Letter: Thank you for showing us the ugliness in our community

Posted 7/30/20

I want to thank Zachary Cooper for his letter to the editor, and also thank the Phoenix for publishing it … and for the subsequent editorial. 

That letter has done more to reveal the …

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Letter: Thank you for showing us the ugliness in our community

Posted

I want to thank Zachary Cooper for his letter to the editor, and also thank the Phoenix for publishing it … and for the subsequent editorial. 

That letter has done more to reveal the underbelly of hate and prejudice that sadly exists in Bristol, as it does in towns and cities across America, more indeed than anything I have seen here to date. 

It is easy to deny the existence of such hate and prejudice when it exists just below the surface, being exhibited in subtle and covert ways, by individuals who whisper their slurs and epithets, couch their prejudice in words of patriotism, and discriminate against their targets here and there in relative obscurity where few but the victims can see.

These individuals have acted in whispers, without standing up and taking responsibility for the prejudice they espouse and act on as they dare.

Mr. Cooper has stepped out of the shadows. Loud and proud, he has announced his beliefs, showing to us all the kind of discriminatory language and behavior that we hoped and wish didn’t exist here.

While we heard many gut wrenching stories from victims during the hearing to fly the Black Lives Matter flag, Mr. Cooper has treated us to the testimony of the discriminator, the bully, the hater. He is one of many more who share his beliefs.

Please imagine what it is like to be subjected to this kind of vitriol every day of your life because of who you are, the color of your skin, the situations of your life. If you doubted that this kind of hatred and discrimination existed in our beautiful town, doubt no more. Now you know. 

The question now is what will we do about it? Will we continue to deny, ignore, accept, as long as it isn’t directed to us personally? Is it finally time for us to proclaim by word and action that discrimination and hate have no place here, are not welcome here, no matter what disguise they wear, what clever words they use?

We are said to be the “most patriotic town in America.” That patriotism means we respect all people, we treat all fairly, we reject discrimination against anyone.

Will we affirm that we are truly one nation, guaranteeing liberty and justice for all?

Thank you, Mr. Cooper, for turning over that last rock to reveal what lies beneath. The rest is up to us.

Anne Kellerman
Bristol

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.