Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for June 5

How to submit a Letter to the Editor

The Olympian editor Dusti Demarest explains the guidelines for submitting a Letter to the Editor to the newspaper.
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The Olympian editor Dusti Demarest explains the guidelines for submitting a Letter to the Editor to the newspaper.

Slavery reparations not warranted

I’m confused about the issue of America paying reparations to the descendants of African slaves. Hasn’t the United States already paid enough from the blood and treasure spent to free them through civil war? Do the approximately 250,000 Union soldiers who sacrificed their lives, let alone the many more who were maimed or wounded, defeating the South count for nothing?

And if the descendants want reparations, what about going after the African tribes that captured the slaves in the first place? White people didn’t invent slavery, they just industrialized it. Virtually all black slaves shipped to America were originally captured by their more powerful neighbors and then sold to white people. Sure, Americans created the demand, but Africans met the supply.

Plus, just which African country would slave descendants prefer they lived in now rather than the United States? Africa is mostly a poverty of war, disease and famine. Some governments are corrupt and run by virtual warlords who would make Hitler seem merciful. Sure, the ghettos of urban poverty in America may be bad places, but they look like KOA Campgrounds compared to the city slums of Nigeria.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. once spoke some of the most profound words regarding slavery in America I’ve ever heard as he stood in an abandoned prison/port on the shores of Africa where many tens of thousands of slaves had been shipped off overseas. He said he has been forever grateful that his African ancestors made it to the United States.

Steve Shanewise, Olympia

Capitol City Marathon not very green

Thank you, Olympia, for hosting the highly organized and volunteer-supported Capitol City Marathon on May 19.

I attended the Capitol City Marathon pre-race dinner on May 18. Olympic gold medalist and clean air activist Joan Benoit Samuelson spoke under the gilded dome of our state capitol. It is the capitol where Gov. Jay Inslee is moving this Washington toward a clean energy economy.

Disappointment overcame me when I found the tables were set with silvery, plastic cutleries, paper plates and napkins, and, worst of all, styrofoam cups. Everything went into the trash at the end of the evening, except one set of the cutleries. Mine.

On race day, thousands of styrofoam cups were used at the water stops. Empty little white foams bouncing on the streets, no doubt would break into thousands of pieces. Yes, out of sight, out of our minds, into the stomachs of our fish and wildlife. We will get some, too, eventually.

Becky Chan, Seattle