Present the evidence
I read, with great interest, the letter from David Lewis accusing, without any evidence, Bradley Gitz of being a racist. Lewis does not qualify the egregious accusation with "in my humble opinion."
It appears the accusation of racism is usually not true and usually used against a person when there is no other way to defeat their argument. However, after some introspection, I thought maybe, just maybe, Mr. Gitz is a racist or even a white supremacist and I, being a half redneck, half Yankee may be oblivious to it. So, if anyone could, on these pages, quote the racist passages and explain why they are racist, it would be very much appreciated.
This would be a very different task for Al Sharpton or Wendell Griffin to do, so good luck.
JOSEPH GRAHAM BARSOCCHI
Recipe for education
The 94th General Assembly of the Arkansas Legislature is in session. The current winning education recipe in Arkansas is to bully vulnerable kids, restrict curricula, increase unfunded mandates, and create hostility toward teachers, all to create distrust to defund the public education system. Arkansas needs legislators in love with passing public policy that betters the lives of others, not clout-chasing for their next higher office or 30 seconds of fame on the news.
Converting public education to a voucher system means that poor kids don't have an equal opportunity to do better than their parents. I was one of those kids, born to a teenage mother with a GED. We could not afford private schools, and we relied on well-funded public schools to uplift me to where I am today. When you give private schools public money, it takes away what public schools can provide, creating education gaps. Private schools are not held to the same accountability as public schools either. It's disappointing that the Arkansas Legislature wants to limit the opportunities that public schools can provide, hand over money with no accountability, and restrict kids to their parents' successes.
The Republican Legislature and Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders are supportive of the voucher system. They are hoodwinking parents, teachers, and students into selling kids to their donors. They claim "one size fits all" does not fit all students' learning, yet their voucher bill is an ominous bill that fits all their (vouchers, teacher raises, and student savings accounts) agenda into a "one size fits all" bill. The people of Arkansas deserve to hear these debated on their own merits, not slammed together in one bill to protect sold-out politicians from voters.
In the end, students will receive unequal educational opportunities, causing society to lose. This bill only benefits deep-pocket investors and separationists wanting their kids to go to school with kids of the same color, income, and religion.
Support public education. Say no to vouchers!
Doesn't solve issue
I have a simple question for the editorial writers to answer after reading the editorial about merit pay and teachers: How are we going to attract and retain teachers in Arkansas when our base pay is so low? Please explain how merit pay solves that problem.
Not a racist society
I am somewhat perplexed by letters to your paper expressing "woke" outrage over Bradley Gitz's column from Jan. 9. In contrast, I feel it is one of the best of his columns I have ever read. Vikki Stefans quotes extensively from that column where Gitz observes that while slavery had existed all over the world throughout history, America was one of the few places where the dominant race tried to end it. I find that conclusion to be right on.
While many peoples have oppressed those different from them, European whites were unique in feeling guilty about that--and that guilt would lead them to try to rectify the situation, resulting in a bloody Civil War that would cost hundreds of thousands of white lives. This was true from the very beginning. I have no doubt that when the first slaves were unloaded in Virginia in 1619, there were at least some observers who thought this isn't a good thing. John Q. Adams defended the slaves who revolted from the Amistad. The slave trade was abolished in Britain and the United States in the early 19th century. Northern abolitionists then worked to end the practice in the South.
I reject the "woke" assertion that America is a racist society. If that were true, we wouldn't have a racial problem here today since all the Blacks would still be on plantations, sent back to Africa, or long ago processed into dog food. Racial prejudice certainly does exist, but many whites feel guilty about that--enough so that there have been so many civil rights laws passed over the years.
The lowest of the low
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is a fine newspaper and I applaud the great work you do.
In response to the David Lewis letter bashing Dr. Bradley Gitz, I would caution him about calling anyone a racist. That is the lowest of the low. Dr. Gitz is a brilliant academic with a great teaching record at Lyon College. Mr. Lewis states that Dr. Gitz knows nothing "of the pain and economic deprivation" connected with slavery. It's an easy guess that Mr. Lewis was not a slave or a slaveowner, so how would he know anything about slavery? Slavery was not America's greatest sin. It was the world's sin. Even more sinful was Black African leaders selling their own people to the slave trade.
On reparations, Dr. Gitz has previously made a stunning observation: "... how consistent with American values is it to force those who were never slaveowners to pay reparations to those who were never slaves ... ?" Question for Mr. Lewis: Does that sound like the ignorance you claim?