LETTER from BUZZ HESSE
To The Editor:
I was born in 1940 in Endicott, a diverse cultural area where many people were from the Old World. In fact, on the street where I lived were Italian, German, English, Jewish and Swedish families. We all lived side by side compatibly.
A very meaningful school experience took place when I was in first grade.
I remember all the students sat in rows, side by side. Teacher asked us one by one what our nationality was. Some said Italian, some said Jewish, others responded English, German. A few said American.
Our teacher then asked each one to raise their hand if we were born in America. To a person we all raised our hands – we were all born in America.
Our teacher then said, no matter what our background was, the fact that we were all born in America made us all American! I have never forgotten that experience.
So I ask the question: When we hear people say they are Afro-American, how many of them were born in Africa? If they were born here in America, they are American. My background is German. I don’t call myself German-American. I am American.
Another question that needs to be addressed is: Where is the money coming from to finance all the protests? Who is paying for making the 200 photos on the wall in Oneonta? And what about those displayed recently in Unadilla? Who are the behind-the-scene organizers? The public needs to have these questions answered. Transparency should be the order of the day.
Intertwined with all this is the subject of our police force.
I live in Otego and have been coming to Oneonta for over 70 years. During that time I have come to respect and appreciate Oneonta’s police presence. I have read Chief Brenner’s letter and I do not feel it was in any way “an example of white fragility.” Such a statement serves only to provoke a problem. The current demonstrations and protests in our country have unequivocally served to divide this country.
It would be remiss for Chief Brenner not to have supported his officers.
There are somewhere between 750,000 and 850,000 police on the job in the United States, and there are as many as 1.1 million in the field of law enforcement. Of the individuals shot by police in 2020, 215 were white, 111 were black. (statista.com) Police who died in the line of duty in 2020 numbered 145. (odmp.org)
You do the math!
Another concern is with the dictate from Governor Cuomo for local municipalities to establish a Community Advisory Board to review the rules governing their local police forces, Oneonta being no exception.
Oneonta’s board, as currently composed, is not likely to provide a broad and unbiased perspective on the matter, given the backgrounds and affiliations of the proposed members.
Police are an important part of our society. We need to support them.