Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Indiscriminate thoughts...
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Indiscriminate thoughts on discrimination

George Foster - December 7th, 2006
Indiscriminate thoughts on discrimination
Thank goodness for modern technology.
Without the small digital camera that filmed Kramer… I mean, Michael Richards, his racial tirade might never have been revealed. If nothing else, our camera-phone obsession should provide a deterrent effect that may help eliminate such acts of racism.
A white man calling an African-American “nigger” over and over is bad enough, but the same guy taunting black people about lynchings from another era transcends stupidity.
Don’t worry, no matter how many times Richards apologizes, he has received his punishment – his career in entertainment is over. Richards’ typecasting as quirky “Kramer” has been replaced by the notoriety of the most notoriously racist outburst in film history.
The Michael Richards incident is proof that racism is still pervasive though looked down upon by most Americans. That hasn’t always been the case.
I’ll never forget an infamous story of Ty Cobb, the greatest baseball player of all time and maybe the most hated. In the early 20th century Cobb was a noted bigot and generally vile person.
When Cobb jumped into the grandstands during a game to pummel a severely handicapped heckler, the league suspended the Hall-of-Famer for several games. Though his Detroit teammates hated Cobb too, they refused play during his suspension in support of Cobb. You see, the heckler had done the unthinkable for that era; he called Cobb a “nigger-lover”.
“Nigger” isn’t even listed in the official Webster’s Dictionary I use, but it has to be the most interesting word in the English language.
As a white man, I am not only uncomfortable discussing the N-word in this column, it makes me uneasy to say the word aloud at this moment while alone. Why? Because of what “nigger” represents.
Nigger means whites snatching Africans from their families and homes and being shipped thousands of miles away in chains. Nigger means being whipped, shot, or lynched without regard to any basic human dignity. Bottom line, the word “nigger” represents blacks being forced into slavery and treated as animals or worse.
On the other hand, African-Americans often use the N-word when describing each other. Rap songs sung by blacks frequently use the word when discussing their friends.
Black athletes sometimes refer to each other as “nigger” with a positive meaning of strength and courage.
Several years ago, CMU’s white coach asked and received permission from his black basketball players to use the word “nigger” with its positive meaning during practice. Someone overheard the white coach using the word with his players and he was soon fired.
The moral to the story seems to be that racial and ethnic slurs may be negated if the historic victims use the otherwise inappropriate insults. If you are a white Anglo-Saxon man, you won’t get away with saying anything remotely racist. And rightfully so.
In the case of U.S. Senator George Allen, justice prevailed again when a racist was exposed in an unguarded moment on film. As a Caucasian, Senator Allen referred to a filmmaker of Indian descent covering his campaign as “macaca” (monkey). Allen also welcomed him to America (the filmmaker is a native of Virginia). From the time of his racist slip, Allen’s popularity dropped from a double-digit percentage lead over his challenger in the Virginia polls to losing the election by an eyelash.
Ironically, Republicans lost control of the U.S. Senate in the recent election by one seat and Republican Allen’s razor-thin loss was the last Senate seat to be decided. Whoever said one person can’t affect the outcome of an election?
Amazingly, one word on film was enough to change the course of history.

 
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