Tuesday, May 06, 2008

More thoughts on the Crystal Dixon situation

In my eagerness and anger over the racial connotation regarding Crystal Dixon's comments (see yesterday's post), I omitted a crucial part of the story.

This was brought home to me when I see the headlines in various anti-gay industry publications concerning the situation:

Black University Employee Suspended for Objecting to Comparison between Black and Homosexual Discrimination

University suspends staffer over view of homosexuality
African-American condemned for stating in local paper being 'gay' not the same as being handicapped or black

How very predatory. Emphasizing the fact that Ms. Dixon is black in a pathetic attempt to set the gay and African-American communities against one another.

My guess is that they are going to try to make Ms. Dixon look like a victim; the latest cause celebre in the so-called "war on Christianity."

But let's not forget the more practical elements of this story.

Ms. Dixon wrote the column on her own time, but she placed her own employment in jeopardy because her opinions had to do with a crucial part of her job.

Let me put it another way: what if I were employed with an agency that sends out Medicaid applications. On my own time, I write a piece that gives the impression that I have a bias against a group of people who receive Medicaid applications (let's say the Latino community).

If someone pointed what I wrote to my supervisor, doesn't he have an obligation to investigate whether or not my bias infringes on my work?

It's the same thing in this situation regarding Ms. Dixon.

As a human resource officer at the University of Toledo, she is responsible for ensuring equity and diversity on the campus.

College campuses thrive on diversity, which means attracting potential students from different backgrounds, including gay students.

What Ms. Dixon wrote (especially the way she misrepresented statistics to prove her position and relying on the unsubstantiated claims of PFOX), shows a potential bias against lgbt students.

In light of this, can she be trusted to do her job adequately?

I don't know the answer to this question, but the University of Toledo has a responsibility to investigate whether she can or can't.

Please bear in mind that I said investigate, not fire. Ms. Dixon has not been fired.

Nor is she a victim here. People talk about free speech but many always forget that free speech comes with responsibilities. Sometimes you just can't say what you want. Or if you open your mouth, you should be prepared to face the consequences (especially if you are pontificating on something that has to do with your job).

In many cases it's unfortunate and unfair, but it's still a fact.

In short, Ms. Dixon has a right to free speech, but she really should have used a bit of common sense.

This situation is not about her. This situation is about the students. Their needs should not take a backseat to anyone's personal opinion.

No matter what happens in the end, the students are the only ones who matter.