We have come a long way since I was that small blond white girl who went to the wrong restroom at the Kansas City Zoo and used the wrong drinking fountain.
I was merely a girl who needed hydration and to go to the restroom. I didn’t know there were separate ones.
How far we have come, that I was hiding in the newly placed sewer pipes along 99th Street and State Line Road as Leawood officers were sounding sirens that we were under a curfew because of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. I needed to take cover because the Negroes were going to burn down my house and more.
As a little girl, I was terrified.
I now and with no terror take pride that in my health care job I can share morning meetings with my African-American management co-workers. I can share the same bathroom, share lunches and laugh with laughter like no others and be a part of this new world.
I am thankful that I was raised by parents who taught me there should be no prejudice, and I am thankful that my grandchildren love their black friends on a playground, not knowing the difference in skin color and just embracing one another as friends.
As I was told by my children’s black crossing guard, Homer, whom we adore, some people still think we are in a civil war and act as if they still can’t embrace the new world.
I must say I don’t get it either, nor would the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Let us continue to move forward.
Kansas City Disturbing tattoo
Recently, while waiting to be picked up at Kansas City International Airport, I was standing beside a young, beautiful African-American woman.
When I glanced down, I noticed a tattoo on her arm.
In bold, three-inch letters was the word “Nigra” on her upper arm.
As my stomach dropped, I was at first appalled, and then saddened, and then angry.
What was this young woman thinking — if she was thinking at all?
Just a generation ago her ancestors fought so hard against this type of horrendous labeling, and here she was defacing (in my opinion) her body with a disgusting word.
I wonder if I were Paula Deen whether she would have said anything to me.
I am truly saddened by this encounter.
Topeka Fearmongering, guns
If Americans ever decide to form a well-regulated militia, they had better come to the battlefield with something more powerful than assault rifles.
In the time it takes to load your weapon, an Apache helicopter could eliminate dozens of people without being seen or heard.
Either way, I won’t hold my breath on someone actually taking the initiative to form a militia. It appears to be nothing more than idle threats.
Your guns are safe, folks.
But the fearmongering is becoming tiresome.
Kansas City Parker column
The great Martin Luther King Jr. said it all regarding race relations when he said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Sadly, we do not live in that nation yet. As Kathleen Parker in her Aug. 26 column, “‘If I had a son, he’d look like ... ,’” reminded us, “... Like it or not, the way we present ourselves to the world affects the way we are treated.
The Star on July 16 ran a commentary, “I’m afraid of the next George Zimmerman,” by Jeneé Osterheldt in which she worried for her husband’s safety when he went jogging in wearing a hoodie. Isn’t there something else he can wear?
In recent years, both my nephew and grandson have been stopped as suspicious characters when they were out walking in the dark ... in hoodies. They wear something else now.
I know it’s not fair, and we live in a “free” country, but realistically personal safety requires some forethought and adjustments in our behavior.
Kansas City Meddling Gov. Perry
So Texas Gov. Rick Perry came to Missouri to “help out” with the political battle over taxes (8-23, A5, “Texas governor backs tax cut in Missouri”). I have two suggestions for the governor:
• Stay in Texas and handle Texas problems.
• Allow Missouri to handle its own business.
Kansas City Contacting Congress
I applaud those who take the time and effort to express their views to our members of Congress. Here’s hoping more of you will contact your leaders to express your views/opinions.
And, be sure to vote your convictions.
Knob Noster, Mo. Congress’ inaction
Since the National Security Agency story broke, there have been a lot of mixed messages from both sides of the aisle, and too much focus has been put into Edward Snowden.
Frankly, a lot of us don’t care what Snowden did. We’re more concerned about what he has revealed.
Lately, there have been bills brought up in the House to start defunding and reining in these intelligence-gathering operations.
Several representatives, including Congressman Sam Graves, voted against the Amash Amendment, which would prevent the NSA from spending funds on the bulk collection of Americans’ records.
What I fail to understand is why anyone would support such actions. There is no grand fear that is terrorism. It is a thing we’ve made up by being overly paranoid by causing and supporting conflicts that we probably shouldn’t be a part of.
So far, the NSA has failed to prove its worth, as the Boston incident showed. So why leave this particular ticking bomb that not even congressmen can get information on? Reps. Morgan Griffith and Alan Grayson have tried.
Supporting it supports an agenda that no citizen wants.
Kansas City Opposition to tax
Most people, including the League of Women Voters of Kansas City and Jackson, Clay and Platte counties, would agree that advancing knowledge in the health sciences through research is a good thing.
Nonetheless, we oppose the proposal for a half-cent sales tax to help finance medical research at local institutions. Important considerations we believe must be taken into account are:
1. A sales tax increase would be regressive, hurting people with modest incomes (that is most of the people in Jackson County).
2. These institutions have other sources for financing their research, including competitively awarded grants and contracts from the federal government and large foundations.
3. Very few new jobs would be created.
4. Any new monies would be better spent addressing significant local infrastructure needs such as our water and sewer system.
5. A higher sales tax would encourage more people to shop in other localities and online.
Consistent with our mission to help ensure that voters have information on all sides of ballot issues, the league will work to promote dialogue among the voting public on the pros and cons of this issue.
Linda Vogel Smith
of Women Voters
Kansas City, Jackson,
Clay and Platte counties
Parkville Food stamp haters
After reading some of the letters from angry individuals who take notice of items food-recipients choose to buy, it is painfully clear that if it were left up to some, the poor would only be allowed to feed their families dog food.
I suspect much of the backlash these days surrounding funding of the food-stamp program comes from those who hated the program from the beginning because it allows the poor access to quality food that others have to pay for out of their own pockets.
And while we’re on the subject, enough already with the not-so-subtle racism displayed by some people who seem to go out of their way with vivid descriptions of alleged food-stamp abusers and the items purchased with EBT, or electronic benefit transfer, cards.
Eddie L. Clay