Request for member withdrawal

Herb Stahlke hfwstahlke at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 21 04:51:40 UTC 2010

Mark and I have both referred to Tom's insistent rejection of
linguistic knowledge as "invincible ignorance," a term that comes out
of Catholic moral philosophy
(  However, the term
doesn't validly apply to Tom since it assumes an involuntary
ignorance, and his clearly is not.  Tom's equally insistent ignorance
of the social courtesies of the lexicon of ethnicity, of the power of
words, and of the harm that their misuse, casual or intentional, can
do, is not involuntary.  It is culpable.  Dismissing objections to his
offensive language as motivated by an overly delicate political
correctness dismisses the basic politeness we all, I hope, learned as
children.  Tom owes list members an apology and needs to recognize
that his recent postings are, to a reasonable person, offensive.


On Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 9:37 PM, Jesse Sheidlower <jester at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jesse Sheidlower <jester at PANIX.COM>
> Subject:      Fwd: Re: Request for member withdrawal
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Forwarded, as noted.
> Jesse Sheidlower
> ----- Forwarded message from "Cohen, Gerald Leonard" <gcohen at> -----
> 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 -

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list