April 26, 2019

Letters to the Editor

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Let’s critically think about race in America, in our own lives, reader says

The problem with the race card is that no one is allowed to use it, but virtually all of us use it subliminally.

When a white person suggests that a black person is using it, the white person is accused of being “in denial” about race, racism, discrimination and history. When a non-white person uses it, they are accused of defaulting to race as an “excuse” for whatever it is that transpired.

No one can win with the “race card,” and yet there it is: Ready to be “played” and everyone in fear of what will happen when it does get played; a standoff much colder and more volatile than the Cold War. Though like the slow dissipation of the Cold War, race is getting to be less and less of an issue, except for those who use it for profit and gain.

Race is a topic as volatile as an improvised explosive device in an urban war zone. People may want to learn and understand, but their questions can rarely be asked in emotional safety. It also silences non-white people who may want to question the “party line” when it comes to race, but fear being also told that “you don’t get it” because they are also in denial, or that they have been “co-opted.”

In this country built on the ugliest forms of racism, race is a word spoken very gently and quietly—though with passion and intensity—among friends, if at all.

I have read polls that show white people rarely think about race and non‑white people spend a lot of time thinking about it, and they think about it in different ways. This disparity creates a hostile environment that leaves non-white people fulminating and white people either scared or indifferent, because, in their eyes, for non-white people it’s “always”—or nearly always—about race.

We need to critically think about race in America and in our own lives; providing a “safe” place to ask questions and say “dumb stuff,” and at least feel a little less fearful of crossing “racial borders.”

Often in good conscience when we cross “racial borders,” we realize there was no border there at all, just ignorance.

- Kirth N. Roach | Order of Carmelite Discalced Secular, Indianapolis

Reader: To reduce human trafficking, let’s support efforts to strengthen border

This is in response to the April 5 editorial in The Criterion, “Too many of our sisters and brothers do not live free.”

I find it ironic that you would run a call to action in your editorial space to work against human trafficking just three weeks after decrying President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to establish a strong border at our southern boundary. (“Saying no to political parties,” the editorial in the March 15 issue.)

Porous borders, whether through corrupt, bribable officials, or through soft policies of the host countries, are the sine qua non of the worldwide human trafficking industry.

If we were serious in the United States about working to significantly reduce human trafficking, we should start by supporting our president’s efforts to strengthen our borders.

We should then encourage other nations to do the same with their borders.

- Daniel Engel | Avon

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