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Letters, Oct. 22

Quiet racism

In a quiet signing ceremony in July, Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill about which OregonLive asserted, “For the next five years, an Oregon high school diploma will be no guarantee that the student who earned it can read, write or do math at a high school level.”

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This was one of many examples of what some call, “polite racism.” That is, the belief that some students can not be expected to work hard and/or are somehow unable to grasp basic academic tenets.

In short, those who hold these beliefs say, “We realize you are incapable. Don’t worry. We have your backs.” Fortunately the majority of minority parents will continue to make certain their children face the world fully equipped.

Hubert Smith


Deficient professional ethics

The front page article in the Mail Tribune of Sunday, Oct. 17, was a fine example of the informative, well researched and clear writing of Vicki Aldous. The topic was COVID vaccination and included an interview with a local emergency room nurse who has refused vaccination and is willing to give up her nursing career, stating “I don’t love it enough to sacrifice my medical freedom.”

During the 42 years I practiced medicine I was repeatedly inspired by the selflessness, compassion and professional ethical conduct of so many of the nurses I was privileged to work with. The nurse interviewed by Vicki Aldous didn’t mention the ethical lapse of exposing patients and colleagues to a proven highly contagious and frequently deadly virus that has already killed more than 700,000 Americans. She also expressed no compassion for those to whom she could transmit COVID, focusing rather on theoretical and vague concerns about the effects on herself of the currently available, safe and effective vaccines.

It’s sad for the nursing profession to lose a hard-working nurse. But it’s less sad for the nursing profession to lose a nurse with deficient professional ethics and compassion.

Victor Mlotok, M.D., M.P.H.