To the editor: The failure of University of Redlands administration to deal with Erin Aubry Kaplan as an equal academic partner in resolving a racially charged controversy relating to the student newspaper she advised is yet another example of the lack of inclusive dialogue about serious matters in too many institutions. (“The dehumanizing disregard I experienced at University of Redlands shows real equality has a ways to go,” Opinion, Nov. 29)
Ironically, this failure to engage is being exacerbated by the sometimes-overreaching microaggression movement, which, in advocating the parsing of the free exchange of ideas for insensitivities and slights, unintentionally chills the very dialogue that would have been healthy and honest in the incident Kaplan describes.
To the editor: If Kaplan expects “meaningful engagement” between whites and blacks, the efforts must work both ways. Everyone should become less hostile and strive to separate comments with malicious intent from those that are simply mistakes or due to ignorance.
I, a white man, would love to engage more with black people. Unfortunately, I don’t often find that willingness reciprocated. I am reluctant to engage with any minority strangers for fear that something I do or say will offend them.
It’s best to remain silent and keep a low profile.
Gary Watkins, Sun Valley