By Anthony Pignataro
The Mauitime print edition came out yesterday, Jan. 5, and we’ve already received two phone calls from irate readers. They are shocked – SHOCKED! – at the content of this week’s Overheard, a tiny column that contains a brief quote and the barest identifying details of the speaker, which runs each week in the paper’s print version (usually tucked beneath Coconut Wireless). The quotes, which usually lack context, are often humorous. This week’s, however, leaned more towards brutality (it’s on page 5 for those following along at home).
Here is the Overheard in dispute:
“I feel like a black person at the back of the bus. -Older woman at Wailea Beach, after being denied a front row beach chair, Dec. 30
The quote, to even a casual reader, is appalling. Which is exactly what moved two readers to call us:
“We thought it was in bad taste,” said Brian, who identified himself as an African-American and said he would not read the paper anymore because of the quote.
Of course we agree with Brian that the quote is in bad taste. It is disgusting, absurd and insulting, and trivializes the countless brave individuals who bled and died (and still do) in their fight for equality under the law.
But Brian and the other reader have entirely missed the point. Our running the quote was meant to bring attention to the vileness of the quote, and that fact that there are still people out there thinking and saying things like that, not to excuse it.
Photo: Rmhermen/Wikimedia Commons