Ah! The Calhoun/Mde Maka Ska kerfuffle is finally over; the omniscient Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s stealth planting of incoherent politically correct signs accomplished; the fractious mystery of whom the lake was named for determined by absolutist foregone conclusion, and after nearly two centuries of the white Christians’ despicable treatment of the North American Indian, symbolic reparation coughed up and our emotional guilt thus assuaged (“Lake Calhoun gets a 2nd identity,” Sept. 3).

So we’re good, Minnesota!

Gregory L. LaLonde, Minneapolis

RACE RELATIONS

Folks, you’ve got to step out of your own small world

Martha Wegner actually sat down with a young black man and talked to him? (“Black Lives Matter: What does the movement want from the average white citizen?” Sept. 3.) How astounding. She lives in St. Paul, which is quite a racially diverse city, but she had to go to the State Fair and wash dishes in order to talk to a black person? I’m sorry, but that doesn’t make sense to me. Surely, she must see black people every day. And doesn’t she have any black friends? She certainly hit on what’s wrong, though, with our society. And what the Black Lives Matter is getting at — that white privilege is so ingrained in white people that they don’t even know they have it.

I’ve lived in the inner city since 1970. My neighborhoods were always racially diverse, and I always worked within my neighborhoods. For 40 years, I’ve run an inner-city theater company that is racially diverse. I cannot imagine moving within a world that is so white I have to specifically set up a time to talk to a black person to find out what’s on his/her mind. But kudos to Wegner, I guess. Hopefully, it opened her eyes a bit.

Judy Cooper Lyle, Minneapolis

• • •

From a recent letter to the Star Tribune: “The fact is that 60 years after Emmett Till, black people can still be killed by whites with impunity, whether they are wearing a badge or not.”

Where, pray tell, are white people killing black people with impunity? The highly publicized killings of blacks by police recently, all of which were independently investigated, concluded with either confirmation of the officer’s use of deadly force or criminal charges brought against the officers. Regarding citizens killing outside of their own race, the fact is that almost never happens. Whites without badges do not kill blacks. Just as blacks almost never kill whites. The type of rhetoric offered by this letter writer is misguided and inflammatory, and needs to stop.

Ryan Sheahan, Minneapolis

 

OPINIONMAKING

Oh, the things you’ll read when readers write!

The “Readers Write” column alone is worth the price of your publication. The psychotherapeutic value of ventilating to the Star Tribune is a valuable service to those whose letters you publish, and informative and entertaining for those of us who read them. So, when three hot-button topics (the “achievement gap,” racism and taxes) enter the discourse simultaneously — well, it’s like the best July 4th fireworks display ever!

So, one recent letter writer ventilates by denying that his fiscal conservatism makes him a racist. Fair enough. As a liberal, I agree completely with him. However, if this writer is willing to take an objective look at the feeble attempt at providing a social safety net to the impoverished in our country (overly represented by ethnic minorities), he would have to acknowledge two indisputable truths: First, the private-sector effort to provide a so-called safety net is dwarfed by the government efforts. Second, that despite this fact, the Republican Party regularly whines about those (liberals) in government who wish to sustain or even — perish the thought — expand the safety net.

Another letter writer ventilates by bemoaning the fact that she had to overcome economic hardships to provide for her kids’ educational needs. Compliments to her. Sadly, she perhaps fails to recognize that for a multitude of reasons, not everyone is able to pull themselves up. That’s a hard reality for some successful people to accept. The subsidization of those who are unable to attain her level of achievement not only promotes community stability, but is a key tenet of our Christian-Judeo philosophy.

Then, there’s that other reason to subsidize those who are unable to perform — the fact that our economy relies to a great extent on consumers buying stuff. It’s hard to buy stuff if you’re unable to pull yourself up. And, the unfortunate reality for this letter writer is that subsidies, to a certain extent, allow the less-fortunate to buy stuff. Furthermore, she wouldn’t have been able to pull herself up if there weren’t consumers who purchased her product or service that delivered her from poverty. So it goes …

Richard Masur, Minneapolis

 

THE ENVIRONMENT

Money may not grow on trees, but, surprisingly, seeds do

In the recent article “Lots of trees to hug: Earth has 3 trillion” (Sept. 3), study authors are quoted as saying that 15 billion trees are cut down each year but that only 5 billion are replanted, translating to a net loss of 10 billion trees a year. Based on this, the article reports that all of Earth’s trees will be gone in 300 years should this continue. This is an absurd conclusion that completely overlooks the reality that for every tree planted, many, many more are re-established naturally through seeding or resprouting. When patches of aspen are harvested, for example, natural regeneration of 20,000 to 50,000 trees per acre is common within a year or two following harvest.

Jim Bowyer, North Oaks

• • •

Again, we see lots of people complaining about the danger of copper mining in northern Minnesota, all the while continuing to buy plenty of computers, cellphones and TVs that are built of the metals that we continue to get from Congo and other Third World counties by submitting their people to dangerous jobs and polluting their lands with much more simple rules than we would require here. If you are so concerned about the world, you had better either stop buying those computers, etc., or accept that we need to spend the money to get the copper, etc., from our own backyard instead of dumping the mess on those poor countries and their people.

Frank Dewey, Minneapolis

 

THE NFL

An open letter to the league’s current team owners

I am submitting myself for the job of NFL commissioner, because the current commissioner is a complete failure on almost every front.

The latest disaster — “deflategate” — has to be the final straw. Roger Goodell is out of control. The sad part is that he thinks he’s doing a great job.

There is only one solution to this disaster that has been occurring for the past several years: fire Goodell. I’ll even give you a great bargain and ask for just $10 million a year. That will save you about 70 percent of his current salary.

Please feel free to give me a call anytime.

Rick Fraser, Prescott, Wis.

• • •

It’s crazy that we can dedicate hours on TV to “deflategate” and whether or not the New England Patriots cheated, yet the TV time dedicated to NFL domestic violence struggles to make an appearance. The league shouldn’t be scolded for botching the investigation of the Patriots; it should be scolded for its pathetic effort on stopping senseless violence from players who don’t deserve to be playing anymore.

Jack Parker, Eden Prairie