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Heritage

MAIL

To the Editors of The Crimson:

I read with a touch of amusement "Plastic Armor of God" (November 2), Laurie M. Grossman's account of her visit to Heritage U.S.A. I've often wondered exactly how garish a "Christian" theme park could be. Now I know.

I have one small but important objection to her article. Grossman used the term "naive redneck" to describe the kind of people who are attracted to a place like Heritage U.S.A. I must strenuously object to such cavalier use of a term that is at least as offensive as other racial epithets with which we are all familiar. Of course, the people whom the more genteel of us call "redneck" happen to have white skin. They are not "people of color", Black, Hispanic or Asian-American, like myself. The term, however, applied to them is a derogatory reference to the laboring agricultural folk of the South whose white necks turn red under the hot southern sun. Sometimes these people are also called "poor white trash." Either way, the reference is derogatory and offensive.

As the Southern Baptist chaplain at Harvard-Radcliffe, I suppose I am more sensitive than most when the poor white laboring folk of the South are being derogated. Then again, as a Southern Baptist, I'm also too familiar with the human sins of racism, sexism and classism. I know how hard people must struggle against such prejudices and stereotypes. "Redneck" is not a helpful word in that struggle. It's the same struggle I must wage to keep people from calling me "chink" or "Chinaman." I hope Crimson editors add it to their list of racially offensive terms and phrases. Sam Lowe   Southern Baptist Chaplain

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