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OpinionLetters

Retiring old ideas, making change

A box of Aunt Jemima pancake mix sits

A box of Aunt Jemima pancake mix sits on a stovetop on Wednesday in Harrison, NY. Pepsico is changing the name and marketing image of its Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup, according to media reports. Credit: AP/Courtney Dittmar

As a participant in the Black Lives Matter march in Sayville on June 12, I was inspired and amazed at how many showed up for this peaceful rally [“Their call to action answered,” News, June 13]. It speaks to the heart of the community. When we witnessed the murder of a handcuffed black man, George Floyd, by Derek Chauvin, who had 18 prior complaints against him, it was a wake-up call for many of us who knew racism existed but had done little or nothing. We knew we had to act. New York has signed into law legislation regarding the police, but this must be followed by a nationwide change. We must continue to recognize that systemic racism exists. Newsday’s award-winning series on the unequal treatment of minorities regarding real estate highlighted how institutionalized racism exists on Long Island. Hopefully, we can unite to end systemic racism.

Barbara Kurek,

East Islip

So everyone has an opinion on protests, marches and slogans [“American history in the making,” Letters, June 17]. My suggestion is to come out of the peanut gallery and go onto the playing field. If you believe that Blue/White/All Lives Matter, don’t tell everyone else what to do, instead make a sign and call friends to exercise your rights. Write a letter to the editor, support a candidate, vote. Yelling past each other does nothing. Come out and play. It’s the most American thing we can do.

Sid Burgreen,

Garden City

Few can honestly disagree that it took a long time for most of America to recognize Black Lives Matter and to acknowledge racism, police violence and bad laws [“Diverse voices call for justice,” News, June 15]. It is also time to acknowledge the destructive effect of police actions on white citizens. It should come as no surprise that I see many bad laws involving police resulting from police contributions to politicians. To me, the result of those laws create distrust in government and accountability of police miss use of guns, the acceptance of the blue law of silence and unnecessary violence in enforcing the law.

We all want a police force and one that is accountable. We all know the vast majority are honest police officers, but they should speak up when they encounter wrongdoing. It will help them and the public.

Leo Montagna,

Calverton

I was pleased that barriers were put around the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia [“Barriers added at statue,” State & Nation, June 18]. This was done not only to protect the statue but also those who protest in that area. Seeing famous statues knocked down into a crumbling pile of rubble is disturbing. While it is understood that these statues of famous people have lost favor because of their beliefs of many years ago, it would be preferable, if they are to be removed, that they be carefully dismantled so as not to destroy the magnificent sculpture and work of art. Perhaps a foundation could take over harboring these statues. They could be stored at a neutral site because they could become important again. They could be displayed at a vast outdoor venue in the country where Americans and visitors could view these works of art because they are an integral part of our history.

Delores Plunkett,

Sayville

On June 3, Newsday reported an International News Media Award for its series “Long Island Divided,” on racial inequity in real estate. That day, Newsday also reported civil rights protests across the country responding to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis [“Demonstrations, unrest continue across country,” News]. Education is key, not dumping stereotypes.

I find it amusing that people think removing Aunt Jemima pancake mix from shelves, “evolving” Uncle Ben’s rice, and temporarily withdrawing “Gone With the Wind” from viewing will bring about racial equality [“Aunt Jemima brand retired for racial roots,” LI Business, June 18]. How sophomoric. “Whitewashing” history won’t work. The only solution is education, and it starts in the home. People must be taught from infancy that no person is better than another. Bias has been with us since the dawn of man. The Romans slaughtered Christians, Native Americans were slaughtered in this country by settlers, people were hung in Salem because others thought they were witches. Italians and the Irish, among others, faced bias at the turn of the previous century. Currently, this country is showing bias against Hispanics, Muslims and gays. Taking to the streets and looting doesn’t help people of color, and it actually hurts them. The answer is education — at home and in schools.

Valerie Romeo,

Bayport

I read that Land O’Lakes, based in Minnesota, is removing the Indian maiden logo from its products [“Aunt Jemima brand retired for racial roots,” LI Business, June 18]. Minnesota, known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” is also recognized, from Hamm’s Beer commercials, as the “Land of Sky-Blue Waters,” translated from the Dakota Indians’ “sky-tinted water.” Frankly, I can’t think of anything more appropriate than the current image of an Indian maiden offering these products from her native country.

Martin Selbst,

Brooklyn

Regarding Sherri London Pastolove’s poem, “Contemplation” [Letters, June 14], I was so impressed and moved:

Your poem was a sensation

describing the conflagration

tearing apart our nation.

Will there ever be salvation?

Barbara Cousins,

Aquebogue

If you see these demonstrations as someone else’s problem, take a look in the mirror. As shown in Newsday’s reporting, Long Island remains a segregated place. If you live in Levittown, Old Field or any number of Long Island neighborhoods, take a hard look at your town’s history. In my lifetime, people of color were swayed away from purchasing homes in these communities. My father-in-law was threatened because he sold his home in Port Jefferson Station to a black family. It is documented that builder Robert Moses designed Long Island to keep out people of color. Here on Long Island, we methodically built and sustained a racist system and continue to do so to this day. Look in the mirror.

Elizabeth Schwartz,

Mount Sinai

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