Mel Silverman picks up discarded items along Route 112 in...

Mel Silverman picks up discarded items along Route 112 in Coram on June 16. Credit: John Roca

Parent is wrong about country’s racism

Some Long Islanders have become disruptive at local Long Island school district meetings in the past few months. Smithtown’s Board of Education meeting had to call a 10-minute recess because of shouting by audience members ["Meeting recess after shouts," News, June 24]. A parent there said, "There are no victims and there are no oppressors in our society . . . Diversity, equity and inclusion is racist and you know it." This parent seems to have no awareness of the discrimination faced by minorities and immigrants of all races in the United States. What about the treatment of Native Americans in U.S. history? Why should we talk about slavery or bigotry, or the Ku Klux Klan, or that 12 of our first 18th presidents were slave owners? Because the truth is important. Saying there are no victims or oppressors in our country tells me this parent is blind to reality. Teaching students about the accomplishments of immigrants and minorities help us develop not just tolerance but an appreciation of the differences among us. Inclusion is a concept to welcome all people into our schools, including students with differences and disabilities. Diversity, equity and inclusion are three core values of the best of America. They belong in our schools.

Brian Abrams, Babylon

Cathy Young unironically missed a chance to take some ownership for the terrible state of debate in this country. No, the left is not ignoring a problem in our schools ["Our new, divisive culture-war brawl," Opinion, June 23]. A couple of isolated and anecdotal cases of schools doing things she disagrees with do not prove a systemic problem. One could point to stronger evidence of systemic conservative attempts to subvert the education system such as the Texas’ State Board of Education.There is, however, a movement of conservative journalists and thinkers trying to indoctrinate and condition parents so they show up to meetings to shout down anyone deemed an enemy. We’ve seen the same tactics since the 2008 health care debate. The pervasive anger stoking and fearmongering is the problem. Like some conservatives’ bogeymen, there is no "there" there.

Michael Hunt, Franklin Square

I am not a racist. I’m fed up with hearing that because I’m white I’m somehow a racist. I’m not a racist if I say all lives matter. I’m not a racist if I teach my children that education is the key to one’s future — as my mother taught me. I’m not a racist if: I say that critical race theory is racist and teaches our children to see the color of one’s skin and not the character of one’s person; I discuss the Founding Fathers and their cultural decisions of 1776 to form our nation; I call out the "woke" generation and say they are racist for only seeing color and not humanity; I admit that we have racist problems in our country that affect Blacks, whites, Latinos and Asians; I believe there should be standards and tests to enter prestigious schools; or if I shout from the highest mountain that I love the United States, faults and all. I’m not a racist if when placing my hand over my heart during "The Star-Spangled Banner," I tear up. And I’m not racist if I ask those who see only our warts that if they think a better country is out there, go!

Eileen Fleischman, Plainview

My wife and I are now part of the post K-12 generation of grandparents whose children and grandchildren successfully attended public schools on Long Island — Sachem and Comsewogue, respectively. They learned much scholastically and, perhaps as important, that being in classrooms with ethnically and racially diverse teachers and fellow students were rewarding experiences that will enable them to appreciate the benefits of being American citizens.

Peter Hanson, Nesconset

LIers will need to decide who they are

Sunday’s letters page had articles about "cleanup man" Mel Silverman ["‘Cleanup man’ efforts hit nerve about LI tidiness"] and Islanders fans’ antics ["Isles fans should be ashamed of behavior."] At some point, I think Long Islanders will have to take a good, hard look in the mirror and decide who they are — a society with a genuine respect for people and property or just a collection of arrogant slobs.

Mike Baard, Merrick

GOP’s about-face since embracing TR's values

Ed Shoucair’s essay was on the mark with one glaring omission ["Can conservatives return to core values?," Opinion, June 24]. As a proud Democrat, I agree with him, but he failed to call out many of today’s conservatives or Republicans for having done a 180-degree turn from the "Roosevelt Republicans" he references who "stood up to robber barons and corporate monopolies" and who now embrace them and the dark money they provide.

Larry Nemeroff, Medford

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this letter, the Roosevelt referenced in the headline was incorrect.