In my alternate Universe, when McCaskill's signature was discovered (and not because of any far-fetched conspiracy, but simply because McCaskill had published successful research and her name became a victim of Googling) and a complaint brought to the administration, things went initially much the same. McCaskill was put on leave (and rightly so: marriage went from a guaranteed right being drafted by the government to a question decided by the people, much like equal pay for women, and in a public venue published online: it needed to be looked at.) When McCaskill finally came forward to make a statement, confused and angry as everyone else was and looking for the right thing to do, Gallaudet held an impressive press conference. President Hurwitz lauded the University for its amazing diversity. "Where else can this happen in America? Five, ten years from now, every American college will be struggling with these issues. I'm proud our University is among the first. We're going to lead." He invited McCaskill back, with a raise, and stated his investigation found no fault anywhere, and thanked her for her patience as they necessarily looked into the issue.
next day a campus-wide convocation was held. Students were asked to
comment on the apparent disparity. How could a Diversity Officer who
holds views deemed to be oppressive maintain their office? Students had incredible
suggestions. We'll never know them; they were made in another universe.
Teachers had incredible suggestions. And so did faculty members. A chef
from the alterna-Marketplace pointed out it was like doctors prescribing
birth control when it's against their religion–and that laws require
they do so anyway. Every fascinating layer was explored, and a three
hour video resulted. When captioned, Americans all over watched true
Democracy on their computers. Nobody had to decide what anything meant.
in that Universe, after all that, Alternate President Hurwitz stuck
McCaskill and other University researchers into a nice office. Keurig
coffee. Snacks and water. Couple of iPads. "You have ten hours," he
said. "Come up with a paper on professional conduct in handling cultural
contact in the postmodern era. We're publishing tomorrow. And I want to
see drafts. We're going to be building the model for the rest of the
country to follow." Close door.
was none of this ridiculous race-baiting on Facebook groups that we are
seeing here. There was none of this rumormongering, none of the silly
"Oh look! Scandalous!" crap. No turning this into the WWF, saying this
means gays are against deaf people, or sim-com users are against black
people. In my alternate Universe, people focused on the problem and
tried to develop real solutions. In my alternate Universe, people are
mature and not binary, and recognize that in one of the most diverse
Universities in the world, we're going to occasionally have these
concerns arise, and the mature thing is to deal with it, not try to
shock people and build your website ratings. We do not have to allow the
hegemony to turn us against each other. This situation challenged 'the
way things are,' and when that happens there's always a backlash. All you can do is try to make something out of it.
this point as a member of many of the communities involved I'm more
than a little sad at the missed opportunities for dialogue and hope we
choose better paths in the future–both on- and off-campus.
Author's Note: My first and second draft went in the garbage, and finally I thought, maybe it's best just to share the world I want to see. As a Deaf man, queer man, and person of color, the way this issue has played out has shocked me. I don't have facebook, so I have only seen the racism and homophobia there through the facebook accounts of others, but it's out there, and it's horrifying. Worse, there are people who, by how and what they write, sign and speak, are clearly trying to exacerbate the issue. I hate seeing McCaskill and the University used by those idiotic commercials on TV, for example–Gallaudet and McCaskill have both asked for their images to be removed, and both have had their requests denied. I wish them both the best and hope maturity wins out. I think that's all I can write on the subject. Peace.