Reminders of segregation
On the front page of the Nov. 25 issue of the Chapel Hill News, I read that the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools are “working with the OCTS-Lincoln High-Northside Alumni Association to preserve the (Lincoln Center) campus’ history as an all-black high school (1950-66) and the history of two other all-black schools.”
I contrasted this with the attempts of black students and others on our local UNC campus to remove or erase all reminders of America’s segregated past, complaining that such reminders are painful and offensive to them.
I’m confused. One group is working to rid the landscape of evidence of segregation, while another group across town works to preserve our local remains of the same shameful institution.
3 timely lessons
Racism and classism are two words that raise eyebrows all across America. We would like to believe that neither one of these words is applicable to us or our thinking, but if you clutch your pocketbook a little tighter when an African-American walks past or if you cross to the other side of the street so that you won’t be in close proximity with that homeless person then you just might be guilty.
Unfortunately, a lot of us tend to shy away from those people or those cultures that we do not understand. Folks will hide behind “code words” to describe situations that are less than favorable in their communities. We all realize that there are differences among us, but must we label folks and cast them aside just because they do not fit into our race or our social class?
A lot of times it is not the homeless or the lesser-than individual that is creating the problems within our community; it can also be that other person who goes to work every day and lives in a nice home. Societal ills are not confined to the lesser than population; menaces to society can also be found running our businesses, leading our government and living in our neighborhoods.
There are three timely lessons here: Don’t be so quick to judge, be quicker to give people a chance and above all, be willing to help others, for you never know when you might find yourself in need of assistance from someone.
Barbara M. Foushee
Editor’s note: Last Sunday’s article on the Safe Schools NC conference advocating greater awareness of LGBTQ students and their needs generated several online comments. Here is what some of you said:
Terry Wyatt: Every single child comes into a classroom with some dark secret or baggage. A teacher can make sure their child has a respectful environment in the classroom, but once that bell rings, transitions begin, and every stop at a locker is an opportunity for the absolute worst in our society to torment and prey upon them. How about society just allows teachers to teach? Teachers are not hardly compensated enough, well not compensated at all really especially in the state of North Carolina. How about we have parents take the lead for once on these issues? If your child is involved in these situations, get them some help in dealing with their choices they and, well, you allowed them or encouraged them to make.
Rick Silva: I’m all for making schools safe for all kids, but these teachers are pushing an agenda. Let parents decide if “the object is to blow up the box” of social norms as one of the conference speakers said. Teachers are paid to teach kids math and English, not to attend LGBT conferences.
Gail Sutton McNally: Teachers that demand respect for themselves and every other person in their classrooms are part of an agenda? Well, yes it is an agenda (or should be) of all who want to live in a civil society. And disrespecting anyone, for whatever reason, in our schools is just plain bullying!
Time to look to future
Fortunately, 12 people cared enough about the future of Chapel Hill to put themselves through the grueling experience of a campaign. Now that the results are in, and the voters have spoken, it is time for a fresh start. Disappointment for some may be understandable, but if we value our democratic process, we have to, as Mark Kleinschmidt’s wrote “remember the strength we have when we are all pulling together.”
I read Molly De Marco’s and Travis Crayton’s column with anticipation (CHN, http://nando.com/2xh), looking for them to honor this counsel, put aside their frustration, and communicate a collaborative vision for what is best for Chapel Hill. Despite their admonition that “residents, of Chapel Hill have a history of reacting negatively to divisiveness and mean-spirited politics,” I was aghast and saddened to find unconstructiveness and insinuations rife in the column.
It would have been easy for me to write a long column detailing the errors and contradictions made by Molly and Travis. I could have asked “what is the purpose of scare tactics and using code words like “special interests?” CHALT’s special interests were the many residents of Chapel Hill who were thrilled to finally have their concerns represented and publicized. Or, I could have pointed out that CHALT-PAC did not contribute one cent to any campaign – in fact, non-CHALT endorsed candidates raised well over four times the money that CHALT raised.
Instead, I would like to ask Molly and Travis to look toward the future and promise to be part of the solution. We share so many important goals – care for our environment, increasing our stock of affordable housing, supporting the diversity that defines Chapel Hill and more. There are many paths to the success we all want for Chapel Hill.
Come on, give it a chance.
’Tis the musical season
In spite of superficial divides of association, proximity, and ideology, music unites, bringing together people who wish to experience the elation it brings and want to share it. The Duke Medicine Orchestra is the result of over 90 members from 26 departments connecting music to Duke Medicine and to the greater community.
We’re branching out this holiday season with a beautiful piece commissioned from New York-based composer Michael Markowski, called “City Trees.” The premiere will be on Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Baldwin Auditorium on Duke’s East Campus. We will be having a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m. with local artist Clara K Johnson, who will be exhibiting artwork designed for this theme, and Mr. Markowski, who will share the roots of his inspiration for “City Trees.”
Tell your friends and family, and come enjoy some great music on Dec. 9. We hope to see you there.
The writer is a senior at Durham City of Medicine Academy and a violinist in the Duke Medicine Orchestra
Come share with us
The Jan. 11-April 22, 2016, schedule for 24 morning classes, sponsored by Shared Learning Association of Chapel Hill, is now available online at www.sharedlearningchapelhill.com
Paper copies of the six-page catalog can be picked up in the Chapel Hill Public Library or by calling Nancy at 703-329-2933. The registration period is from Nov. 30 to Jan. 4, 2016.
Some course titles include: “’Best Poets,” “the Bill of Rights and 14th Amendment,” “a History of Impressionism,” “Modern American Essays,” “Forensic History: Crimes, Frauds and Scandals,” “History of the English language” and “Views on the News.” Classes are held in comfortable classroom environments in Expand Church, formerly Celebration Assembly of God, at 114 Weaver Dairy Road in Chapel Hill.
Founded in 1981, Shared Learning is a voluntary association for persons living in or near Chapel Hill who wish to continue learning in groups and classroom settings. We offer our members stimulating, non-credit morning courses, designed and conducted by fellow members, in fall, spring and summer terms. Topics come from the humanities, hard sciences, fine arts, social and behavioral sciences and current events.
The writer is the vice president of Shared Learning
Please send letters of up to 300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions and online comments may be edited for space and clarity. Thank you.