Dear Editor:

The fact that Linda Sorenson is "stunned" at the vitriol and hatred directed at her for posting a racist meme on Facebook points to her obvious need to educate herself on the history of civil rights in America. Her suggestion that she is somehow the victim in this incident would be laughable if it wasn't so pathetically sad. The fact that she resorted to using Martin Luther King Jr.'s most famous quote in defense of herself is appalling under the circumstances.

While Ms. Sorenson may call racist imagery "silly" it is anything but "silly." Imagery has the power to promote fear, prejudice, discrimination and hate. There is a long history in this country of blacks being depicted in art, advertising, greeting cards, sheet music, cartoons, etc., with extremely grotesque exaggerated features. Printed material depicting them as intellectually inferior, lazy, ugly, etc., was the accepted norm. Depicting a black person as a primate is nothing new; it is a part of historical imagery suggesting that they are less than human. It is an insidious form of racism that perpetuates more racism. When such material is accepted as the norm it bolsters the lie that the viewer is superior to the caricature they are viewing. Unless, of course, the viewer is black and then it bolsters feelings of humiliation, denigration, shame and more.

Apparently Ms. Sorenson's historical acuity is so lacking that she cannot understand why posting a "joke" depicting the first African American president as a chimpanzee might be an offensive vile act or why it mioght make any African American in the country feel demoralized. These types of insidious racial stereotypical "jokes" erroneously help some people feel superior to an entire group of other people. The extent to which these negative characterizations impact society cannot be underestimated.

When a woman in a position of leadership thinks she is the victim because she is called out for posting a blatantly offensive, highly inappropriate racial meme targeting not only the president of the United States but all black people, she needs to understand that the fault lies squarely on her. If Ms. Sorenson still can't understand why her actions were reprehensible maybe she needs to read about and try to understand the history of the civil rights struggle in America. The Little Rock Nine, Emmett Till, Ruby Bridges, Medgar Evers, Rosa Parks, the Freedom Riders, the four little girls who were bombed to death while going to Sunday school in their Birmingham, Ala., church, or the nine parishioners in South Carolina less than a year ago who were mercilessly gunned down by a white supremacist while attending a Bible study in their church. There are too many brave people, incidents and examples to list here -- the list of racial injustices is long and horrific. Negative racial imagery and racial jokes are not a laughing matter. They condone racism. Racism is a noxious evil.

As a person in a position of leadership in the GOP of Delta County it is Ms. Sorenson's responsibility to be cognizant of the repercussions of her actions. Period. Shame on Linda Sorenson for acting as if this is all much ado about nothing and trying to place blame on anyone but herself. Shame on the Delta County GOP if they minimize this issue.

Respect begets respect. Ms. Sorenson must be accountable for her actions. No one "gotcha" -- that's a sad excuse for her own misguided behavior. I have the utmost respect for leaders of the civil rights movement already mentioned in this letter and for all of those other known and unknown heroes in the long fight for civil rights in this country. My level of respect for Ms. Sorenson is based on her own actions and her own words, which have shone a bright blazing light on the true content of her character.

Dolores Wilson


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