To the Editor:
As a six-ear resident of this beautiful town, I was shocked and saddened when I found what can only be described as blatant propaganda in my mailbox.
Although I do not have children, I care very much and hold much hope that this generation’s children are raised in a way that has proven woefully inadequate of previous generations. I can only speak firsthand for my own, being of school age in the 70’s and early 80’s and having attended local, lily-white Catholic schools as well as a racially diverse public school.
I can attest to the fact that I and my classmates of the time were taught absolutely nothing about tolerance and inclusiveness. The history we were taught was 100% whitewashed. (I learned the closest thing to the truth by watching Roots on TV… which was eye-opening for the times.)
I believe it is because of this inadequacy in my education that I, too, once held some of the same views, based on ignorance, as those expressed in the racist propaganda of the CRG mailer. My first big eye-opener was when I applied for my first entry-level job, in which my cousin was already employed. She told me that they almost tossed my resume because they assumed, based of my name, Sheila Lincoln, that I was Black. She let them know I wasn’t and they hired me.
When I moved on to other jobs in the corporate world and began working with Black, adult colleagues I learned of their experiences and struggles just to get an education that would qualify them for a corporate job, let alone to be considered for hire being a POC. And I saw how they were often overlooked for promotions and other recognition, inexplicably, when their qualifications were the same and oftentimes better.
In the last four years, as racial tensions increased, aided and abetted by those in power, I realized that I still carried with me plenty of ignorance, but thankfully not of the willful kind, and I needed to dig much deeper to understand my own lingering racist attitudes, and why racism is not only persisting, but gaining steam. The pandemic provided plenty of downtime to study and learn. I’ve learned things in my 50’s that I should have learned in grade school.
And that is why I write this letter. To give the benefit of the doubt, I believe the CRG flyer was written out of (willful?) ignorance. If we want equality and inclusiveness of ALL citizens, it needs to start at home and in grade schools, and I enthusiastically support the work of EDIT. The narrative in the CRG flyer unfortunately suggests the authors want nothing of the sort. It now has found its appropriate place lining the bottom of my bird cage.
Sheila Lincoln Papps