2002-03-07 Holland Sentinel Holland lacking in tolerance

Holland lacking in tolerance
Holland Sentinel

To the Editor:

I was greatly saddened to read the commentary by Mike Lozon in the Feb. 26 issue of The Sentinel. In the midst of many narrow minded, prejudicial statements, Mr. Lozon’s only accurate statement was his description of Holland as one of the most culturally diverse small cities in Michigan. However, to say that Holland is a community where “tolerance is the norm” is sadly inaccurate.

Obviously, Mr. Lozon sees Holland quite differently than many, including myself. Twenty years as a Holland resident has taught me that families and individuals continue to face intolerance and discrimination based on ethnicity, culture, religious beliefs and economic challenges. In many day-to-day encounters, tolerance and acceptance is at best a forced issue, with cultural and ethnic profiling more the norm than the exception.

In addition, enter any Holland area restaurant on Sunday and order a glass of wine to enjoy with dinner; where is the tolerance of which Mr. Lozon speaks? When gay and lesbian students at Hope College wish to enlighten the community to which they contribute, one must ask, where is Holland’s tolerance?

To say racism and intolerance does not, nor has not, existed in Holland is blatantly untrue. As long as there are those who believe as Mr. Lozon does, the work of the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance will never be an exercise in futility.