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Save KPFA and Uncle Remus
Save KPFA advocates and one listener candidate for the KPFA board endorsed by Save KPFA, Kate Gowen, engage in ethnic slurs on a Facebook page where they invoke Chandler Harris's controversial Uncle Remus stories and the term "tar baby" and then claim it is just a children's fable like "Aesop" and they are ignorant of any other implications.
This calls into pretty serious question their cultural competency to serve on the board of a diverse community institution, not to mention the ability to outreach to underserved communities while relapsing into ethnic slurs at a moment's notice and then claimiing to be ignorant of the history of race relations in the United States.
Also running on the slate is civil rights lawyer Dan Siegel and his employee at the Siegel and Yee law firm Jose Fuentes Roman.
Do they endorse the words of their running mate, Kate Gowen?
Here's the exchange:
Barrie Ann Mason Punching the tar baby only gets you stuck in the mess.
Yesterday at 9:37pm ·
Tracy Rosenberg That's a bit of a racist comment, Barrie. Do you often use language like that? It's offensive.
Yesterday at 11:08pm · Edited · Like · 2
Kate Gowen It's hard to see an Uncle Remus fable as being racist, any more than Aesop, or La Fontaine: it's a parable about enmiring oneself in argument.
16 hours ago ·
Tracy Rosenberg You must be kidding. You realize the "Uncle Remus Museum" in Atlanta banned blacks from visiting it until 1984! http://thegrio.com/2009/10/26/uncle-remus-museum-still-grapples-with-race-issues/
16 hours ago ·
Tracy Rosenberg In 1981 the writer Alice Walker accused Harris of "stealing a good part of my heritage" in a searing essay called "Uncle Remus, No Friend of Mine".
16 hours ago ·
Richard Wolinsky Folks, Tracy's right on this one. Maybe the first time on this page, but she's right.
14 hours ago ·
Kate Gowen No offense intended-- I'm not a politico, nor a southerner, just a mom who read stories to her kids a couple of decades ago. And I think Tracy's got a peculiar hair-trigger expecting racism-- or willing to impute it-- to suit her agenda.
13 hours ago ·
Richard Wolinsky Kate, if Tracy had said something similar, I'd have responded pretty much as she did, though I wouldn't use a link to prove my point. There's a reason "Song of the South" by Disney has never been released on DVD, though it might be an educational experience because the racism is woven all through the work. I'd also say that because Rosenberg is particularly unscrupulous and will use anything to discredit her opponents, it pays to be particularly careful in one's use of language.
13 hours ago ·
Earl Marty Price I fin myself with Ms. Rosenberg on this. Uncle Remus, Tar Baby are all recially offensive. I taught secondary English, yea Ms. Rosenberg you had the gall to criticize my spanish which I am probably way beter then you with, but Twain used Jim to make a point about how smart the balck dude was...Tar Babay is something we as negroes had to suffer with. Any of you justifying this archaic racist term, maybe you would like to familiarize yourself with peckerwood, red neck, trailer park trash because that is where this crap comes from and those terms are just as offensive..tar baby indeed!!
4 hours ago ·
Kate Gowen From what I know of Barrie, she's as ignorant as I was, that "Uncle Remus" and any reference to it has apparently been anathematized. I know that I am no racist, and think it extremely unlikely that she is. I know that I am no racist, and think it extremely unlikely that she is. I'd have thought that "racist" meant deliberately demeaning, intimidating, harassing or inequitable words or actions. Not failure to be au courant on what literature is acceptable. I recall that there was at some time controversy about *Huckleberry Finn*.
Earl, my friend: I'm extremely familiar with the equivalent "honky" epithets-- as a child, I suspected my grandmother of bigotry on the basis of her having lived her life in Georgia [let us not omit "cracker" from the list]. She's been dead for 30 years, so I can't apologize for my ignorance and admit that she never said or did anything to justify my suspicion.
3 hours ago ·
Is this really what KPFA needs to be "saved"?