Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Blurting out unpleasant truth

Interesting column in the Washington Post today about Barbara Bush's brillant blunder.

I'll give just the opening paragraphs, as a teaser ...

Put your hands together, folks, for Barbara Bush! Her sentiment may have been reprehensible, her choice of words unfortunate, but our Queen Mother has managed to blurt out the unpleasant truth about the harsh realities of life in the American underclass.

In New Orleans, these were people living check-to-check in crummy, racially segregated neighborhoods, with no car or access to transportation, suffering all manner of physical infirmities, lacking the information and connections and life experiences that might have landed them somewhere other than the hellish Superdome. And among them were a handful of young men so soaked in social pathology that their response to suffering around them was to rape and pillage and shoot at those who came to rescue.

The article then continues to demonstrate how inequality breeds more inequality. Parallels a very impressive presentation I saw yesterday on diversity and privilege by Tim Wise -- I'll write more about it when I have time later this evening.

Although I will at least say this: He commented on the word "underprivileged" and explained why it's wrong on two fronts.

  • It's a passive word, which means that nothing caused this.
  • It's a comparative word. You can't be "under" unless there's an "over."

Just try putting "overprivileged" through your spell-checker. Go ahead, try it. I dare you.

Now try "underprivileged." Bet you don't get the same results!

More of Tim Wise later. In the meantime, though, read the Post's column -- it'll give some background .... and awareness.

UPDATE: Ooops, folks, I missed the link. Sorry!!!
Boats Rose in New Orleans, but Not for the Poor

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