Ask Rachel

Ask Rachel

Email Rachel at telegraph@durangotelegraph.com

Dear Rachel,

I was wondering if it’s common to print racist comments in your “Ask Rachel” column? Specifically, the column you allow the letter that refers to Bernie Sanders as an “old crusty white guy” be printed? I suggest you address this mistake by publishing an acknowledgement of just that— your mistake. If not, we’ll make certain it’s addressed through another local publication. We’ve never seen any comments that contain racially charged insults, by bashing a man based on his age and race, considered as “hip” or “mainstream”? Guess what—-IT ISN’T ACCEPTABLE. NOT AT ALL. Unless you print articles in which all ages and races are bashed in a similar manner, that is. Unfortunately, we’ve yet to find any.

Time to acknowledge a mistake was made and let Durango know you don’t support this harmful, racist language. If not, an entire group of us WILL BE DEMANDING IT LOUDLY. BTW—we’re democrats. GET IT TOGETHER AND FAST, RACHEL!!!

– Concerned and motivated community members

Dear Freedom Fighters,

I want it known that I preserved your email precisely as you sent it, with one exception: I removed all the double spaces between sentences, because modern word processers account for the needed visual breathing room after a period, and double spacing is a relic from typewriter days. I’m not saying that you’re a bunch of old crusty white guys trying to figure out email at 2:27 AM on a Friday morning. I’m just saying that you type like you are.

And then I must thank you. Yes, thank you. Because while you wrote me a letter completely devoid of substance, you gave me the opportunity for a substantial reply, thereby allowing me to bump another letter I got about why everything has to have a “National ___ Day” until next week.

You see, this newspaper has a liberal letters policy. Liberal, as you’ve shown, doesn’t mean “democrat.” It means remaining open to other viewpoints and voices. So I will never disavow a so-called “mistake” made by running a letter whose intentions are to learn and/or to entertain, clearly without intending to be harmful, derogatory, threatening or belittling.

Your letter, however, aims to do each of those latter things, shamelessly and blatantly. I could have ignored it, if it weren’t so unintentionally engaging. I could have chosen not to dignify it with distribution throughout the greater Durango area. But I decided that since you veiled your bravado behind an email address consisting of the words “fun director,” you wouldn’t mind being anonymously printed everywhere as an example of how not to hold civil discourse.

Do you think you’re being clever? If so, smacking down others is the coward’s approach to comedy. Do you think you’re being serious? If so, go crusade for something that really matters. Bernie Sanders really is old. He really is white. He really is a guy. And if “crusty” offends you this much, I can’t wait to see the good you cause in the world when you learn about extreme income inequality, the prejudices that many (especially, though not completely, non-white) communities face, and the misogynistic struggles women handle every day with grace and dignity.

Go to bat for the people who need you as an ally. Then go learn how to make your point without using the caps lock key.

– Get off all our lawns, Rachel

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