Letters to the EditorOct. 11, 2000
Drake 'advocates zero tolerance,' not 'racial compromise'
In response to Tuesday's column by John Drake titled 'Members of all races must compromise to ease tension': Reading the first column, I came to the (premature) conclusion that Drake had some good points. Then I read the statement 'They've got their priorities backward. They are giving up racial harmony for the sake of honoring a 15th-century explorer.' This did not sound like the 'compromise' promised in the article's title, but I dismissed it as merely a poorly-worded sentence. Boy, was I wrong.
I find it very interesting that under the guise of racial compromise, Drake uses three examples in which he advocates zero tolerance. First, he states that since Christopher Columbus was not a saint by today's standards he should not be recognized for his accomplishments. Never was it addressed that his actions were perfectly normal by the standards of his day -- for both Europeans and Native Americans alike. The article never so much as hints that the Native American protesters are even the slightest bit at fault for the situation in Denver, despite their ready admission that they would not tolerate any mention of Columbus. I wonder if Drake has made any effort to get facts for his attack on racial understanding. Even the most open-minded articles supporting the protesters in The Denver Post mention that the Italian-American community's right to free speech was violated.
On the issue of the 'South Carolina Confederate Flag controversy,' Drake states ' . . . the best solution may be to abandon the practice.' Over 200,000 men -- many who never owned a single slave and were adamantly opposed to its practice -- died in support of their beliefs, but since some fringe groups use this flag as a symbol of racism, we must eradicate from our minds the convictions that the Confederate soldiers died for. We must label each and every one of them racists to satisfy Drake's desire for 'understanding' and 'compromise.'
Finally, Drake goes on to completely trash Pat Buchanan by twisting a statement of mutual respect and understanding into what he portrays as a call to arms. Buchanan advocates a respect of the rights of everyone to think and feel as he or she chooses but Drake somehow hears a justification for rioting and bigotry. Apparently, the only solution is for us to become a nation of mindless drones who never celebrate, or even recognize, differences out of fear that we will somehow insult a fellow drone.
Even the ending paragraphs portrays how Drake promotes a one-sided interpretation of concessions and understanding: 'Certainly the Native American protesters in Denver could have respected the parade planners' rights to honor their 'hero,' but the planners did not do their part.' The Italian-American community put this celebration on hold for nearly a decade after threats of violence in 1992. What, may I ask, did the protesters do to respect the parade planners' rights? As far as I can tell, absolutely nothing except to threaten retaliation again. However, this doesn't stop Drake from laying all blame squarely at the feet of the Italian parade organizers.
If Drake is truly for 'compromise' and 'understanding' he should recognize that both sides must be involved. His goals will never be met by blaming one side or the other and insisting on a unilateral call for concessions.
As an African-American liberal, I know a narrow-minded writer when I read one, and Adam McKee's editorial in The Baylor Review was an excellent chance for me to hone my talent. Generalizations and stereotypes are the tool of the weak and ignorant, and anyone who uses them deserves that label. Adam, if you find yourself to be surrounded by ignorant people, then maybe you should broaden your listing of acquaintances before you start branding every liberal as an idiot, without first considering that there is a variance in degree of the radical nature of liberals. I certainly would not put myself in the same group as some radical liberals any more than you would put yourself in the same category as Pat Buchanan, a radical conservative. In his infinite wisdom, God granted you the gift of a brain. Use it, before you libel someone else.
I have many friends that have conservative views, McKee, and by writing that stupid editorial you are a greater embarrassment to them and other conservatives than Dan Quayle.
In response to the article Oct. 4 'Zoo seeks out student votes,' written by Nora Frost, I wish to add these thoughts:
All area college students from Baylor, McLennan Community College and Texas State Technical College who vote in local bond elections should be required to remain living in this area, buy a home and pay property taxes in order to help the local homeowners pay off the additional debt known as higher taxes. Instead, several thousand students vote and move out of the area after graduation, leaving the local residents to pick up the tab. Please have consideration for those who have a permanent address here.
W. D. Phillips