People As Objects

MEMBERS OF THE American Friends Service Committee, a prominent Quaker organization known for its progressive values and social justice advocacy in the U.S. and abroad, have raised an alarm about a woman holding a leadership position within the organization who they say has misrepresented her ethnic background for years and who they fear may be working on behalf of groups seeking to undermine their organization. Raquel Evita Saraswati, a Muslim activist who for years has encouraged people to believe that she is a woman of color, including Latina as well as of South Asian and Arab descent, is the AFSC’s chief equity, inclusion, and culture officer, a senior position that gives her access to the files of dozens of the organization’s staff and volunteers. But Saraswati, who was born Rachel Elizabeth Seidel, is not a person of color, according to her mother, Carol Perone.

If you care about “ethnic backgrounds” of people who work for you, this will always be the result. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes, as they say.

Oskar Pierre Castro, a human resources professional who participated in the search committee to fill Sarawati’s position, told The Intercept that she had presented herself as a “queer, Muslim, multiethnic woman.” “It really touched all the points,” said Castro, who works for Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, a Quaker group that frequently partners with the AFSC, and who was involved in the search along with AFSC staff members.

Who talks like this about people? The woman is being described like an object for sale. Yippee, she met the list of specifications. Look how this HR guy speaks about a job candidate:

Castro added, “In my mind it was, ‘Great, a person of color, a queer person of color, who happens to be a Muslim, it’s a woman, all these things, and someone who seemed to get it. I definitely feel conned. … I feel deceived.”

How is it acceptable to reduce human beings to their body parts and sex habits? This is absolutely horrid.

Of course, if you are trying to make a shady purchase, you will end up being conned. I’m completely on this woman’s side. She duped the people who richly deserved to be duped because they despise other humans.


6 thoughts on “People As Objects

  1. “I definitely feel conned. … I feel deceived.” No, HE is the con man, HE is the deceiver.
    This lady did very well to describe herself as she did. What kind of qualification is being queer, or a woman of colour or a Muslim? These are not qualifications, they are badges, and everyone is entitled to get as many as he or she likes, and any kind they like.
    As Casanova remarked when he stood accused of inventing his own aristocratic title, “the letters of the alphabet are free for anyone to use”.
    When national identities are labelled “invented communities”, there is no reason not to claim one’s own identity and no one, not even a freaking Quaker should have the right to question the “lived experience” of one’s “authentic self”, which is Wokespeak for “reality is what I decide that it should be and anyone questioning my truth is committing violence against me”.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree completely with what you say. The whole point of job qualifications is that they can be acquired. Once you move job qualifications into the realm of immutable, inborn characteristics, job candidates will act like they can be acquired because you are breaking a basic social contract. The fault lies with you for demanding things that can’t serve as job qualifications.


  2. “Members of the American Friends Service Committee, a prominent Quaker organization known for its progressive values and social justice advocacy in the U.S. and abroad, have raised an alarm …”

    Yes, members of my family raised an alarm years ago … by leaving the Quaker faith.

    Once it was clear that the Quakers were going to be infiltrated just like nearly every other Christian or quasi-Christian faith, we stopped making a big deal about doing your own thing in terms of faith.

    So how do you make a Western Buddhist?

    Start with a Quaker and take away all of the things that make him want to be a Quaker.

    At least one of the benefits of “Rinzai-shū” is that if you can explain it easily to a novice to the point that you enlighten them immediately, you have also instantly become The Buddha. 🙂

    But isn’t this “religious purity test” the principle behind The Grand Inquisitor in Dostoevsky’s story?

    It’s easy to be The Grand Inquisitor, where you’re judging people for perceived religious crimes, when you’re not one of the faithful.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.