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LETTER: Race should not mean specialized treatment

To The Editor:

In response to The Daily Republic letter of Tuesday that concerned my opinions and me, I want to thank the Yankton Sioux Tribe for not labeling me a racist.

Contrary to the YST's assessment that I am uninformed, I feel that I am quite the opposite. I can discuss relevant treaties without the use of notes. In reference to the reservation maladies I outlined in my May 29 Outdoors column, I could cite any of them and name the victims. However, this would serve no purpose other than rekindling the hurt. Concerning racism, I've been beaten up and shot at because of the color of my skin. Check out 1960 Chicago's south side at 95th and Halsted Street. No, I'm not uninformed.

I know that both YST leadership and citizens are concerned about social ills. This is why I'm for a restructuring of the system that has brought these ills about. I also believe that a request for change has to be initiated by tribal members across our country and not fools like me.

The YST asks why I support the Chamberlain school system's graduation ceremony decision.

When I came to Wagner in 1976 as the new 7-12 principal, I initiated a program I called "Seventh Grade Orientation." For 21 years, my opening comment alluded to all of the students as "Red Raiders." All would be treated as equals with no regard for race or who one's parents were. All issues would be consistent. On the street today, I often hear from former students, "Maybe I didn't agree with you on something, but you always treated everyone the same way." I take this as a compliment.

Perhaps I was wrong, but that's how I wanted it. No special treatment. That's why I feel the way I do about Chamberlain's graduation procedure. I don't handle the special recognition of race as being an issue very well.

And so I'll say it again. Our government's reservation system just doesn't work. Proof of this slaps us in the face most every time we pick up the newspaper.