I intended to create a conversation about inequity, racism and our white blindness to them. Regrettably, I became an example of it. This has been a remarkable learning experience for me. I hope that all who are hurt or angered by my costume will accept my apology. I meant no harm to them or others.The professor — who is 68 years old and has taught at the University of Oregon since 1982 — was put on leave while she is being investigated. There's a petition demanding that she resign. (I guess that would mean retire.) And there's a petition on the other side (premised on academic freedom, not the idea that it's okay for a professor to wear blackface or okay as long as she had positive racial values).
I find it hard to believe that people are willing to be so vengeful over a single instance of bad judgment. Whatever happened to mercy and forgiveness? And what about our shared interest in living in a culture where people aren't fearful that their lives could be ruined if they said one thing wrong — even when they were trying to say something quite bland (like why can't we all get along)?
By the way, the professor, Nancy Shurtz, was not just a white person dressing up as a black person, she was also a woman dressing as a man, and a law professor dressing as a doctor. Why is the one crossover an outrage when the other 2 are not? How about some actual intellectual exploration of the subject of inhabiting alternate identities?
There must be some significance to the adult involvement in Halloween in present-day American culture. I don't think I've dressed up as a character for Halloween or any other occasion since I was a child, but I see my fellow adult Americans going in big for Halloween year after year. Why are we doing that?