The Sensitive Issue of Breslin's Remarks

While finding Breslin's remarks offensive, I think I'm equally offended by those that defend him. I'm referring to his editors. They are quoted as saying, he was "guilty of atrocious judgment, but was neither racist nor sexist." What do these editors think racist and sexist means?

(Editor) Don Forst remarked in reference to the reaction of employees, "They (the protesting reporters) had come to the aid station seeking morphine for the wound they felt had been inflicted on them, and we were saying the wound wasn't that serious or grievous. In our view it required aspirin." It is not appropriate for Forst to define others' reality. This is a judgment on his part, one he is not qualified to make. It also implies that people don't know their own reality. How patronizing. How unnecessary. How typical.

Words spoken in haste reflect more than a moment of bad temper. Words spoken in haste, as well as words that are well chosen, influence and reinforce lifelong attitudes. We need to see words as a reflection of our values and beliefs and be responsible for them.

And we need to be honest in examining them. Words are powerful and when used to express sexist and racist ideas remind women and people of color of a whole history of personal and societal exploitation, oppression, powerlessness and pain.

MARTHA B. CLARK

Pasadena

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