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Letters to the Editor: Jan. 28, 2015

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Word fight

Ben Felder’s article (News, “Cultural clash,” Jan. 14, Oklahoma Gazette) reports a forum held by Oklahoma City Public School District on the use of Native American mascots. Felder said, “The forum began with a reading of the definition and origin of the term ‘redskin,’ which refers to the bloody scalps or bodies of dead Native Americans…”

No, it doesn’t. The term’s origin was extensively researched by Ives Goddard, senior linguist at the Smithsonian Institution’s Department of Anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History. Goddard believes the “redskins,” widely considered disparaging, was originally benign and had nothing to do with scalps or corpses, according to his paper I am a Red-Skin: The Adoption of a Native American Expression (1769-1826).

It was used by early settlers (and by some Native Americans) to describe the appearance of Native Americans.

Felder refers to this “definition” as though it is fact. My concern is that the word’s unsubstantiated “history” has been repeated so often that it is in danger of becoming accepted as true. — Carl Hall Edmond

Wet noodle

Shame on Brendan Hoover! Shame on Oklahoma Gazette! In the story (Life, Active, “Sweet southpaw,” Jan. 14, Gazette) about Clayton Kershaw winning the 2014 Warren Spahn Award, Hoover wrote, “Warren Spahn was a Hall of Famer and native Oklahoman …” The same day, The Oklahoman ran an article detailing how Spahn became a Hartshorne resident after retiring from major league baseball and that he grew up on the east coast.

Since the Gazette is OKC’s only alternate newspaper, Hoover’s lack of fact-checking places in question the columns and articles offered to its readers. Ten lashes with a wet noodle and a Journalism 101 class are in order for Hoover. — Linda Verges Oklahoma City

Women’s rights

Jan. 22 is the 42nd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion. Chief Justice Warren E. Burger’s court ruled that “a Texas law making it a crime to assist a woman to get an abortion violates her due-process right.” The case began when Jane Roe et al sued Henry Wade, district attorney of Dallas County. Roe won.

Regarding abortion, who can forget the photo in the May 1973 issue of Ms. Magazine? A 1964 photo showed Gerri Santoro, dead from a botched, illegal abortion and sprawled facedown, abandoned in a motel room. Her bloody, nude body became a powerful symbol of the pro-choice movement, of which I am a part and have been since I saw that photo.

Nevertheless, some members of our state and national Congress — mainly Republicans — would outlaw abortion, thus taking us back to the Dark Ages. — Wanda Jo Stapleton, Former State Representative Oklahoma City

You forgot one

I have watched many of the movies in your article (Life, Film, “Not dead yet,” Phil Bacharach, Jan. 7, Gazette). I am surprised you did not have Like Father, Like Son. I watched it at Oklahoma City Museum of Art (OKCMOA) and loved it. It is a touching movie about two families, their sons and their in-laws. After the film, everyone cheered. — Gregory Rice Oklahoma City

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