Letters

And as for Ed Ranger, I've met the man on numerous occasions, and he is just what Arizona needs--one of us and not some millionaire helping out his own. Many people (New Times included) don't give Ed Ranger a snowball's chance in hell; however, I've heard that story before. A few years back, a no-name candidate ran against one of the most extreme conservatives in Congress. The voters of California's 44th Congressional District (home of the John Burke Society) elected a Hispanic woman by the name of Loretta Sanchez, ousting a sit-in for the Rush Limbaugh show named Bob Dornan. With her strong determination and help from her family, she got elected. I hope Arizona can follow suit by electing Ed Ranger to the U.S. Senate.

Vince Enriquez
Mesa

Snake Eyed
I had just about given up on Christians, thinking they are all heartless tyrants when it comes to behavior toward animals. Then I read your story on Dale Burton ("Rattling Cages," Terry Greene Sterling, June 4) and how he saves and protects rattlesnakes. Dale and his wife Liz are wonderful to cats, also. I hope this means that a new era is being ushered in, where churchgoers will see that if they are kind to animals, they will start getting some respect, instead of the disdain they are getting now for hunting animals and experimenting on them.

Shaynie Aero
Mesa

Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading your article on Dale Burton and his fight for the rattlesnakes. Man, it was an insightful piece of feature writing. I'm a hiker, and I've seen a lot of people literally smash to death or shoot rattlesnakes because they are scared of them. While they aren't one of my favorite creatures, I have a healthy respect for them and try and stay away from them when I go hiking. It sounds like Mr. Burton is trying to save the rattlesnakes with his limited personal funds. Could I make a donation to his cause, and where do I send the check to?

Again, it was a great story. It touched my heart.
Victoria Johnson
via Internet

Suspicious Minds
In his letter of June 11 criticizing Barry Graham's column on a racially charged incident at a Scottsdale jeweler ("Overdressed," May 21), Roger Ellington writes: "A month ago, another jeweler was murdered by a robber in Fresno. The two criminals were Asian. Would you blame Fresno stores for being suspicious of Asians now?"

In a word, yes. To see how silly his remarks sound, Mr. Ellington, whom I presume is white (as am I), should substitute "white" for "Asian" in the above-quoted text. Presumably Mr. Ellington doesn't consider it reasonable to regard whites with suspicion simply because last month a pair of whites robbed a bank in Tempe or a jewelry store in San Francisco, even though white people account for a larger number of armed robberies simply by virtue of the fact that there are more of us. How would he feel if he were the object of suspicion and the merchant was black? He'd feel offended, and with good reason: Most whites, or for that matter, most blacks, Asians and Hispanics, are not robbers.

Now if Mr. Ellington really wants to understand, he should endeavor to imagine that he is a minority and that most merchants he might choose to patronize are of another race. Imagine that at least once a week, he walked into a store to spend money, only to find himself regarded with barely disguised suspicion, fear or hostility because of his race. Imagine the indignity of being pulled over by the police in your own neighborhood because you are driving a nice car and are a different race from most people in the area--always with a flimsy excuse unrelated to race, of course. Imagine that your ancestors were brought here in chains as slaves, regarded as inferior life forms for most of the country's existence, and that, more often than not, persons of your race seemed to be featured in the news as criminals and parasitical lowlifes--when they were featured at all. Wouldn't you become somewhat sensitive, perhaps even a bit paranoid, about the role of race in society?

Mr. Ellington then asks Graham: "If the black man in Scottsdale had been white, would you have written about it?" If that had been the case, likely there would have been nothing to write about, unless the white man had fit a very specific description. Most jewelry-store patrons in Scottsdale are white, and store owners cannot afford to alienate them by calling the police every time a well-dressed white man fitting the general description of 20 other white men walks into the store.

Of course, every case has to be judged on its individual merits, and New Times is to be applauded for permitting the owner to respond in print. The point here is much broader than whether a particular merchant erred in judgment. The broad point is that the most insidious forms of racism are the kind people aren't aware of.

Mark Adkins
Phoenix

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