Saturday, November 5, 2011

I'm not sayin'; I'm just sayin'

So about addressing Anders Paulsson's politically incorrect statement, I decided it was better to say something than to say nothing.

Anders' comment about working with "Filipino musicians who are just as talented as Swedes" probably wasn't outright racist. Perhaps it was a response to criticism. It might have stemmed from some distinctively Swedish cultural elitism. Or perhaps it stemmed not from elitism, per se, but from Orientalism, a romanticized view of so-called exotic Eastern cultures.

In any case, my gut tells me that Anders really didn't mean to be demeaning. Or at least I'd like to believe that he doesn't actually have lower expectations of musical proficiency in the Philippines. So I wrote him an e-mail to make him aware of the possible misinterpretation of his comment, and that I preferred not to share that particular interview because it just wouldn't make sense coming from me.

I guess I was thinking I'd be nipping a potentially sensitive situation in the bud. I hope I haven't made things awkward, thereby screwing over this project.

It was important to me to respond quickly to his e-mail about the interview. I also wanted to ask his collaborating scientists to contact the oceanographer who hasn't yet written me back. But I needed to do the former before the latter.

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