Emily Otiso, a mixed-race scientist and medical student, said the truth in the Aug. 16 article “Small slights add up in ‘Minnesota Nice.’ ” The phrase is supercilious, and people who use it convey that intent, whether they understand it or not. Unbeknown to Otiso, it’s not particularly racist.

A worthy character trait, tolerance, was a quality brought to America in abundance by Scandinavian immigrants. That patience is one of the seven heavenly virtues. Somehow, the attribute was diffused and muddied into something different, is my guess, and was dubbed as a special quality of Minnesota people. What nonsense.

A large percentage of Scandinavian Americans are Protestants. With respect for that belief system, I’d never heard the idiom before I went to college in-state, and categorized it as a folksy belittling term developed from that root. My descendance is Irish/French/Catholic/white and metro Minnesota born and bred.

Also, women in medical school are treated to sexism, humiliation, patriarchal disapproval from their educators. If you don’t know this, read Dr. Pamela Wilbe’s book “Physician Suicide Letters,” about medicine’s biases. I hope Ms. Otiso’s and all women’s experiences in medical school will offer less faculty degradation and more tolerance to them.

Eugénie de Rosier, St. Paul

MINNESOTA POLL

Here, let me write a more reflective headline for you

The StarTribune.com headline “Poll: Cuts to Minneapolis police ranks lack majority support” (Aug. 15), while technically correct, inaccurately slants the article toward a negative view of police funding cuts. A better headline would be “Poll: Minneapolis residents are divided on reducing the ranks of police.” A 44%-to-40% difference is a close split, practically within the survey’s margin of error.

An even better headline would have been “Shifting funds from police to social services has overwhelming support.” This (almost 75% support) is the most definitive finding from the poll. It belongs in the headline. It is a signal that if a shift to social services had been included in the police cuts question, the results would likely have been quite different. Asking about reducing the number of police without any mention of alternative uses of funds or other strategies for community safety, biases the answers toward the negative.

Brett Smith, Minneapolis

• • •

I picked up the print edition of my Sunday Star Tribune to read the following top headline: “No majority for Mpls. police force cuts.” The poll cited by the Strib found that “only” 40% of residents support the idea of reducing the size of the Minneapolis Police Department while 44% are opposed.

On Aug. 3, the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota released a poll survey that it and other groups commissioned that showed that 61% of Minneapolis voters were prepared to vote “yes” to change the Minneapolis City Charter to create a “Community Safety and Violence Prevention Department” and that the number jumped to 70% when asked of Black voters.

Maybe I’m missing it, but I cannot find any coverage by the Strib of that ACLU survey. (And we all know that the Minneapolis Charter Commission nixed letting us Minneapolis voters vote on the charter amendment that had been proposed for this November.) I understand that the questions posed by the pollsters were different, but they’re certainly both related to the future of the MPD and to Minneapolitans’ vision of what providing community health and safety services should look like.

Rebecca H. Hamblin, Minneapolis

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Seamless? Well, the purchase was, but Xcel’s support was less so

I was excited to see the article detailing Xcel’s plans to support electric vehicles! (“Electric-car plan gets a charge,” Aug. 16). On the other hand, I was disappointed to see a quote from the company’s CEO saying “it is not a seamless process for a customer buying an EV.”

When we bought our EV on the Tesla website four years ago, it was extremely “seamless.” We placed an order with the exact options we wanted, could see the expected delivery time based upon the options selected, hit “submit” and received notifications of its progress. When it was ready for pickup, we simply scheduled a time and drove off with the car. It was easier than ordering groceries!

In contrast, it was difficult to work with Xcel to get a dedicated service for EV charging. Xcel’s website made it difficult to determine how to order the particular rate plan and to find information about EV charging in general. It took multiple phone calls and incorrect messages stating that our infrastructure might not support it. I still can’t adjust how much Windsource to apply for the EV service we have.

I would suggest that CEO Ben Fowke order an EV and order an Xcel EV rate plan — and then comment which is more “seamless.”

Paul Davis, Woodbury

‘CIVILITY’

Just a word white people weaponize to maintain power

When a lack of civility used as criticism of President Donald Trump’s attempted dictatorship is followed immediately by criticism of the actions of protesters at the home of someone they see as a white supremacist, that false equivalency is keeping with the tradition of white people weaponizing the word “civil” to maintain their power.

You don’t need to open a history book to know that marches, sit-ins, kneeling for the anthem, calls and letters to lawmakers, and countless other acts of so-called “civil” protest against the violence targeted at Black, Indigenous and people of color has failed to prevent the deaths of people like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

As white people, we don’t get to remain silent on the history of Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Federation and a proud Trump supporter, while evoking the lack of civility of Black, Indigenous people, people of color, and their allies who protested at his home. We don’t get to equate flying the Confederate flag, a symbol of white supremacy, with public property being vandalized in the midst of an uprising in response to police murder. We don’t get to pretend that the wrongful detainment of a reporter and the beating of a piñata are the same thing.

As white people, we no longer get to decide what constitutes civility, and if papier-mâché destruction moves you to write a letter to the editor when the public killing of George Floyd didn’t, then your civility values white comfort and complacency over Black Lives.

Carrie Fisher, Minneapolis