Letters to the Editor

05/20 What Youre Saying: Lee Mortimer, Sara Malone, Kim Stahl, Vicki Boyer, Dorothy Snyder, and Rachel Bearman

“Carr was the embodiment of dichotomy in the area of race relations,” writes Philip Scott.
“Carr was the embodiment of dichotomy in the area of race relations,” writes Philip Scott.

The history we choose

Editor’s note: Joe Johnson’s story on the Carrboro Board of Aldermen considering a plaque to tell a fuller history of town namesake Julian Carr (“What's in a name? A lot for Carrboro when it comes to namesake Julian Carr.” May 10) got a lot of response, including:

Sarah Malone: It was inevitable that, like the lava flowing from Kilauea, the misplaced rage and unearned shame driven by Social Guilt that have distracted the campus for months would slip under the stone walls of UNC-Chapel Hill and, hidden underground, work their way beneath West Franklin and East Main streets, past The Spotted Dog along Weaver Street, and finally thrust their toxic mass through a fissure in the vicinity of Carrboro Town Hall.

Social Guilt, of course, is the backward-looking, usually destructive, ugly stepsister of forward-focused, often productive, Social Justice. Social Guilt, fueled by subjective emotion rather than objective reason, tends to result in some form of iconoclasm which makes otherwise peaceful people want to break or damage things and demean the people in the past (usually long-dead) who were associated with them in order to try to remove the false sense of guilt about bad things that happened in the past, over which no one in the present has any control or any power to change.

In his recent book, “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress” (Viking 2018), Steven Pinker observes: “The human moral sense can … work at cross-purposes to our well-being. People demonize those they disagree with … . For every misfortune they seek a scapegoat. They see morality as a source of grounds for condemning rivals and mobilizing indignation against them.”

Julian S. Carr, the namesake of Carrboro, N.C., has been the local scapegoat for months. As a Carrborista for over 20 years, I appreciate the balanced biographies of Mr. Carr that have been shared by Professor Peter Coclanis (The Herald-Sun, Nov. 3, 2017) and now by Philip Scott (The Herald-Sun, May 14). I hope the plaque envisioned by Alderwoman Gist and Alderman Seils will include some mention of the truly progressive things that Julian Carr did since they represent the nature of present-day Carrboro far more than any negative things he said or did. Actions should speak louder than words.

Kim Stahl: I'm having difficulty reconciling the demand that we "remember history" by never changing any building (or town) names or moving any monuments, with the demand that we ignore history and "move on" because discussing history is "divisive."

It seems to me that the folks discussing Carr, his good and bad, in factual ways, are doing a good thing. We have a lot of solid historical records of Chapel Hill and Carrboro. If history matters so much that we should never alter any monument or name, surely it matters enough to bring out the historical record for more examination in order for people to know what those names really mean.

Vicki Boyer: The history we choose to acknowledge sets a tone for the future. If we are to be the all-inclusive nation state described in our founding documents we must acknowledge the real truth of our past. To cover up slavery and racism with romanticized stories of a “noble cause” and “preserving our heritage” prevents us from achieving our true potential, both as individuals and as a country. The time for acknowledgement is here.

Dorothy Snyder: To those who suggest that addressing systemic racism is a waste of time or some sort of mental disease: it is racism, your racism, that is the psychological disorder. It is far from "normal" to care nothing for the failure of our county, our state, our nation to ever acknowledge, apologize or offer restitution for the torture, murder, rape and exploitation of the ancestors of many of your neighbors, our neighbors.

I would like you to consider how it might be for a Jew to live in a town called Hitler, or a Native American to live in a town called Andrew Jackson. It is thus for a person of color to live in Carrboro.

Whether or not the name will be changed is a matter for the people to decide, but to charge that it is not important to talk about is unconscious at best and deliberately vicious at worst.

1 in 6 seniors

One in six seniors in the United States of America today are food insecure and the population of seniors only continues to grow with 12,000 individuals turning 60 every day. In North Carolina the number is one in five! Meals on Wheels specializes in addressing the needs of this vulnerable, high-risk population, effectively improving health outcomes and the quality of life for millions of recipients each year, while reducing risks, hospital readmissions and overall healthcare costs.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro Meals on Wheels is one of over 5,000 independently run Meals on Wheels programs across the United States. For the past 41 years we have served the elderly and homebound in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and southern Orange County community. With over 200 volunteers who serve as drivers, day chairs, and set-up personnel as well as another 90 plus who bake delicious desserts delivered daily with our meals, we are truly a community-based, volunteer driven organization. Together we deliver between 170 and 185 hot, nutritious meals every weekday across 14 routes. Our volunteers not only deliver a meal but do so with a friendly smile and a quick check-in. This simple act of human connection enables our senior and homebound recipients to age in place with dignity. Chapel Hill-Carrboro Meals on Wheels receives no federal funding. It is our community donors and local business sponsorships that fund the bulk of our annual operating budget.

On Wednesday, May 23, Chapel Hill Carrboro will be celebrating 41 years and marking the fifth year of Dining for Dollars, our signature fundraising event. This is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy great food and wonderful company while raising funds to feed the elderly and homebound in our community. All are welcome! To learn more or to purchase event or raffle tickets, please visit www.chcmow.org. Together we can deliver!

Rachel Bearman

Executive director

Chapel Hill Carrboro Meals on Wheels

The pariah state

If we thought Israel couldn’t be any more barbaric in its treatment of Palestinians, the cold-blooded killing of at least 60 defenseless protesters in Gaza and injuring nearly 3,000 more should shatter any such illusion.

I fully expected a murderous repression the day the U.S. embassy was moved to Jerusalem, but thought Israel might curtail its brutality to keep the focus on a diplomatic success. But Israel seems to want the world to know that Washington can be counted on to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to any atrocity it commits.

The claim that Israel "has a right to defend its borders" is a monstrous lie. Israel left Gaza in 2005 because it couldn't hold onto its settlement colonies in the tiny coastal strip. But as home to nearly half of all Palestinians then under Israeli military occupation, Gaza offered a perfect location for isolating and imprisoning an unwanted population.

Gaza would also become a holding pen for troublesome West Bank Palestinians, who Israel might not need to kill or imprison. They could be sent into internal exile, enabling Israel to accelerate settlement building in the West Bank.

All the conditions for Gaza's poverty and chaos were put in place by Israel. Think of a jailhouse riot where the inmates throw their food trays at the guards, and the guards respond with shotgun blasts at the inmates in their cells. You then understand the nature of Israel's massacre of Gaza protesters beneath the walls of their open-air prison.

Donald Trump's craven capitulation to the embassy relocation is a message to Palestinians that the U.S. has no intention of brokering an honest peace process. It's a message of Israel's intention to continue the dispossession of Palestinians from land and homes taken to create the Israeli state 70 years ago.

It's time for people of compassion and conscience to make Israel the pariah state it so fully deserves to be.

Lee Mortimer


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