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LETTER: Lewistonians were branded as racist

Letter to the Editor:

Chris Aceto’s cherry-picking response (“It’s the Somali’s Fault,” TCT, December 9, 2010) to a letter I submitted the prior week (“YPLAA, residents need to wake up to downtown problems,” TCT, December 2, 2010) seems to characterize me as a racist. Really? Let’s revisit history.

When the Somalis came to Lewiston, Enlightened Beautiful People gushed with jubilation. Finally diversity had been accomplished. They then provided housing in sections of Lewiston that beautiful people are fearful to roam in the daylight, never mind night. No matter. Diversity trumps everything!

Next they rushed to help the Somalis adjust to their new setting. Here were an industrious people, who had survived for years in refugee camps, being treated like children by ignorant self-proclaimed intellectuals. And who could have foreseen unrest breaking out between Somalis and our downtown state wards over the shrinking welfare pie. This resulted in Lewistonians being branded as racist.

Mr. Aceto takes exception to my statement, “Violence is a way of life for some of these new Mainers, killing being no exception.” To save future embarrassment, Aceto might want to turn on the nightly news or read a newspaper.

His suggestion that Denis Theriault’s problems with mosque attendees parking and trespassing on his property can be solved with a tow truck shows a profound ignorance of the situation.

Then Aceto makes up an outrageously false statement that he attributes to me and places quotation marks around it, making it appear that I said or thought: “Next time you see a brown face, be careful. That person just might be packing a gun. Only unlike the landlord, he may just pop a bullet into your head.”

My letter was about a lack of leadership in Lewiston. Perhaps the above quote by Aceto may have been a Freudian slip. Perhaps he used my letter as cover to express his inner feelings toward the Somalis. I don’t know.

Lastly, let me set the record straight: I do not hate the Somalis. Many of them, especially the women, work hard and are taking advantage of the educational opportunities afforded them in their quest to achieve the American Dream. They are multilingual.

Many have a better command of English and American History than a percentage of American-born kids. After reading themes submitted to the VFW Patriot Pen Contest, it is evident that they are grateful for the protection and opportunities afforded them. Many will become productive citizens.

I also spend time defending the Somalis. When Lewiston Mayor Laurent Gilbert appointed Zam Zam Mohammed to the selection committee for a new city manager it upset many because she was a Somali. No! She and her family are Americans. Her appointment was one of the rare times I agreed with Mayor Gilbert.

Zam Zam works several jobs. Her parenting skills have resulted in her daughter getting into Rochester Institute of Technology the old-fashioned way: academic ability, not color. Her son has set his sights on medicine. This is what our country needs to remain great.

Could I write more positive things about the Somalis? Yes. Could I write negative things? Absolutely.

However, I choose to judge individuals by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. When we look at people and place them in groups, whether for good or bad, doesn’t this make even an enlightened person a racist?

Robert Macdonald

Lewiston

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