After issuing my challenge, I sent an e-mail to all the interested parties. Barnard wrote back:
[N]ot sure any of the offended parties are really interested in the subject matter. I have publicly offered to discuss my remarks with anyone seriously interested in baseball and Latino culture. Two weeks later no one has taken me up on that offer. Since no one other than the Dean – who admitted he wasn’t a baseball fan – wanted to discuss the matter with me one on one, I would have serious reservations about the sincerity of any person from this community claiming to be interested in a debate.
All perfectly reasonable. Of course, I have more faith (perhaps too much) in Barnard’s opponents. Or, at least, I used to. Here is what Lisha Perez had to say.
I no longer have any interest in pursuing the matter further or debating with anyone who fails to recognize cultural essentialism for what it is. Please refrain from sending me further mail. Thank you.
Isn’t that pathetic? It isn’t like I (or Dave Barnard, for that matter) went out looking for a fight with Lisha Perez and her fellow VISTAistas. She is the one who started things. She is the one who went to the Record. She is the one who made several serious and (potentially) career-damaging allegations against Barnard without either talking with him first or even getting a basic clue about the facts of the matter. Now she wants to just wander away.
Back in my day, the Leftist on campus were much more serious.
Moreover, I can’t help but marvel at the closed-mindedness of Perez’s sentiments — although I should confess to not knowing what “cultural essentialism” is. In essence, she doesn’t want to debate (talk with? meet? be in the same zip code as?) people who disagree with her.
Perhaps Bill Lenhart should have a “frank exchange” with her about how one of the purposes of a Williams education is to be confronted with ideas and perspectives different from one’s own.
Side Note: I try to always ask permission before posting an e-mail like this. Alas, since I don’t want to get accused of harassing Perez by e-mailing her again, I can’t ask her. Catch-22.