Socio-political essays on ethnic and gender issues

(Links not created as of July 8, 2004)

Between December 1989 and May 1991, I wrote several letters to the editor and socio-politcal essays published in The Oswegonian. My brief journalistic career began with a letter to the editor prompted by my finding of a deliberately defaced book in SUNY Oswego's Penfield Library.

I was offended by what seemed to be a racially motivated symbolic act of destruction. I felt compelled to speak out.

Two months later, "Oswego State" was becoming polarized in anticipation of an upcoming speech by Louis Farakkhan. I had heard much about him but had never heard him speak. As a student of rhetoric, I was very much looking forward to attending the speech.

However, both before and after the event, public discussion was not very edifying. Attempting to focus the public discussion on issues of substance, I worte several letters to the editor.

Next, the editor-in-chief offered me an opportunity to write a column. I took her up on the offer.

My goal was address complex issues in a journalistic format. I sought to be enlightening and constructive. I wrote as best as I could and hoped that my voice would be heard.

My brief career as a socio-political essayist ended spring 1991 by the hands of a new editor. With what I took to be good intentions, the editor deleted almost all the content that could be perceived as racist or sexist from my essay on Maria W. Stewart ("Desperately Seeking Maria"). Unfortunately, it was like air-brushing out all the trees and publishing a photograph called "Forest." (The unexpurgated version was later published.)

The headlines were also the work of an editor. Some of them are right on target; others are embarrassing. Some of the typos were mine, but not all of them. Perhaps I will revised them one of these years. In the meantime, here they are. I hope they are both enjoyable and edifying.

If anyone finds anything in the essays offensive, I am sorry. My aim was (and still is) not to offend, but rather to shine some light on a few hidden corners in the drama of human relations.

December 1989 - March 1990: Letters to the Editor

1989-12-07: "Vandalism brings forth issue of racism on campus"
1990-03-29: "Farrakhan hints at answers"

March 1990 - May 1991: Socio-Political Essays: Ethnic and Gender Issues

1990-04-05: "Eurocentrism limits understanding of other cultures"
1990-04-19: "Weinstock ponders exact definition of rape"
1990-04-26: "Double standards, discrimination work both ways"
1990-09-06: "Let me introduce myself: A student of the open road [Meet Dr. Steve: Critic-at-Large]"
1990-09-13: "Rosh Hashanah brings back memories of religious bias and ignorance"
1990-09-27: "Ethnic jokes are no laughing matter"
1990-10-11: "Ethnic and gender studies program proposed"
1990-10-18: "Persuasion is responsible for reinforcing cultural bias"
1990-11-01: "Halloween can be hazardous to your health"
1990-11-08: "Understanding bias, discrimination, and prejudice"
1990-12-13: "Ho, Ho, Ho, Happy Chanukah to all (and a Merry Christmas, too)"
1991-02-07: "The war in the gulf: How it affects our national draft"
1991-02-14: "'The Date': A Valentine's Day special"
1991-03-07: "Desperately Seeking Maria"
1991-05-02: "Discovering Maria and confronting stereotypes"