Volume 93, Issue 21

Tuesday, October 5, 1999


Cartoon was blatantly disrespectful

Webster's gives meaning

Cartoon half-baked

Admin. castrates the Zoo

Webster's gives meaning

Re: "Racism or sexism can't be reversed" Sept. 28

To the Editor:

The letter by Katrina Rudmin printed on Sept. 28 concerns me greatly. In it, she states that "racism and sexism are the systemic oppression of women and people of colour." This definition concerns me both due to its inaccuracy and its potential implications.

As defined by Merriam-Webster's on-line dictionary, racism is "1: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race," or "2: racial prejudice or discrimination."

Nowhere in this definition is there any requirement that the people being discriminated against be of colour, nor is there any requirement that those doing the discriminating must be white.

Furthermore, Katrina's definition of discrimination implies that if a white person is being discriminated against, based on his or her skin colour, by someone who is not white, then the situation cannot be considered racism.

In researching this letter I also used Merriam-Webster's online dictionary to find that sexism is defined as "1 : prejudice or discrimination based on sex; especially: discrimination against women," or "2: behaviour, conditions or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex."

This definition identifies that when sexism occurs it is often perpetrated against women. However, it also identifies that sexism is a "behaviour... that fosters stereotypes..." without regard to the genders involved.

An interesting situation occurs when a woman says "men are sexists," as the statement makes this woman sexist too because she is participating in a behaviour which is fostering a stereotype. Furthermore, the stereotype that is being fostered is inaccurate.

Unfortunately, sexism and racism exist in our world today. Katrina, you, I and the rest of us in our global community, have much work to do to bring an end to racism and sexism. One of the many things we must do is recognize that discrimination is still discrimination regardless of what group is being discriminated against and who is doing the discriminating.

Otherwise you will become the evil that you are trying to destroy.

Ben Stephenson
Computer Science III

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Copyright The Gazette 1999