Neil Munro can’t be bothered to get much right in his weak-sauce hatchet job of me for right-wing e-tabloid The Daily Caller.
The event in question is my solicitation of a person of color to partner with me in making a presentation to the executive leadership of 1199/SEIU, the largest local union in the world, whose support for Occupy Wall Street I was hoping to and, I’m proud to say, managed to obtain, as a member of Occupy Wall Street’s labor outreach working group.
Here, reprinted in full, is the e-mail exchange between Mr. Munro and me.
17 October,12:50 PM
I was reading through your emails and found this nugget from Sept. 29; “I am meeting the 1199 executive council tomorrow to try and convince them to come out for us. It’s in midtown and I *need* someone to be with me, and that person needs not to be white … This will mean the difference, I bet.”
I also see that you brought Mae/grimwomyn with you. She described her self as “Puerto Rican, a single mom, and gen x, so I fit into a lot of ‘unexpected’ boxes for the OWS movement if you need to pimp out any of that.”
This sure looks like you were following an explicitly racist and sexist policy.
Can I get a quick comment from you on this policy?
Can you tell me how it is related to your movement’s effort to present a “diverse” face to the world?
White House reporter
The Daily Caller
It’d be my pleasure to comment. On the phone right now; will write back in a little bit.
The racist and sexist policies that could really use your monitoring are those of the media who are always ready to feature voices like mine (straight, white male voices) and are perfectly happy to let historically marginalized voices go completely unrepresented (I haven’t got data in front of me, but check out even the demographics for the guest list of someone like Rachel Maddow for evidence of the endemic nature of this problem). Occupy Wall Street is officially committed to the right of marginalized voices to be heard (as well as the right of those of us with privilege to hear those voices — a right which I prize very dearly). Indeed, during a General Assembly, which anyone can attend and address, marginalized voices are able to jump the stack (that is, if there are 10 men slated to speak and a woman wishes to join the queue, she is granted a position toward the front of the line, for example).
In point of fact, the population at Liberty Plaza Park is refreshingly and inspiringly diverse: people of all ethnicities, ages, gender-identities, sexual orientations, political points of view (from End the Fed to Pull the Lever to Pass The Bill to Abolish the System), and it won’t do for us to be complicit in the tendency that arises to put straight, white males in the spotlight, especially when addressing 1199/SEIU, which has historically been one of the most valiant organizations in the country in championing the interests of the American underclass. The fact that the healthcare and home-care workers that 1199 represents — workers who often face abhorrent work conditions and remarkable cruelty from management — are largely non-white, largely female and largely immigrant, while the hospitals, HMOs and insurance companies are chiefly owned by straight, white men is precisely an illustration of the problem I was hoping to counteract when asked to make a presentation to 1199′s executive leadership. Mae is an enormously eloquent person whose partnership I was very grateful for in that venture and whose friendship I am privileged to have made in the following weeks.
Thanks for e-mailing me to ask about this. I am glad The Daily Caller is so interested, apparently, in reporting on sexism and racism (a tendency I hadn’t noticed before now), and I would be glad to write a long defense of my position for the site any time. I urge you to follow that firm moral grounding and report on the issues I have raised in this e-mail. Perhaps, next time the person trying to root out racism and sexism among a group of protesters who have left their lives to demonstrate for democracy, freedom, justice and equality won’t have to be the “White House reporter” but someone specifically tasked with breaking apart the racial and sexual dominance structures that have always plagued this country.
OK, but how do you guard against rules that enforce ‘diversity’ when people want to cluster themselves into groups with homogenous skin-color, sexual behavior, ideologies, religions, or ethnic heritages?
For example, NAACP is non-diverse, racially. The Socialist Party and the Catholic church are diverse racially and sexually, but un-diverse ideologically. The vendors round the square tend to be Egyptian. Women’s groups are non-diverse, sexually. Gay groups have same level of sexual diversity (or, at least, variety) as the Catholic church.
So would you support government rules to force or incentivize racial, sexual and ideological variety on groups?
The Daily Caller
No position on that, I think you’ll find, is required to send the e-mail I sent, which is, I think, what you’re asking me about. Also, I speak (as everyone at OWS does) only for myself, and I can’t imagine you care too much what I personally think about that question, unless you’re doing a profile of me, which would bore your readership stiff.
It didn’t matter to Munro that I did not take a position on his follow-up question; he decided to answer it for me, saying that I subscribe to “the diversity ideology,” which, Munro reveals, “seeks government rules that promote racial and sexual variety…” and so forth. Journalism! Am I right?
It didn’t matter to Munro that I explicitly reminded him that I only speak for myself, Occupy Wall Street being a dogmatically leaderless operation, as he went right ahead and identified me as “one of the leading OWS organizers.” Munro, who, in addition to his reporting at The Daily Caller, is also the Secretary-General of Americans United for Legalizing Public Defecation (AULPD), should know better than to attribute fictitious titles to the subjects of his hard-hitting investigations.
It didn’t matter to Munro that Mae, my eventual companion, is a different correspondent altogether from “grimwomyn.” He was happy to attribute the latter’s opinions to the former, wrongly. These are not the same people, a fact which would have taken Munro mere minutes to deduce if he had spent as much time pouring over my stolen e-mails as harassing me about them. I mean, it takes real a real vulgar scumbag to start an e-mail to someone he’s never met, “Jesse, I was reading through your emails and found this nugget.” But then to get basic stuff wrong? That requires idiocy, too.
Munro’s big “gotcha” on me, though, is the whole “diversity ideology” bit. Well, I have never heard of the “diversity ideology,” but it intuitively sounds better to me than, say, the “white supremacy ideology,” which we can assume The Daily Caller ascribes to, since, as I look at it now, its opinion page features photographs of twenty white writers (two of them women) and not a single person of color.
Yesterday, the President of the United States of America spoke at the dedication of a new memorial in Washington, DC honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an occasion the “White House reporter” for The Daily Caller assessed as not worth his reporting.