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  • « With enemies like these... | Main | Vota now, vota often »

    February 23, 2010

    From faggy to ferocious to farce

    Posted by: Chris

    Mssu lion fag ferocious
    Out of the heartland -- Joplin, Mo., to be exact -- comes this bizarre tale:

    David Ansley has resigned from the Missouri Southern State University Board of Governors, after he used a homosexuality slur during a board retreat on Saturday.

    In a written statement Monday, Ansley apologized to students, faculty, staff and administrators for any offense, and expressed remorse for his actions.

    “I have always thought of myself as a tolerant man,” he wrote. “Yet the fact that I spontaneously made the comment has caused me pause. Personally, I am conducting introspection. My goal is to examine my own prejudices with the hope of renewed tolerance. I hope to be a better person because of all this.”

    Ansley's grave offense? After a presentation by the school's athletic department about how they had butched up their lion mascot, the personal injury lawyer/board member "spontaneously" commented, "We went from the fag lion to the ferocious lion."

    Board Chair Rod Anderson tried to tell the roomful of reporters covering the board retreat that Ansley's pronouncement was off the record, but to no avail. Ansley's "fag to ferocious" pronouncement was the lead headline from the meeting, with some reporters jumping the gun to report it on Twitter and Facebook.

    Before the weekend was out, a Facebook page calling for Ansley's resignation had been created. By this week came the inevitable: Ansley resigned. Even that was not enough for some:

    “He is now the cowardly lion, in my opinion,” said Hillary Fogerty, an English professor and adviser for the Equality Alliance at MSSU.

    “He’s saying, ‘Let’s avoid the issue entirely, and fall on the sword and pretend it’s not here.’ What will his resignation serve? Resignation is not education. It doesn’t solve the problem of other board members being willing to cover up what he said or to laugh at it.”

    Right. Let's ask for the manes of the board chair trying in vain to contain the controversy and two others who told the Joplin Globe that the comment wasn't newsworthy.

    This is political correctness run amok, and those responsible should be ashamed of themselves. The "F word" is not the same as the "N word," no matter how much you want it to be, and we'd win a lot more sympathetic friends if folks like Ansley were asked to say they're sorry rather than retreat from the public square in shame.

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    Comments

    1. Lucrece on Feb 23, 2010 12:46:55 PM:

      Can you elaborate as to why the usage of "faggot" merits less backlash than "nigger"?

      As for the comment you linked, I read it differently. Rather than ask for more resignations, I saw it as saying that resignations won't fix anything. Conversations need to be had ;and instead of losing their livelihood, they could "atone" by having a forum and some involvement with community orgs, particularly the gay student bodies.

    1. Chris on Feb 23, 2010 2:37:28 PM:

      @Lucrece: And how do we expect real "conversation" if our position is that those who disagree with us will be threatened with removal from societal positions or other punishment? That will be a one-way conversation because anyone with a lick of sense will take their bigotry underground.

      It's just historically way out of line to compare the N word and its usage in society to the F word. It's also a mistake to compare where we are as a society on race to where we are on sexual orientation. We are still in the midst of the debate on homosexuality and to try to censor speech only hardens the opposition and alienates many in the mushy middle. If the guy was willing to apologize, that ought to be enough.

    1. Lucrece on Feb 23, 2010 4:34:19 PM:

      The conversation is with the usage of the slur. Obviously, most straight men still don't understand what impact the word has across gay men. Meeting with a student group would help him understand where the reaction is coming from, and how he can help in reducing the usage of this slur. What's an apology worth if he's only apologizing to save his job? He'll just be more discrete with prejudice and make sure no one is watching.

      Historically out of line? How about this; both words boil down to a disdainful pejorative that was applied to someone deemed different in order to classify them and indirectly express cultural distaste for them. That "faggot" took on a more universal usage in insulting than "nigger" (because anyone could be a faggot, but not everyone a nigger) is irrelevant; the history of the word and it's inclusion in American conversation stands.

      What I see here is that personally the word is not as offensive to you, and based on that you're taking a "pick your battles" approach. I don't care to look the other way when the slur is used because I'm afraid that if I point out the annoyance in its usage, tension with heterosexuals will be caused. You don't barter your human dignity.

      Concerning the debate, straights are having a debate. To any gay person, there shouldn't be a debate, just like there should've never been a debate on voting rights for blacks and women, because the rights of people is not a popularity contest. That's what the Constitution is there for, to establish order and protect so that personal biases are not allowed to bring entire sectors of the nation crashing.

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    1. cheap ugg boots on Nov 29, 2010 12:49:09 AM:

      I do think it is legitimate to ask the motive of such people. And as a recent columb by I think Eugene Robinson said, there is apoint at which you can't deal with people who deny facts-in his case he had honored a black soldier, I think in WWI, who had been brave and some nut said it was impossible as blacks didn't serve in regualr palces until Truman in 1948, etc when the fact is tat the man honored did do what he was creditied with.

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