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SOUTH HIGH SCHOOL
Assimilation calls are themselves troubling
As an alumnus of South High, I was obviously unhappy to see the recent news (“South High regroups after brawl,” Feb. 16). To be honest, my biggest disappointment came after reading one student’s comment about how many in the school were “disappointed that the Somali students aren’t assimilating to American culture.” This comment is ubiquitous whenever national identity is up for debate, yet I am never sure what it truly means. Can anyone give an exact or even general description of “American culture”? If it means speaking English, the Somali students have often learned it as a second language, something many of their peers can’t say for themselves. Is it that they practice a religion other than Christianity, in which they follow a different diet and prayer schedule? If it comes down to “they just aren’t like the rest of us,” this should sound alarms louder than the school bell.
Jake Silberman, Minneapolis
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South High’s cafeteria melee was hugely unfortunate for students and the community. As a parent of two South High students, one recently graduated, I can attest to the overall high quality of the school’s academics and the mainly good relationships among students. I have faith that the principal will help the school address heightened racial tensions. But it would be a mistake to assume the school is completely Balkanized; proof of this was the attendance of a spectrum of dynamic young people at my son’s graduation party last June. There was a reason that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan chose to speak at South High one year ago; diverse inner-city high schools are just not that common in the United States, and this one is worth lauding and preserving.
Mary Ford, Minneapolis
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Perhaps the Guthrie could supply advice
A Feb. 18 letter writer (“Management thwarts any ‘new beginning’ ”) made excellent points about how the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra have been treated.
Recently I had an opportunity to speak with an employee at the Guthrie Theater. I inquired if the Guthrie is supported by ticket sales. He said that Sir Tyrone Guthrie wanted the theater to be available to everyone, so tickets were priced accordingly. Ticket sales alone do not pay the bills, so I followed up by asking if the theater was in any danger of being in a similar situation as the Orchestra. His reply: “No, we’re stable.”
That leads to my question about what the difference is between the two. I can only surmise that it has to be how these venues are managed.
Janet Baum, Minneapolis