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March is Women’s History Month, a special time to note and appreciate the contributions, leadership and intelligence of women.
After the publication of my story “She Said So” (Evanston RoundTable, Feb. 25), I received a typed, anonymous letter in the U.S. mail. I read the letter to several relatives, friends and acquaintances (male and female, black and white, old and young, religious and agnostic, professionals and non-professionals).
The letter says: “Peggy Tarr, I and a number of other people are sick and tired of the false statements and assumptions you make in each of your columns in ‘Room for A View.’ If any of them were based on truthful and recorded historical fact, they might have some merit. They are all based on false assumptions, gossip, hearsay, full of racism and bigotry and all, for the most part, ridiculous, redundant and incendiary. For some REAL historical facts, read the enclosed.” (The anonymous writer has a great command of the English language and/or a good thesaurus. Yea or nay?)
In response to the letter one friend said, “Well, I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired* of racism and bigotry.” I debated about mentioning the letter at the end of a future story, but I was urged to devote a whole story to the letter instead. This is it.
Included in the anonymous writer’s envelope (a pale-pink-flowered envelope, suggestive of feminine stationery but not necessarily from a female) was a copy of my aforementioned story and several stapled-together clippings from the website: http://magazine.townhall.com/sarahpalinrogue. Arrows had been drawn to sections of the clippings that cited the Republican Party as the party that supported civil rights in the U.S. One would assume that the anonymous writer is a Republican. Yes or no?
I say the following to the anonymous writer (“and a number of other people”): (1) You failed to notice or chose to ignore the fact that I assumed a neutral position in the story “She Said So;” I neither condoned nor condemned what the character Bertha said. (2) You seem to only support the First Amendment (freedom of speech) when people say what you want to hear/read. (3) You dispute and challenge what I write about “racism and bigotry” in spite of the media’s coverage/exposé of the current political/national atmosphere that reeks of racism, sexism, ageism, and religious and ethnic intolerance. Yes.
Unless the writer “and a number of other people” occupy positions that compel them to read/edit what I write, they should probably not read my column or anyone else’s column that reports/laments racism, sexism, ageism, religious or ethnic intolerance, poverty, homelessness, joblessness, physical or emotional disabilities. Yea or nay?
History documents what Hitler and others did (and do) to muzzle people. The (late) civil rights leader Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King (1929-1968) said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Yes indeed. A Fulfulde (African) proverb says: “Silence is also speech.” Yes it is. Thank goodness there are people who do not believe that “Silence is golden.”
* Originally said by Fannie Lou Hamer, (1917–1977) voting rights activist and civil rights leader.