Valley News Forum for March 29, 2023: Lessons in free speech

Published: 3/29/2023 6:23:26 AM
Modified: 3/29/2023 6:23:13 AM
Lessons in free speech

The controversy of the racist wall mural at Vermont Law and Graduate School has brought forth a ‘Kumbaya’ moment in the pages of the Valley News. William Wittik and Steve Nelson agree that hiding the painting is running away from an important teachable moment.

Wittik (“The Fifth Freedom?” March 26) and Nelson (“Law school wrong to hide the uncomfortable,” Feb. 26) agree that just because ‘some’ people feel uncomfortable about their ancestors’ depiction in the mural, that shouldn’t justify its censoring. Apparently the folly and ignorance of white people for depicting oppressed people in grotesque caricature is a lesson that Black and brown people must continue to learn every day. The lesson of white supremacy is too important to deny, and VLGS students should be reminded of it whenever they open their law books to study. They might be afforded a space where the constant drumbeat of racism is quieted a little but Wittik and Nelson agree that’s too expensive an accommodation for the freedom of white speech.

Isn’t it nice that two old white guys on opposite sides of the political spectrum can come together and agree that it’s best to continue making Black and brown people uncomfortable in order to stimulate what Wittik calls a “healthy interaction between people”?

James Graham


A different take on freedom

I find it incomprehensible that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has named his book “The Courage to be Free.” Few governors in our country are trying to take away more freedoms ... including academic freedoms, freedom to live in a country safe from guns, and women’s rights to their own bodies. The banning of books is what Hitler did. The book about Rosa Parks, a civil rights icon, has been removed from libraries. A teacher in Florida has been fired because he taught about slavery ... the same course he has taught for 20 years. Freedom of speech?

It is tragic enough that our forefathers captured Africans, broke up families. and sold other people into slavery. This was followed by lynchings, Ku Klux Klan beatings, and murders like George Floyd’s. On the other hand, the Florida governor likes freedom to carry concealed weapons and freedom to whitewash the actual history of our country, I don’t know about DeSantis, but his colleagues believe in “freedom ” to attack the capital, beat its policemen, and change an honest election. Fox News, including Rupert Murdoch, now admit that they lied to their viewers — freedom of speech! Whatever happened to my former Republican Party?

Sally Prince

New London

Great article on Hanover girls hockey

I would like to thank Benjamin Rosenberg for his supportive and positive piece (“A team of their own,” March 19) on the humble beginnings of the first women’s high school ice hockey program. The fledgling program started by these ground breaking young women was quickly and enthusiastically embraced by the community.

In those early years, the coaching and supportive contributions from Rick Hutchins, David Norton, Harry Roberts and current coach John Dodds and all of his assistants, along with all of these ebullient young women through the years, have created a positive program legacy of empowerment, and fostered the joyful expressive nature of sport.

Thank you for conveying that impression so adroitly in your article.

Jay Campion


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