Our January News Bites Gimps column reported on the Nov. 16 Washington Post "Claims against Common Sense" column of professed civil-rights liberal William Raspberry. We noted that only two letters of response had appeared.
News Bites Gimps:
Raspberry's target denied response in print
A short time later, we received by email a copy of another letter that had been sent to the Post protesting Raspberry's column. This letter was from Randy Tamez himself--the man whom Raspberry had so ridiculed.
Did Tamez's response to Raspberry's ridicule of him get printed in the Post? No.
Five days after Raspberry's column appeared, Edge reader Lisa Small wrote a letter to the Post about the column which also was ignored. "You're not 'being mean,' as you so cutely put it," Small wrote. "You are being a bigot."
"You complain that there's no need for accessible buses because there are rarely people with mobility impairments on the bus. How would you have felt if a Department of Justice investigator had gone to Montgomery during the [bus] boycott and told you that the transit authority's racist policies were no problem because there were no blacks on the buses anyway?"
"When Jesse Jackson or Angela Davis points out that the work of integration is not done, do you call them 'ungrateful' and 'whiny'?"
"The one who needs to 'get a grip' is you," wrote Small, who got no response from either the post or Raspberry.
Her sentiment was echoed by Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Deborah Kendrick, a blind woman whose column was about the only mainstream press response to Raspberry's venom. In her Nov. 29 response to Raspberry (which also ran in the Columbus Dispatch), Kendrick called Raspberry "just one more bigot in tolerant clothing." Calling Raspberry's Nov. 2 condemning gay-bashers "a wonderful piece about intolerance."
What was it about disability that made "even those who embrace tolerance in every other quarter want relegate us to the one-down pity brigade and pat us on the head?" she asked.
"He scoffs at the wheelchair users who objected to isolated seating in Wendy's restaurants, telling them to "get a grip'," she writes. Did Raspberry think "those students who resented specified seats at the lunch counter down in Greensboro, N.C., should Œget a grip' and sit where they were told?"
A Raspberry apology has not been forthcoming.
Reader's Digest strikes again
"The Motel Operators" anecdote in its January 1999 "Mugged by The Law" article is the latest entry in the conservative publication's vendetta against laws granting justice to those who acquire disabilities, joining last fall's "Disabled By A Paper Cut" and last May's "A Good Law Gone Bad" (The Media Edge, July/August).
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