Letters: White Americans are being conned. There is nothing to fear about being 'woke'

Dec 14, 2022; Hilliard, OH, U.S.; American flags fly outside the VFW Post 4931 in Hilliard on Wednesday. Mandatory Credit: Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch
Dec 14, 2022; Hilliard, OH, U.S.; American flags fly outside the VFW Post 4931 in Hilliard on Wednesday. Mandatory Credit: Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch
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Nothing dark, frightening or ugly about being woke

You might wonder why the likely Republican candidates for president seem so obsessed with the term “woke."

It’s simple: the word’s definition is vague and generally unfamiliar to white Americans. Savvy politicians can make it sound un-American and pejorative in the context of their hateful political rhetoric.

The Black community created that historically informal expression.

More:A GOP war on 'woke'? Most Americans view the term as a positive, USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll finds

They know that in their everyday lives it means staying aware of what’s happening around and to them. But sadly, they also know what these presidential candidates mean when they use it. Republicans have borrowed and are redefining the word to be something dark, frightening, and ugly.

The very fact that it is not a common “white” term makes its meaning easily manipulable for sinister political ends.

Regardless of what these politicians say, their rant about woke has nothing to do with promoting freedom, democracy, education, or social justice. It has everything to do with spreading electoral division, racism, and white supremacy.

Of course they can’t say that.

So, they use this code.

Mark Mathys, Columbus

Education opportunity missed

The city of Columbus missed an opportunity to justify the new law restricting magazine capacity.

Had they catalogued all of the injuries and deaths occurring in Columbus for the last several years, pointing out how many of them involved high-capacity magazines, and how this law would have reduced or eliminated injuries, I am certain all of the objectors would understand the value of this ordinance.

More:How big can my clip be? What we know about Columbus gun magazine ban.

John Platt, Arlington

No empathy for gunowners

Oh, those poor Columbus gunowners who have "been made to feel like a criminal."

They have to give up a few bullets in order to remain lawful. Never mind that they can still shoot and/or kill anything or anyone they want.  They just can't do it as fast as they previously could.

They might need to reload.  Such a shame.

More:Columbus council approves new gun-control law amid questions over its legality

Now let's look at women and their health care. They have lost all autonomy and lawfulness in caring for their own bodies. Men can still impregnate women all they want (legally or illegally, gently or roughly), yet women have no say in what happens to their bodies from that moment on. Women must break the law to take care of their own bodies.

Republican voter:'Women are angry.' It is time men get 'agitated' for abortion rights 

But let's feel sorry for men who have lost their right to kill things or people quickly. Forgive me for having no empathy for gunowners.

Libby Wetherholt, Columbus

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

More:How to submit a letter to the editor for The Columbus Dispatch

I don't want to watch Earth die

Everything is saying that the Willow Project will do terrible things to the environment and at 16 I’m already terrified of that.

I’ve always wanted to have kids in the future but the more that this goes on it seems like that won’t happen. I wouldn’t want to subject them to a dying Earth.

I don’t want to subject myself to a dying Earth.

Every day I think about how global warming is only getting worse and that my friends and I will suffer for it as adults. Please stop this project, the damage would be horrific, and it scares me.

Jillian Jackson, Mason

Women don't have a gun problem

I read with interest the March 2 guest columns of Colin Gabler (‘Is gun violence discrimination against Americans?’) and Amber Estis ("Gun safety starts at home; too many kids are dying").

Gabler’s thesis is provocative and probably reflective of the increasing desperation that many of us are experiencing in the face of increasing daily gun violence in America.

Estis is doing extremely important school-based early intervention training to promote gun safety. One critical factor overlooked by both Gabler and Estis — and by most people who report and write about our gun violence problem — is that the perpetrators are almost exclusively male.

Most women appear to be able to responsibly own and manage guns in our society. Perhaps, then, gun violence could be construed as discrimination against women.

But regardless of the framework we use to describe gun violence, we need to focus on boys and men, supporting them and teaching them that guns and killing aren’t the only way to deal with anger and frustration and rage.

It requires a lot of work, but it can be done. And the first step is to publicly acknowledge and accept that boys and men need help.

Our work should focus on them.

Charles Emery, psychology professor emeritus, Ohio State University 

Kudos to the maestro

Columbus Symphony Music Director Rossen Milanov will conduct "La Boheme," Feb. 4-5 in the Ohio Theatre.
Columbus Symphony Music Director Rossen Milanov will conduct "La Boheme," Feb. 4-5 in the Ohio Theatre.

Kudos to the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and it’s marvelous conductor, Rossen Milanov.

For those of us who attended March 3 reading of Mahler’s Symphony #9, we experienced a world-class, transformative performance.

The musicians of the orchestra were in top form, producing some truly beautiful, thrilling moments. I was especially moved by the playing of the French Horn section throughout.

It was in the final minutes of the last movement, however, where Maestro Milanov and the string section shone. Those were sublime moments that have lasted long since leaving the Ohio Theater. Thanks to the CSO for enriching our life in central and southeastern Ohio.

David Burton, Athens

Increasingly embarrassed to be Republican

I’m responding to the March 4 article "GOP senators: Chip factories further ‘woke' agenda" regarding on-site childcare at chip factories.

Anti-abortion Republicans don’t want onsite childcare despite known benefits to mothers, children, dads, citing a "woke agenda" and increased building costs.

They have yet to step up with care for the child after he/she is born: childcare, school funding, adequate housing and health care. Consider building costs compared to the cost of raising a child to adulthood. I’m becoming increasingly embarrassed to say I’m a registered Republican.

Joan Buffington, Hilliard

Vance, Brown worked together for Ohioans

The recent bipartisan cooperation between Ohio senators Sherrod Brown and J.D. Vance, and the comments made by the latter, have swayed my opinion on our junior senator.

More:A Norfolk Southern cargo train derailed near Springfield, no injuries reported

During the election cycle, I had opposed Vance as I would disagree with any quasi-nativist demagogue. I was under the impression that he would be a mouthpiece for former President Donald Trump, to the expense of local issues.

Last week, Vance and Brown jointly introduced to Congress the Railway Safety Act of 2023, in direct response to the East Palestine train disaster.

More:Ohio train derailment: This week's big developments, what to know about East Palestine

The bill would tighten railway standards and protect our state and country from railway industry profiteering.

Regulations that had been stripped away in previous years can be re-imposed to prevent the negligence of massive corporations from abusing our communities.

With any luck, further action can be taken to hold Norfolk Southern directly responsible. For now, I can be happy knowing that our elected officials have not yet forgotten where they came from.

Zane Protus, Pickerington

Note from Opinion Editor Amelia Robinson: I have heard one phrase time and time again since assuming the Columbus Dispatch opinion and community engagement editor role a little more than two years ago: The Columbus Way.

The Columbus Partnership describes it as "the practice of community stewardship, anchored by a set of values and principles that power progress in our region."

Smart Columbus describes it as "the unique community collaborations between the city, the businesses headquartered and located in the region, and nonprofit and academic institutions that make up the Columbus community.

Is that what the Columbus Way means to you?

Let me know your thoughts in a letter to the editor of 200 words or less emailed to Letters@Dispatch.com.

Include your name, address and daytime phone number. The address and number are needed for verification and won't be published.

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Letters: What does it mean to be "woke?'