White privilege and war
Mr. Sonnenberg’s failure to perceive white privilege just shows that he’s a newcomer to the South and has limited knowledge of what life was like in the South before he moved here (“Spare Me Your White Guilt,” DN, http://nando.com/1z6). There are so many examples of how being white was advantageous during at least my lifetime (age 65) that it would take a book to record them all. Please allow me to describe just one.
I joined the North Carolina Army National Guard in the early 1980s, the post-Vietnam era. I found it interesting to learn that until the end of the Vietnam conflict there had been no African-Americans serving in the North Carolina Guard.
You may recall that there was a draft until about 1973. Everyone in the United States knew that draftees were being sent to Vietnam, but the National Guard (with a very few exceptions) was not going to be mobilized. That would have been very unpopular politically. There were waiting lists in N.C. National Guard units since a number of people found the prospect of six years of part-time duty in the comfort of home in North Carolina was preferable to a year in the jungles of Vietnam. Even if you were the son of immigrants (as long as you were white) you could join the Guard and have a virtual guarantee that you would not have to potentially risk your life in Vietnam.
If you were black, that option was not open to you. This doesn't even address the legalized draft-dodging of college students (predominantly white) who rode out their college deferments (drafting college students was also not politically fashionable during the Vietnam era) rather than be called up for duty. You may also recall that most African-Americans could not take advantage of this draft deferment since they did not have the means to go to college.
I know from my own experience as an officer in the U.S. Army for six years post-Vietnam in the ’70s that combat arms units tended to have black soldiers in numbers out of proportion to their share of the general population. The bottom line is that one manifestation of white privilege is avoiding service in an unpopular war.
School closing sad
As a retired special-needs teacher, I find the closing of Pace Academy very sad (DN, nando.com/232).
All children need a good education. They should learn how to read and to write, add and subtract.There should be jobs with benefits for these children when they finish school. They have been long neglected because people discount their abilities.
I lived and taught in Ireland near Dublin for six years and the Irish say that special-needs children are kissed by God, and the people who teach them are also. It’s a gift to teach these children, and the teachers are very special.
Reopen Pace Academy for these children.
Cooper right about plan
In response to the news article "Cooper warns against opposing EPA carbon rules" (N&O, Aug. 12):
As a graduate student looking to begin a career in environmental policy, I want to express my thanks to Attorney General Roy Cooper for taking the lead on what should be common-sense regulations on air pollution.
Unlike some legislators, Cooper seems to recognize the value of getting input from business and community leaders to help ensure North Carolina meets this challenge.
If we fail to act, our state will have to implement a federal plan, representing a missed opportunity for North Carolina. Many folks attributed the major success of North Carolina's Clean Smokestacks Act and our Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards to the extensive stakeholder processes that took place. Why should the Clean Power Plan be any different?
Don't we all want clean air for our environment, our health and future North Carolinians?
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