An America divided

I have fallen out of the letter writing habit in recent years, but current events in Ferguson, have re-inspired me to let my voice be heard.

As a child, I lived in Palmyra, Mo., for a number of years. We had exactly two African-American kids in our school, and I was given strict instructions not to get anywhere near them. “Black people need the Gospel too,” my Christian parents told me, “but we can’t associate with them.”

I never have figured that one out, but after 34 years of marriage to a black man, I have definitely, figured out a few important things about race relations in America.

The first thing is that most white people don’t know how to listen to black people. I don’t mean just hearing the spoken words, but hearing and understanding the unspoken meaning behind them.

We white folks need to listen to the pain, the frustration and the emotions now boiling over like a lid being blown off a pressure cooker.

The killing of unarmed black men by police officers takes place over and over and over again. Tears are shed. Speeches are said. Then life goes on for most people as if nothing even happened. Laws don’t change, policing doesn’t change, accountability doesn’t change. The only thing that changes is life for the loved ones the victim left behind.

Secondly, I believe we need to openly recognize and admit that white racism, as President Johnson’s 1968 Kerner Report states, is essentially responsible for the explosive mixture accumulating in cities and towns across the entire country. The report said that racial prejudice has shaped our history decisively and threatens to affect our future.

The most fundamental matter, the report explained, is the racial attitude and behavior of white Americans toward African Americans. The report concluded that America is divided into two societies – one black and one white – both separate and unequal, and the primary cause evolves from white racism.

Third, once we have listened and finally admitted our racism and its far reaching consequences, we must stop placing blame, embrace the truth – no matter how painful – and press forward together towards not only tolerance, but forgiveness, unity and love.

God Bless America.

Delores Paulk


In Israel vs. Palestine nothing has changed

This responds to the letter from Lawrence Geller that appeared in the Aug. 21 issue of the Local. Using the 19th century U.S. Treatment of Native Americans as an analogy, Mr. Geller criticizes Israel for defending itself from Hamas’ attacks: “Perhaps if Israel were to cease and desist from its occupational attack upon the Palestinians, Hamas might refrain from attacking Israel.”

Perhaps Mr. 
Geller is not aware that Hamas’ entire reason for being is to destroy Israel, not make peace. As has been said, if Hamas lays down its arms, there will be no more war; if Israel lays down its arms, there will be no more Israel.

“Occupation” is not an impediment to peace. Hatred of Jews is. In 1948, the United Nations adopted a plan to partition what was then called Palestine into two states: one Jewish, the other Arab. The Jews accepted the plan; the Arabs did not. Had they accepted, there would have been peace.

If Mr. Geller is referring to what some call “settlements,” his history is flawed. Regardless of one’s view of the legality of Israel’s building in communities in the disputed territories, one cannot dispute that long before there was an issue about “settlements,” the Arabs rejected the right of the Jewish people to have a state in their ancestral homeland.

From Israel’s Declaration of Independence in 1948 through the 1967 war there were no “settlements” (unless one agrees with Hamas that any community where Jews live in Israel is a settlement). What stopped the Arabs from making peace then? The answer is clear: their refusal to recognize Jews as a people with a right to their own state on land where they have been present for 3,000 years.

Nothing has changed.

Daniel E. Bacine

Mt. Airy

A shock: ‘Idiot’ in our city gov’t

I would love to know what idiot in city government approved the closing of South Broad Street last night (Thursday, Aug. 21) without any notice whatsoever to motorists, Center City businesses or anyone else.

We had a 7 p.m. reservation at a restaurant near Broad and Sansom. We drove down Market Street and got to Broad Street at 6:52 p.m. (right on time), but there were huge concrete barriers and lots of cops not allowing anyone to turn onto South Broad Street. We went to the next street, Juniper, and turned right, but since no cars were allowed on Broad Street, cars were stacked up on Juniper (and other north/south streets) like the worst Expressway jam ever.

We moved a couple inches at a time. At every intersection there were cops not allowing anyone to turn right. Eventually we got to Lombard, where cars were allowed to turn right. We thought there must have been a terrorist threat or a huge car accident on Broad Street. After about an hour of inching along, we got to 16th and Sansom and had no choice but to go east on Sansom, even though it is a one-way street going west. We were over an hour late to the restaurant, which had only two other occupied tables. A manager said there were many cancellations from people who simply could not get to the restaurant. A similar fate befell many other center city restaurants, we learned later.

Later that night we heard on the 11 o’clock news (and read in the Inquirer this morning) that the city had closed off South Broad Street with no notice to the public at the request of a “for profit” group called Diner en Blanc which does these pop-up dinners on city streets all over the country.

Even the people who showed up at the event, dressed all in white, are not told of the location until a couple of hours before. So some city government pinhead(s) allowed this group to close off South Broad Street, causing untold inconvenience and delays (and rage) to people who actually wanted to spend money in Center City and significant loss of income to many restaurants. Is it any wonder that Philadelphia city government has such an abysmal reputation? It is well deserved.

Bennett Collins

Mt. Airy

Don’t forget Julie Harris

I applaud your article about squash in the Chestnut Hill community (“Chestnut Hill: A squash powerhouse,” July 24). As a squash doubles player at the Philadelphia Cricket Club, I was very pleased with the recognition given in the article to players and pros/coaches. It is well deserved.

Although not prominently mentioned in your article, I am drawing your attention to Julie Harris, the squash director at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. Over a 20-year career at PCC, Julie has developed – solely or in collaboration with other local squash pros – 31 national champions at many different levels, including high school and college.

I am writing to inform you about what Julie has accomplished. Since I have been on vacation for two weeks, your readers may have already written to you about Julie. If so, please accept my letter as confirmation of what you already know.

David W. Lacey

Chestnut Hill

  • Sandy Moritz

    “The first thing is that most white people don’t know how to listen to black people.”

    Nope, just can’t do it.

    Developed the foundation of democracy & the concept of individual rights, launched the rule of reason, split the atom, and went to the Moon, but “knowing how to listen to black people” is just too much of a conundrum for those slow-witted and inherently racist whites.

    If only the rest of us were as smart as you, Delores.

    • Dave L

      It doesn’t require the same type of intelligence to listen to black people as it does to split an atom or go to the moon. It requires empathy and an ability to be humble and realize that you may have been given gifts in life that have helped you succeed.
      I’m not sure how anybody could make a serious argument that a huge chunk of our society is not inherently racist. It’s like trying to argue that the sky is not blue… you have to ignore all facts and evidence.

      • Sandy Moritz

        Ah, so there are different *kinds* of intelligence, eh, Dave?
        It’s unsurprising that you’d subscribe to the redefinition of the term to include what’s commonly been called aptitude or ability. Leaves a lot of room for ad hoc application, and the general “dumbing down” of expectations through self-serving reappraisal.

        As far as “gifts in life” go, you’re not up to establishing a calculus to determine who’s ahead or behind – at least not by looking at the color of someone’s skin – THAT is racist, my little friend.

        And the fact that you believe (and “believe” is certainly the correct word, because you definitely don’t “know”) “a huge chunk of our society” to be racist, reveals more about your narrow, reactive mindset than you might wish people to know.

        If you want to be an apologist, be an apoligist; but don’t feel you have license to speak for everyone – it shows a lack of empathy, and humility 🙂

        • Dave L

          The fact that I know a huge chunk of our society is racist reveals I am observant. The fact that you don’t see it shows your ignorance. The fact that you attack me for my tolerance shows your racism.

          There are definitely different types of intelligence. Google multiple intelligences for instance.

          You call me (“a little friend”) an apologist. Right now, in 2014, not 1814, our school system is set up, in this very state, so that the education a child receives is based on the local property taxes. That is a system with only one possible purpose…the goal is to ensure that affluent people get a better education. The system is racist. Police target population based on race.

          You can’t kick a man and then blame him for being on the ground. Kudos to Delores and shame on anyway that attacks a woman who thinks of more than herself.

          • Sandy Moritz

            Dave, it’s unfortunate that your ability to coherently debate a subject is so compromised by what appears to be either a problem with reading comprehension, or maybe just an inability to understand that the simple act of restating an opinion does not constitute a rebuttal.

            Thanks for the invitation to Google up everything you might think you know about “types of intelligence”, but I’m pretty certain my graduate studies will prevail in this instance.

            Without wasting any further time on you, Dave, let me leave you with my good deed for the day:
            Regarding your reply to CH – the word you’re looking for is “systemic”, not “systematic” – they have different meanings (feel free to Google it).
            It’s one thing to type it, but if you say it to a person with an *actual* education, they might think less of you.

  • CH

    While AA’s continue to whine (and people continue making apologies on their behalf) about how whites don’t know how to “listen” to them, Asians, Hispanics, and even black African immigrants all blow right past them in the economic hierarchy of this country. I guess Whites know how to listen to all those groups, though, which is evidently the secret to societal success notwithstanding all this “racism” lurking about in today’s America. Grow up, stop making excuses, and take some responsibility. I for one embrace any fellow citizen wanting to better the self through hard work and some shrewd decisions, any color, gender, etc etc etc you can think of, because we’re all better off that way – I think most decent people would agree with me. Just drop the apologist nonsense…please.

    • Dave L

      It’s scary that there are really people out there that think the repercussions of slavery are over, and that everybody should just move on with things.

      What is your explanation for why black people continue to lag behind economically in our country and are incarcerated at such high levels? Are they lazy? Are they stupid? Are they whiners? Is it really that hard to see that if something is effecting literally MILLIONS of people, that it is a systematic problem, not an individual problem.

      Yes, no need to apologize any more for slavery. It’s a bit of a waste when you can apologize for the racist laws that are on the books right now in 2014.

      • CH

        You’re absolutely right – it is a systemic problem, caused by the policies of the Great Society. Black families and culture have never been the same since that agenda was enacted, and now we have a culture and endemic dis-incentive to take personal responsibility that is deeply-rooted in that community. disproportionate crime, poverty, and general lack of social progression…its a logical result given the circumstances – anecdotally, check the Local’s crime report each week – when a suspect is reported, it is almost entirely AA’s even though they don’t comprise more than 10-15% of CH’s population. You’re also correct that the repercussions of slavery are not over, primarily because the politicians and other racial power brokers such as Sharpton/Jackson/et al that back such policies benefit from perpetuating them, hence the racial demagoguery we have on a constant basis – invoking ‘racism’ into any policy or social debate instantly poisons the well and ensures nothing will change – tell me that’s not intentional. You appear to be doing the same thing. The only way forward is to drop any preference on the basis of race/sex/etc, otherwise any perceived discrimination being remedied is just going to be replaced with different animosity and the pendulum will just swing the other way with no real results.

        • Upset.

          I don’t know what’s scarier; this comment or the fact that 3 people upvoted it. That in the context of the obvious horrors of Ferguson you could say this is unbelievable. If we have 4 people in CH who buy this nonsense, it makes me sick for our community.

          • CH

            Please explain why it is “scary.” “Obvious Horrors of Ferguson?” You mean the felon who had strongarm robbed a store and then assaulted a police officer who got shot? You actually illustrated my point about racial hustling, demagoguery, and poisoning the well of social discourse by bring up Ferguson, but I guess you don’t really understand that. There is a horror associated with Ferguson but it has much less to do with race and more to do with militarized police response to the aftermath and protests. Nothing I’ve said comes out of hatred (I’m actually not White myself) but rather about wondering when this madness and obsession over race/identity/etc will end and we can move beyond tribalist, identity politics-driven nonsense…once we do, we’ll all be better off.