William Rowell’s column “I’m offended” published in The Perquimans Weekly this week displays a level of entitlement and a lack of self-awareness that would be comical if it was just him. Unfortunately, versions of his theme can be heard all across our land.
In the last sentence of his first paragraph, Rowell says “We used to have a sense of humor and laugh at something we now find offensive.”
First of all, who is this “we”? Does Mr. Rowell really believe that American minorities had an equal voice in the 20th century? Can he really tell me about the sense of humor of a person born on a Sioux reservation in 1950? I doubt it. The “we” he refers to only includes people who look a lot like him.
I also find it incredible that Rowell thinks that naming a sports team after a group of people who were virtually exterminated is the way to honor them. He says the team name was adopted in 1933. Does he realize that the Apache Wars didn’t end until 1924?
Mr. Rowell goes on to complain about Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben. He even says he was taught to call his elders aunt and uncle. Yeah, if they were Black! It’s a southern tradition as old as slavery. Rowell, of course, says “regardless of race” and maybe that’s true. But the willful ignorance of a southern man to ignore the history we share is disgusting.
After complaining about Elmer Fudd and asserting that the same protesters watch Rambo (how would he know?), Rowell brings his cognitive dissonance into focus. He states, “Our United States is a big country with room enough for all.”
Well obviously not, if the creation of it required the destruction of hundreds of individual native cultures. Maybe he means it’s big enough as long as certain groups stay where they are and don’t say anything.
He says “It was founded on that principle and seemed to work just fine until a short time ago.” It worked just fine for him. And for people like him.
You don’t have to be an astute student of history to know that many groups have had a rough time of it here in America. It really makes you wonder which “respectful times” Mr. Rowell wants to return to.
Mr. Rowell isn’t offended. He’s just too stubborn to have any empathy to appreciate anyone else’s experience.