Northwest Missourian Opinion

Dear Northwest Missourian,

The other day, I was in my living room with my two other roommates and one of them got an update on his phone from the newspaper. An article titled “Being Black in Maryville Means Never Feeling Safe” had just been released, and when we read it, our tempers hit the roof. I’ve been putting up with the racial grief for months now and haven’t said anything, now I’ve just had my limit and would like to speak my mind to all of you.

This young man who wrote the article made the impression that just because he has a different skin color, he doesn’t feel safe in Maryville and he trembles in fear of “the roar of a pickup and the thud of boots on pavement.” I’m going to call him out. He just called everyone who wears boots and drives trucks a racist, whether he knows it or not. I’ll tell you who wears boots and drives trucks: It’s the working man and woman. And it’s the reason I’m writing this, to stand up for them.

I don’t see how just because they have a darker skin color than I do, it gives them the excuse to whine, fuss and act like toddlers over nothing much at all. They are expecting things to be handed to them by all governments, local, state and federal. If those governments give in, the expense comes down to the working men and women who have no interest in these protests and/or riots. They are just trying to get by and raise their families and do what they can when they can, or maybe they’re just trying to help where they are able and get their dreams off the ground like myself.

My question is: why? They grew up in the same country I did, with the same rights, and they were not slaves, and I was not a slave owner. As a matter of fact, I had many relatives that wore Union blue and fought to preserve the nation in the Civil War. So let me ask an obvious question. Could I say in today’s world that I get nervous when I see sports cars and the people driving them are black and have on shirts too large and gym shorts only pulled up to their knees? No. Why? Because I am a white male and that would be considered racism. But it’s fine if they can get away with it. See the issue?

The young man at the beginning article also said that a young woman was staring at him as she rode by, and the author said it was probably because of his skin color. He never considered maybe she was impressed at his appearance, maybe she liked the color of his shoes, or his fly was unzipped, perhaps? My point is, so what she gave you a look? With respect, sir, buck up.

The worst I have ever been looked in my life happened my first year in Maryville. The Tower Suites flag football team was in the playoffs, and we were playing Franken. Since we were the aggies, I dressed up to support them and wore my best cowboy hat, a nice button up shirt and work boots. I walk in and do my farmer’s lean against one of the bleachers next to where the Franken supporters were.

After a while, I glance over and see 15 big ’ol boys glaring at me like, let’s say like farmers would glare at Bloomberg right after he told them they were stupid. I never experienced such a look in my life, and although I wouldn’t consider myself the sharpest barb on the wire, I sensed a little hostility in their body language.

Then I saw one of my friends from seminar class, and we got to talking about odds and ends stuff from farms to sports to hometowns. Then one of the glaring boys asked me a question about cattle. I answered and then someone asked me another question, and I asked one, and so on and so forth. Next thing I know, I’m friends with everyone on the bench.

Now, what if I told you about 10 to 11 of those boys were black; would that make a difference? No, it didn’t make a difference. Being kind to your fellow man is being kind to your fellow man, no matter how you cut it. And this is all coming from a man who came from a school district with low, single-digit number of black people, if that means anything to anybody.

To wrap it all up, quit feeling like you deserve something because of the color of your skin. God loves you all just the same as he does me. Get off your butt, go to work, do your best, uphold your family name, tell a police officer thank you for maintaining enough order to where we all can sleep at night in peace. God bless our soldiers, emergency personnel and our working men and women. And God bless the United States of America.

Sincerely,

Kyle Viers

(6) comments

Ernest Hawkins

Kyle I know it’s hard for you to understand your White privilege being that often it is confused with having a silver spoon in your mouth. The fact that you do not have to place yourself in another’s shoes to try to understand what they feel and see is more than evident of this fact. I remember a trime on campus when freshmen would show up for orientation with their parents and immediately unenrolled upon seeing the football team strolling into the student union. This is real and factual. We would even takes bets as to who would be hi-tailing it out. As a military brat much of what I experience stateside was completely foreign to me. I had no idea how segregated things were even on campus to a degree. I’m not the original writer and a warrior from warriors who have served my nation since the civil war which is rare in the American of African heritage world. So i can tell you such did in fact exist in the city and on campus when I was there as a student Athlete.

The difference is that I refused to cower in the face of ignorance which at times came from some of the educators. If you are willing I would love to sit with you and educate you on that which you will never get as long as you think this is false. We all did in fact grow up in America but don’t think for a second that the same opportunity is afforded to all.

Jennifer Hollister

This might look like a long read but try it for once.

1. This person went from presuming someone was looking at them maliciously, which generally means it is a learned experience from other people looking at them maliciously (or still assuming so), and because they now had 1 singular good experience from it, apparently means others generally will as well.

2. IMAGINE believing racism is ONLY in slavery. COMPLETELY ignoring the multitude of studies from countries everywhere, scientists from all walks of live, that say racism is alive and well in medical institutions, universities, jobs & wage gaps, school and food access disparities, immigration, accessibility, housing market, how random people treat you & randomly touch you because "you're different!", and especially social media, among hundreds of other things.

3. This whole part implies that they went through this university and still came out (or are in the process of attempting to graduate from the university) without learning much, if anything, about racism NOR WHY government programs exist AND WHO gets assistance. WHITE PEOPLE GET GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE TOO.

This just lays the foundation for "university didn't teach me enough about different walks of life" and here we are with the same problems in different formats.

4. The part about being in a school district with a low (and probably not just single digit) number of black people makes this much worse. It screams the idea of this person not knowing anything about black people in general, having no direct experiences, only seeing stuff from social media. This also shows that this person does not understand anything about being a minority in most, if any, spaces other than gender based.

When did protests and riots imply that nothing needs to be fixed? When did it start counting as "whining?" and not "there are issues we need to address as a whole." Why did you immediately see an article and come at it with hostility because it wasn't what you wanted to believe?

Why is it that the bar is so low that you even feel like you need to say "And this is all coming from a man who came from a school district with low, single-digit number of black people, if that means anything to anybody"? Does that not imply that you know there's a problem with how people interact and treat others who are not of the same skin nor background?

Stop trying to ultimately feel the racial grief, the point is to learn from the past and make the future overall better. That's not going to come from ignoring the country's problems and thinking its all just dumb, unwarranted frustration.

Northwest Alum

I wish the people on the editorial board would act more like responsible adults, instead continuing down this path of political mud slinging, enforcing wrong speak, and picking low hanging fruit to frame as the voice of the contrarian opinion. Clearly the author is a poor writer. Hell it doesn't even look like he had intended on having this published. But from my perspective the author is simply disagreeing with the woke narrative. He never disparages a person because of their race, he disparages a specific author due to the way that author handles the issue of race. Which doesn't make him racist, it makes not woke. But instead of letting the poor writing speak for itself, the editors premeptivly frame it as racist before releasing it to the public. The way the editors have handled this makes them look irresponsible, intellectually dishonest, and malicious towards people with differing beliefs.

Joseph NW Student

This was disappointing to read. Skewed opinions, blatant racism, and non-comparisons. No one's opinion is invalid, however, yours lacks comprehension of implicit bias and the status quo.

Northwest Student

The two things that stuck out to me from this letter:

1. Author thinks black people today experience no racism because they were never slaves.

2. The author does not consider himself to be racist because once he had a conversation with a group of black people.

Author is racist.

Isaiah Korthanke

I’m curious who wrote the “ Editor's Note” for this article.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.