Debate over ‘big ideas’ polarizing

I will preface the following comments with the full disclosure that I’m a white male. I sincerely appreciate and back constructive efforts on everyone’s part to erase social injustice such as racial and gender bias.

But the Jan. 10 open letter chastising Mountain Xpress [“Big Ideas,” Jan. 8, Xpress] for apparent gender and racial bias for leaving out important women-led or alternate race-led events shaping Asheville’s history was a bit disturbing to me.

If we were asked to identify the Top 10 Greatest Inventions that revolutionized mankind, and it just so happened that, objectively so, all 10 of these inventions originated from Hispanic women or black men, I would hope that we would not substitute out one of those inventions for a white man’s invention just to be “fair.”

And here for the Top 10 Ideas that shaped Asheville, if the Xpress authors did their job in objectively identifying those events without regard to race or gender, shouldn’t we trust that?  If the research was not objective, then by all means shame on Mountain Xpress.

It is comments like those made in last week’s editorial that keep us paralyzed in seeing everyone in classes — racial, gender, color, creed, etc.  Now, Mountain Xpress will come up with a separate, segregated Top 10 list, and the same folks championing racial and gender equality will rejoice and ironically will have unwittingly contributed to furthering that polarization.

— Thomas Madison

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