retail news in context, analysis with attitude

We had a posting from an MNB reader in yesterday's “Your Views” that raised a few hackles. The subject was gender pay inequity as well as sexual harassment, and the email read as follows:

Starting a new revolution: Down with FROWNs (Fat, rich, old, white Neanderthals).

I got a number of emails about this, but I think this one pretty much makes the common point:

Ridiculous comment, there are no Fat Brown Neanderthals?

I remember when someone said to judge a man by the content of his character and not the color of his skin.

Do you remember that, because apparently this thoughtless comment got through your censors, which I assume are you!

Really, only white men are racist and pigs etc ?. Please spare me such crap, there is not enough time in the day.

Fair enough.

I don’t think that the original email was racist in its intent, but I completely understand how and why it could be read that way. And you’re right - I am responsible for every word posted on MNB, and so I’ll take the hit on this one.

I think the reason the woman who wrote the original email was reacting to where the power is - and it is fair to say that in the majority of places and cases, it tends to reside with men … usually older men. Usually rich older men. I think the “fat” and “white” parts were an attempt to be ironic, but it also is possible they came from a source of real anger at what a significant part of the population sees as systemic bias in this country.

I’m happen to be an aging white guy, but I didn’t take offense. (I try hard not to be fat, try really hard not to be a Neanderthal, and have failed completely at attempts to be rich.) I think I took the comment in the spirit with which it was offered, but that doesn’t mean I was right … just that I may need to be a little more sensitive about such things.

I think you make a legitimate point about being careful with our words. But I also think that we have to be careful not to dismiss legitimate concerns about some of the inequities that exist in our society.

It is going to be a balancing act. But these days, everything is … and it requires constant attention and sensitivity.
KC's View: