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Letters to the Editor

Calling it out


"Why are we having all these people from shithole countries coming here?" Trump said about Haitians and Africans. I must speak up: this is bigotry. This remark has nothing to do with a merit-based immigration system, but has everything to do with discrimination based on skin color. No people, no country (let alone an entire continent) should be subjected to blatant racism, especially from the White House.

This kind of behavior cannot be normalized and must be called out. If a KKK member mumbled Trump's remark under their breath, people from every political affiliation would say it's wrong, without accepting excuses. Racist remarks are not befitting to the office of the president of the United States and should not be dismissed as a "dumb" comment or misconstrued series of words.

We should all be asking ourselves if we're looking the other way and remaining silent about things we find questionable, things that can become commonplace when repeated. In our community, I've observed behavior that I now question. Hudson churches did not come to a timely public defense of St. Pat's when Rev. Gerritts and his parishioners tried to bring in Syrian refugees. Few people rose to publicly defend Hudson schools when they were accused of proselytizing for Islam in the classroom. Phipps Center for the Arts mounted an exhibit to aid further understanding of world religions, while other local civic groups have done little publicly to acknowledge recent public conversations about questions of diversity in our community.

In the HSO there was only one letter to the editor publicly confronting Citizens for the St. Croix Valley claim that Muslims use Christian women as sex slaves. If you take a look at C4TSCV Facebook posts, you'll find an outrageous video by Ann Barnhardt that reports early childhood Muslim practices turned Obama into a homosexual, but it has no public comment by followers other than the word "fact" that was added by the person posting on this group's behalf. As in this case, preachings of racial hatred online are not publicly challenged either, consensual silence is what prevails.

The concept of consensual silence in Hudson exists and is noticeable when compared to cities of similar size. In my opinion, Hudson's overall growth no longer allows for past behavior that leans towards passivity, and these old patterns must be broken. We have reached a point in time when it's necessary to not look the other way and speak up for what we believe in both privately and publicly. I pledge to start calling it out! Please find your own voice and call it out any way you can.

Eden Penn