To the editor:
I am that which could be called a “standard-issue white guy.” My mother was Irish, my father was French-Canadian. I live, and work, in Detroit, and I am married to a black woman, with whom I have two sons. I mention all of that to illuminate the fact that while I am, in some ways, “on the outside looking in” at racism, I am not so outside of it, after all.
I will speak only for myself, but I truly believe that I am not alone when I express my disgust over the recent mailings to mosques in the area. Ever since 9/11, the already-existing tension between the local Arab American community and “the rest of us” has worsened, and this latest string of incidents represents a true nadir.
Some folks believe that race relations in the Metropolitan Detroit area have improved over the course of the past several decades. I think not, but that is a topic of its own. Suffice it to say that the whites and the blacks are not getting along so well with each other, and it seems as though both groups have some distrust and animosity toward the Arab American community.
Personally, I am truly tired of the entire subject, but it cannot be escaped, and to ignore it by not discussing it is a mistake, a mistake which does nothing but allow the psychological disease of racism to fester and deepen. We must speak of it as openly, and honestly, as we can muster up the strength to do, because the problem is not going away, and I think that the one thing on which we all can agree is that the under-current of racial tension is causing our community to become less pleasant, and thanks to the unfortunate state of the local economy, it’s none too pleasant to begin with.
While I do not believe that every idiot is a racist, I am fairly convinced that every racist is an idiot. It is a state of extreme simple-mindedness, one nurtured only by people whose minds are dull instruments unable to cut beneath the thinnest of layers. Also, of course, it is socialized; some folks are raised to harbor such ignorant viewpoints, but an adult who carries on such a low-born tradition cannot blame their parents.
In closing, I wish to extend my best wishes to the persons who had the misfortune of receiving, and opening, those nauseating mailings to local mosques. I hope that, in some small way, those wishes act as some manner of balm for the ugly wound inflicted by the mailings.
James M. LaCombe
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