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By Joey Shinn


July 19, 2005

I almost stopped reading the letter entitled: "TIRED OF TURNING THE OTHER CHEEK" because it seemed like one of those pointless letters complaining about something we all know too well: People suck.

As I continued to read the letter, something interesting caught my eye.

"His remarks of you people directed his verbal attack to that of a racist issue, by placing the blame of all littering at Herring Cove, on Alaska Natives."

Because I was not there when this happened, I don't know the exact context that the phrase was used in. I could very easily imagine someone saying "It's people who litter like you/You people who litter/You people are ruining my beautiful home". I don't see how this is a racist issue at all. All different types of people litter no matter what their shape and size is. I am not defending the person who seemed to get too excited about the napkin falling on the ground at all, I am simply questioning why it had to be turned into a racist issue when the problem seemed to be with the littering in the first place.

Now for the real reason I am writing this letter. If indeed, the above situation was a racist situation, I feel terribly sorry for the victims of a thoughtless verbal assault. Racism is completely ignorant and stupid.

However! I noticed that the author decided to close the letter in a slightly ironic fashion.

"To you people who choose to act in such an irresponsible, insensitve, inappropriate and unacceptable manner: WISE UP OR PACK UP and move to some other town to do your harrassing!!!"

"To YOU PEOPLE......" Which people is this? White people? Black people? Native Americans? Spanish Americans? Asians? Indians? Christians? Catholics? Jews?

Are you not guilty of the exact same verbal crime you were complaining about in your letter? I don't see how you can expect to complain about something that someone else was doing and turn right around and do it yourself in a public forum. I would be embarrassed!

My family moved to Ketchikan when I was 7 years old. I am 20 years old and attending college right now. I have never experienced a real act of racism in this town the entire time I have been here. Ketchikan is a very easy-going, accepting community with a wide variety of people for such a small population. We have a large population of Caucasian's (mostly european mutts!), Southeast Alaska Natives, Filipino's, Asians, and Scandinavians here that get along very well on this small island. Its situations like this one that keep racism alive and going well past its time. We live in a society much different than that of our grandfather's. Racism is still out and about in the select few people who ruin it for the rest of us, but I believe that if we are to really turn the other cheek, we shouldn't make a big deal out of "possible" racist situations like this one because it does nothing more than fuel the fire.

Joey Shinn
Ketchikan, AK - USA


Related Viewpoint:

letter TIRED OF TURNING THE OTHER CHEEK By Sharon Fraley - Ketchikan, AK - USA



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