In regards to the column "The General Concerns" (Nov. 2), I am proudly one of that "small group of parents" who voiced concerns over The General being chosen as the silent film for the ArMack Orchestra performance, but as a person of color (POC) I am used to being in a small group in Humboldt County. In my complaint to The Northern Humboldt Union High School District (NHUHSD), I asked for change; not the teacher's job, cancellation of performances or to discontinue the Orchestra's silent film program. Rather I asked that NHUHSD make changes that would lead toward a more welcoming environment for everyone.
This film wasn't made in a vacuum. It was made during a time period that also saw a surge of Confederate monuments, as well as naming public buildings after the Confederate leadership. All of this (the monuments, this film etc.) was a tactic to keep African Americans in fear and out of power. At the very least, the teacher should have lead a discussion prior to the film discussing the historical context. Instead, we had a teacher encouraging the crowd to cheer for the Confederacy.
In addition, the screening of this film did not happen in a vacuum. One of NHUHSD's varsity football teams was prevented from playing homecoming because of racist and homophobic words written on a white board, not to mention the fact that my African American high school student has to hear white kids use the word n****r regularly.
I understand that for Ms. Burstiner our high school choosing to show The General was not a big deal. Ms. Burstiner, however, does not get to speak for Humboldt's POC community. We get to speak for ourselves. It saddens me that Ms. Burstiner is not able to understand that the film is both upsetting and insulting to part of our community. It wasn't weird for me to cheer for the Confederacy. I didn't that night but, as one of the only African-Americans in the room, it was weird to have a room of mostly white people cheering for the side that fought to keep my ancestors in chains.
Michael Moore, Jr., Arcata