2018-08-16 / Letters to the Editor

Story’s phrase evokes negative connotation

To the editor:

I am a middle-aged white woman who grew up in an affluent suburb. It has taken a lifetime for me to recognize how much I have benefited from my privileged upbringing. Ten years ago, I probably would not have noticed the phrase “inner city” in the opening line of your article about the recent burglaries in Jamestown. But since I did notice, it feels like I have a responsibility to speak up.

One of the many reasons I love Jamestown is that it is such a welcoming, hospitable community. That is why the phrase “inner city” sounds so abrasive to me. It suggests an “us versus them” mentality that is antithetical to Jamestown at its best. The term is commonly used to refer to poor neighborhoods where people of color constitute the majority, but it actually has nothing to do with the location of those communities, which are not always in the “inner” part of the city, according to urbandictionary.com.

To me, the words evoke stereotypical images of people of color living in run-down, “crime-infested” public housing. It implies “they” are foreign to “us” in our peaceful town, and I worry you are perpetuating stereotypes about people who live in economically distressed neighborhoods. By introducing an article about home invaders with that phrase, you encourage — however unintentionally — a siege mentality with racist and classist undertones.

Please understand I write this with deep appreciation and gratitude for the work of The Jamestown Press.

Jackie Kirby
Standish Road

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