Ms. Wagoner, in her opinion piece June 11, lumps virtually all rural white people in the same group — privileged. In doing so, she engages in the same conduct she complains others are exhibiting, i.e. stereotyping.
When persons are lumped into a group because of certain immutable characteristics and that group is labeled, it defines stereotyping. Stereotyping of any kind leads to considering all persons in that group as homogenous bodies which, in turn, can create a convenient target for animosity, discrimination and, ultimately if left unchecked, violence and retribution from those who are taught or told a group is bad.
We, as members of any group, are not privileged; we are not evil, we are not saints; we are not disadvantaged; we are not lucky. We are individuals who have good moments and bad moments and hope the bad moments do not lead us to tragedy. Sometimes we engage in conduct that hurts others and sometimes we engage in conduct that helps others.
Some of us obtain power or possessions at the expense of others and some of us give without expecting anything in return. We are individual people with faults and strengths. We should not be considered homogenous bodies, whether we are rich, poor, middle class, white, black, brown, male, female or otherwise, to be lumped into static groups.
So how do we become part of the solution to minimize those who ignore equality and engage in stereotyping? Peaceful protest, sure. Exercise our right to vote in fair and honest elections, absolutely, but not by rioting and destroying or taking over other people’s property.
I thought we learned that from our history with native Indians, but apparently Seattle’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone occupants missed that history lesson. The solution is not to stereotype every police officer as violent or bad; the solution is for the police unions and the administrations to identify and remove those officers that do not uphold their oath as a police officer.
The solution is not to burn and steal from others; the solution is to respect our laws and not engage in criminal conduct. The solution is not to pass more laws that burden those who already follow the law; the solution is to change those laws we believe are unjust. The solution is not to provide equal outcomes; the solution is to provide equal opportunity.
For most of us this is not difficult. However, my fear is that those who commit acts to obtain power, possession or control over or from others will strongly resist yielding to the vast majority of people of all genders, shades and colors who just want to live their lives in relative peace and prosperity for all.
North Benton, Ohio
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