The Barbershop has re-located

The proprietor has moved the shop to ChicagoNow, a Chicago Tribune site that showcases some of the best bloggers in the Chicago area. You can logo on to the Barbershop home page here. The ChicagoNow home page is here.

You'll still be able to post comments with the same ease as in this location. The proprietor also will keep this web site alive if you wish to review old posts.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Divisive diversity

You can have diversity as long as it is not divisive. That's apparently the operating rule in Kansas City, Mo., where the appointment of a member of the anti-illegal immigration group, the Minutemen, to the city's Parks and Recreation board has angered the diversity guardians.

The Wall Street Journal today reported (subscription required) that the clash erupted after the Kansas City Star outed Frances Semler, 73, who believes "...very strongly in obeying the law," as a Minutemen member. It didn't take long, the Journal reported, for the ruckus to start:

The city's National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Coalition of Hispanic Organizations, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Jewish Community Relations Bureau held a new conference on June 14 to9 condemn the appointment. Later that day, the city council, voting 9 to 3 adopted a resolution calling for Mrs. Semler's removal from the parks board.

Beth Gottstein, a board member who voted for the removal, said, quite predictably, "This is about racism and divisiveness--everything we are not supposed to be about."

In case you're confused, as I was, Gottstein wasn't talking about her vote to oust someone from the board because of her views and associations ("Are you or have you ever been a member of the Minutemen?). Bouncing someone off a public body because of her views and affiliations smacks of the old Communist witchhunts and feels like the kind of divisiveness that violates the First Amendment. No, Gottstein was talking about Semler's views and affiliations, which are not illegal and, to many Americans, not even offensive.

Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser, who appointed Semler, is standing by her woman, refusing to remove her. "Diversity," he said succinctly , "is also about the diversity of views."

1 comment:

KC Sponge said...

Thank you for this post - it reminds us all that no matter how different we are or how different someone else seems, we should appreciate the beliefs of all - even if we don't agree. If we don't, we just become like those we despise. But, we should also be careful when condemning those who stumble when they try to defend their own.
Being human is not so natural to a lot of us, but the persuit of human-ness should not be second-guessed (except, of course, in cases of elected officials - so keep on keeping on . . .)