2017-12-28 / Views

No place for ‘war cries’ in Leelanau

As America’s political divide widens, our New Year’s resolution in Leelanau County should be to embrace those ideals that must stay above the fray.

One such concept is beautifully written into the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

It’s a sentence abhorred by racism.

We laud the swift and appropriate action taken by staff at Glen Lake Area Community Schools at a basketball game heading into the Christmas break.

A couple of students, perhaps inspired by something they saw on a televised game, had taken to yelling out what could be called an Indian war cries whenever a Native American player from Suttons Bay touched the ball.

Fans at athletic contests go beyond common decency at collegiate and professional levels. It’s the result of narcissism as much as encouraging the home team.

The students were escorted out of the gym. Since then, the Glen Lake administration has reached out to the Tribal Council of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians seeking an open discussion with students about the evils of racism and its affect on indigenous peoples.

Here county residents are encouraged to break out in loud applause. We anticipate that the episode will result in a win for the good team, the one that respects how the game of life should be played as much as athletics.

And we like that the students are not being expelled or punished. That would be overkill. Anyone who recalls being a kid must surely also remember that their childish acts continued, and perhaps expanded, into their teen years.

Everyone makes mistakes. It’s how those mistakes are handled that define a person and a community.

We were surprised to receive one letter to the editor whose author was under the thought that the administration’s reaction amounted to political correctness overkill.

The students were simply exercising their First Amendment rights, he explained.

We couldn’t disagree more. Students under the care of a public institution must be held to a level of respect that transcends — and, indeed, embraces — ethnic backgrounds.

No son, daughter, grandson or granddaughter should be taunted in such fashion.

While some of the latest trends in political correctness range from downright silly to dangerous, let them stand on their own merit.

War cries against a student-athlete — and letters that support them — serve as a reminder that America still has a way to go before all people recognize their neighbors for who they are.

Kudos to Norsemen basketball coach Ron Anderson, himself a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, and the Norsemen team for their measured response.

In the words of Tribal member Ed John of Northport. “The boys didn’t let it get to them. They let other people deal with it, which I thought was great. But no kid should have to deal with that.”

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A superb and timely

A superb and timely editorial. Much needed and much appreciated!

I was shocked by the letter

I was shocked by the letter you refer to where on writer made reference to political correctness. I am ashamed to say I live among people with such a racist attitude. The writer is a bigot and that probably comes as no surprise to people who that at individual.