Allison Hussey's recent story on the Triangle's tiki trend and tiki culture's somewhat problematic history aroused some angry pushback.
We begin with Ron Oliver, who says we missed the "entire point of a pop-cultural phenomenon. 'Tiki' is a twice-removed acknowledgment of an American trend in the mid-century and, if anything, holds historic indigenous cultures in high regard, consciously keeping them separate from the 'kitsch' factor with a scrupulous regard for their importance to their people. Doing a little homework on the true history of the tiki movement and its relationship to the American soldiers returning home from WW2 might have helped this otherwise sour essay have a bit of relevance. Might we suggest the next time the author visits a tiki bar, she could perhaps ask the bartender to add a splash of humor and self-awareness to her drink?"
On to a story about a state report that said 23 percent of the state's teachers are chronically absent. Ashley Walls White writes: "They are using sick days they have been given as part of their benefits package. The state caring more about teachers won't change the fact that teachers and teachers' kids get sick pretty frequently. We should care more about teachers, but we should also not admonish them for taking sick leave they are allowed to take."
Chuck Kenney offers similar thoughts: "This whole report has been framed to paint us as villains. We have to pay for subs, make lesson plans, and then play catch-up for class time we missed. We are also given annual leave days but can't use them on student contact days. I see this as another ploy to discredit public school teachers in an effort to privatize the system."
And, because we apparently can't escape it, we circle back to the subject of Confederate monuments and our state's weird attachment to the Lost Cause.
Black Raleigh makes an interesting argument for leaving the monuments be: "A statue isn't the problem. The problem in North Carolina is that the same system that allowed for slavery still exists today, just in different ways—generational poverty, mass incarceration, the industrialization of prisons, lack of access to housing, food, jobs. How about disassembling that first? I think we need to leave them up! If we take them down without addressing the cause, it's just a cover-up!"
Aiden also wants to keep the statues, with a twist: "They are a reminder of what white people did to try to maintain power and wealth. It was one of the darkest periods in American history, and the effects are still rippling through our society today, sometimes tearing it apart. Keep the statues, add new plaques beside the originals to remind us that these were erected to support Jim Crow laws."
Finally, Josephine Bass wants to give a revisionist history lesson to all you elites out there. After arguing that the Civil War wasn't really about slavery and that slaves actually loved their masters, Bass writes: "Jim Crow laws served the purpose during those times to keep the South from becoming one big sh--hole. Fact: the ex-slaves did not want to integrate; they preferred their lifestyle, with their own people, as they do today. Proof: all the separate black this and black that—schools, Washington caucus, beauty pageants, and on and on. Blacks for blacks by blacks.
"North Carolina was invaded and taken over like all the thirteen states of the Confederacy, because they followed the Constitution, which forbids war against your neighboring states. North Carolina refused to furnish seventy-five thousand soldiers to Washington to kill their neighbors. Now is the time to learn the real history and not the spin of the victors; the real reasons the South seceded and the North invaded and forced them back into a union at the point of bayonet. If you cannot leave, you are not free!"