Gates should be subject to his own civility guidelines

Opinion

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Mr. Gates' One View [Delegates of disharmony need guidelines on civility, VIEWPOINTS, April 20] represents itself as being the same as the letter he distributed to the District 97 Board of Education members during public comments on April 13. That's not quite the case. There are some important differences. For example, his letter to the board includes a reference to certain individuals as "self-appointed counterfeit leaders." This language would appear to be in direct conflict with the type of "civility" guidelines that Mr. Gates then calls for.

In his letter to the board, Mr. Gates also offers his own services towards what he calls "this most challenging yet necessary journey." I hope the board has the sense to turn him down. His own angry words, his desire to restrict the manner in which others might speak, his actions with regard to his letter to the Dist. 97 board and his depiction of the issues at hand are polarizing, not healing or helpful.

We need to have an open discussion on issues of race. Most likely we need to have several discussions. But if those discussions are to be constructive and productive, they will need to be in the hands of individuals who have not compromised themselves through their own race-based invective. And they will need to focus on increasing understanding and appreciation of all perspectives rather than on proving who is right and who is wrong.

Kimberly Werner
Oak Park

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