Workplace Violence - No Easy Answer
The authors of the opinion essay "American Workplace Needs Humanizing" (March 23) seem to have arrived at a conclusion in need of a few facts. James Alan Fox and Jack Levin blame "corporate culture" and "cut-throat competition" for the increase in workplace violence.
It is odd then, that the examples of workplace violence cited involve US Postal Service employees and a Connecticut State Lottery employee. Both enterprises are known for their lack of competition and their employees' "you can't fire me" union mentality. The authors see a need for "civility and decency in the workplace." We have all seen the degradation of civility and decency in all aspects of American culture, why would the workplace be immune? Why is "corporate America" to blame?
Multiculturalism in schools
Regarding "Mandating a Colorful Canon" (March 17): It is almost tragic that our country's schools must consider imposing quotas for reading material to reflect the literary output of writers like Toni Morrison and even, probably, Langston Hughes!
There can be no opposition to good literature. Not even because of cost. How can anyone in education fail to see the value of learning and sharing cross-cultural ideas - which is what education through literature really is?
When I was teaching English literature 20 years ago, my students in our small farming community could select paperbacks like "All Quiet on the Western Front," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "Red Sky At Morning," "Another Country," "The Good Earth," "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee," and many others.
They were controversial, and a few students chose not to read some of them, but all joined in the discussions on every cultural and racial issue. Some of my students had never even been 22 miles to the north to Portland, Ore. We had no students of other cultures. Most came out of that literary experience with far different beliefs and feelings than they had been growing up with.
There were a lot of other teachers who were doing relatively the same thing 20 years ago. Where are they today? What happened to GUTS? And why am I automatically assuming that the San Francisco School District is only introducing black writers into the curriculum? Where are the Chinese, Korean, or Japanese populations being represented in these "quotas"?
What is wrong today? I don't think it's money! I think the "hostile environment," as the article calls it, is very real. I think it is fear.
My cultural background is WASP, I guess. But I have always felt that we are all here together. We can't help the color of our skin, the shape of our eyes, the languages and backgrounds that formed our beliefs.
The real tragedy is that no one ever mentions the Native American. Where is the literature from them? Where are they when a TV commercial is filmed? Has anyone else noticed that they are really the forgotten, nonrepresented people?
Summer Lake, Ore.
Older generation and baby-sitting
In response to "New Grail: Sitter for Friday Night" (March 17), may I suggest an untapped source - those of the grandmotherly and grandfatherly generation? I do this for neighbors, on occasion, and it is a two-fold blessing. It fills a need for a sitter and creates surrogate grandchildren for one whose own grandbabies live miles away. And unlike my own baby-sitting days of yore, I charge nothing for my service now, but trade the sitting for carpentry jobs that need doing at my house. Best of all worlds!
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