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Letters to the Editor: Country's rupture is over systemic racism; Santa Maria COVID-19 response racially politicized

Letters to the Editor: Country's rupture is over systemic racism; Santa Maria COVID-19 response racially politicized

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Country's rupture is over systemic racism

Our country’s rupture is no longer just about George Floyd; that is true. However, it’s not just about “thugs” and looters either. The anger emanates from 1619 when the first enslaved were kidnapped from Africa and transported to Jamestown, Virginia.

One hundred and fifty-seven years later, in 1776, as a new nation, we declared that “...all men are created equal.” Of course, only white men were privileged as such. Eighty-seven years of slavery later, Abraham Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclimation in 1863. However, for the next 101 years, until 1964, with the Civil Rights Act, legal segregation existed in the south, along with oppressive Jim Crow laws, and of course, the terror of the KKK, and its hangings.

In the north, where I was raised, segregation was not legal, but racism was widely evident as African-Americans were relegated to inner city ghettos. Now, a mere 56 years later, to simply state, “Get over it!” is to deny the rippling effects of 401 years of history. So no, this is no longer just about George Floyd, but it would take a never ending litany of names, and incidents to make the case that our national nightmare is about historic, and systemic racism. Now, we must get over it!

Michael McMahon

Santa Maria

COVID-19 response racially politicized

Recently a group of health and medical colleagues wrote an open letter to express their concern that protests against racism could be shut down because of COVID-19 health concerns. Many of the letter writers are from the University of Washington. The letter is easily found on the internet.

The letter, with 1,200 signatures, focused on techniques to reduce harm to thousands of people protesting racial injustice. “In addressing demonstrations against white supremacy, our first statement must be one of unwavering support for those who would dismantle, uproot, or reform racist institutions.”

They stated “… this message must be wholly different from the response to white protesters resisting stay-home orders. Infectious disease and public health narratives adjacent to demonstrations against racism must be consciously anti-racist, and infectious disease experts must be clear and consistent in prioritizing an anti-racist message.”

The letter also states “We can show that support by facilitating safest protesting practices without detracting from demonstrators’ ability to gather and demand change. This should not be confused with a permissive stance on all gatherings, particularly protests against stay-home orders. Those actions not only oppose public health interventions, but are also rooted in white nationalism and run contrary to respect for Black lives.”

So let’s be clear on what this letter means. Protesting against stay at home orders is “white nationalist” and bad. Protesting racial injustice is good. According to the “health professionals” who signed the letter all the people at the freedom rallies protesting the nonsensical, non-science based stay at home orders in Santa Maria, Lompoc, and San Luis Obispo are to be viewed as supporting “white nationalism”. It’s amazing because we can’t make this stuff up.

Not only is freedom of expression tossed to the garbage pit but the letter signers have demonstrated total intolerance to opinions not their own. One of the real losers here is the scientific and healthcare community. These supposed professionals have openly and racially politicized the community response to COVID-19. How can we trust the “experts” about COVID-19 safety if they are socially biased? It appears we cannot.

Jeffrey Bensen



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