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Racism's roots

On a reader's letter arguing that institutions, not most individual Americans, are to blame for the country's racism: I couldn't disagree more. "Institutions" are not passive, static organizations or systems but the creation of society. Therefore, each of us as individual bears some responsibility for how they operate.

The Democratic Party and the Electoral College (both referenced in the letter as examples of institutions) are composed of people; individuals. Therefore, his statement of "blaming Americans for the failures of these rogue, incompetent institutions is wrong" is completely without merit.

"Progress" regarding racism since Martin Luther King Jr. has been severely restricted by the imbalance of power held primarily by whites, and to place this problem at the doorstep of institutions without considering individual white accountability perpetuates the problem of racism.

The very nature of oppression makes it hard for those of us who are comfortable to see the problem.


I have shared the simple analogy of a pendulum in explaining Donald Trump's ascension to the presidency: The great societal force that it took to place a person of African descent in the White House quickly and surely reversed (and righted) itself in placing a demagogue and race-baiter in his place.

Regrettably, fundamentally little changed in America under Obama... and little will change under Trump. 


Cobbs Hill living

I am a recently arrived resident of Cobbs Hill Village, love the place as it is, and am strongly opposed to the current plans.

To tear down these wonderful, cottage-like residences and replace them with two 37-unit, three-story buildings for really poor seniors and build four two-story townhouse structures designed for seniors who can afford much higher rents not only destroys the integrity of this village within a park but will almost certainly lead to conflict within the new complex.

Rochester Management has behaved as if there are no rational plans that do not include the destruction of the existing village. On the flagpole lot where they plan to build the first building, there is room to build several single-story buildings that match the architecture of the current buildings.

The apartment I live in could be improved and made more energy-efficient, and kitchen and baths could be updated for far less than the cost of $275,000 per apartment that is projected by Rochester Management in its new plan. As a resident, I beg any user of the park to encourage City Council to reject the current plan.

It is unrealistic to think that future politicians would vote to evict the seniors from their homes so the land could be transformed into parkland. Can you envision the headlines in 2041: "City Council votes to tear down Cobbs Hill Village and evict the poor seniors that live there"? Turning this land into parkland will never happen.

A village within the confines of a park that blends in with the park and serves low-income seniors is a desirable outcome.