"Intimacy is not the same, and I no longer wear thongs.

"I feel as if some of my female dignity has been stolen."

Letters, March 22, 2007

Valley Volley

An awkward position: Langen Neubacher, you put me in the awkward position of defending Kristen Hinman. I did a pretty thorough (and scathing) critique of her feature "Trick or Treatment" last year, but I have to say, the one who sounds biased here is you. Are you suggesting that being a trucker makes you a de facto "redneck?" I seem to remember a lot of statistical facts referred to in Hinman's article, but what is most telling is your response: "Hey, she's attacking us!" Just like most small-town folk, good or bad, when someone, some "outsider," points out their town's flaws, you knee-jerk into a defensive posture.

You're right about racism not being confined to any one 'burb or neighborhood. I know of at least two areas in St. Louis where you simply will not be allowed to live if you're black. The landlords don't rent to you, and the sellers won't sell homes to you. Period. The difference is, the aldermen, mayor, city council or neighborhood associations did not pass unconstitutional ordinances or bylaws in support of their bigoted positions. Your mayor and your alderman in your town did. As a "liberal, politically active and intelligent college student" who disagrees with what Jeffery Whitteaker is doing, I hope you and all the Valley Parkers who feel the same way will make your feelings known at the next mayoral and aldermanic elections. If Jeff and his cronies are "racist-pig Mexican-hater(s)" who "keep getting elected," as he so succinctly put it, maybe you'll find out a little more than you want to know about your town.
Bradley Veltre, St. Louis

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