Dave Richards' Weekly Column in The Woonsocket Call

Dave Richards for October 6th…………

--Revisiting a topic discussed in these pages two weeks ago, the overall weather patterns for the Blackstone Valley continue to favor generally mild weather for our upcoming Autumnfest celebration, and I am delighted the pattern is still holding. I will confess to you that there was a time last week when I thought we’d get ‘worked over’ by Hurricane Juaquin but that bad boy is way out in the middle of the Atlantic and we were spared all the damage and drama.

The official weather forecast for Autumnfest 2015 is as optimistic as we could wish for at this point in time with predominantly sunshiny days featuring high temperatures in the mid-60s. Outstanding! And I think it’s about time Woonsocket caught a break like this.

When you consider the reconstruction project in the park and all the rumors and uncertainty which accompanied it, any uncertainty about the weather for the festival itself would have been a challenge which would have been most unwelcomed. But, with the completion of most of the work in the park, the extreme easterly course of Juaquin, and the generally good weather forecast, I think we’re in for a very successful Autumnfest this year.

Think about all the wonderful food and entertainment in store for us this weekend. How can you NOT plan to be with us and to bring several friends along with you with which to share the good memories? Talk it up, people! Autumnfest is this weekend and it’s the biggest planned event Woonsocket sees in any year. Woonsocket just got a good break, so let’s make the most of it. See the special section in The Call for a complete listing of the many Autumnfest activities.

--Right now I’d like to say a few words about human relations. I have often commented in these pages about the similarities I see between the current decade and the decade of the 1960s. I have made the observation before that some of the more unflattering social aspects of the 1960s seem to me to be repeating themselves here in the 21st century.

I remember clearly how hard we worked in the last century to equalize differences between the various races and social groups and especially between Caucasians and African Americans. We made real progress. Then, it seems, we became a bit complacent, either because we thought our work was done or because we simply got tired of the hard work of showing respect and appreciation to our fellow creatures, regardless of where their ancestors came from.

I am very disturbed by the blatant racism I am seeing in the present day. After decades of learning to “not see” the outward differences among people but to look inward to the their character and potential contributions, today’s young people are carelessly reversing the gains humanity has made by constantly pointing out racial differences and using them for their own selfish purposes. Both sides are doing this. And I think no good will come of it. I think we’d all better stop and reverse direction. And I think we should do it now.

I see racism on network television, creeping in here and there. The worst offender I see is NBC-TVs venerable Saturday Night Live comedy sketch program. The flat out racist comments disguised as jokes are offensive to me and would never have passed for responsible network programming before today.

And let me take a moment to explain why I find racist ‘jokes’ offensive. Because I truly believe the only way the entire human race will move forward is for us all to work together. There are going to be disagreements. Some will be careless with the feelings of others. I wish it weren’t true, but it will happen. However, when it does happen, will we ignore it and treat it as if it were correct behavior? No. We will calmly but firmly point out the bad behavior and suggest how it can be improved. And we will always, always set the good example. Indeed, if we err ourselves we will stop, apologize sincerely, and make it right again for those offended to the best of our abilities.

We must always work to “not see” the differences, but instead to see the similarities among all people.

Recently there have been incidents at Dunkin’ Donuts shops. Passionate employees have, without the knowledge of and certainly without the support of their supervisors in the company written “Black Lives Matter” on the cups of coffee purchased by police officers. I think this is confrontational and it is wrong. And I agree completely with what a police union official had to say about the incident when called upon for a comment by the media. They simply said, “ALL lives matter.”

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.

Thanks for reading.


This blog changes each Monday evening.
The column runs in the Editorial section of The Call each Tuesday.
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