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Letter writer owes apology to Jews, blacks
In reading the letter in the June 15 issue from Ron Gintz regarding the Oxford House planned for Twin Lakes (Prejudice, fear in Twin Lakes), my emotions ran from interest to concern to outrage and finally, pity. Not for the residents of the proposed house, who have a long and difficult road ahead of them; but primarily for the ignorance, discrimination and latent racism that laced Ron Gintz letter.
First and foremost, I found it offensive and disgraceful that anyone could somehow relate being a member of a race any race with a sickness. The tremulous point that Gintz was grasping for was lost the moment he drew parallels between being a Jew or an African-American, and having the disability and disease of addiction.
The horror that was the holocaust was not a reaction to illness, or a response to people who made bad life choices, it was racial prejudice, pure and simple. Stereotypical, dehumanizing racism has been endured with quiet dignity by countless African-Americans for years upon years upon years and is sadly still alive today, as evidenced by Gintz apparent equation of African-Americans with anything having to do with drug or alcohol abuse.
By the same token, suggesting that a daycare center in the Twin Lakes neighborhood would represent the same level and type of concerns to children, property values or the integrity of the neighborhood that an Oxford House does either speaks volumes about Gintz naivety or a clumsy attempt to manipulate public opinion.
I am sensitive to the need for support facilities such as the Oxford House. People in treatment may be ill, may have made poor choices, may even have prison backgrounds but they are still people, and we should respect and honor their desire to seek treatment and become productive members of society. However, I am equally sensitive to hard working families who are concerned for the safety of their children and value of their homes and who were there first, with a clear understanding that their neighborhood covenant prohibited such facilities.
Simply shoving a facility such as the Oxford House into a neighborhood, riding roughshod over the rights of the residents and/or homeowners association is not the right answer. Alternatives should be explored that:
Balance the rights of families and homeowners with the needs of those recovering from their illnesses.
Require accountability on the part of the government agencies and representatives that sponsor them.
But in the meantime, Gintz owes an apology to Jews, African-Americans, addicts and the residents of the Twin Lakes neighborhood. My prayer is that he will come to grips with what it means to truly understand and become a part of the greatest example of diversity and freedom on earth America.
(Editor: Tony Moore is a Republican candidate for state senator in the 30th District.)