Letters to the Editor

08/27 – What you’re saying: Eleanor Kinnaird, Ernie Wendell, Charity Watkins, Thomas Lee, Lynne Kane, William Jarrell and Michael Kraus

2 Southern heritages

The phrase “Southern Heritage,” used to justify support for veneration of the Confederate battle flag and Civil War monuments, omits the fact that there are two Southern heritages.

Almost 40 percent of the population in the pre-Civil War southern states were slaves. Their narrative is starkly different from the white supremacists’ narrative of honor and genteel culture. Theirs is rather a nightmare of torture, brutal living conditions, families torn apart and hard labor for which there was no pay, only economic enrichment for the slave owners.

Isn’t it time we asked the question of the apologists, what about the other “Southern Heritage?” After all, it existed, too.

Eleanor Kinnaird

Chapel Hill

Can’t we talk anymore?

I am a long-time letter submitter and have enjoyed the writing and the responding to responders!

I have now experienced a long-time absence from submission; largely because I’m really at a loss for words in today’s political acid-drenched environment. It almost seems that we have lost all sense of reason.

I fail to understand the rank tone of absolute hatred that permeates almost every word written or spoken. I don’t know where the USA’s drain to the world’s sewer is located but someone has surely discovered the location and pulled the plug! As a result, the USA I have known, and served, for a large part of my 87 years, is slowly but certainly being sucked down into a vast sewer of swirling evil. Gone are the days of “United we stand!” Present are the days of “Divided we fall!”

I bare hatred for none. I wish to embrace with those of reason. Are there others of similar desire? Have all lost hope? Surely not everyone! Not hardly! What happened to “Love your neighbor?”

Ernie Wendell


Neither champion nor villain

Leave ‘Silent Sam’ in place. This statue on the UNC-CH campus is not a particular person; he is a symbolic representation of history and death. Sam reminds us that 35,000 to 40,000 North Carolinians perished in the Civil War. He reminds us that many young men left their studies while others were conscripted into service to the “Old North State.” After the war, so few students were available the university closed from 1870 to 1875.

“Sam” is neither champion nor villain but a silent representative of the death and destruction that tear apart a society which cannot settle its differences peacefully. “Sam” is a representation of lives cut short, lost to a world of mortality created by fear, self-righteousness, and the valuation of political dogma above human life. The traits that drove “Sam” to war seem to be the same values that motivate some to tear him down.

“Silent Sam” needs to remain in place, not as a symbol of Confederate pride, but as a painful reminder of the high cost of unyielding social and political hubris. Persons of past eras may have viewed Sam as a heroic figure representing gallant effort to prevail in righteous effort. Presently, his frozen stare should evoke sadness in the hearts of those who reflect on young lives sacrificed to a futile and erroneous cause. He is a stoic warning to us all to check our behavior and dare to listen to others. Sam should remain as visible thorn in our flesh.

Thomas Lee Kittrell

Racism by omission

With the nation now focused on calls for the removal of Confederate monuments including Silent Sam, it is critical for us to consider more pervasive forms of racism affecting our country and, more specifically, affecting our campus. Although we tout ourselves as a liberal bastion, potentially free of racial bias and discrimination, we are not. Racism is present here, including in UNC’s School of Social Work.

For the fifth year in a row, UNC’s School of Social Work Doctoral Program has not admitted a Black student. How do I know? I am one of two Black students remaining in the program. Yes, two. And we are both doctoral candidates who will graduate this academic year.

In addition to a lack of representation among the doctoral student body, racism by omission is also evident among doctoral faculty and course curricula. First, our program lacks a recruitment strategy to attract racially and culturally diverse students, although our MSW program has one. Second, we only have two faculty members who teach in the doctoral program; however, only one taught in the program before this upcoming semester. Third, although we are guided by a code of ethics that promotes social justice, our doctoral program does not have a social justice component within its course curricula. Our understanding of race is simply limited to how to code racial groups for quantitative data analysis.

Despite trying to work with administration to change these trends, nothing has changed. This fight now needs to be made public.

Charity Watkins


Trump has chosen his side

Our country appears to be coming apart. We demonize fellow Americans with opposing points of view. We shouldn’t. We should remember that well-meaning people can hold opposing views on immigration policies, abortion, gun laws, etc.

But don’t be fooled for a second into thinking that President Trump was earnestly trying to address this divide with his remarks. After the actual demons in our society clubbed their way to center stage in Charlottesville, President Trump railed against the “unfair” portrayal of them in the press and demanded that we consider their point of view. He assured us that “many fine people” were just there to protest the removal of a piece of history dear to them.

While I firmly believe that removing the statue of Robert E. Lee is the right thing to do, I do believe that good people could conclude otherwise. But I don’t believe it’s possible for a good person to show up to protest the removal of the statue, see the Nazi flags and decide to stay. Good people don’t line up behind a swastika, they stand opposed to it.

After equivocating for days, President Trump chose his side. He urged us to sympathize with the people underneath the swastikas. There is no going back.

I understand that many good people voted for this president. But look up at those flags flying overhead. How could any good person continue to stand behind this president after learning where he stands on the events in Charlottesville?

Michael Kraus


Jewish new year

As we contemplate the many current challenges to our history and the U.S. Constitution, Kol Haskalah offers a non-theistic Jewish New Year series of celebrations. We invite all interested people in the Triangle to attend and join our discussions.

On Sept. 20 Kol Haskalah celebrates renewal on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, as the sound of the shofar calls us together from 7 to 9 p.m. in the sanctuary of Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (ERUUF), on Garrett Road in Durham.

The traditional Days of Reflection and Repentance with our fellow humans concludes with Kol Nidre from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29, in the ERUUF sanctuary, an inspiring service.

Saturday, Sept. 30 adult discussion of the year’s topic is 3 to 4 p.m. Niskor service in Remembrance of lost friends and family is 4 to 5 p.m., and Break-the-Fast Potluck is 5 to 7 p.m. in the ERUUF Fellowship Hall.

For more information, call 919-260-4801or go to www.kolhaskalah.org

Lynne Kane

Kol Haskalah Humanistic Judaism Congregation

Valid reasons undermined

Why doesn’t anyone call out the Workers World Party for what they are? Stalinists who play the Scylla to the Charybdis of the KKK and the alt-right.

The WWP was founded in 1959 by Sam Marcy to defend Chairman Mao and the Soviet Invasion of Hungary. Since then they have supported Enver Hoxha, Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milošević, and Kim Jung-un as either exemplars of socialism or as enemies of U.S. imperialism.

The valid reasons for removing Confederate monuments can only be undermined when championed by people with such a vicious political agenda. To say otherwise is to say that the human lives destroyed in Eastern Europe, China and North Korea do not count the same as the human lives destroyed on antebellum plantations or in our inner cities.

Racism should be opposed because it negates human dignity. But affirming the worth of human beings is severely undermined by the justification of political cruelty since it was people, not cattle, who suffered under the tyrannies of Mao, Hoxha and the Kim dynasty. The final picture left by the Workers World Party is one of hypocrisy since, like the Klan and Nazi, they seem to be committed to a belief that their ideals can justify a cheapening of human life.

William Jarrell


What you’re saying

Please send up to 300 words to letters@heraldsun.com. All submissions may be edited for length and clarity. Thank you.