Black History Month recognized

After being disappointed by the apparent lack of recognition by the City of Dallas of Black History Month, I was pleased to learn that recognition of this important time was indeed underway. In spite of many bureaucratic obstacles, Dallas may finally have a banner downtown signaling recognition of this time to remind ourselves of the historic inequities visited upon, and contributions of people of African descent.  When we see it, we have a group of dedicated citizens and our Dallas library staff to thank for making this happen.  Our city manager has also been working diligently with some of the bureaucratic obstacles.  It’s my understanding that the library hopes to be open by the middle of February, and will have a display and materials available to help us educate ourselves. These actions reinforce my belief that a library is the heart of the community.

Lois Derouin


Enforce safe protests

Within hours of the protests in Washington D.C. becoming violent, the National Guard was called in, barriers were put up, 90+ people were arrested and both Democrats and Republicans denounced the storming of the U.S. Capital calling it anything from rioting to insurrection. Thankfully, the damage to the Capital Building was minor. Sadly, three people died from physical wounds and two from medical issues.

The BLM protests have been ongoing for months, resulting in dozens of deaths, thousands of injuries and billions of dollars in damage and private property. Although statistics are hard to come by because the U.S. Justice Department keeps no figures on injuries or property damage for civil disturbances and the FBI says “no comment,” I did find some information.

Axios reported Sept. 16 that there was $1-2 billion of paid insurance claims with more expected.

In October, the Major Cities Chiefs Association released: Report on the 2020 Protests and Civil Unrest. The data is from May 25 – July 31 from 68 major cities and counties. Of the 8,700 protests, 51% (4,434) were peaceful and lawful, 42% (3,692) involved unlawful but non-violent civil disobedience, and 7% (574) were violent. Please note that 62% of the protests in Portland during this time involved violence. Attacks on police included 2,385 lootings, 624 arsons, 97 burned police cars and 2,037 police officers injure.

Where was the National Guard? Where was the outcry from the media? Why didn’t local officials do more to stop the violence? Many city officials enabled or encouraged the rioting, including Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler who joined the rioters downtown.

Americans have the right to assemble peacefully to protect anything they feel is wrong. They do not have the right to harm other people and property. Our government officials need to protect all citizens and their property from protesters, no matter what is being protested!

Katherine Disher


Understanding white privilege

We cannot use Black people’s achievement to dismiss/excuse the impact of white privilege. Oppressed people have always shown brilliance throughout history. White privilege is a system establishing preference for people with white skin while creating barriers to keep out nonwhite people. Therefore, ending white privilege should not be considered “government intervention and progressive politics.” One clear example of white privilege is government subsidized home loans. For 80 years, we’ve known that homeownership is important for families’ financial stability and for parents passing on wealth to their children. To support this, government intervention has provided subsidized FHA loans for veterans to buy homes. After WWII and the Korean and Vietnam Wars, these subsidized loans were nearly exclusively given to white families. This helped make today’s strong white middle class, since “many white families sent their children to college using their home equities” (see NPR’s article, May 3, 2017). Black veterans, however, were denied this financial support because essentially FHA only subsidized loans for white people. It’s one reason for today’s wealth gap where white families have ten times more wealth than black families. The effect of past and present racist banking practices continues to devalue homes in nonwhite neighborhoods, which impacts property taxes. This in turn creates school districts with fewer financial resources; today’s white school districts receive $2,226 per student more than nonwhite districts. And when people look for jobs, studies found that applicants with white sounding names are 50% more likely to get called for an interview than those with black sounding names (think Emily and Lakisha). So it should not be “progressive politics” to end white privilege. Instead of using preference for a person’s skin color, people’s hard work should be the means by which they acquire wealth and get hired. Isn’t that an American ideal?

Carol McKiel


Letters Policy

Letters to the editor are limited to 300 words. Longer letters will be edited. Election-related letters of all types are limited to 100 words. Writers are limited to one election-related letter per election season. Election letters from writers outside of Polk County are not accepted. Each writer is restricted to one letter per 30-day period. Letters that are libelous, obscene or in bad taste will not be printed. Attacks by name on businesses or individuals will not be printed. Letters to the editor that are obvious promotions for a business, products or services will not be printed. Itemizer-Observer does not guarantee the accuracy of facts presented by letter writers; dissenters are welcome to respond. Letter writers who disagree with other published letter writers should maintain a civil discourse and address the subject, not the author. Letters that quote facts or use quotes from third-party sources must include the original source in the letter. These original sources might not be printed, so might not count against the overall word count (100 for election related letters, 300 for other letters), but will be required so the news room may double check claims made in letters. Letters, like all editorial material submitted to the newspaper, are edited for length, grammar and content. Letters must include the author’s name, address and telephone number. This includes letters submitted via the I-O’s website. Names and cities of residence are published; street addresses and telephone numbers are used for verification purposes only. Letters must be submitted from individuals, not organizations, and must be original submissions to the I-O, not copies of letters sent to other media. Letters of thanks to businesses, individuals and organizations are limited to 10 names. The deadline for letters to the editor is 10 a.m. Monday. Letters submitted may not be retractable after this deadline. — Reach us at: Mail: Editor, Polk County Itemizer-Observer, P.O. Box 108, Dallas, OR 97338. Fax: 503-623-2395. Email: Office: 147 SE Court St., Dallas.

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