A letter to Chapel Hill in the wake of a scandal:
1. Stop trying to defend the post. It only harms your argument.
2. Stop targeting the individuals who posted. It’s not worth the time or energy to focus efforts into vengeance. Obviously, these individuals did not post with the intention of causing pain. Though we cannot run society based on intentions, we can channel our pain into more meaningful change, instead of turning this into an isolated case whose stimulus for change dies with the arbitrary punishment of two kids. That's not what this is about.
The post was a clear symptom of white privilege in a town which likes to pretend it has surpassed white privilege. The difference between seeing a Civil War flag in a history book and seeing it on social media is clear: a history book presents information; a social media post attaches value to that information. Putting your name next to something comes across as an endorsement, and social media does not account for context.
White privilege is being able to forget the way the flag would be taken (regardless of the context), white privilege is being able to forget the cruelty of slavery, white privilege is being able to forget the racial and cultural divisions which continue to plague this nation. That doesn't make white people malevolent, it makes them victims of their own privilege.
We all fall victim to our various privileges and cultural surroundings. So let’s use this as an opportunity to increase exchange between class, race, ethnicity, and religion from a young age. Let’s use this as a chance to promote understanding and increase minority enrollment in classes that often lack their perspective. Let’s not pretend that this incident is not representative of our community, and instead use as it as a very real reminder that privilege exists everywhere and within every community.
Instead of targeting individuals, let’s target a societal upbringing which allows the dominant group to forget the painful connotations of the past, yet reminds people of color of this history every day. This event is a stimulus to provide from the get-go a more inclusive, understanding and culturally literate climate in which to raise our kids.
Carrboro High School
A teaching moment
It doesn't matter the posters’ intent; what matters is the effect.
What a teaching moment that has been eclipsed by outrage, accusations from the community and defensive posturing by family.
Young people make mistakes; a simple request for an essay on what went wrong, why it was so hurtful and inflammatory, along with support for the apology or “regret” from families, published in the paper, would have gone far.
Faced with calls for more punishment, what more could the students do? Another teaching moment for everyone. Not painless, but realistic, and something to show admissions counselors when applying for college and to prospective employers when applying for jobs.
Cynthia Combs O'Hara
The PC world
I for one am proud of my Confederate ancestors! If we don’t stand up now free speech will be outlawed to only politically correct speech!
You have all the right in the world to be offended, but it does not trump my rights or my kids rights! I hate the PC world we have become
John E. Wagstaff
Chapel Hill, DOT impress
As a new resident, I wanted to share how impressed I have been with the responsiveness of state and local government.
I sent an e-mail to the Town of Chapel Hill identifying the need to improve way-finding signage leading downtown, remove landscape overgrowth and correct pedestrian safety issues. Within days, I had responses from council members, department heads and state highway officials updating me on plans to correct all of the issues. Some were literally fixed that week!
Congratulations to Chapel Hill and the NCDOT. It reminds us all that government can work!
Thanks for dinner
Thanks to everyone who played a part in making the 18th Annual Community Dinner a resounding success. Over 450 people gathered to eat food prepared by Mama Dip’s Kitchen, The Carolina Inn,The Chapel Hill Restaurant Group,The Chapel Hill Kehillah, Med Deli, K&W Cafeteria, Bread and Butter Café,Carolina Brewery, Breadman’s, Fiesta Grill, Louise Parrish of the Carrboro Farmer’s Market, and other local restaurants who, together with many businesses and organizations, provided supplementary entrees and desserts.
We would particularly like to thank Mama Dip’s Kitchen for cooking the lion’s share of 18 Community Dinners. All who attended enjoyed entertainment by clown/magician Matthew Wright, singers Tama Hochbaum and Lori Vrba of Mama Do A Tone,The Chapel Hill UUkes,Carrboro High School’s “Unnecessary Measures,” Brothaz Unique, The SoLilo Queen-Nikkima Santos, Por Amor a mi Pueblo Latino dance group and the Neville’s Chapel Male Chorus Gospel Choir. Sound was by Erich Lieth, and Ron Stutts of WCHL1360 and Marlyn Valeiko, from Orange County’s Department of Housing, Human Rights and Community Development, were the emcees.
This year’s event was an overwhelming success, in part, because of the efforts of so many people who have worked on dinners for the past 17 years. The event is designed to bring people together who might not ordinarily cross paths, and this year’s dinner shows that the event continues to be an important part of the community’’s annual calendar. This year’s dinner reflected even more concerted efforts to include locally sourced foods on the menu and to be a zero waste event (over 90 percent composted or recycled) thanks to Blair Pollock of Orange County's Waste Management Department.
Without your help and donations, we would not have been able to offer such an exceptional dinner for so modest a ticket price. By keeping the event truly affordable (and by underwriting an unprecedented number of tickets), we were able to host citizens from every income level, and every ethnic, special needs and age group. In this way the dinner enhances the spirit of diversity in the community. Our shared understanding and pride in community is, as we know, even stronger as a result of this year’s event, and we look forward to seeing you daily in the community and at the dinner next year.
Mildred Council (Mama Dip) and Nerys Levy
Co-chairs, Community Dinner Committee
Watch out for heat stroke
Triangle Veterinary Referral Hospital would like to remind pet owners that animals need time to acclimate to changing weather. Even though our temperatures are not that high, we have already seen two cases of heat stroke in the last several days.
Heat stroke is a potentially life-threatening illness and steps should be taken to avoid situations that put animals at risk. Overweight animals, short faced breeds (pugs, bulldogs, etc), areas with poor ventilation, lack of water, and other risk factors can quickly result in fatalities.
Signs of heat stroke include excessive panting, drooling, vomiting and diarrhea (may be bloody), and collapse. If you suspect that your pet is suffering from heat stress or stroke, use cool water (not ice) and contact your veterinarian immediately.
Please contact us at 919-489-0615 with any questions.
Sharon Y. Zeigler
Triangle Veterinary Referral Hospital