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.
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
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.
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