SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION
‘Equity’ taking on perverse meaning
Is staff writer Jeanette White’s article on Spokane School District 81’s equity program accurate? Does Mona Mendoza really teach boys to curtsy as well as bow? This seems to be inconsistent with the district goal of respecting gender difference.
Why does she feel the need to describe herself as a feminist-Chicana-lesbian activist? Does she hate men?
I would like to change the wording of the equity goal adopted by District 81. I’d like the school board to consider the following goal statement:
“Ensure a learning environment that recognizes the strength of unity and respects the differences in gender, ability, culture and backgrounds.” All I did was insert “unity” in place of “diversity.”
I hope I never need to know what percent of my students are classified as minorities. I’m a teacher because I love kids - all kids.
The $200,000 that District 81 used to establish an equity team could have been better spent. When the equity workers branch out to meet with employees of District 81, I hope they leave me out. I don’t want to be a part of this waste of hard-earned taxpayer money.
One District 81 equity worker wants teachers to do away with the celebration of a traditional Christmas. Let’s take it one more step and do away with the “winter vacation.” The time probably will come when school weeks will be four days so that we can accommodate all the holidays needed to celebrate our diverse cultures.
I suggest the equity workers read what Thomas Sowell says about multicultural diversity in his book,”Inside American Education.” Patrick W. Carroll Spokane
Honor our language and uplift all
Regarding James Williams’ letter concerning “black English” (“Black, yes; African-American, no,” Dec. 29): I’d like to thank Williams for his opinion and tell him we do regard him as an American.
I was born and raised in Pueblo, Colo., a steel mill town often dubbed the “Melting Pot of the Rockies.” It was never a segregated town and my schoolmates were descendants of people from many countries. Being of Irish, English and Danish ancestry, with fair complexion, didn’t seem to make my black, Mexican and Asian friends like me less. I feel the Lord blessed me richly to have close friends of all ethnic backgrounds.
Black English? My best friend, a black girl, was top student of our class. She spoke with perfect diction and good grammar, as did all the other students being taught in that school system. To change all this would really seem to be taking a giant step backward.
But perhaps we need to take stock of ourselves. I’ve refused to listen to our teens when they began a jargon of “I goes, then he goes” and “It’s, like, man …” This type of talk goes unnoticed in classrooms.
My dad used to tell me to sweep off my own doorstep before sweeping my neighbors’. Maybe we all need to refresh our grasp of the king’s English and remember how different languages separated the folks at the Tower of Babel. Let’s not join in the dumbing of any American.
You folks of black origin who are opposed to black English, I salute you. Sylvia Brummett Deer Park
‘THE WAR WITHIN’
Sociopaths often exploit causes
Interesting how history repeats itself.
The 1960s gave us the Weathermen, Black Panthers, Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and numerous other terrorist groups. Today we have Christian Identity, the various militias and others.
All of these groups have one thing in common. They are criminals who use social problems and legitimate concerns about government misuse of power to justify their own personal criminal behavior. In every case, they exaggerate these problems far beyond reality to achieve this justification.
No society will ever be completely free of criminals. Some people will always be predators. All we can do is keep the predators locked up.
I suspect, however, that most criminals are influenced by the attitudes and traditions of society. In far too many cases, we encourage criminal behavior by justifying violence when used for a good cause.
The only justification for the use of force is direct selfdefense and the restraint of criminals. If we ever expect to see a decline in terrorism or other types of violence, we have to make it absolutely clear to everyone - liberal to conservative, pro-lifers to Greenpeace - that violence against other people and their property will not be tolerated, no matter how noble the cause. Jim Shamp Cheney
Exercise freedoms, you’re a terrorist
In response to “The War Within” paper terrorism: I don’t believe in violence of any kind, but I don’t consider legal actions taken by any person against any public officials to be terrorism, either.
I have to wonder if I missed something when studying U.S. history in high school some 20-plus years ago. I was taught democracy is government by the people, majority rule, a government in which power is held by the people, and that we elect people at large to serve us and run the business of our country, our states, our counties and our cities, and pay these elected officials our tax dollars that everyone has to pay. Every elected official must take the oath of office and promise to uphold the U.S. Constitution as well as the state constitution.
Every day I read or hear about people in government and their unethical behavior, misuse of public money and/ or power, using public office for personal gain, and about corruption at every level, from President Clinton down to local officials.
People used to be encouraged to speak out against what we perceived as wrong. Now it seems the First Amendment applies only to the news media. How else would regular people express their opinions and rights without being labeled terrorists?
Sadly, you discredit yourselves when you label lawbiding Americans as terrorists, while tax-funded agencies seize private property, shoot women and children and burn a church filled with people.
Who are the terrorists? Lonnie Anderson Springdale, Wash.
Know these people, what they’re about
Many people up our way appreciated “The War Within” series and want to thank staff writer Bill Morlin and the rest of your staff for the continuing exposure of the threat and dangers of half-cocked, anti-government, so-called Christian patriot groups.
Our area has been a very fertile ground for domestic terrorists, i.e. Bob Mathews and The Order of the mid1980s. Associates still reside in the area and in the shadows waiting for that spark to ignite and then fan that flame in order to cleanse our area, according to their interpretation of the Bible.
I guess if it doesn’t happen in one’s own front yard or to a member of one’s family, it’s easy to ignore or overlook. It is getting worse, however, and to minimize the danger would be foolish because these are very frustrated and angry people who are heavily armed.
That combination will be lethal when they decide to vent their feelings. They already have shown that it does not matter who is in the line of fire or present in a building before the bomb goes off.
I encourage everyone to learn more about the frustrated fringe. To ignore the bully only gives him more power and incentive to create more fear and intimidation, which is very much a part of the goal and is very effective. James Gordon Perkins Colville, Wash.
PEOPLE AND ANIMALS
Thanks for help returning dogs
On the morning of Dec. 31, a beautiful golden retriever walked onto my lawn to play with my dog. Within minutes, two more handsome canines arrived.
My neighbors and I sheltered the animals until we could find their owners.
We were quite fortunate in that all dogs and masters were soon reunited. However, these reunions would not have been possible without help from the conscientious unsung heroes at the Spokane Humane Society, the caring personnel at Thunder Mountain Pet Store and the compassionate Spokesman-Review, which provides a wonderful community service with its lost-and-found classified ads.
It is most important to protect our pets by having a license and name tag secured on their collars or by having a microchip or tattoo placed on them. Neutering our pets also will lessen their desire to roam from their home territory.
Hopefully, we will have fewer lost pets in 1997. C.L. Phillips Spokane
Let turnabout be fair play
I hate dogs. Dogs are, however, sentient creatures that should not be carelessly pained.
So, in the spirit of “two wrongs don’t make a right,” let us call upon a trained expert, using only humane methods, to bob the ears of Jeanette and Swen Bergman. Darin Krogh Cheney