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Protests and their neighbors

"The Holy War Next Door" (News) gave a great deal of space to the anti-choice movement. This group loves this exposure, and City played right into their hands.

Yes, the neighbors across from Planned Parenthood have worked with the police for many years but have not been able to curtail the activities. The residents on University Avenue also have their right to a quiet and peaceful living space.

What about the clients, staff, and volunteer escorts? The escort volunteers spend many volunteer hours calming clients and distracting children from this hate-mongering group. The anti-choicers spread misconceptions and promote fear.

The article was inappropriate and one-sided. Shame on City Paper.


Racism today

Tom Baglio's letter ("Racism's Status," Feedback) is a perfect example of white privilege and denial of racism.

Mr. Baglio uses the fact that our president and attorney general are black and a figure of 20 percent of the federal workforce being black as an indication that racism in America has been eliminated. It is true that racism in federal hiring is less likely to occur, because the majority of those jobs are military and civil service. These jobs are attractive to African Americans and other minorities because they are much less likely to be denied employment because of race, which would be a violation of federal employment laws.

The remainder of employment in this country isn't as strict at following discrimination laws. An indication of this is found in the August 2013 employment numbers, which show white unemployment at 6.4 percent and African American unemployment at 13 percent.

The remainder of Mr. Baglio's letter uses the same flawed logic to make his incorrect determination that racism no longer exists in America. Would he trade places and give up his, I assume, white privilege to have lived his life as an African-American facing the reality of that life today? I think he would choose not to make that choice.

For those interested in developing a better understanding of white privilege and denial of racism, I suggest reading two of Tim Wise's books, "White Like Me" and "Between Barack and a Hard Place."


We first thought Tom Baglio's "Racism's Status" was written by someone from a nation other than the US (Feedback). No one grounded in reality would believe that because the US has its first bi-racial president, and its first black attorney general, and because blacks compose "roughly 20 percent of the federal workforce" – (while at the same time, unemployment rates among black people in many communities are quadruple the rates for whites) – individual and institutionalized racism have been eliminated. These have always been deeply embedded within the social, economic, political, and cultural fabric of US society and are reflected within every major institution in the society.

The idea that nearly half of the federal government's "entitlements," especially corporate welfare, "goes to black Americans" is not only laughable but also ludicrous.

Mr. Baglio is correct about one thing: his fictitious account of "racism today" is definitely not the same as the reality of pervasive, historical, individual, and institutionalized racism, which people such as Reverend Jesse Jackson, Reverend Al Sharpton, and many others continue to point out and work against. Instead, Mr. Baglio's account is more akin to those advocated and perpetuated by Rush, Glenn, Sean, Michael, and others.

We challenge him to identify a single person who is teaching his "children and grandchildren to be ashamed for sins they did not commit (slavery, bigotry, etc.)." Hopefully many teachers are teaching their children, grandchildren, and others that the "sins" and atrocities of many of their ancestors are directly connected to today's social, economic, political, and cultural conditions, including the huge success and prosperity gaps between white and black Americans.

And hopefully they're teaching that these problems will not just magically correct themselves but instead – since they were intentionally created and maintained – intentional actions will be necessary to correct them. Hopefully, they're also teaching that all of us should share in the responsibility of corrective action – perhaps especially those who benefit most from the lop-sided social, economic, political, and cultural playing field, which results (to a large degree) from past atrocities.

Apparently Mr. Baglio believes that citing a few examples of criminal behavior by black people diminishes the ongoing residual effects of the most inhumane, systematic exploitation, oppression, and degradation of an entire race of people that the modern world has ever known. It does not.

For Mr. Baglio to imagine that he knows what blacks who suffered one of the modern world's most destructive, centuries-long tragedies would think regarding today's society is disrespectful and insensitive.

To say that "millions of white Americans paid the ultimate price for freedom that black Americans enjoy today" is indicative of deep-seated ignorance, especially when considering the percentages of black people who have sacrificed life and limb, not only in the US Civil War, but in every war that the racist US nation-state has been involved in.

Finally, for someone, especially a white person, to argue that individual and institutionalized racism have been eliminated from US society, and that "there are no more debts to be paid or reparations to be had" is representative of the worst form of denial.


The letter was commissioned by and submitted on behalf of United Christian Leadership Ministries.

Fight remedy

(Regarding "Teenagers, Fights, and Downtown Rochester," Urban Journal) Suggestion: mandated anger management classes, beginning in middle school.


The RPO's future

I'm flabbergasted. Introducing "More Than Filling the Gap" (Classical Music), Paloma Capanna "worried about plunging ticket sales and musicians without an anchor," but now she is more than satisfied, encouraged that the Rochester Philharmonic will have "a thrilling season." This is based on phone calls to all 13 guest conductors.

Imagine. Each conductor had "high praise for the RPO." Unless I overlooked something, only one of these men has ever heard the orchestra live.

Maybe, though, there is truly nothing to worry about. If memory serves, several RPO musicians and board members have gone on record over the past year about how it doesn't matter who is on the podium, anyway. The orchestra is great, period; wonderful attitude for the season and years to come.

As one who in the past has paid cash at the box office for RPO tickets, this writer's attitude and outlook are markedly different. The RPO shot itself in both feet when it showed Arild Remmereit to the door, and I predict an extended period for recovery.


Grading the teachers

As a Webster teacher, I completely agree with Adam Urbanski's comment ("Hundreds of City Teachers Appealing APPR," News Blog). City teachers are not worse than suburban teachers. I worked hard last year. I earned my "H" ("highly effective").

If I taught in the city, I might have a "D" ("developing") or an "I" ("ineffective") on my rating instead. Unfortunately, Cuomo's Annual Professional Performance Review system makes it rational for urban educators to flee to the suburbs. Despite the State Education Department's attempt to make statistical adjustments for high-needs student populations (my score was quite reasonably reduced for serving a less-needy group of students last year), there is no formula powerful enough to account for the negative effects of poverty on academic achievement.

So I get to walk away with my "H," while equally qualified teachers in the city get slammed. How does this benefit city students?