Response to Paul Curci’s Letter RE: Michael Lacey

Editor’s note: This letter was sent to AAN News on Friday, April 11, in response to Paul Curci’s letter yesterday regarding Michael Lacey’s comments at an awards banquet last week.

Paul Curci writes: “Put aside the fact that this was a Society of Professional Journalists awards dinner. Put aside the fact that Mike Lacey is white, as was Tom Fitzpatrick.”

OK, I don’t know any of these people, but I ran this over in my head a couple times and I finally had to respond.

If we are to put aside the fact that these men are white, then where is the issue?

The problem lies in the fact that we have a hard time ultimately letting go of someone else’s physical appearance (race, sex, disability, etc.) and seeing through it to their power or potential. Being part of the media environment, we are all partly responsible for this.

And because some of us react to a select group of words (not to mention images) in our language out of fear, all of us are supposed to change (or worse, limit) their usage? I’m sorry, but no. I think we’d all agree on that one.

Please try to keep the word separate from the connotation.

I didn’t know Tom Fitzpatrick’s race or nationality when I heard the speech, but I fully and immediately understood the connotation. It meant “my brother.” Like no other word or phrase could. It was obviously intended to express love and respect for his fallen friend and anyone trying to detract from that should be the one apologizing.

“Vicous?” “Hateful?” “Racist?”

I didn’t feel that at all. But maybe I had put aside the fact that he was white.

Listen with your eyes closed,
Joran Oppelt
Creative Loafing Media

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