Responding to a Culturally Insensitive Letter
I am deeply troubled that the letter by Donald Slinkard was printed in your newspaper. It is a whitewashing of slavery and genocide celebration. It completely minimizes Malachi Suarez’s valid concerns about the namesake of his school and is condescending toward the cause of changing unacceptable names that are offensive to marginalized people.
I did not subscribe to your newspaper to see this type of veiled racism printed in it. It is disgusting and unjustifiable. Also, he conveniently leaves out the fact that manifest destiny was based on the premise of European Americans being superior/non-European Americas being inferior.
Warren Starr, chairman of Cherokees of the Greater Central Valley wrote in his letter to the editor in the Fresno Bee: “Donald Slinkard’s letter…was racially prejudiced and culturally insensitive. He demonstrates a good amount of knowledge of the watered-down public relations version of history his generation and mine grew up with, and total ignorance of any other viewpoint.
“‘Manifest Destiny’ has always been a justification and cover-up for the racism toward and genocide of indigenous peoples. While Slinkard may be aware (or not) that natives were slaughtered, herded up in corrals like cattle, had their scalps traded for money alongside the pelts of coyotes, wolves, bobcats, etc., he obviously is obtuse to the symbolic significance of those actions.
“American Indians were viewed as wild animals, varmints to be shot on sight. Using them today as mascots alongside wolverines, bears, coyotes, says Americans today are still equating and seeing indigenous peoples as inferior wild animals. The first Americans are human beings, not animals. Why is it so difficult for those growing up knowing only white privilege to get that?”
I have been a long-time supporter of the Community Alliance and appreciate all that you have done for the community, but I found it necessary to express my concerns about you including this racist letter in your newspaper.
Newsstands and the Law
(Editor’s note: An earlier version of the page one story on the theft of a Community Alliance newsstand was published online. The reader belowresponded to that article.)
After reading the article, regarding what happened to your newspaper, I was filled with mixed emotions. I was so upset, how the jail staff threw away your newspaper stand, and how Sheriff Mims was distancing herself and condoning the behavior w/ inaction. The same Sheriff who stated she had to follow the law when it came to laws she wanted to enforce, however unethical and immoral. With her carefully worded response stating that it was expensive to repair their window and etc. I would assume since the stand was thrown outside a government building especially a jail there would be cameras everywhere for several reasons. Also, if someone attacked their building it could be considered a threat, and I would assume finding out who those individuals are before anything escalates would be important to ensure safety for the public servants, and the public. Also, making sure people follow the law may be considered part of her job. Doesn’t she realize that this is exactly why so many people don’t trust the police and don’t have trust in the system. This is exactly what people are so upset about.
However, I did feel better after reading your response.
Andrea (submitted online)