LETTER TO THE EDITOR: There is only one human race

To the editor:

Lately the concept of race has become an issue in the current contest for the presidency of the United States. Now, while I’m aware that this has always been a lurking background issue, it has recently come to the forefront as a divisive topic in the campaign.

The concept has no biological validity. Leading anthropologists, zoologists and biologists such as Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Leonine and Alan Goodman have shown through genetic and other research that there is only one human race.

The genetic differences between each of us as individuals and even among populations exist in all segments of humanity.

Further, use of the terms black and white to describe people of African or European descent are used to describe something, at least regarding skin color, that don’t exist either. There are no black people and very, very few white people.

Our skin colors range from light pink to dark brown. Many who have light pink skins go to some trouble to darken their skins either naturally or artificially. In fact, many of these differences, however desirable in skin shade, hair shape and color and other superficial differences appear to have developed naturally only during the last 10,000 years or so. Evidence suggests the human race has been around much longer than that.

The differences we ascribe to the “races” are a function of culture and the desire to make the culture some happen to emanate from or subscribe to be a function of some sort of superiority.

Such cultural attitudes contribute to racism. While race doesn’t exist as a biological function, racism and racists exist as cultural phenomena. These phenomena have been, and are, powerful. And they will continue to be powerful as long as we talk about race as a way of distinguishing between humans as though it means something.

Clearly, ethnic differences exist. We are all, to some extent, products of our social and cultural ancestries. Few people today would claim to be members of the German race or the English race or the Chinese race, although not too long ago such claims were made with relative frequency.

In the United States today, and for much of our history, we attempt to socialize all into the culture through both formal and informal education. And we have been relatively successful. When we hyphenate ourselves (as in Japanese-American or Russian-American), we refer to our cultural heritage, not a racial type. Such hyphenation may contribute to helping us understand ourselves and how we combine with the larger community.

However, if we continue to refer to ourselves and others as members of different races and/or as black or white or some other color which is nonexistent in the one human race, then we, however unintentionally, contribute to racism.

I know it might be difficult, but let’s stop doing so and agree that we are, for all our many similarities and few differences, human.

George H. Westergaard


Your love, support is much appreciated

To the editor:

My most heartfelt appreciation to our incredible community for honoring my husband, Michael Nutt, with the kind of send-off any one of us could wish for. The love and support extended to him in his last days, and which I still feel surrounding me, helped so much in easing his physical pain.

My special thanks to the fantastic staff and volunteers at WICA for producing Michael’s celebration and concert; to Beth and Gary Smith for hosting the celebration at their Mukilteo Coffee Roasters; to Maestro Legh Burns, Margot Jerome, Linda Morris, Kat Fritz and the talented musicians of the Saratoga Chamber Orchestra for organizing and performing the concert; to Robbie Cribbs for filming and distributing the beautiful video; to Mayor Paul Samuelson and the Langley City Council for proclaiming Michael Nutt Week.

Finally, as Michael would have wished me to do, I must set the record straight: He was born on Dec. 5, 1932, making him 75 when he left us.

Bless you all!

Diane Kendy


Positively fun at Bayview Hall

To the editor:

Thank you to the bands Lake, Erabe, Chicago Typewriter and The Vixons for the March 14 concert at Bayview Hall.

Thank you Drea and Jordan Boyer for their ongoing help. You’re great.

Thank you to Our House 2 and the Youth Connection for co-sponsoring a very positive, alcohol and drug-free, no-problem event.

Thanks for the snacks Cindy and PayLess deli, Teresa Pate, Marty at McQueen’s, the Langley Star Store, Clinton Food Mart, Sue Ellen White and Mukilteo Coffee.

Most of all, thank you South Whidbey youth.

Brian Grimm


Future workshops would be welcome

To the editor:

I am writing to give a special thanks to Eric Conn and Britt Walker (of Sustainability Research and Education Project) for the great workshop they gave on growing your own food in a sustainable way at the Whidbey Institute.

As a longtime gardener, I was fascinated with how much I learned and I think that there would be many people on the island who would benefit from future workshops that will be coming up. I am grateful for these people who care about our world and want to share this information with all of our community as we see prices of vegetables go up and quality go down in our grocery stores. Contact the Whidbey Institute for information about further workshops.

Helen Payne


Keep the smog out of Freeland

To the editor:

In the words of Barack Obama, “Let me make it perfectly clear!”

Oh no, that was Richard Nixon.

Barack says, “You are confused. I’ll explain it to you.”

That Freeland is the narrowest land mass on the entire island and there is no room for high-density impact construction housing or business. Look one and a half mile east or west to find room for a small strip mall. One already exists in Freeland proper.

Create a cluster some place else with space. Preserve our God-given gem, our views, our fresh air, the room to breathe.

Freeland is at sea level in an area surrounded by high hills. Heavy air or smog will hold to the low areas as does the fog. High buildings will trap it!

People, listen to the reports from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. They all started at sea level and all have air quality problems. They all started small also, but are now at a large scale.

STOP building thoughtlessly. Think before you dig. No sewer! Save our environment. Recycle. Save the air producing trees.

Let us walk softly on the earth with all living beings great and small, remembering as we go that our God, kind and wise, created all.

Sharon Embleton