On Tuesday, I attended a “Beyond the Binary” event about my last column with members of The Aggie’s editorial board. It was an eye-opening experience learning about sexuality topics such as the “forms and modes of oppression.”
As I listened to these topics being discussed, I realized the diverse backgrounds many people come from – backgrounds I initially hadn’t put enough thought into. Although I’m a liberal arts and social sciences major, I didn’t realize the full impact of what I was studying and reading about in textbooks.
I didn’t have any malicious intent in writing my column. For those who don’t know, I write a weekly dry humor column. I now realize if you’ve never read my previous columns, there’s a strong possibility for misunderstanding and taking offense to the column I wrote last week.
I didn’t mean for the column to be taken literally or too seriously. I don’t believe all of what I wrote at all. It was merely an exaggerated observation, an attempt at humor.
I assumed this humor would translate across many different topics, like it did when I wrote about things such as biking in Davis and Twilight. I assumed my column about “girly men” would translate as well. It’s now apparent that I was wrong to think this humor could be executed for a sensitive issue such as sexuality.
Based on my personal background, I initially didn’t realize the great extent to which sexuality is a sensitive topic. I have some straight, male friends who behave in what is typically considered less “masculine” behavior. We tend to good-naturedly tease each other about what we considered to be our “silly” actions. We have a mutual understanding. We don’t offend each other. Because of this, I assumed this type of understanding would also translate to my readers. It didn’t.
I thought it would be interesting to voice a casual opinion I feel many females have about their straight male friends who are behaving in what they feel are more “feminine” ways. It wasn’t ever meant to target any community, nor did I realize that the way the column was written would perpetuate certain negative stereotypes and prejudices.
To those who were offended, I wholeheartedly apologize. I didn’t mean to be malicious, condescending or hurtful.
Furthermore, to address the issue of race and ethnicity and my comments that may have appeared insensitive toward diversity, I didn’t intend to promote discrimination and racial tension. I’m proud to be Asian American – it’s a big part of my identity.
I just felt that one of the first steps toward racial acceptance and tolerance is the ability to spot the stereotypes others see of their own race and laugh at oneself. I often mock myself in my columns. But again, I wasn’t sensitive enough toward racial and ethnic injustice. I apologize for any seemingly racial or ethnic intolerance, discrimination or oppression.
Through this experience, I’ve not only been enlightened about sexual, racial and ethnic oppression and discrimination, but I’ve also realized the power of words. Word choice ultimately leads to misunderstanding, and through this misunderstanding is the root of trouble.
If I had known the unintended effects this column would create, I would never have written it. I never intended to maliciously target any group. Again, I’m genuinely sorry for causing any misunderstanding, hurt feelings or malice through my column.
Hopefully, through this experience, we have all gained a deeper understanding toward one another.
TIFFANY LEW can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.