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OPINION | LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: About identity politics | On individual liberty

June 7, 2021 at 2:00 a.m.

About identity politics

I was surprised to learn in Bradley Gitz's column of May 31 that "Identity politics and its evolving concepts and tributaries ... can actually be traced back to efforts on the part of the "New Left" in the 1960s and 1970s ... ."

Hmmm. I'm a 68-year-old white man who grew up primarily in Georgia and Alabama. My life experiences were steeped in "identity politics" certainly not the result of efforts of the "New Left."

I remember KKK crosses burned in yards of "uppity" Blacks (and any whites who expressed support for desegregation, etc.). I remember "Whites Only" drinking fountains, eating places, restrooms, etc., etc. I remember George Wallace's famous "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" speech.

I remember murders and lynchings of Blacks by whites. I remember Orval Faubus closing the schools of Little Rock lest Black and white children be allowed to learn together.

I remember Charlottesville; I remember Selma. Sixty years apart, and yet eerily similar.

And I remember Donald Trump's presidential campaign announcement speech slandering Mexican immigrants.

By the way, how is Gitz's labeling anything to the left of William F. Buckley as "Marxist" not "identity politics"?

Gitz pretends that we have to choose between unbridled capitalism and soul-crushing Marxism. He's wrong, and as long as we have freedom of speech, we'll continue to seek the best balance of freedom for the individual with the well-being of those caught on the outside through no fault of their own.

Here's Theodore Roosevelt from his 1910 speech at Osawatomie, Kan.: "At every stage, and under all circumstances, the essence of the struggle is to equalize opportunity, destroy privilege, and give to the life and citizenship of every individual the highest possible value both to himself and to the commonwealth."

See? You can be thought-provoking yet not Marxist.

CHALON RAGSDALE

Fayetteville

On individual liberty

Mr. Bradley R. Gitz's May 31 column attempts to write a scary tale: Beware of the M in the present administration's language. Mr. Gitz claims that Marxism, the civil rights movement, and present-day social equity efforts have basically the same political effect: They trample basic individual liberties.

It seems that Mr. Gitz considers un-American racial and gender equality. Troubling. But if the gist of of his column is to scare us with the M word, and take us back to the good old red-scare days of the "great" (white) America some still long for, Mr. Gitz is going to need a bigger boogeyman to make us believe that social equity is an un-American value. That is, for me, the scary part of this column.

LUIS FERNANDO RESTREPO

Fayetteville

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