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Fright house
I've seen a lot of scary statistics in the Independent over the years, generally of a political, environmental, or socio-economic nature. But imagine my surprise upon finding one in the seemingly-innocuous CASA section (Oct. 22).

I read with growing horror the CASA article about the Dave Robson Home in Wakefield. I'm glad that Mr. Williams was able to rise above his childhood circumstances, but there is nothing--nothing--that makes it okay to either build or own a 16,000-square-foot, 11-bathroom, 22-television-set "single family" home.
Margaret Mueller
Hillsborough

Wrong word, wrong idea
In a column covering the upcoming elections, a candidate running for Raleigh City Council, Karen Moye-Stallings, was described by the reporter as "afflicted" with cerebral palsy (Raleigh council endorsements, Oct.29). As a disability community activist, the use of such language in a "progressive" newspaper demonstrates how much work we still have to do to change unconscious cultural attitudes that view us as "medical defects." Historically, disabled people were thought of as "moral defects", the source of such vice and sloth that we were unfit to be seen on the streets in America--Chicago repealed its "ugly law" only in 1973! German doctors considered us "afflicted," "useless eaters" and "life unworthy of life" and perfected the Nazi gas chamber technique by murdering 200,000 disabled people in German state-run asylums. They called it "mercy killings."

The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 acknowledged that disabled people were a discriminated against group requiring specified protections under the law. This law demonstrates that, just like with racism, there are discriminatory attitudes and actions in this society that deny disabled people the equal opportunity to pursue their dreams. To my mind, the use of the word "afflicted" demonstrates such a discriminatory attitude. In just one code word, a candidate, who had survived the primary, was reduced to being "sick and unable," a candidate "unworthy of votes." Shame on you, Independent, for perpetuating such oppressive "ableist" ideas!
Joy E. Weebler
Raleigh

Open review
I wanted to thank Alex Leviton for his impassioned and candid review of my book Third Eye Open-Unmasking Your True Awareness (Oct. 15). I wrote the book in hopes of stretching existing belief systems and facilitating the honest release of emotion. I was happy to note that Alex seemed both stretched and emotional in his review.

My intent was not for readers to agree with or espouse my particular path as I quote from Third Eye Open, "There are as many paths to truth as there are people on the planet (p. 198)." Thank you, Independent, for continuing to provide our community with a forum for a variety of views, lifestyles and feelings.
Susan Rienjes
Chapel Hill

Correction

Our Oct. 29 endorsement issue incorrectly reported that the Friends of Hillsborough endorsed candidates Paul Newton and Brian Lowen for the town board. The group declined to make endorsements in the race, saying it was improper since both candidates are former voting members of the organization.

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