White Liberal Guilt Faulted
November 27, 1979 — The Daily Iowan (letter)
“The long history of human conflict reveals a simple, commonly known law of human survival . . . weak nations are invariably conquered, exploited or dominated in some way by stronger nations.”
On Nov. 14, 1979, the University of Iowa’s student newspaper featured two editorials and four letters to the editor on the Iran hostage ordeal as it pertained to the treatment of Iranian students on campus, all of which struck a similar tone. Here is a dissenting view, followed by a supportive reply.
Tuesday, November 27, 1979
None dare call them fuzzypuffs
To the editor:
Your Nov. 14 pro-Iranian (or anti-American) editorial page seemed somewhat contrived. It certainly didn’t represent the views of all your readers. While you profess great loyalty and sympathy for Iranian students, the real purpose of your proselytizing and biased selection of letters appears to have been an unconscious, more selfish, motive. You and your editorial staff seem to be striving for atonement of your guilt feelings as “oppressive and sinful” white American “imperialists” who have been “cruelly exploiting” non-whites throughout the world.
As a part-Sioux Indian, I have long been amused with the rhetorical self-flagellation of white American liberals. Many native Americans jokingly refer to them as “fuzzypuffs” because of their obscure, soft position on most social issues. However, we generally find them useful because of their naivete and eagerness to identify with various movements and issues which seem fashionable or threatening to the status quo. It also gives them an opportunity to relieve some of their irrational guilt feelings caused by the imagined “sins” of their ancestors. Similar to Chinese brainwashing during the Korean War, we can easily manipulate fuzzypuffs by impairing their guilt-anxiety mechanism. Fuzzypuffs also tend to be unrealistic, incongruous and hypocritical. To cite a few examples: (1) While zealously supporting the doctrines of feminism, they carefully ignore the sexist implications of porno movies and publications; (2) while ridiculing the Judeo-Christian principles and lifestyle, they carefully ignore the fact that other major world religions are basically similar; (3) while expressing indignation over America's $101 billion defense spending (1977), they carefully ignore the fact that the Soviet Union spent $141 billion for defense; (4) while scourging America for having a tiny base in Cuba, they carefully ignore the fact that Russian troops are illegally occupying three Japanese-owned islands in the North Pacific; (5) while belittling America for not sending the shah back to Iran, they carefully ignore the fact that Khomeini once safely resided in Paris as an exile; (6) while criticizing American UI students for not being loyal to Iranian UI students, they carefully ignore the fact that about seven Iranian students were seen wildly cheering for the Soviet national basketball team during the 1978 season, which was hardly an expression of loyalty to the UI; (7) while angrily accusing Americans of being hostile, vengeful and unfair in their response to Iran’s unjust imprisonment of U.S. embassy personnel, they carefully ignore the fact that these are all innocent Americans being threatened with death. They also ignore the fact that Khomeini’s revolutionaries have executed thousands of their own people, especially innocent members of one of their own minority groups, the Kurds.
It is difficult enough for native Americans (or anyone else who is poor) to survive under today’s chaotic social and political conditions without having fuzzypuffs to make them worse. Although many of us are discouraged, at least we do have a country of our own; but if we should lose it, then what?
The long history of human conflict reveals a simple, commonly known law of human survival, which fuzzypuffs seem unable to grasp: weak nations are invariably conquered, exploited or dominated in some way by stronger nations. In a practical sense, morality, human rights and justice are immaterial to this historical process. Power is the major factor. For example, if Sitting Bull had been a fuzzypuff, it would have been his last stand rather than Custer’s. Yet, because white America was militarily stronger than the Sioux and other tribes collectively, it was inevitable that we should fall. However, if the fuzzypuffs had as much influence then as they do now, things may have been different; although some other strong nation would have eventually conquered us anyway.
Finally, I would like to say (regardless of your maudlin affection for pro-Khomeini Iranian students) it is my firm belief that America’s only hope for survival lies in such wisdom, courage and patriotism as demonstrated by students like UI Sen. Keith Gormezano. Unlike some fuzzypuffs who opposed his resolution during the recent UI Student Senate meeting, Gormezano is realistic and direct. Above all, as a Hollywood Indian would say, he no speak with forked tongue.
E. Eugene El Bon
Friday, November 30, 1979
To the editor:
Three cheers for Eugene El Bon and his expose of fuzzypuffs. In line with his comments, may I suggest that Iranian students in the U.S. consider the following:
1. The students at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the shah are both pawns in the Ayatollah Khomeini’s play for power. If he was really interested in punishing the shah, why didn’t he have the Mexican Embassy seized during the many months the shah was living In Mexico, and demand his return? Khomeini has borrowed a page from Hitler’s philosophy — tell a lie often enough, and loud enough, and suppress opposing viewpoints. Eventually, people will believe that lie.
2. In the eyes of the world, Iran has substituted one dictator (who, for all his faults, did much for Iran and its position internationally) for another, even harsher dictator who has dishonored his country! Since Khomeini’s goal is personal power, violation of the tradition and Islamic law which protects diplomats in a foreign country, invoking the name of Allah merely to justify his terrorism, murder and suppression of human rights, are all merely part of the game. Why should we care that generations of Iranians will have to live with the knowledge that the world considers their nation without honor or integrity?
3. Iranian students still in the U.S. are in a unique position (while accepting the hospitality and protection offered to all foriegners [sic]) to read and hear many viewpoints, including Khomeini’s. While no one claims that all news report in the U.S. are unbiased (or even true), Iranian students have an obligation to their fellow countrymen to take advantage of this opportunity to provide them with both sides of the story.
If you care for your country, then take Eugene El Bon’s advice. Don’t be fuzzypuffs. Don’t let your country become another Nazi Germany.
Jan W. Cureton
241 Koser Av.
Hostage Crisis Not the Fault of Iranian-Americans, Writes Cal Poly SLO Student (Nov. 1979)
Iranians and their supporters are enemies of America — Letter to Florida Flambeau (1978)
U.S. Supports Worthless Dictators, Says University of Iowa Student (Jan. 22, 1980)
MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”