Tsk, tsk, tsk
In rebutting Bob Wilson’s column singling out “black on black” violence as a major issue for the black community, Scott Holmes predictably distracts us from a real examination of Wilson’s observations by deflecting the issue to the racial injustice in our legal system (DN, nando.com/u3).
It’s a safer position to take, and one that’s been repeatedly trumpeted by every pundit and columnist in the country. We hardly needed Holmes’ 800 words to tell us – especially the liberal community served by the Durham News, that this is a major problem.
What we DO need is continued and repeated discussion and action on the issue Wilson brought up, which is the profound, structural dysfunction in the black community, about the very real daily crimes upon blacks by blacks, about black fathers leaving black families – sometimes more than one – in droves and cowardly abdicating responsibility for guidance and discipline to the overworked and often impoverished mothers and grandmothers. We need to reduce dependence on drugs. We need to attack the idea among teens in the black community that getting an education is “being like whitey.”
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We need to forcefully discuss those issues, but people like Holmes are reluctant or afraid to talk some truth lest they lose their cherished reputation among the liberal elite in the community. No, no, no, we can’t talk about that, tsk, tsk, tsk. It would be critical of African Americans, which we can’t be, and politically correct to boot.
So this very real “issue,” this very real, sad and destructive issue is buried, maybe to be discussed in a social time capsule decades from now.
Holmes may rail against the injustice in the legal system from the safety of his law books, but the black community is reeling in pain at the loss of their sons, husbands and brothers. It’s time Holmes and his ilk began addressing this seriously. But they won’t.
Christians and Muslims
In light of the controversy raised by Franklin Graham concerning the Muslim call to prayer at Duke Chapel, we want to witness to the relationship between United Church of Chapel Hill and two Islamic communities that, weekly, meet for prayer in our building. We have lived and prayed through 9/11 together and have with Judea Reform congregation together built a Habitat home, the Children of Abraham house.
This has been a wonderful partnership which does not, as Franklin Graham asserts, marginalize us as Christians, instead it strengthens and enriches our witness. And, we are not alone! Christian congregations across the United States share space with Islamic communities who, together, call upon the same God in prayer. Surely this is pleasing to our God!
The Revs. Jill and Richard Edens
United Church of Chapel Hill
Editor’s note: This letter was so-signed by 115 members of the congregation.
Build more housing
Regarding “Planner: Light-rail housing concerns legit,” ( nando.com/u2 )
The proposed solutions to provide affordable housing near transit stations are unnecessarily complex. All require tons of bureaucratic oversight, public money, and will take a lot of effort all around. I propose a radical alternative:
Allow developers to build more housing near the stations.
Note the word “allow.” This isn’t based on more regulations or more taxpayer dollars – it's free. People want to live near rail transit. Because of this, developers want to build housing near rail transit. But due to a massive web of red tape – zoning regulations in the form of minimum lot size, height limits, maximum floor-area ratios, parking minimums, etc – it is literally illegal to build more housing. We’ve regulated the market for transit-oriented development out of existence. And yet we sit here scratching our heads wondering why lower-income residents get priced out of these neighborhoods. Supply can’t meet demand! It's not rocket science.
And the best part about upzoning as a solution to affordability problems? It’s a nonpartisan way of tackling the problem. For the left, it’s pro-poor, and allows more people to go car-free, helping the environment. For the right, it’s pro-economic freedom – all we're doing is eliminating onerous land-use regulations that are stifling the private sector. It’s a win-win, an absolute no-brainer.
Long before computers and social media, young people fell in love through letters. My husband of 43 years wrote a letter to me years and years ago that I sighed over and memorized. In addition to the letters and phone calls we had the opportunity to gaze into each other’s eyes.
Young people today are smitten by, “likes,” “friends” and “comments” from strangers. Their curiosity and emotions are driven by what they see, smell, taste and touch. I recently saw a beer truck advertising, “Beer is My Friend.” I thought what a wise marketing strategy. I pulled up the company’s website and viewed the various cups, glasses, shirts, and trinkets for sale. One example, “Be the cool kid and push around on our designed skateboard!”
As parents and adults (that choose to consume alcohol responsibly), we must be vigilant and aware. Many other products look so much like juice. You must read the label. I encourage you to do so. These are products that are called Alcopops. Alcopops are alcoholic beverages that have been made to disguise the taste of alcohol and are meant to mock the look and tastes of soda, juice and energy drinks.
Many alcopops have high alcohol content – 12 percent alcohol per 23.5 oz can = about 4-5 drinks in one container. That’s considered a binge drink in one can! As mentioned, Alcopops look very similar to other energy drinks, juices and popular sodas. These products are sold in convenience stores as well as grocery stores. Examples: Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Four Loko, Blast by Colt 45, Rockstar 21, Joose, Jello Shots, Infused Whip Cream, Teeny Tiny Shooters
Underage drinking can result in poor brain development, lower grades, suicide, teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, cancer and crime and violence. Among college students in the United States ages each year: 599,000 students are unintentionally injured while under the influence of alcohol; 696,000 students are assaulted by another student who has been drinking; 97,000 students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape; 400,000 students had unprotected sex; and more than 100,000 students report having been too intoxicated to know if they consented to having sex.
Underage drinking is a problem. It cost the citizens of North Carolina $1.5 billion in 2010 and $250 million to Durham residents (medical care, work loss, and pain and suffering associated with the multiple problems resulting from the use of alcohol by youth.
Alcopops are a starter drink for youth. Encourage youth to form person to person relationships, monitor and limit the use of social media.
The writer is the founder of Together for Resilient Youth, Drug Free Community Coalition
Learn more at DurhamTRY.org
About those numbers
Ask the parents of children, ages 18 to 50, who have moved back home due to no jobs, part-time jobs and minimum-wage jobs what they think about the government report of low unemployment.