To the Editor:

Anthropologists across the world, including me in a former career, after studying virtually all cultures, agree on one truth about us humans. Our similarities far out number and outweigh our differences.

Genetically we’re 99.9% alike. We all live with similar sorrows and joys, physical and psychological challenges, frustration, nostalgia, curiosity, hilarity, pain and euphoria, spiritual/existential questions and, much of the time, mundanity.

It seems logical for us to identify first and last as human beings in all our variety. And it makes sense that we come in different “packages,” allowing for adaptation and richness in diversity. Yet we humans aren’t logical.

We persist in the Us-Them syndrome (disorder?), myself included, though I fight it as an enemy of the people, because I see the damage and carnage this leads to. Ethnic “cleansing,” wars, genocide, unjust murders, deleterious stress, low self-esteem, financial struggle or poverty, depression, suicide (think: student bullying on social media) and racial discrimination leading to all of the above.

Contrary to what many white Southburians think, we do have an element in town of racial hate. The Zoom session on August 16, “A Town Conversation on Race Relations,” revealed this as 11 black and mixed-heritage Southburians and residents having mixed-heritage families spoke of being called by the “N” word or their children being subject to overt or subtle racist behavior, among other disparaging actions.

For the most part, however, Southburians have been welcoming, friendly, and supportive of black residents. Cross-color friendships have developed. In the next “Town Conversation” we’ll be talking about whether discriminatory policies and/or practices are present in town. Stay tuned.

 

Sharon Wirt

Southbury

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