now I hate racism as much as anyone.  In my last job my section chief was black, my branch chief was black, my division chief was black and my coworker beside me was black.  They were among the best I've had and if you want references ask them.  My son's best man was black.

I'd like to know exactly what I said that was offensive to blacks when it was only in a search for a better term.  I've said that terms Negro, colored, and even darkies do not appear to me being from NE USA to be offensive.

On the other hand it appears to me that the offensiveness taking place is against me and everyone on this list.  Is everyone going to be in fear of discussing this issue or any other because of sensitivities.  This is not right.  It's language we are talking about here in an honest way with maliciousness to no one.

I said how about "chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, almond, and banana for races as flavors, so we aren't racist anymore.  Is that malicious or just funny?  I think maliciousness is in the eyes of the beholder.

I apologize if anything I said was taken as offensive.  It certainly was not meant to be.  This is America.  360,000 white folks died to make black folk free and equal.  We owe a debt to them to be free and thnk freely and honestly.

Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL7+
see phonetic spelling

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: Jesse Sheidlower
> Subject: Fwd: Re: Request for member withdrawal
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Forwarded, as noted.
> Jesse Sheidlower
> ----- Forwarded message from "Cohen, Gerald Leonard" -----
> 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
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