To My Colleagues — Let’s talk about Violence

I have been writing on this site since 2017, and for longer on another blog.   

I was told a few months back that some of my colleagues had “found out” about my blog  and were afraid to be in the same building as I was.

At the time I thought it was foolish.  They all knew me and worked with me. I was not an unknown person.  But more recently I have realized that, yes, people can be genuinely afraid.   

So let’s talk about violence.

It has never even remotely entered my mind to hurt a colleague physically.  Never. Not even the colleague who told me that I (me, this writer) “just don’t like those little brown people from south of the border.”  The idea of hurting a colleague — or anyone — is abhorrent to me.   And it troubles me not a little that I should even have to address this.   But I do have to address this.   Some of you feel afraid, and I respect you enough not to mock your feelings or to tell you that you shouldn’t feel the way you feel.  

Try that in a marriage: “Honey, you shouldn’t be angry at me because . . . .”   No, she feels angry.  Her feelings are real. Telling someone they shouldn’t feel the way the feel isn’t helpful.

 Violence is a theoretical concept to me. I do write about it.  But  I don’t practice it.  I have no experience hurting people. (OK, my last fight was 40 years ago as a drunken frat boy and I got whipped).  I have worked with people I disagree with for my entire life.  Not just my current employer, but in Grad school as well.   I’m used to being the odd-man out on matters that truly interest me.  I keep my opinions out of the work place almost entirely.

Yet, a thinking man — to be a thinking man — must speak publicly.  

I don’t talk about my employer because, frankly, my interests lie upstream from politics and policy.  I’m interested in philosophy and linguistics and theology and history and go wherever I think I need to go with those things.  A broad field indeed.

I take responsibility for my ideas, and for the consequences of how my ideas affect me.  I knew what I was getting into when I started writing publicly and I fully understand that there would be pushback.   I’m OK with that.   I need to write  — in Maslow’s hierarch of needs, writing is my self-actualization.  

But I will never hurt you.

Anyway, I’ve addressed it.  



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