In “Understanding the meaning of Black Lives Matter, one year later” (Aug. 18), Bill Boegeman does a good job clarifying the intent of this movement and the good fight against racism that it entails. If we equate racism to a train traveling on a track, it is moving in one direction, as he points out. There really is no such thing as a “reverse racism” train. Although the racism train may have slowed down over time (it has), even a very slow-moving one can kill someone standing in front of it.
But there’s another evil to which Boegeman inadvertently admits mid-article. He states that a “White Lives Matter” movement would be racist (just an example of the “racist stuff that white people do to black people”), but that the Black Lives Matter movement isn’t racist. He has unintentionally brought us down his rabbit hole of language just a little bit, where we find the “racist” train in addition to the “racism” train of which he writes — after all, word definitions are important, as he points out. To be sure, the racism train runs people over, whereas the racist train merely points a finger and says the word “racist” — perhaps with a scowl.
Jeffrey Nadeau, Chanhassen
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I take issue with Boegeman’s article. His specious arguments are made in a way that to me appear to be an arrogant lecture. To postulate that reverse racism doesn’t exist is to deny the reality perceived by anyone who has felt that they have been victimized by it. Racism does exist, unfortunately, in many forms.
Jim Welter, Minneapolis
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The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said that he wanted people to be judged by the content of their character. He and other civil-rights leaders who have passed must be rolling in their graves.
Carolyn Wolff, Brooklyn Park
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When bumper stickers show up in the spring encouraging us to “Start Seeing Motorcycles,” does anyone ask, “How about cars?” I think we all agree that we are less apt to see something we are not conditioned to see. Like the motorcycle bumper sticker, the slogan “Black Lives Matter” also encourages us to recognize a potential blind spot, a cultural blind spot.
Kudos to Boegeman for his well-reasoned, history-based explanation for those who believe that the Black Lives Matter movement represents a form of reverse discrimination. Even if we are not actively contributing to racism, our inaction enables it. Perhaps the first step toward ending racism is for those of us who are not subjected to it to start “seeing” it.
Stephen Harlan-Marks, Robbinsdale
Letter writer saw ambiguity in concrete constitutional language
An Aug. 19 letter (“Citizenship clause, if properly interpreted, is not a magic key”) misinterprets the law regarding citizenship of persons born in the U.S. to parents who are undocumented immigrants. The 14th Amendment begins: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States … .”
Immigrants, whether documented or not, are indeed subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S: They must obey U.S. laws, or they will be arrested by the police and tried in U.S. courts. The exception would be foreign embassy staff members and their families, who have diplomatic immunity and are therefore not subject to U.S. jurisdiction; all others born in the U.S. are citizens. This has been the law since 1868 and can only be changed by amending the Constitution.
David Weisberg, Minneapolis
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In this complicated debate over immigration and citizenship, we all must remember that many of us are descendants of immigrants who came to this country before the 1920s with the only requirement being that the ship’s manifest indicate who would be meeting them on arrival. They did not face quotas or issues of legality. Mine and millions of others were processed at Ellis Island; they could be turned back for illness or other subjective reasons, but were otherwise admitted. Most eventually applied for and got citizenship.
They came with only the clothes on their backs, desperate for opportunity and freedom, and they were here. Their children who were born here before their parents became citizens became citizens by virtue of their birth. And we are their families.
Does the letter writer really want to invalidate all of that?
Susan Kaufman, Minnetonka
No, we don’t need our own version of Proposition 13
The writer of the Aug. 19 letter “A cap on property tax increases would stabilize neighborhoods” states that California’s Proposition 13 (1978), which radically restricted rises in property taxes, was preventing “the teardown mania” currently underway “in so many of our communities” from taking place in Los Angeles when he lived there in the mid-1980s. Responding to an article about concerns over rising home prices on the North Side of Minneapolis, he suggests that restricting property tax rises may create similarly stabilizing results there.
California was not suffering from teardown mania in the 1980s. And the Jarvis-Gann ballot initiative was driven by the anti-tax, antigovernment Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and like many California ballot initiatives, it was sold to voters as something other than what it was. Clothed in the pieties of a save-grandma’s-home effort, its actual intent and consequences were different: It dramatically shrank the tax base for cities, counties and the state — in other words, it shrank government — which is what its sponsors expected and wanted. As one consequence, California, which had been second in spending on its public schools before Prop. 13, spiraled speedily toward the bottom, to No. 48, just above Mississippi.
Capping property tax increases comes at extraordinary social costs. Is this what the letter writer would like to see happen on the North Side?
Jan Zita Grover, St. Paul
All those changes sound like they come with a cost
While the Aug. 18 article about winners and losers in the process for approving new vendors at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was interesting, an important perspective is missing.
When 50 new shops and restaurants are coming in, that means the same number are leaving. Each of those that have been kicked out have employees who have worked at the airport for many years. These important people are losing their jobs and not one word was devoted to their situation.
Yes, it’s exciting when change occurs, but please remember those who are being displaced as well. It’s going to be tough for them going forward.
Kirsten Cecil, Bloomington
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Is it just me, or is anyone else wondering about the one-sentence paragraph in the article about the airport that also states that security checkpoints were being reduced from four to two? Where and when did this little alteration in procedure come from, and why? The previous sentence suggested that the renovation would take place over 18 months to “minimize disruption.” I’m thinking there will be longer lines and delays and a lot more “disruption” of a traveler’s mental status and ability to be patient in an already difficult situation. Of course, if a new brewpub were to open next to a checkpoint, things might indeed flow easier. Can we can get an explanation?
Paul Waytz, Minneapolis