Friday, August 22, 2003

Readers' Views

Not every slight involves racism


So the University of Cincinnati has determined that one in five African Americans choose a doctor of their own race because of past unfair treatment by physicians of another race ("Blacks say treatment as patient influences choice," Aug. 18). I'll bet if UC asked any Caucasian group (seniors, students, females, etc.) if they had ever felt treated unfairly by a physician, they would get a 20 percent positive response, probably higher. So, are these latter groups victims of racism? Probably not. My husband and I have both experienced what we felt was unfair or off-hand treatment recently from our same-race physicians or their staff. It wasn't racism. Was it senior-ism? Gender-ism? Insurance-ism? Or was he or she just having a bad day? We don't know until we question the offender face to face and not just make our own assumptions.

No one should stand for racism when it occurs. But I'm weary of every slight or offense being called racism and making headlines.

Grace Staples, East Price Hill

Good parenting can help schools improve

The article "City schools sliding; others scoring better" (Aug. 20) mentioned that there were only three of 608 school districts in the state rated worse than the Cincinnati Public Schools according to the Ohio Department of Education.

Sadly, of the students who attend the Cincinnati district, more than half of them have only one parent living with them. Statistics repeatedly reflect that too many of the single parents live in poverty; Consequently, their children grow up to be far more likely to drop out of school, have lower school grades and commit more crimes. More than 90 percent of the single parents are mothers who too often lose their authoritative control of their children - some of them way before they reach their teen years.

Until this vicious cycle is broken, I sadly feel that there will continue to be very low-scoring results by the Cincinnati Public Schools in the state tests - even with brand new schools and most modern advances.

Ronald V. Armor, Deer Park

Mayor should address economic issues

Mayor Charlie Luken stated this week he did not feel it necessary to negotiate with the Black United Front, as suggested by the local chapter of the NAACP. He mentioned that the boycott movement is fragmented, and that the boycotters' demands keep changing. Previously, he has mentioned the more than $6 billion in new spending they want is way beyond what the city could afford.

I agree with his statements, but feel that he is missing the bigger picture. In August 2002, the Enquirer reported that City Manager Valerie Lemmie said before the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce that business leaders listen to boycott supporters and address the underlying economic inequities in Cincinnati. I feel Lemmie's remarks are closer to what our mayor should be saying. If all he says is that he will not talk to boycotters, it may be good politics but he is, in effect, shutting himself (and our city) off from reaching out to those people who may not like the boycott yet favor the city addressing economic and other issues, and thus promoting his own fragmentation.

Mayor Luken should instead be out front using his "bully pulpit" to promote his own agenda toward dealing with these underlying issues, regardless of what the boycotters do or say.

Robert J. Wilking, Oakley

NAACP should work in the trenches

The NAACP now thinks a vast majority of the city's issues will be resolved if the mayor negotiates with the half-dozen malcontents who are boycotting.

The NAACP would go a long way in solving the many pressing issues if it used the first day of school as a kickoff day to help inner-city parents learn what their responsibilities are as parents of school children. New buildings will not help Cincinnati Public Schools. Parents who care will. Children must be sent to school in clean clothes, well fed and ready to learn. There must be a home atmosphere that enables homework and rewards good grades.

If the NAACP wants something positive to happen in Cincinnati, it must get off the podium, come out from behind the lectern, stop making demands and roll up its sleeves and work in the trenches.

Sam Moore, Anderson Township

U.S business model remains the best

The writer of the letter "Remember: It's the jobs, stupid," (Aug. 17) wants to "offer tax incentives to businesses to create new jobs," and wrote "if they insist in taking jobs out of the country, make them pay tax penalties." Probably our biggest citizen problem is having no idea how markets and government work.

When U.S. workers are paid better, a product/service is created which logically costs more. We buyers mostly choose products costing less. But those products come from countries that pay workers less, consequently putting our laborers out of work. Companies could make less profit but given our capitalistic, market-driven system, companies must reward stockholders who support them.

Our system has problems, just like democracy, but it's still the best thing going. A perfect world would be grand: Every worker getting his due, prices to our liking, no lay-offs, good hours and working conditions - it sounds wonderful.

But I know how local/global markets work, and while seeking a balance between incomes and spending, I have a sense of reality - even though I might not like it.

Patricia Kern, Sharonville

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