Here’s my open letter to Filippenko.
When you write an apology letter, it helps if you understand to whom the apology is directed. In this case, I think you believed you were apologizing to anybody you might have offended by forwarding a cheesed-off email from a colleague about the protests slowing the TMT construction, without running it through ‘the political correctness’ sieve.
Essentially, you were apologizing to an audience of white people.
You took the time and trouble to mention that relations haven’t always been cool between whites and native Hawai’ians.
You took the time and trouble to mention that only a small number of people are against the observatory. (Thousands, literally thousands, but who’s counting?)
You took the time and trouble to mention that it’s a nice young Hawai’ian woman who is supporting the new observatory with her charming petition. (See the future of Hawai’i is smart young people who think the protesters are so old hat.)
At no point did you name the groups protesting. You don’t show any understanding of why this is a flashpoint issue. It’s as if the money already spent and the lands already stolen have decided the matter, and with your tone of calm reason, you’re being the good guy here.
Now, I’m not saying that the march of science is inevitably racist, sexist and harmful to the environment, because that assertion can be proven to be false.
Absent you describing in any meaningful way why the building of the new observatory is harmful to the land rights, spiritual traditions and pride of Hawai’ians, absent you acknowledging the stated public intentions of the thousands of protesters and dozens of arrestees, you haven’t really apologized for anything.
Pandering to the hurt feelings of white liberals and stomping on Hawai’ians who perceive a sacred obligation to defend their land does not an apology make. I am willing to predict that it is the only thing even resembling an apology on the subject that will ever issue from your desk.
Thank you for the opportunity to educate myself further on the myriad ways and forms of liberal guilt. It’s almost as if you think that you don’t need to apologize, since you’re likely going to get what you want, and nobody who’s protesting and getting arrested really matters anyway.