Readers Write: Racism, New Prague, Drug Use, Baseball
In the commentary “Three Cheers for Racial Awakening in Higher Education” (Opinion Exchange, March 7) is the allegation that “[r]restrictive housing policies and zoning laws prevent the integration of minorities into white neighborhoods…” While this is true, that is not all. Anyone without sufficient financial resources is prevented from living in a situation beyond one’s means Low-income people may not be able to buy a house in a middle-class neighborhood and middle-class people probably cannot buy a house in a mansion neighborhood of millionaires.Zoning restrictions do not cause economic equality.Abandoning zoning restrictions will do nothing to improve inequality.It already exists because of unequal opportunity, structural racism such as redlining, racial prejudice and the growing wealth gap between the wealthiest people and the rest of us, a point well made in the op-ed Housing discrimination has been i banned years ago. If it still exists, the laws must be enforced.
The related problem is the housing shortage. Zoning restrictions prevent builders from disturbing quiet neighborhoods, for good reason, to preserve quality of life. They also serve to prevent property values from skyrocketing due to development pressures. Racial discrimination is not and should not be the intention. The housing shortage should not be solved at the expense of middle-class homeowners by having developers destroy their neighborhoods. The problem should be solved based on evidence from a thorough study of the problem.
It is not helpful, and in fact divisive, to lay wild, dangerous, inflammatory and offensive accusations of “white privilege” and racism at unassuming ordinary homeowners just because they have achieved a certain level of success in our imperfect society. Solving the ills of our society will take more than displacing people and pitting one group against another.
John O. Wild, Minneapolis
Jacqueline Brux’s commentary says racism is one “of the most fundamental structural pillars that underpin our economy”. This is not correct. A basic structural pillar of something is essential to its design. Racism is certainly not essential to the functioning of the American economy. Some of the real pillars of our economy are regulated free trade, regulated free enterprise, private property and the rule of law. Discrimination based on race was banned a long time ago. It still occurs but becomes less frequent over time. It is certainly not a mainstay of our economy.
Brux also says that “the attitudes of many reflect a contempt for the poor, immigrants, and members of racial and ethnic minorities.” I’m sure in a country of 330 million people you can find people who hold these attitudes, but they’re a small minority and don’t have much of an effect on how our country treats the poor, immigrants and minorities. In 2020, hundreds of billions have been spent on welfare programs in the United States. In 2019, individual donations to charity totaled $309 billion. And the United States has more immigrants than any other country in the world. More than 40 million people living in the United States were born in another country.
Brux wants us to believe that we are a deeply racist country that mistreats the poor and immigrants. The evidence does not support this conclusion.
James Brandt, New Brighton
Contrary to a recent letter writer (“The incident came from ignorance. So educate the students better”, March 11), I believe that the students who displayed a symbol of “white power” knew what they were doing despite their administrators’ explanation (“Sometimes that “OK” sign just means OK,” March 11). This is another plausible deniability defense deployed by “upper elementary” students, parents, government (and you and me) when they avoid blame since the dawn of time. I dispute that a “comprehensive program” changes this pattern of behavior, which is increasingly presented as an acceptable alternative to zero tolerance for the racism that shaped my own upbringing.I applaud these real-world leveling consequences, including sanctions by competing schools and perhaps the Minnesota State High School League, to motivate New Prague students to stop their racist demonstrations and for the Directors “educate” their community representatives.
Jay Haapala, Woodbury
In “Neighbors Evaluate Controversial Idea to Make Drug Use Safer” (March 9), the reporter writes about the harm reduction model for dealing with drug addicts. The article quotes Jack Martin, executive director of Southside Harm Reduction Services, who touts the creation of “safe drinking sites” for the East Phillips neighborhood. This is to approach the problem from a Narcan point of view. I’m all for saving lives, but with Narcan alone, that’s not the solution we need. It’s like those who want to make sure a woman doesn’t have an abortion but do nothing to help her raise her child. It’s defeatist, like, “Let’s just give these people a place to shoot, because they’re not going to stop using anyway.” And I don’t see how providing a safe consumption site will improve anything for people living in Phillips, who have experienced encampments and the crime that accompanies them for years.
I have noticed that harm reduction people never consider clean and sober people who are forced to live with this devastation. Even with a “safe” place, dealers will continue to sniff out, with their violence, weapons, stolen cars and other forms of threatening behavior threatening our communities. There will still be camps, of those who have lost everything because of their drugs. Phillips will be the dumping ground for another problem the city doesn’t want to deal with. And I have to ask a question regarding the title of this article, “Neighbors Evaluate Controversial Idea to Make Drug Use Safer”: Safer for Whom?
Let’s spend our tax dollars on drug addicts with a tough love solution (which we don’t) by not taking no for an answer. Do it legally because users are breaking the law and instead of jail put them in a treatment center and support them with drug treatment. Help them get back on their feet, find jobs, and reconnect with the families who kicked them out because of their drug use. The harm reduction model does not work.
Donna Pususta Neste, Minneapolis
Thank you to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, MLB and the MLB Players Association for making a deal and giving me the opportunity to see baseball this year at Target Field (“Finally, it it’s time to play ball”, March 11). Yes, I said “option”. I also have the opportunity to go to hockey, football, soccer and basketball games. First-run movies are back in theaters. Broadway shows are back on Hennepin Avenue. The Guthrie Theater is once again welcoming audiences with first class productions. As you know, we all have options on how to spend our hard-earned money.
I don’t want to hear about the grueling 16 hour trading sessions you spent at the table trying to give me a chance to get back to where you started. Did I mention said table was in Jupiter, Florida? I’m sure the flight in your private jet or cruising the east coast on your private yacht was very enjoyable. You realize that the average cost for a family of four to attend a game has risen to $253. Dad or mom earning the $15 an hour minimum wage in Minneapolis would have to work more than 16 hours for that. That doesn’t seem right now, does it?
Keep that in mind the next time you threaten to cancel part or all of the season. We all have options. Do you remember the deafening silence that greeted you and your players in 2020? This silence will return when and if you reject us.
Kevin Paulson, Minneapolis
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