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Letter: Racial slurs have no place in Utah

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor
Deseret News

Profane racial slurs are not acceptable, even in Utah. I was born and raised in Utah, and I have three adopted black (or African-American) children. I have lived in California, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. My husband and I, with our adopted children, have lived in Oregon, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Brazil. Never have I heard the disturbing racial slur used in reference to any of my adopted children, except in Utah.

I believe there is a lack of social education in Utah as it relates to the use of this word. My two black sons were both called this as early as grade school. These incidents continued through junior high and high school. When my oldest adopted son was playing basketball in junior high on a division championship team, a dad shouted the word from the stands. An assistant principal called the police to intervene. Later, as my son traveled with his high school championship team across the state of Utah, there were countless times he heard the same word shouted from the stands. Never, since junior high school, was any action taken. He was even called someone's (obscenity) friend in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, where he was attending a wedding luncheon. This is disgraceful. My ancestors, John Bennion, Edward Hunter, Ezra T. Clark and many others, came to Utah to escape religous persecution. I know it would be abhorrent to them to know that their adopted descendants, living in Utah, are now the subject of racial persecution.

Margaret Bennion Sykes