People Who Matter

Terrance Heath


Note: This is an extended version of a “Letter to the Editor” I emailed to Newsweek upon seeing their December 19th issue.

Newsweek 121909

I know what was meant by it, but I couldn’t help rolling my eyes when I read the subtitle of your December 19th issue: “People who matter, on what matters most.” Frankly, that struck me as precisely our problem in this country, on so many levels.

The very idea of “people who matter” inevitably comes paired with the idea that there are “people who don’t matter.” It’s the basis of what Robert Fuller calls “rankism” — which, instead of seeing the world in black and white, sees it populated with “somebodies and nobodies.” Fuller writes, “‘Somebodies’ are sought after, given preference, lionized. ‘Nobodies’ get insulted, dissed, exploited, ignored.”

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