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May 20, 2023 at 3:11 a.m.

How to reconcile that

In his letter chastising the Walton Arts Center for a recent decision regarding its partnership with NWA Equality, Chalon Ragsdale quotes St. Paul from Romans 12, ascribing to his words a meaning that doesn't quite work for me.

I would be interested how he reconciles his understanding of that verse in regards to the Apostle Paul's statements in the rest of Romans in its totality, and his statements in 1 Corinthians 6 and 1 Timothy 1.

Ragsdale may very well be correct in calling WAC out for hypocrisy in this matter, but I believe enlisting the words of St. Paul to defend that position greatly compromises his credibility.


White Hall

Likely to resegregate

As our governor has said more than one time, the vouchers authorized under the LEARNS Act will lower the out-of-pocket costs for students to attend private schools or have home schooling.

By using some readily available data, one can compare the racial makeup of the school-aged population to that of the enrollment in private schools. In Pulaski County, the population in that age group is 53 percent minorities. while the share of minorities enrolled in all private schools in Pulaski County is 23 percent. For Mississippi County, the population share for minorities was 44 percent, and the minority share of enrollment in private schools was 11 percent. This disparity was even higher in some counties. The share of the noted ages in Arkansas County that is white is 56 percent, but they constitute 95 percent of private school enrolment.

Unfortunately, those counties are not the end of the list where a disparately smaller proportion of minorities are enrolled in private schools. Moreover, it is reasonable to believe that vouchers will simply exacerbate these differences. While there is no evidence this is an intentional act, it is what it is.

By issuing the vouchers, our state government will be subsidizing the cost of a choice parents voluntarily make enrolling their children in private schools. It seems reasonable to ask Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders if she is aware that giving our public funds via distributing vouchers to people who, among other things, are likely to be white and more affluent than the typical Arkansan, will likely resegregate our schools.



DEI isn't dangerous

I was born in the year of the Little Rock Nine and moved to Arkansas in 1987. I have always thought there was a fundamental decency in the people of my adopted state. And that's why I view with alarm a fellow Arkansan writing about "the dangers of DEI" and sharing the idea that we can have equality of opportunity but should not expect equality of outcomes. This sounds good, but it is absolutely and fundamentally flawed.

First, we do not have equality of opportunity. There are still gross if not grotesque and well-documented disparities in education, health care, hiring, firing, banking and real estate, policing and corrections. The writer has obviously never had a Black friend or loved one ridiculously lowballed on something they needed to sell or even told they were underwater on, but had that suddenly reversed when a white person intervened, nor watched them unjustly fired or ticketed for reasons they would never accept.

Second, measuring for equality of outcomes simply tells us how far from equality we really are. There are fundamentally two reasons for disparities: Either the less favored group is somehow flawed and inferior, or we have failed to provide equity. Equity is not a four-letter word. It means equalizing opportunity. Surely everyone has seen the cartoon of the tall adult versus the shorter child trying to watch a ballgame over a fence. Equality could be removing the fence, or ideologically refusing to give the shorter child a step stool because the adult does not need it. If the fence cannot be removed, only equity means all can watch the ball game. And if you have even a passing familiarity with Black achievements, contributions, and sheer patriotism despite their lack of equality in the history of our country, you cannot possibly believe in their inferiority.

Third, diversity is strength and inclusion matters. We cannot have justice or prosperity without these things. Different cultures, experiences, and ideas keep us from stagnating and bring about innovation in any workplace.

The real problem with DEI? It's that we haven't achieved it yet. Stop mindlessly opposing it.


Little Rock

Print Headline: Letters


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