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Sometimes I read a newspaper article in the Opinion section, and while I might not always agree the writer’s viewpoint, it is rare that I feel so compelled to respond- this time, however, is one of those occasions demanding a swift call for clarity on my part. In the Tacoma News Tribune, Sunday March 12, 2017 edition, Section 6B, featured an editorial by syndicated Miami Herald syndicated columnist Leonard Pitt’s reaction to Dr. Ben Carson’s speech before his HUD staffers, in which he compared the experiences of African slaves brought to America as those of European immigrants. While it would be relatively easy to excoriate the former Neurosurgeon for having such a blatantly irresponsible lack of historical perspective, my attention was instead drawn away from that absurdity to one of an even greater magnitude of concern. Mr. Pitts attempt to deconstruct the ridiculousness of the HUD Secretary’s statements was undermined, in my opinion, by his own bizarre and strangely hypothetical narrative of a woman being raped.
After setting up the scene in rather explicit, graphic detail, sparing nothing to the imagination, he writes that the rapist “violently makes to her” –what?? Continuing on, “After all, the basic mechanics of love-making and rape are the same: sexual intercourse. Now, I get what Mr. Pitts was trying to do in this story, and I am sure that he doesn’t think this way on a personal level, but on a professional level I think he should have left this part out. Dr. Carson does a pretty good job of shooting himself in the foot just about every time he opens his mouth to say something in the public sphere; therefore he doesn’t need any outside help to make him look even more of an embarrassment. That being said, I think anytime you chose to use the example of ‘rape’ in public or private conversation, you have to be very, very careful. This reminds me of a former Texas gubernatorial candidate who was scheduled to speak at a campaign rally, and the typically expected sunny day turned out to be overcast with some gray clouds. However, this good ol’ boy politician was unaware while he was standing at the podium before he was to address the crowd, that his mic was inadvertently turned on, and he was recorded saying: The weather is like being raped; nothing you can do but sit back and take it.” Needless to say he lost by a landslide at the polls, and after that his future political career was toast.
Case in point: There is no moral equivalent or comparable social experience between rape/love-making and being a slave/immigrant. It seems that within the context of the article, Leonard Pitts needs to learn a few things, too.
776 Commerce St Apt 701
Tacoma, WA 98402
March 15, 2017
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