Saturday, January 03, 2009

Envoi: Sean Michael McClure, Racist and Homophobe

I received this e-mail a few days ago from Sean Michael McClure, who sometimes posted to this blog. I have cut and pasted the text in its pristine form. I felt editing out the spelling and punctuation errors would lessen the impact.

From: Sean McClure

To: "T. S. Hattar"

Subject: RE: Stop harrasing me

Date: Thu, 1 Jan 2009 00:09:04 +0000

Dear Talal;

In the end I am quite pleased that your have a disease that is turning your mind to hummus. Nothing pleases me more than to know that as a gay man you will never have children. So even if before your mind turns to rot God has deprived you with any posibility of a legacy, since we all know that your poli sci views, being a Marxist as you are, is antiquated and irrelevant in today's day in age.

I hope the flames of hell lap at your peasent toes for eternity, which will happen since you, as a gay man are an abonimation before God. Which sadly for you would have happened anyway since you will always be a Saracen dog.

I only wish that I could report your family members to my overzealous DHS thuggy friends, for being terrorists, I do so enjoy putting Arabs up on the chopping plot. But, since you are disowned, their suffering really wouldn't hurt you so I wouldn't enjoy it all that much and when I got rid of that nasty old Paki professor who dared to give me a B, well the titilation only lasted so long.

Sean Michael McClure


Near the start of the last term, Sean was whining to me that he didn’t have any gaming buddies anymore. He wanted to get me and a group of my friends to play a game with him. I told him I didn’t have the time for gaming and it would be rough to find a game that we could all play, because my buddies live in different time zones. To his credit, Sean found a game called Legends of Elveron, that can be played realistically across time zones with players checking in at different time of days, but still coordinating their actions across timezones. So I got Kirk and Simon to join in our original group. Nelly joined at the start of our second round. A friend and ex-student, Josiah, hopped in for our third round. The game was fun. It was actually really fun. And it gave me a chance to catch up with old friends, especially Kirk.

The events that led to Sean's letter started at the tail end of our first round. We elected Sean our realm king (he clearly coveted the post). But he started bossing everyone around. The term primus inter pares didn’t seem to exist in his vocabulary. As he was pushing my friends around, whom I’d gathered primarily as a favor to him, I sent him a side e-mail advising him to cool it. He exploded in a fit of pique, quit our realm (teams in Elveron are called realms) and decided to play the game for a round separately. We left him alone. Since he was restarting the game after we had already “left protection”—the setup phase of the game, we could have hunted him and ruined his round. In the name of good sportsmanship, we left him alone. For this we were rewarded near the end of the round by several obsessive attacks by Sean. Sean built up a fairly strong defense and we weren’t able to hit him back. Needless to say, in gamers terms, we wanted revenge.

We got revenge near the end of the second round. He attacked us when he was vulnerable. We had changed our kingdom names, so he didn’t know it was us. He just thought he was bullying a random realm. We all came back and pounded him. Indeed, as a realm, Nelly, Simon, Kirk, Josiah and I collectively killed his kingdom. It’s not easy killing a kingdom in Elveron, but we did it. And we did it collectively as a realm. It was really great for esprit de corps. After the kill, Sean sent us this feeble protest message:

From: Sean McClure

To: "T. S. Hattar"

Subject: Stop harrasing me

Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2008 02:14:23 +0000


I don't want to deal with you anymore as I am sure you have no interest in dealing with me. I found what you said shitty and condecending and I don't want to engage with you. Since i ma calling in the ghost with you, as I assume you want to do with me, then why the hell can't you leave me alone in the game.

Than you for runing the experience for me. Are you such a petty person that you feel compelled to keep coming after me? I don't want to interact with you. I accept an attack here or there, but you are constantly coming after me.

I would like to ask that you be civil and stop.

Thank you
Sean Michael McClure

This was my response:

From: "T. S. Hattar"

To: "Sean McClure"

Subject: Re: Stop harrasing me

Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2008 12:52:42 -0800

Dear Sean,

I think Kirk made our pack's position clear in his game message. We are satisfied with the outcome of this transaction and have no further need for interaction. If you are concerned that our word cannot be taken at face value, simply change your kingdom name. Indeed, like most strategic players, we change ours every round because camouflage is, simply put, good military practice.

In fact, we were all rather floored that you did not follow this sensible practice in the present round. But then, you could not have given us that "Batman villain" flavor that we savored so much for the past two rounds were you not insanely arrogant. Your gaming practice has added tremendously to the pleasure of our game. You gave us a personal enemy and, at length, you allowed us add, if you will, the spice of murder to our egg-nog. The hunt, particularly the end game, was deeply satisfying, for which I sincerely thank you. On the whole it's been a jolly good Christmas.

It's good to have friends!



I think it was pretty mild. He had been a real jerk in the game and, yes, I really did relish giving him his comeuppance. At any rate, I had never received such a vitriolic letter in my entire life. Indeed, while this was not the first instance of anti-Arab racism that has been directed against me (although most of these came on the playground on the seventh grade), it was the first homophobic slur I’ve received in my life. Well, I guess I had those in the seventh grade too, but no one, including me, knew that I was gay when they were calling me “faggot” back then.

I have recently learned something about prejudice. People interact with you, even pretend to be your friends, despite identities they consider to be undesirable. Prejudice doesn’t mean that they have a white sheet in their closet and plan on burning a cross in your yard. It means they pretend to be friends and consider it a “courtesy.” They think they’re being generous. It means when they’re pissed off and want to bludgeon you, they grab onto the identity and use it as cudgel. Racists and homophobes exist everywhere. Indeed, Sean Michael McClure is a government bureaucrat who first worked at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in the Africa Bureau and now works at the Department of the Treasury. They exist in your government.

In The Neverending Story, Michael Ende tells of the Old Man of Wandering who writes down the events of people’s lives so that they live forever as an ugly or beautiful story. I may not be the Old Man of Wandering Mountain, but this is definitely Sean Michael McClure’s ugly story. I hope for his sake it’s the only one.

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