Letters to the Editor - March 15, 2013

Letter was disrespectful

In response to Ken Marts of Sheridan (News-Register, March 1, “Mascot furor over the top”), although Mr. Mart’s sarcasm was probably a misguided attempt at cleverness, his laissez-faire attitude toward the issue of Native American mascots made his comments disrespectful to the cultures involved. And I’m not talking about the bears.

The issue behind the Indian mascot controversy involves the disrespectful objectification of American Natives in our society. Considering the long and sordid history of general ignorance and manipulation by our government, you hope that we would finally be enlightened enough about the dangers of prejudice for it to be less of an issue.

But, like the existence of the tribes so often consigned to history books, the discrimination against American Indians is very much active.

In his misguided letter, Mr. Marts trivialized the issue, and the tribes themselves, by comparing the use of American Native mascot names with that of grizzly bears. Of course, bears don’t possess awareness of discrimination and respect. American Indians, however, are aware of their identity, so comparing them with wild animals is incredibly insulting.

This request from the tribes isn’t an attempt to ruin the essence of sportsmanship, but a plea from a people who have been trivialized and objectified, and who now would simply like some dignity and respect from our society.

Whether changing the derogatory names of places, revising history books for more accurate portrayals of events or even changing a high school mascot, I don’t think it’s too high a price to pay for progress toward cultural equality.

So whatever your take on this mascot controversy, please remember the people at the root of the issue and their reasons for representing it before engaging in sarcastic and asinine commentary.

Courtney Terry

Grand Ronde

Supports pot legalization

I fully support Phyllice Bradner’s position on legalizing marijuana for these reasons: Although I was a teenager in the sixties, I have never used pot in any form. But I know that in the unlikely event I should decide to try it, I could have a supply in hand within the hour.

I know that I would have no way of knowing what harmful substances might have been used to cut the pot, or what potentially fatal chemicals could have been added to enhance its effect. It might not even be marijuana, but one of the more dangerous synthetics that are being developed.

I know that I would have to make contact in a private place with a street dealer, who is possibly armed and has access to stronger and more addictive drugs.

Marijuana is a “gateway drug” only if existing laws force the many users to that gate. That, Sheriff Crabtree, is the reality; the myth is that if we ignore it, it will go away.

Let’s get this substance out of the shadows and into the sunshine through legalization, regulation and quality control.

Jean Elmore



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