‘Mockingbird’ and the N-word
+ Years ago, I was turned away from ‘Mockingbird’ at whites-only theater
I am in total agreement with those who feel the play should be presented. It is a classic which depicts a dark period in American history — a time in which I was a young adult. I recall my husband, a serviceman at the time, and I being turned away from the theater in North Carolina, when we went to see the movie version of the book because it was “for whites only.”
I am troubled by your statement, however, that Green hears the N-word “20 times per day while he’s walking around the school, and that black and white students use the word — for better or worse — casually.” That word can never be casual to Americans who are of the generation of these students’ grandparents, because of what it represents. It was coined with hatred and used with impunity by those who rejected the humanity of our race and considered it permissible to enslave, beat, rape and murder.
During the Civil Rights movement, members of our race rejected the term “colored” and proclaimed we were the word we were indoctrinated to deny: black.
The N-word derives from the lexicon of hatred. It always has a negative connotation. It relegates a race of people to a lesser status.
Webster’s Dictionary defines the word as “disparaging and offensive: a second class.” And the Oxford English Dictionary says it is “now virtually restricted to contexts of deliberate and contemptuous ethnic abuse.”
I am well aware that many rap musicians use the word with abandon. That doesn’t make it right or acceptable. For my dime, it displays ignorance and disrespect. Too many fair-minded people of all races risked and lost lives so that the part of our history in which the use of that word was viable would remain in the past.
I hope Mr. Green and his peers achieve whatever goals they aspire to in life. I would also hope that those who are recklessly toddling around demeaning racial epithets recognize that the opportunities they are afforded came as a result of the indignities suffered and sacrifices made by their elders.
+ Build City Hall; we need a permanent facility
One of the big topics in Palm Coast today is building a new City Hall. Should it be built (you betcha), or shouldn’t it?
I say it should be built now. Jim Landon, our city manager, has been holding town meetings to inform and reassure the public that it can be built without burdening taxpayers with increased taxes. The price tag for this building has not been set in stone, but the estimated price is $10 million. The land is currently not an issue. But, the clock is ticking, and the land could go to another use. Let’s build it.
I believe the citizens of Palm Coast should unite behind our city staff and give them a permanent facility.
I do have a few questions that need answers. Will the City Council and mayor endorse this project? I would like to see a firm commitment from these leaders.
Mayor Jon Netts stated in a newspaper article that he would like more information on what the exact cost would be for the new building and also an architectural drawing of what we would actually be getting. I agree with the mayor. I don’t believe we should be throwing numbers out arbitrarily. I also can’t understand why Mr. Landon would spend his time talking to the public without this information being available.
The other big question is should we put this on a referendum? I would say “yes,” but only if the voting public has all the information they would need to make an informed decision. That would mean that voters would need a lot more information than what’s been given thus far.
+ ‘The time for a City Hall will come; just not today’
I love Palm Coast. I cannot think of a person I know who does not love our town. We have a truly unique mixture of small-town attributes: little traffic, friendly people, low crime rate, wonderful recreational amenities, low density housing, good schools, adequate retail and medical facilities — and the list goes on and on.
The topic that often dominates conversations is how do we maintain this environment. There are some ominous signs on the horizon. Some persons and entities long for the bubble days when they raked in the dough using the overheated real estate market. Those were not halcyon days for most of us.
Being the fastest growing county in the United States for a couple years running brought excesses that we suffer from today. This will pass if we have the wisdom and patience to build slowly and carefully.
Overall the city manager has done a nice job. Some fear that our city manager does not have the required patience. The headlong dash to build a City Hall, and going out to the public with a half-baked idea and without City Council support, was not wise. Telling the people no new taxes begged the question of where the monies come from if not from our pockets to begin with, and what was the money supposed to be spent for that will now not be done?
Things that our town could use before a City Hall are an expanded library, a new community center and fully funded recreational facilities like the city golf course and tennis courts. The time for a stand-alone City Hall will come; it is just not here today. It is hoped the city manager has become a believer.
Many are concerned about the hot shot salesman coming into town blowing hot air up the skirts of the City Council and the city manager and gushing over what a wonderful place Palm Coast is and how they will put us “on the map” with their great schemes — if we, the tax payers, will just fund their scheme.
We have seen them in the past during the bubble days.
Want to bring your dirt bikes to Palm Coast? Great. Bring your cash to fund your scheme. In the past, some schemes were supported too easily by our elected officials, and we live with the sad remains of those around us today. We do not need to fund a carpetbagger’s scheme to put us on the map.
Not long ago, some of the local power brokers posed the question: “Do we want to be what we are, or do we want to be a full-service community?”
To most of us the answer is apparent. We are already on the map because we are what we are, and we love what we are!
Present-day realities demand our government remain as debt-free as possible, live within our means, and plot a course for sustainable, controlled growth at a pace that suits our community. Let us keep reminding our elected officials how we feel about our town.
+ City Hall not a smart move in down economy
On Nov. 22, I attended the last of four meetings on the new City Hall project scheduled and advertised in the Palm Coast Observer. I attended all of the presentations and applaud Jim Landon on his sales ability.
While he did an admirable job trying to sell the residents, the majority is not buying. If the project was put up for a vote today, the answer would be no. Some reasons given by the residents are as follows:
This is not the time to spend our tax dollars. The country is in a recession with little promise of a quick turnaround.
The local economy of Flagler County is suffering for jobs and real estate losses.
Now would be a great time to renew the lease on the temporary city offices requesting more favorable conditions. The city has cut back on staff, and additional space will not be needed in the foreseeable future.
The city should continue to cut expenses and earn interest on monies in the City Hall building fund.
Work with the Town Center management on a land swap for a better City Hall site closer to a major road, such as Belle Terre Parkway or State Road 100, so residents can have easy access to the new City Hall when it’s built. Include in your planning the possibility of a branch library, Sheriff’s substation and post office near City Hall.
The City Council should listen to the residents and not permit the developer to dictate the city’s future.
Let’s take the time and effort to plan a new City Hall that we can all be proud of when it is eventually built.
I’m living the American dream, and my dream for Palm Coast is just as positive.
+ In defense of church’s Outreach Ministry
This letter is in response to Ms. Guardino’s Dec. 2 letter regarding the requirements of the Outreach Ministry here at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
Every ministry in this parish operates under guidelines and strict procedures for everyone to assure against fraud. This is done so that there is fairness for all God’s children.
Because we are people of faith, there are those who do try and take advantage of this and take whatever they can through phony stories, good acting and downright lies. I myself have been taken advantage of by these kinds of people. And believe me, it does not make me happy. No one wants to be used.
The people involved in the Outreach Ministry give of their time, talent and treasure unselfishly and need to be treated with the utmost respect. They receive nothing in return for all the good work they do except kind words from those who truly appreciate their effort and hard work. It saddens me to hear that anyone would verbally mistreat them in any way.
If we don’t see the face of Christ in everyone and treat them with love and mercy, then we are not listening to Jesus’ words when he tells us, “Love one another as I have loved you.”
Thank you, Outreach. Keep going. You’re doing a great job!
Father Jim May
Pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church
+ Halloween dangerous for B-Section residents
The B-Section, the area off Belleaire Drive in Indian Trails, has been the designated place for trick-or-treating in Palm Coast for as long as anyone can remember.
In 2008 I became extremely concerned when I needed helpers to keep up with the constant crowd on my front porch. We gave out more than 1,000 candy bars between 6 and 9 p.m., and the situation was unmanageable. Children were running, pushing and shoving, and when one little girl fell on my walkway I had trouble finding her mom to come get her.
In 2009, Belle Terre Parkway was under construction, and signs informed the public that there was no parking. The volume of trick-or-treaters from outside areas was substantially reduced that year, and I was hopeful the trend would continue in 2010.
To my surprise, the B-Section was right back up to nearly 1,000 trick-or-treaters this Halloween. The neighborhood did not expect this, because unlike other designated trick-or-treat areas, this one had no parking!
Cars, trucks and vans were parked along both sides of the road and even across lawns diagonally. Vehicles were pulling in and out of their makeshift parking lots among swarms of pedestrians; I saw one go off the road to avoid hitting a family. There was at least one auto accident.
Residents were locked in for the evening. The only safe way to exit their driveway was to locate a deputy to direct traffic, and this was of grave concern to the sick and elderly. The deputies worked very hard that night, and I’m certain they kept the streets as safe as possible. A lack of supervision was not the problem.
The B-section can simply no longer manage the volume of trick-or-treaters that continue to follow a tradition despite our inability to accommodate them.
We need the city to step up to the plate and address the issue of Halloween madness in the B-section.
Years of promoting this section as the safe place for trick-or-treating, along with population growth and parking loss have brought us to the dangerous situation we now face.
+ If schools can have signs, hospital should, too
I can’t understand why Florida Hospital cannot put up an electronic sign, which will be used to keep the community informed about activities at the hospital. It is not being used just for advertisement.
Every school has an electronic sign flashing all day and night — some just flashing letters because they are not working properly. On Belle Terre Parkway, which is a heavy traffic area, you have two schools next to each other, both with flashing signs.
I guess it is OK to use taxpayers’ money to put these signs up and use electricity 24 hours a day on our dime, but it’s not OK for a hospital to put one up to keep the community informed.