Letters to the Editor

Alves is courteous, compassionate

Huckleberry Finn in Mark Twain’s novel about the inhumane treatment of African slaves was just about the same age as Poulsbo Elementary fifth-graders.

Some years back, a movement arose to ban that book because it used the N-word. Never mind that it was a powerful statement against racism. Saner minds prevailed and I thought that kind of rigid thinking had passed.

However, following the logic of your editorial of Jan. 24, Editor Walker, perhaps that book does need to be removed from our school libraries.

I can’t imagine even columnist Leonard Pitts (quoted in your column) objecting to an educator carefully explaining the difference between “the N-word” and “Negro,” especially in a one-on-one situation. A friend said she doubted that her nine-year-old grand-daughter even knew what the “N-word” was — maybe “nuts?” Very confusing for children if we are not even allowed to explain! What concerns me even more than the confusion, however, is that this unspeakable word is given way more power than it deserves.

After some 20 years of working in education under six to seven very capable principals, I experienced Mrs. Alves’ leadership clearly as the most professional. She was also the most caring, compassionate, competent, courteous, and committed — all those good C-words.

Mary Ekstrand



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