Credit: George Danby / BDN

Something to teach each other

I have followed with increasing outrage and dismay the unfolding story of how Bangor High School and the school department treated their “students of color.” A great many people in authority in the school system appear now to have had their eyes opened to the degree of hate and injustice that those students felt. Better late than never, certainly, but no action for four years? Being told to “handle it yourself”? Refusal to credit the word of those students?

Adam Leach’s OpEd in last Wednesday’s paper is ironic in calling for “civil discourse” in the discussions that must now follow; ironic because of the contrast to the ugly racist insults regularly experienced by minority students during their years at Bangor High. He offers not one word of apology, nor does he indicate that anyone is personally taking responsibility for rectifying this lack of official action.

I hope that Leach does not consider this letter as “hateful rhetoric.” I am ashamed that fellow Mainers behaved as they did during the time that these students attended Bangor High School. Such behavior is learned, and we thus must involve the parents of the offending students, and current students, to make sure that such ignorance is corrected.

Differences are not bad, they’re just different. We all have something to teach each other, but first we must open our minds and hearts to those who look, act or speak in a different way than the majority.

Nancy Asante


Asking nicely to wear a mask

This may seem obvious to all of us who’ve spent this COVID-19 season minding the rules with our masks and distancing, but why don’t we just ask other shoppers without masks (quite possibly the owners of the cars in the parking lot with licenses from the hot spots) to “please wear one,” thus sparing the clerks an argument with customers?

There are certainly enough of us who have played our part in making this area of Maine very low-risk, and it might get through if they see us wearing ours.

It seems unfair that they would come for a pleasant summer to these northern Maine counties, a much safer area, and then leave us with a surge in cases when it’s preventable. I haven’t been wild about wearing mine — has anyone else? But we did it for the greater good, and because we were asked to. The signs on a majority of stores are still telling us we must.

I’ve heard that middle management doesn’t want to fight about it either and won’t enforce their own rules. Might it help to remind them that we supported their stores all spring, and will be here when the summer residents have gone home? It’s easier to feel brave in a large crowd with similar sentiments, but surely we could speak up now instead of just grumbling about it?

We can ask nicely, for starters. Possibly they haven’t yet realized that we too hoped to live out our natural life span, or that all states don’t have irresponsible governors.

Alice Jones


More white resentment

Michael Cianchette’s July 4-5 “Cancel culture may ruin our Fourth” column is a thinly-disguised rallying cry to white resentment.

Cianchette says: “Equating (Ulysses S.) Grant with Robert E. Lee is asinine.” This appears to be an attempt to stir the putrid pot of white resentment. The fact is both Grant and Lee were slaveholders – they owned human beings. And no one is trying to erase them from history. The movement for historical reckoning only wants, rightfully, to remove statues that honor slaveowners.

After 244 years of slavery and another 157 years of brutalization of African-Americans, it is not for me, Cianchette or any other privileged white male to decide what monuments to slavery may be removed and which may remain. People of color have more than earned that right. But no one can erase history.

But the most egregious part of Cianchette’s screed is his blithe, casual accusation that the late, great Martin Luther King “may have been” an accomplice to rape. Cianchette is referring to a completely unsubstantiated claim made by the FBI of J. Edgar Hoover, a disgraced director who blackmailed presidents and destroyed the lives of progressives and gays. With this “evidence” Cianchette attempts to smear a man who did more for the cause of justice and equality than a lifetime of Cianchette’s writing.

Lawrence Reichard



Why I wear a mask

I wear a mask because I’ve hated quarantine. I miss my friends, and I want to see them again, and for a long time.

I wear a mask to protect their health and mine. I wear a mask because I want to browse my favorite bookstore and relax at my favorite coffee shop, and I know they can’t remain open if the virus spreads.

I wear a mask because I have friends who are out of work, and I want them to find jobs again. I know the economy won’t recover until we’ve crushed this virus.

I wear a mask because I know that health care workers are exhausted. They’ve been fighting untold battles for months now, and wearing a mask is how I support them and hope to give them a break.

I wear a mask out of patriotism. While I’d love for America to be number in education, or health, or human rights, I hate being number one in coronavirus cases. So I wear a mask.

I wear a mask because I want to be able to send my kids back to school, to go to concerts and shows, to get back as much as we can to “normal.” Masks will get us there.

I wear a mask because I hate the coronavirus and all the things I have lost because of this pandemic. I want to crush it, destroy it, wipe it out of my community. So I wear a mask. Will you?

Jackie McNeil

South Portland

Election notice

The BDN has stopped accepting commentary and letters related to the July 14 election. Not all submissions can be printed.

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