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If friendly tack fails, file human rights complaint

Kathy Mitchell Marcy Sugar Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: I am an African American female and have never been faced with this problem, and I really do not know how to handle it.

Recently, an older Caucasian lady moved into our apartment complex, and she has hung a black-faced doll on her patio, which faces the parking lot. This doll is of the Al Jolson variety that was used in times past to ridicule persons of African descent. I have to pass her patio every day and look at this atrocity.

I feel dehumanized every time that I see this doll. To me, this is the same as displaying a Nazi swastika. My question is, how do I approach this woman and tell her of my feelings? – Upset in Louisville, Ky.

Dear Louisville: Let’s assume this woman has no idea that this doll makes her seem racist. Knock on her door and explain it to her, nicely. Tell her, “I’m sure it isn’t your intention to hurt anyone, so I though I’d let you know that the doll on your patio is quite offensive. Would you mind putting it inside your apartment?”

If she refuses, talk to the landlord or the apartment manager. You also can file a discrimination complaint with Kentucky’s Commission on Human Rights.

Dear Annie: My daughter, “Alisha,” is going to be 5 in a couple of months. She is advanced in reading (second-grade level) and math. She also is good at dance and piano.

I am struggling between putting her in public school versus a private school. I want the best for my daughter and wish her to have a lovely, memorable childhood. But I also want to keep some challenge in her life.

What is your opinion on public schools and private schools? Is there any special after-school program for an advanced kid her age in California? – Yi

Dear Yi: A private school may give Alisha more individual attention and possibly a more academically gifted group of students in her classes. However, she can miss out on some of the diversity of a public school, not to mention the various extracurricular activities and elective courses that private schools do not offer.

Most school districts around the country offer after-school enrichment programs. Ask about the GATE program (Gifted and Talented Education), or contact the California Department of Education for more information (cde.ca.gov).

Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Caring Father,” who thinks his son-in-law may have ADD. I am a 50-year-old female who started taking medication for ADD about two years ago. It happened when I started working again after years as a stay-at-home mom, and I discovered I couldn’t stay focused on one thing at a time. Within two months of starting medication, my boss saw a dramatic difference in my work.

I can tell you now that I must have had ADD when I was younger. I couldn’t understand how school was so easy for my sisters, while I struggled so much. Now I know. My son has ADD and wasn’t diagnosed until he was 17 years old. I couldn’t believe that one little pill could make that much difference in a person. I think of all the fussing we did all of his life and what an amazing difference medication made. He now is 30 years old and no longer seems to need any medical help.

I would suggest “Caring Father” tell his daughter to talk to her husband and just see if he would talk to a doctor about this possibility. A lot of people with ADD or ADHD don’t like to take medication because it makes them feel different than they are used to, but it’s worth a try, isn’t it? – Happy Cajun in Louisiana with ADD

Dear Cajun: It can be quite difficult for those with Attention Deficit to recognize the problem and be willing to try medication, but for many, the results can be life-changing. Thanks for writing.

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