Opinion

Letter to the Editor

Citizens seek ways to help others

Editor:

Thank you for printing the editorial authored by Bethany Glinsman. I agree with Glinsman that people, regardless of their race, do not recognize racism. In fact, I believe discrimination and bigotry continue to grow and have a greater impact in the lives of Americans.

I disagree with Glinsman that reading a book and a transfer of power will prevent the mistreatments between people. She concludes that knowledge alone will be enough to motivate and encourage people to treat each other with respect. She also concludes bureaucratic committees may not be the best method to accomplish the goals of inclusion and exercise of freedom of conscience.

As a descendant of Isaiah Reid, I believe how one treats others is more of a spiritual matter than it is a secular matter.

My ancestor, Isaiah Reid, immigrated to South Carolina in the early 19th century. Loyal to the Covenanter Faith his family endured persecution in Scotland and Ireland because they wouldn’t worship the gods of the king.

After living in South Carolina, he and his family migrated to Indiana to escape the “blight of slavery”. The phrase “blight of slavery” expresses the intensity of feeling experienced by the Isaiah Reid family. His family didn’t just talk about his disgust at the treatment of others, nor did he make a donation to a charitable group advocating for the cause. He and his family rendered assistance to fugitives escaping the “blight of slavery”.

In their large two-story house near a public highway in Washington County, Ind., the family concealed fugitives during the operations of the Underground Railroad. A secret cellar under the house was one of the mechanisms used by these patriots to make a difference in the lives of these individuals.

Do we see people as individuals or as a collective with one common feature or as victims?

I disagree with Glinsman that a bureaucratic approach is the best way to deal with those who are alienated, ignored, mistreated, and passed over for new opportunities. My fear is that when you create a group of victims in which you state they are unable to perform unless you rescue them, the harm is magnified.

Doing something collectively and angrily will continue to fail. Until you see individuals as individuals and interact with them, offer jobs, show respect, celebrate with them, teach them in school, work beside them, cheer for them, assist with their performances, the many mistreatments will never be resolved.

“We’re all in this together” should be more than a slogan.

I believe the Washington, Iowa, citizenry is a shining example of people and businesses seeking ways to assist others, no matter what race or belief system. Employment opportunities, service companies, family and community activities, school opportunities for the variety of residents, are the norm. I have noticed churches hiring and providing spiritual educational opportunities. But any lasting change occurs in an individual way.

My concern is that Glinsman may have limited awareness of the quiet ways that people help others.

Christal Arthur

Washington