Letter to the Editor

Little Deer Isle
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, July 2, 2020
Opinion - Preserve our community values

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“You can’t force anybody to not be racist. You have to educate and you have to have a conversation. That’s how people learn about anything.” This is what Julie Eaton believes, as quoted in Penobscot Bay Press, June 25. Think about what has taught you to be less racist. For me, my first step toward not being racist was living around people who didn’t tell N-jokes, which was standard fare when I was growing up.

A lot of people are passionate about this issue and want it to change. I feel the same. The video of George Lloyd made us feel powerless to make the big changes that are needed. I know the local protests are people’s way of saying they aren’t going to tolerate racism in this community.

But I like Julie’s suggestion better. We are a community, not an anonymous online forum. What makes us strong as a community is we work out differences face to face. We give people the benefit of the doubt. We respect differences of opinion and recognize how much we have in common.

I stopped to talk to the sign guy on LDI. We both live on LDI, make small talk at the post office. I didn’t go to change his mind. I went to listen. I wanted to know his thinking behind his signs. I do feel that he was “stirring the pot” but he has a right to post those signs. I left reassured that he is no more racist than any of us, and look forward to the day when this blows over because I think the way this has unfolded is not in keeping with what our community is all about.

Mary Offutt
Little Deer Isle