Letters to the EditorNews

Fifty Years Later, Why Are We Still Talking About Discrimination?

I read Flagpole almost every week, just as I used to read The Observer (before it got sold and adulterated by the “preppie” element). I am 68 years old and went through the ’60s era here in Athens, with Dean Tate as a personal friend in all that mess. Now I am retired. To cut to the chase, I am so sorrowed to continue reading that the same mess is still going on regarding recent articles in Flagpole—“Putting Some Teeth in the Discrimination Ordinance” (Aug. 24, p. 6) and “Not Just Bars” (Aug. 24, p. 9).

My gracious, it has been over 50 years since this stuff was being chewed up and regurgitated over and over (actually longer than that). Can we never get beyond this adolescence of thought/behavior? Using the “N” word? Why don’t we use the “W” word? Or the “O” word or the “R” word or something appropriate to other groups? Why not just have a group name and initial for “people”? What about a group name for living things? Why do I continue to live in this backward, low culture? Are we still this pathetic? Well, I guess I will hang around a bit to see where it might be going, but I don’t have a lot of hope for it.

Readers may conclude that I am of some tint other than white and of radical political persuasions. Well, I am white, raised in a conservative, professional Georgia society. I am a historian and a prehistorian, professionally.

I keep experiencing sorrow as I watch what is going on in the present society. I will not be unhappy when I leave it; but, as Robert Frost wrote, “I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

Please wake up a little bit, folks. We don’t have forever on this planet—we are much like the dodo and the auroch and many other animals—and it would be considerate to leave it in a better shape than we have in all the many years we have pillaged and blundered before the present time. We must have something better in us than this decomposing swill. I hope I do, and I think many of you all do. Let’s try to carry on and be better than we have been—black, white, red, yellow, gray, blue, magenta, brown, coffee, pink, green, beige, aquamarine, etc. All the colors of the rainbow are we. Kermit has got the hope right in “Rainbow Connection.” Listen to the song.