limited discussion

Wed, 2 Mar 1994 21:24:12 -0500

I am afraid that John O'Brien and I are really not communicating. Besides
referring to me as Zagarelli (which I assume was an unintentional slip), he
suggests that what I wrote was illegal, immoral, indefensible. He is
disgusted that people are selected for positions based upon their skin color,
or their biological gender. This appears to assume that we are referring to
biological differences, but of course we are not. We are dealing with
categories of people created by years of exclusion, discrimination, by their
own collective resistance. These groups are much more cultural constructs
than biological ones. Different communities have different experiences and
those experiences and the viewpoints which emerge from those experiences
should enrich anthropology. I believe most anthropologists recognize that
such a multiplicity of viewpoints strengthens anthropology, despite the
discomfort which may be the temporary result. We are not talking about
hiring incompetent scholars, which I do not believe is a major problem. The
real question, I suggest, is whether an all male, all white, often middle
class faculty can adequately represent these multiple viewpoints. Given the
changes in the make-up of the US would we be adequately representing the
ideals of and richness of anthropology? Instead of being fearful and angry
about such changes we should be encouraging them.