I’m not going to sit here and tear apart Dan Kimber’s original column and his subsequent comments on this touchy subject (“A few clarifications, if you please,” May 15), though I can do so very easily. What’s more important here is that we all take a moment to realize what an incredibly wasted opportunity this was on Kimber’s part to begin a progressive and insightful dialogue with the Armenian Youth Federation and/or his scholarship applicant, or even the Armenian community at large.
All he needed was a solid hour or two of research, reading and the writing of a well-informed letter (perhaps directly to the federation) inquiring about their purpose and mission statement, while at the same time still expressing his concerns, which is completely his right.
Instead, Kimber chose to narrow his focus on a couple of lines of text, treating it as solid evidence for what he already felt deep down toward an ethnic group, thus feeding into the very separation of our community that he so prematurely claims he wants to decrease.
And after all that, he even sounds a bit surprised at the amount of backlash he’s experienced. But he shouldn’t be, because as a responsible adult, and especially as an educator, he should know that there are very strong connotations to and consequences of throwing around words such as “un-American,” “assimilation” and “Americanization,” alongside commentaries on what the preconditions are for choosing to come to America or, worse yet, on the nature/validity of an ethnic group’s familial rules and traditions, no matter how harsh, outdated or confusing they may seem.
Sadly enough, after reading his columns, I do agree with him on one point: I agree that he would treat Latinos Unidos, or the Asia Society, or other groups and clubs the exact same way. However, that’s not saying much in his defense; that just says he would most likely fail to do his homework with those groups as well.
For someone who has “more than a hundred U.S. history textbooks sitting on [his] shelves” it certainly doesn’t sound like he’s got a single book that’s given him some valuable insight on the very ethnic group he’s interacted with and taught for more than 30 years.
I could write volumes on what this says about our community, our educators and our nation as a whole, but I’ll sum it up in three words: what a shame.
NORA MOSSESSIAN is a Glendale resident.