Forum for Feb. 2, 2023: The arithmetic of racism

Published: 02-03-2023 3:05 PM

The arithmetic of racism

Robin Carpenter’s letter (“Competence before concepts,” Jan. 26) tries to dismiss an honest teaching of American history as “novel theories of social construction” in his weak attempt to apologize for the so-called “divisive concepts” legislation. That law (HB 544) was vomited out of the last legislative session and signed without remorse as part of the last state budget by our happy governor. In response to the uncomfortable reality of racist American history, Mr. Carpenter advocates reducing education to reading, writing, and arithmetic — a decidedly reactionary approach to equipping our youths for the 21st century.

This attempt to run from the problem of our white supremacist history and all its corruptions is familiar. In fact running from the problem is exactly what HB 554 does by stifling educators’ attempts to teach history. White Americans have centuries of practice at denying the disgusting aspects of their past and the disgusting aspects of their present for that matter. Why should folks in New Hampshire be any different?

A little history: For hundreds of years, one group of Americans was raped, tortured and murdered while being enslaved by another. A bloody civil war and a constitutional amendment ended the slavery, but the murder, rape and torture continued along with subjugation through mass incarceration for at least another hundred years.

Now some scholars and educators are trying to break the cycle of white supremacy and systemic racism by facing up to this history, not white-washing it or running from it. And a growing number of citizens are finally understanding that the race problem in America is owned by white Americans and their complicity in white supremacist culture and its corrupting influence. Too many Americans, however, are still in denial, looking for easy answers, or simply happy to run laughing from the scene of the crime.

Until we allow our students to read and write the truth of our history, the arithmetic of racism will stay the same. For now, as Gov. Chris Sununu might say, “That’s the New Hampshire way.”

James Graham

Lyme

Critiquing review of ‘The Niceties’

I was perplexed by the review of The Niceties playing at Shaker Bridge Theatre in Enfield through Feb. 5. Was the writer implying that a theater company which is predominantly white has no right to produce a play about race relations? Are race relations not a concern of a community that does not have a strong multiracial population?

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I saw this play and I wish the writer of the review pointed out how provocative and well-written and incredibly well-acted it was. Not only was it engrossing as a story, it was essentially a pingpong ball of views that kept the audience bouncing between who was right and who was wrong ... changing those thoughts continuously as each character spoke. What a shame it will be if the Upper Valley misses out on this incredibly current and fabulous production.

Shaker Bridge Theatre has a deserved reputation for bringing contemporary and thought provoking theatre to the Upper Valley. This play was one of the best.

Aline Ordman

White River Junction

Stop amplifying lies

Journalists are supposed to do more than just parrot what people say, especially when what they say is certifiably false. You chose to reprint a story by Gayla Cawley of the Boston Herald about Donald Trump kicking off his 2024 election campaign in New Hampshire (Trump opens 2024 run in New Hampshire,” Jan. 29). Cawley wrote that Trump “maintained” that he won the 2020 presidential election. His statement is false and you know it. But nowhere does the story counter his pernicious claim, which is widely known as “the Big Lie.”

You should have told readers why that was a lie in the very same paragraph. But you didn’t, anywhere in the story. Please stop amplifying lies and feeding your readers disinformation. Do better.

Sherry Boschert

Lebanon

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