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Letters to the editor

Reparations Issue Needs Resolution

To The Editors:

Generally, I let the ignorance of misguided white folk roll off my back. I feel as if they get enough attention in my day-to-day life as an African-American and therefore I refuse to respond to every transgression of common sense. However, a recent letter from John S. Freeman ("Reparations for What?" April 17) citing the discussion of reparations as "absurd," and asserting that descendants of slaves should be grateful for slavery as it made us Americans, has forced my hand to respond. I suppose you printed this drivel directly after your assertion that the Loaf is anti-racist to prove just what racism sounds like. I commend you on the wonderful contrast. Mr. Freeman's easy dismissal of the single greatest crime against humanity is exactly what is wrong with this country's view of race.

I, too, believe the grandness of implementing mass reparations is too daunting a task. But I also believe that this country will never be all it can be until this issue is resolved. That resolution will never happen as long as people insist that slavery was just a road bump to democracy. It was a heinous, methodical approach to de-humanizing an entire race of people that cannot be overstated enough. No discussion of its financial necessity or historical context will ever change that. Yet, to date this country has never apologized for its role in slavery because, I presume, it feels, as does Mr. Freeman, that we should be grateful it skipped us over the immigration process. Utter nonsense. There is no healing when the guilty party will not confess its guilt.

As an American who is constantly made to feel that my second-class citizenship is a gift which can easily be violated at the whim of "real" Americans, I look forward to a time when race and diversity is a purely academic conversation. But until there is a sincere show of remorse from my country for enslaving, raping, brutalizing, and systematically disenfranchising me, I will not be grateful for the free boat ride. My citizenship is not a gift. I earned it at a far higher price than any other American walking the streets today. Perhaps reparations won't change that, but a discussion that encourages thought and may lead to an apology is a start.

Tressie McMillan

Keep Up With Spills

To The Editors:

Regarding "It's A Crapshoot" (by Tara Servatius, April 10): this was a great story. I'm a civil engineer here in Charlotte, and it's almost a joke how some sewage treatment plants or pump stations are known to have problems with spills, and how the answer to the spills is to just leave it to take care of itself!

However, I had no idea that the situation was as bad as it is. No regulatory authority, and the state looking after itself in a kind of "buddy" system with no teeth is unbelievable!

The problem comes from the fact that we, as a democratic society, have a short attention span and there are only so many issues that can be brought to the attention of voters. Imagine if every problem like this was an issue in elections; voter turnout would plummet because it would be so overwhelming! So, we have issues that are never addressed because the voters don't know or worse, don't care.

The only answer is that the fourth arm of our government, the free press, must make issues known and provide a way for the public to keep up with the issues until it builds to a self-sustaining concern with the community.

Thank you for your article; perhaps Creative Loafing could keep up with the spills, provide a way for residents to report spills, and if enough people in Charlotte start to find out about how frequent the spills can be, and the inherent danger in concentrated sewage flowing through streams, it will catch on and CMUD will have to do something about it, and our spineless politicians can make regulations to ensure that follow-up and enforcement are applied, not ignored.

Name Withheld By Request

Agency Should At Least Care

To The Editors:

I hate to say it, but it took me a few days to read the whole story about sewage spills (I'm busy, like everybody these days). But it was worth the time. This was a very enlightening article and you are to be commended for the work that must have gone into producing it. I am disgusted by the nonchalant (to use one of Ms. Servatius' words) attitude toward the dangers of sewage in neighborhood streams. It is totally unbelievable that these people don't even put up signs in neighborhoods when raw sewage is running through the creeks that back up to a lot of homes. Like one woman who was quoted in the article said, you can't keep kids out of creeks; you also shouldn't have to. They may not be legally required to put up warning signs, but an agency that's supposed to take care of the area's water quality should care enough about the citizens to go to that little bit of trouble. What are we paying them our tax money for, if it's not to look after the welfare of the citizens who may be exposed to the crap pouring out of our badly managed system?

Richard C. Clary

It's Up To The Parents

To The Editors:

In reference to "The Price of Care" by R. Brody (CL, April 10), the mother had mentioned that case managers are private businesses. We provide the case management for $509 per month (Mecklenburg County) and we contract out our CAP services. The family decides on the vendors to use for CAP services (Supported Living, Respite, MR Personal Care ) which are services provided by a direct care staff. I will agree with the mother that the direct service providers may be "transitory," but unfortunately the Case Managers cannot control this uncertainty. This is the responsibility of the selected vendors (along with the parents) to hire an appropriate/dependable worker for their child (CAP consumer).

James Dyckman
CAP/ MR-DD Case Manager

To Err Is Human

To The Editors:

In Karma Cleanser (CL, April 17), Hot Err has second thoughts about accepting a $1,000 reward for returning a stolen hot air balloon, but for not sharing the truth or part of the reward money with the people who actually stole the balloon. Hot Err feels guilty about deceiving the actual thieves but rationalizes keeping the already spent money because "thieves shouldn't be rewarded for stealing." You agree.

Your advice is to "come clean with your cousin's friend about the reward money even if you can't cough up any of the dough. Whatever happened to honor among thieves?"

So it's OK for Hot Err to profit from stealing? Had Hot Err found the balloon on the side of the road and returned it to the owner for reward, the morality of the incident would be totally different. But Hot Err sought to profit from another's loss by theft.

Hot Err had three other original options in handling the original incident, which you failed to point out in hindsight. Hot Err could have reported the theft to police, told the owner where to find the stolen balloon, or simply walked away from the incident.

Hot Err tied the karmic knot by accepting the $1,000. You should have advised Hot Err to return the dough. Hot Err's real reward will be guilt-free sleep at night.

James M. Perry

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