Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for Sunday, April 21, 2019

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Struggling with identity

The Ledger-Enquirer frequently publishes letters about race, blacks, whites, people of color, etc. such as in the April 18 column titled “23andMe distracts from reality of race.” The letter was well-intentioned, but to me seemed to prove that the whole idea of “racial identity” is a false concept.

Erin Aubry. Kaplan of The New York Times, who describes herself as Creole, with a large number of different ethnic ancestors including French, black, Native American, Jewish, etc. Which of these is a race? None of them. So, no wonder she is so worried and confused about her ethnic identity — ”race” is an unreal concept, so there is no “reality of race” as she seems to think.

Then she concludes, “I’m still black in America. What a relief.” Wow, what kind of relief is that? Has she got a deep tan? An identity called “black,” which we learned in the 1960s was “beautiful,” or is it that “black lives matter after all” or “more than other lives?”

If I had her email address, I would send her my article on the U.S. caste system. It might convince her that the term “black” is not a good term for a race of people (actually the whole concept of race is to be rejected) but rather “black” is best understood as a U.S. caste, and also an ethnic group, similar in meaning to African-American, or more specifically, U.S.-Afro, since the designation “American” includes anyone from Central or South America, and I believe Ms. Kaplan is probably a U.S. citizen.

I prefer the term U.S.-American for our nation and hence U.S.-Afro for someone therein who identifies with U.S.-African culture or heritage, which Ms. Kaplan says she does. U.S. castes are “racialized” social status categories that include U.S.-European, U.S.-African, U.S.-Asian, U.S.-Native, U.S. Latin, etc. but often confused with the old falsely “racialized” terms, red, yellow, black and white.

I congratulate Ms. Kaplan though, because she is struggling to recognize that her mixed ethnic heritage is something special and unique, and to be proud of — not black, white or other. “Creole” has always been a reasonably good term for people of mixed ethnic heritage. In the New World, this term included mixtures of Afro, Native (American Indian, and various European heritages.

John D. Studstill,


A lawmaker to emulate

I have been a resident of Crawford, Ala., for 40 forty years. In the last few years I have seen my community grow by leaps and bounds and it is all because of our District 7 Commissioner Chance Corbett. He has been a God send to everyone in this area. Anyone can call, text, Facebook with a question and he responds and solves within hours. He seeks and finds grants and available help to accomplish many projects such as the renovation of the historic Tacksbatchee Masonic Lodge, the creation of the Crawford Park complete with playground equipment and bathrooms the lighted and paved Crawford Walking Trail, the Crawford Library, the “Crawford Cookbook” and the Crawford Market Days.

Russell County needs all of their commissioners to take notice of Chance Corbett and his accomplishments. I challenge the Russell County Commissioners to note their own accomplishments. All they seem to do is fight with the city of Phenix City about issues they need to come together about. If your heart is not in it, give it up to someone who can give 100 percent to our county. Model yourself after Chance Corbett. It’s way past time.

Deborah Burke,

Crawford, Ala.