Letters regarding political advertisements and racial relations

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299
Letters

Advertisements don’t square with column

To the editor:
I expected candidate advertisements as we get close to the Nov. 7 election, but what I didn’t expect to see were the number of ads — some appearing more than once — that seem to serve no purpose because they aren’t endorsing any candidate, yet are being funded by a political party.
These advertisements are not seeking to inform, give opposing sides, or give any facts. They are merely political ads, paid for with no other purpose than to divide.
What jumped out at me was Ted Shockley’s Oct. 13 column, “Updating the Eastern Shore Racial Relations Scorecard,” which asked question, “How do we encourage candidates to draw inclusive circles around us all instead of drawing lines that divide us?”
That’s a valid question to ask; however, as he stated, managing perceptions is the essence of campaigning. I would think that managing perceptions should be the essence of inclusiveness, as well.
I will end this by applauding three school board members: Gary Reese, Ronnie Holden, and Jessie Speidel. If you know, you know.

Theresa Gross
Onancock

Promoting racial
equality is key

To the editor:
Ted Shockley’s Oct. 13, column, “Updating the Eastern Shore Racial Relations Scorecard,” was very uplifting.
The obvious intent to promote racial equality is spot-on.
It’s the road to social harmony and commitment to the common good, where everyone feels heard and valued, and mutual respect is endemic.
In 30 years of psychiatric practice, the suffering I try to address has never uncovered any racial distinction — meaning, we are all equally human.
I hope Shockley’s efforts are rewarded with robust feedback and widespread support.

Dr. John L. Bullette
Nassawadox

‘Cooper didn’t have anything
to do with the drawing of any lines’

To the editor:
I am an 87-year-old Black woman and in my years of living I have heard different statements made by diverse people in diverse places. I have never heard of anyone writing a whole article about something someone said in church.
This is in reference to Ted Shockley’s Oct. 13 column, “Updating the Eastern Shore Racial Relations Scorecard.” Regarding the statement made by Cedrick Cooper, “When we stick together, they fear us,” can someone please tell me how Shockley went straight to Black vs. White?
What he said could have been viewed in many other ways, for example, educated vs. uneducated, rich vs. poor, concerned vs. unconcerned, or Republican vs. Democrat.
Shockley also asked the question, “How do we encourage candidates to draw inclusive circles around us all instead of drawing lines that divide us?”
The lines that were drawn to divide us were drawn before I was born. Cedrick Cooper didn’t have anything to do with the drawing of any lines.

Josephine Douglas
Withams

Holden, Cooper, and scorecard
‘further divide our community’

To the editor:
I am so disappointed with Ted Shockley’s Oct. 13 column, “Updating the Eastern Shore Racial Relations Scorecard.”
I find it troubling that he keeps a tally of racial offenses. He holds the power, as an owner of the local newspaper, to print or not print articles that influence our community. The articles can be opinionated or just the facts.
Provide our community with a transcript, which can be checked for accuracy, alongside the livestreamed video of Ronnie Holden and Cedrick Cooper addressing the congregation at Gaskins Chapel A.M.E. Church on Sept. 17.
Holden said, “We do not want Accomack County or the state of Virginia to look like institutionalized Florida, where they teach that slavery was good. It gave Black folk a chance to get a trade.” Ask to substantiate the claim of “institutionalized Florida” with facts and unbiased sources.
Cooper mentioned hidden agendas not beneficial to our community going on behind the scenes and said if we do not stop some of these things, our children will suffer. Ask what the agendas are and what needs to be stopped.
Cooper asked for the congregation’s support for himself, Holden, and other board members and said, “We have to realize that some people want things to go back to how they used to be. That’s what we are not going to allow to happen. We are too strong as a community; especially when we stick together, they fear us.”
The transcript and audio should be viewed in its entirety to keep the message in context. Knowing the context prevents it from being “perceived” as otherwise.
Holden’s and Cooper’s statements and Shockley’s scorecard are the types of things that further divide our community. We should be focused on bringing people together to find solutions that make Accomack County a great place to live.

Jean Sellard
Melfa

‘Problems begin when we
see each other as unequal’

To the editor:
I read with great interest Ted Shockley’s Oct. 13 column on race relations as they pertain to the Eastern Shore, “Updating the Eastern Shore Racial Relations Scorecard.”
I must add that I am greatly impressed with his stance on the realities of the relationships between the Black community and the White community.
He used two very succinct and differing situations — the young, Black people in Bay Creek and the insensitive statement uttered by Cedrick Cooper — to emphasize just how very far we have to go before the past and all the harm that came with it can be finally rectified. Before that happens we cannot, as a united society, move on.
When Cooper misspoke, or the residents of Bay Creek dialed 911, there was a long line of history behind these two deeds.
Now I understand why Cooper said what he said. In fact, there is a strong vein of truth running through that statement. And his explanation is plausible, as well.
It’s a statement meant to unite, yet is tinged with hurt, hatred, and fear. I don’t accuse Cooper of either of those emotions, but I do accuse him of naivete.
If he is going to be a candidate, he must choose his statements and wording much, much more carefully, especially if he wants to represent all people.
In Bay Creek, visions of Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery come to mind when White, affluent people react negatively and call law enforcement to come and save them.
Had it been some random White teenager, or even a group of rowdy, loud, White teenagers, would the same have occurred? Probably not.
It is not a crime to be Black and in public. Rights-of-way exist for that very reason — so people can walk (or ride golf carts) on public streets without harassment and fear of being arrested for trespassing.
These scenarios clearly define the crux of the problems today — misunderstandings, words either taken out of context or misinterpreted, group mentality, and cultural isolation.
All Americans are close in ideals and values. We have anger against injustices, hate paying too much in taxes, love our families, love our churches, love our faith, cry, laugh, party, suffer heartache, and rise in triumph over personal accomplishments. We try, we fail, we try again. In other words, we are human.
The problems begin when we see each other as unequal. And that begins in darkness and in ignorance. The beginning of understanding is learning what we need to understand.

Chris Chandler
Norfolk

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