Awareness is the key to less division

We’ve tried not talking about problems like racism — it’s time we address it head-on.

LtE bug

I was a bit disturbed by David Cannon’s so-called “balanced viewpoint from the “other side” (“Thoughts from a conservative community member,” published March 24). He described himself as a white, Christian male whose parents instilled him with a work ethic and a goal to “play well with others” which led him to study hard and succeed in the IT field. Hopefully, he didn’t mean to imply that families of color didn’t also instill in their children a work ethic with the same goals to get their children to succeed despite many, if not all, facing well-documented discrimination.

I was fortunate to spend a decade in the IT field where I worked with many diverse racial and ethnic colleagues; all were hard working and responsible individuals. They undoubtedly faced issues that I didn’t even realize at the time; all because of the color of their skin. I never heard them complain about it. But, thinking back now, especially with what has come to light in the news, I should have been more aware.

So, it’s a bit upsetting to hear a complaint from Mr. Cannon about possibly being dubbed a “racist,” although he gave no example except that he’d heard school children are being told that they are “white supremacists,” “can’t help it,” and “should be ashamed.” This seems to be a much distorted description of the topic of systemic racism which all of us need to ponder, not just in school but elsewhere. He suggested that parents discuss “what it means to be white,” by which I hope he means including an age-appropriate discussion of our societal flaws regarding race and recognition of our common humanity.

However, he seemed to infer that the topic of racism is causing our society to be more divided. Unfortunately, racial divisions have existed for a exceedingly long time in this country and not addressing the problem hasn’t made it go away — in fact it has festered and become more problematic. I think the first step to being a well-integrated, less divisive society that truly “plays well with others” is awareness.

Donna Smith


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