2001-03-01 Holland Sentinel Racism is alive and well here

Racism is alive and well here
Holland Sentinel

To the Editor:

I do not know Thomas Volkema (Sentinel letters, Monday), but he is clearly a man who is angry about something. And, although I hesitate to write this letter since I do not attend the Summit on Racism (did he?), I do have a concrete example of how racism is alive and well in Holland. While at Community Education last fall, a Caucasian woman commented that my daughter’s name was such a good Dutch name (actually, it is German) and how wonderful it was to see “blond-haired, blue-eyed” Dutch children instead of these “dark-skinned” foreigners who can’t even speak English.

Her comments sickened me. The specter of ignorance and bias gave me a chill down my back.

I do not think the following were an issue at the summit – graffiti as art, immigration law, immorality as law and abortion as murder. What I do think is important is that we learn to look at all people as equal and to treat them as equal. And yes, people should be rewarded on merit. There is no room in Holland for illegal and unethical behavior from anyone, but there is room for the acceptance that some people place more importance on a girl’s 15th birthday than her 16th and that Lunar New Year is a time for showing reverence to one’s elders.

Laura Bowen, Holland