Newspaper editor refuses to apologize for racist comments, says he doesn't use the internet

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Screengrab from Thursday's edition of The Record
We're going to be charitable and assume the University of Iowa doesn't actually base compensation levels on race or hyphens.
Yesterday, the Record of Montezuma, Iowa, published a report disclosing the salaries of University of Iowa employees. In and of itself, that sounds like a worthy project, but Editor-in-chief Chuck Dunham is in hot water over commentary he added to the story.

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Dunham wrote: "[T]he relatively high numbers of employees with names from Asia and the Near East is interesting. While there are SMiths [sic] and Jones, there are eleven Ahmeds to only 30 Browns... Hyphenated, unspellable and oriental names may get you the big bucks."

Those passages prompted Matt Denner to begin a petition drive on Organize demanding that Dunham "apologize for your paper's racist comments."

"All people should have their work judged in a manner independent of their race, and shouldn't have their salaries questioned simply because their names or culture are unfamiliar," Denner wrote. "Dunham owes an apology to not only people of color at the University of Iowa, but to the people of Montezuma and all of Iowa whose tolerant reputation he has besmirched."

But reached for comment by journalism blogger Jim Romenesko, Dunham said he doesn't think he has anything to apologize for. And in a surprising twist, he also said he never uses the internet. (The Record has a Facebook page but doesn't appear to have a website.)

From Romenesko:
Dunham returned my call on Friday morning. He said he was unaware of the controversy because he doesn't go online. ("I only deal with what's on paper.") The editor said he's received only one call about the salaries list and that was from a state legislator "who was very pleased to see the four pages of names."

Dunham said his comment about university employees with "hyphenated, unspellable and oriental names" getting large salaries "is a clue to what's to be found there" in the list. He didn't see a problem with it.

I started to tell him about the online petition demanding that he apologize, but he interrupted and said, "If they want to write me a letter, that's fine; I only deal with what's on paper. Thank you for calling." He then hung up.
At best, Dunham is guilty of muddling correlation and causation. Then again, maybe we shouldn't expect logical coherence from a newspaper editor in rural Iowa who still uses words like "oriental" in 2013 but doesn't use the internet.

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11 comments
j.reiter
j.reiter

I think that the entire staff should be Muslim and Jew, white educators have no business teaching white students, how will the whites be conditioned into endless guilt with white staff!? If they need advice on accomplishing this, they could hire a couple consultants from St. Cloud State, the geniuses up there had me hating whites and Christians when I graduated.

laughingATyou
laughingATyou

beat 'em kick 'em .....   we're little people and together we can beat up other little people.  s n o b s  in every culture float to the surface.  Go ahead and jumpt to conclusions - just look out if a cliff is on the other side of your judgements.

chrisfl
chrisfl

I know where I'll be taking my hyphenated names! Time to start living it up in Iowa.

rudeboy
rudeboy

Probably jealous because he doesnt get paid shit!

A1batross
A1batross

I don't know what to think about this story, particularly since it appears next to a sidebar Guthrie Theater advertisement for what appears to be a noir detective play featuring two apparently Asian (sorry Dunham, "oriental") actors, entitled "YELLOW FEVER" in big block letters.

keny1
keny1

@j.reiter That's nothing. The U of M fashioned the term "cultural pluralism" way back in 1993. As students in RHET 101, we were lectured (brainwashed) into the belief that America is not a "melting pot", but rather a tossed salad (yes, go ahead laugh.....those were the Prof's exact words) where different cultures live together, but hold on to their traditional values, and do not adhere to a set standard of conduct or beliefs (aka anti-assimilation). It was basically the beginning of what we know now as "PC" and as you stated, the beginning of the self-loathing white guilt hatred that is taught (aka mind fucked) to white students in public schools and Universities. When a white student (me) questioned the Prof and asked him why white students should feel guilty and feel bad just due to the color of their skin, he started ranting to me about Slavery. When I told him that my ancestors immigrated directly from Poland to Minnesota in the 1940's where they had no affiliation with slaves or slavery, he scolded me and removed me from the class and I was forced to take a "cultural sensitivity seminar" to be readmitted to the class. I can only imagine what is taught in public schools and Universities today. But the good news is that I no longer hate myself for being white.  

DanMitchell
DanMitchell

@A1batross Do you think it's possible that the POV and motivations of the people putting on the play might be different from Dunham's?

A1batross
A1batross

@JessicaArmbrusterDressingRoomEditor Doubtless it was simply an unfortunate coincidence that an article about racism towards Asians was placed directly next to an advertisement that could be interpreted as racist towards Asians. And no, I'm not being snarky.

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