Male grad clarifies comment made at the Solidarity Lounge

By
December 4, 2003

In the Nov. 6, edition of The Weekly, in the “White
allies rise” article the third to last paragraph states this:

A male graduate student spoke up, and spoke about feeling
antagonized because he may have inadvertently violated women’s
space on the Mills campus by simply being here: but felt that he
tried to be respectful of women’s space nonetheless.

While the paragraph itself is not totally inaccurate, what
brings me, the lone male student at the Solidarity Lounge evening
meeting, to this letter is the use of language such as feeling
antagonized. Obvious to most in attendance, if their laughter was
of any indication [ask anyone on the women-of-color and white ally
lists from that night], my intention and words were misinterpreted
in this article. In silence or out of context, my actual comment:
“So is it okay for me to be here, as a male?” might seem
antagonistic.

However, in its timing and context of laughter, its meaning is
quite the opposite. In fact, a white ally brought this article and
the misinterpretation of my question/comments to my attention
because she knew I was joking. She knew I was using irony to
illustrate how a male could come with respect to a woman’s
space-the meeting and Mills-and how white women should come with
respect to a woman of color space-namely the Solidarity
Lounge.

The use of the word antagonism early on in the paragraph casts
my comments under a negative light, which unfortunately just (or
unjustly) serves to pit one more male against women-patently
untrue in my case-on Mills campus, adding fuel to the already
incendiary discourse. To avoid perpetuating such misunderstandings
in the future, please ask a few more questions before printing
something that may be, and in this case is, simply untrue.

Sincerely,

Dennis M. Somera


Male grad clarifies comment made at the Solidarity Lounge was published on December 4, 2003 in Letters to the Editor

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