Opinion: Stop the growing divisiveness

Mar 14, 2023

To the editor,

After 25 years of enjoying being a year round resident of Mattapoisett, I am saddened at the arrival of the racist, homophobic “wave” that has recently washed ashore in our community. It is no coincidence that the list of books that some area residents are proposing to eliminate from the Jr./Sr. high schools is identical to lists being circulated across this country by homophobic and racist bigots.

Homophobia/transphobia is making a “comeback” — with wildly inaccurate, harmful information being passed off as “facts.” Massachusetts was the first state to legalize equal marriage rights and that change has resulted in the legal creation of thousands of loving families. And renowned medical centers, locally and across the country, are providing much needed information and medical support to individuals of all ages who are recognizing the incongruity of their bodies.

Critical race theory (CRT) is actually the accurate telling of our country’s history regarding our involvement in the slave trade and the continuing legacy of racism/white supremacy in our country today. We all need to face these facts, not hide them from our students.

So why are some people advocating for these issues to suddenly be off limits to students in our schools? The books that are on the “removal” list have won awards, been vetted by librarians, and provide accurate information and perspectives to the students who read them, unlike the wildly inappropriate (and at times pornographic) material teens can easily access on their cell phones and laptops.

We are a community that cares about one another. We need to stop the growing divisiveness that is not accomplishing anything positive. And we need to elect public officials who are committed to openness and acceptance of differences among us.

This election season, please vote for candidates for School Committees who believe in a school environment that encourages our students to explore these issues, and to recognize the power — positive and negative — of their words and actions towards others.

Bev Baccelli, Mattapoisett