Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Dorothy didn't stay in the Emerald City, Part 2

Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2008 16:21:32 -0800 (PST)
From: "Young H. Kim"
Subject: Re: Dorothy didn't stay in the Emerald City...

Just so you don't think that I belittled your experiences, I wholeheartedly
understand the point about not sharing your political views for fear of being
misunderstood either way. But isn't that true of how social relationships are in
this country and elsewhere? It's difficult to really open up to people of adult age
because most of them have values and views that are practically etched in stone and
would get offended if countered or challenged.

I know for a fact that I have Republican neighbors on my block. I wouldn't dare to
bring up politics with them. What would be the point, other than to create bad
feelings or misunderstandings? It would only have a chance to work if we had
developed a more personal relationship. We attend a Southern Baptist church; afaik,
all of them hate gays. I spoke with a man who is finishing his studies through
Liberty University last Sunday, and he is a hardcore evangelical. He unswayingly
believes that the secular educational system is godless, indoctrinates children with
anti-Christian teachings, and should be abandoned completely by all Christians.
I've already had some fairly deep conversations with him, so I felt somewhat
comfortable in arguing a contrary position; I even said in so many words that his
view is rather extreme to me. We parted amicably and civilly, of course, but he may
now be considering me a man not truly convicted in Christ.

So why this anecdote? BRM, in all of your time in Seattle, I was under the
impression that you were proud of defending your conservative and Rep opinions. I
always respected you a 100% for that. If you didn't get that impression from me,
then now you know. No equivocation here. However, I also saw you as tough enough
to handle the majority liberal view in Seattle, and also wise enough to know that
you're in the minority. One's surroundings do dictate how one behaves or speaks;
that's just the way it is. I live that everyday as a Korean-American. [As a
footnote, you may imagine that among Koreans, there is a different language and tone
in how they describe their experiences in America, which may seem discriminatory or
even racist to other non-Korean-Americans. I believe this is true of any ethnic
group or community. Someday I hope explore this dynamic in a book.] I couldn't say
some of the things that are said among Koreans, or actually bring and eat authentic
Korean food to work because it would offend the olfactory senses of the uninitiated.

Obviously, I don't consider this intolerance. Rather, I see this as courtesy and
maintaining harmony in a public place. So, again, let's re-examine what we mean by
intolerance, and whether it really arises from actual intolerant action against you,
or if it is from your own biases and sensibilities. But examples of coffee-snobs,
tofu burgers, carbon-counting and paper-over-plastic are rather lame to fall under
intolerance. Anyone keeping you from not drinking coffee, eating meat, or driving a
Hummer? Heaven forbid, you had to take a paper bag home instead of plastic.

One more thing about political correctness. Railing against it is rather overblown,
isn't it? Is it as bad as censorship? Sally Field got bleeped at the Golden Globes
last year because she said "if mothers ran the world there wouldn't be goddamn war."
Would you attribute that to PC or censorship? I guess it could be both. I'll come
up with a better example. :-)

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