Letter to the Editor: Let’s try to lose our racism

To the Editor:

Some of you Mount Desert Islanders know me and might even consider me to be a good and kind person. We Islanders are hard-working, mostly middle-class, folks who take care of each other. As good and kind as I might be, I have benefitted immensely from racism.

A great source of pride for me has always been that my grandmother came to the U.S. from Norway in 1905, all by herself. At age 19, she went to North Dakota, homesteaded by herself in a sod shack, successfully proved her claim and was deeded land by the government. Only recently did I really think about whose land she had been given: it was Native American land.

My pride extended to my father, who, after a tough childhood, fought in WWII, came home, and used the GI Bill to go to college, and, soon after, he bought his first house with the help of these benefits. What I didn’t know was that the GI Bill was not available to Black veterans. I had always seen these stories from a racist perspective that failed to consider people of color, and I never saw the many “legs up” that my family received but that others didn’t.

Here’s the thing: I don’t think that my racism makes me a bad person. I think that I can be “good” and still be racist. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, especially since the Community Policing Forum held this week. I think that that our officers are good people, but, like me, I have no doubt that there is room for them and me to learn, try to lose our racism and become anti-racists. If we all do that work, our community can only get stronger.

Jill Weber, Bar Harbor

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