Giles' interest in OPRF genuine, appropriate


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Shame on you for your editorial attack on Rep. Calvin Giles for holding a hearing on the complaints of African-American and other families against the High School ("Right issues, wrong forum," Aug. 10). As an elected official in a district that includes Oak Park voters and as the Chair of the State House Committee on Secondary Education, Giles is not the "outsider" you characterize him to be. Indeed his decision to air these matters was absolutely appropriate and justified.

Innocuous terms such as "outsider" can pack a powerful innuendo. For centuries anti-Semites have used the seemingly harmless term "cosmopolitan" as a substitute for more overtly racist terminology for Jews. In what way is Giles an "outsider?" Your photo of black representatives sitting above our white principal suggests another meaning, whether intentional or not on your part.

The issues discussed at the hearings have festered at the high school for some time. The high school administration does not seem to be able to resolve them on its own. An airing from our democratically elected government officials is both welcome and necessary.

Change just a few words and your editorial could have been written in 1964 in a Mississippi newspaper lamenting the work of "outsiders" in the Civil Rights Summer that challenged and ultimately changed a system in desperate need of change.

Your readers and Rep. Giles deserve an apology.

Scott Berman
Oak Park

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