Letter: Believe it: Racism exists in Berkshires

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To the editor:

I read both Pamela Tatge's July 11 oped commentary "Jacob's Pillow dismayed by racism at gala" as well as Leah Dadus'letter refuting it. I wish I could say I was surprised by the level of ignorance being exhibited, but alas as a young person who grew up in this community I am not. Ms. Tatge is absolutely spot on and Ms. Dadus, while no doubt well-ntentioned, provides for us an important lesson on the true growth we need to do as a community.

To insinuate that someone is telling a fib to garner attention is downright offensive. There is plenty of literature (and even documentaries!) chronicling how people of color are attacked based solely on their hairstyle. One such book is titled "You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain." As for the "what are you?" people of all ethnicities are consistently asked "but where are you REALLY from?" I have seen this happen both in this community and elsewhere. This happens routinely to people of color.

It seems to me a sad state of affairs in which we focus on the issue being someone's hair obstructing a view as opposed to the fact that someone's personal space was violated. It is even sadder that a community that prides itself as holding the great banner of liberalism continues to question whether or not these things can happen in our community.

There have been racial issues at Monument Mountain High School (my alma mater) that continue to persist. There was a recent issue of racial profiling at a Great Barrington business. These things do happen in our community — and they will keep happening if we keep our heads in the sand.

As a young person I have seen most of my friends leave this area for other places of diversity and acceptance. If we're going to be an area that prides itself on inclusivity, one that can actually lay a claim to being "liberal" (whatever that word means these days) then it has to start with us admitting that we have a problem. Going out of our way to question the veracity of that problem is not the right way to go.

Jacob Robbins,

West Stockbridge



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