To the editor: On the front page of Sunday’s paper was, with one significant exception, an excellent story regarding how the “pandemic is making domestic violence much worse.”
What offended me, and should of concern to all readers, is found in the third paragraph of the story. While referring to a woman survivor of domestic abuse the story stated “like so many Native women ... .” This micro-aggression clearly suggests that only Native women, more properly referred to as Alaska Native women, are domestic violence victims. Nothing could be further from the truth. Women, and occasionally men, of all races, black, white, brown, of all ethnicities, cultures, nationalities, creeds, and class are victims of domestic violence.
Many paragraphs later a specific subsection of the story wrote of the difficulty women who live in small rural communities have in accessing domestic violence shelters and support. The section makes excellent points. But again, the story implied that domestic violence in rural Alaska is a Native problem. That is wrong! While the majority of people living in rural Alaska are Alaska Native, rural areas are home to many non-Native people. And, unfortunately, all too many of the non-Native rural residents are victims of domestic violence.
I am not suggesting the writer of the story or the editors of the DNM intended to write and publish an article tainted with racism. But it happened. As our nation struggles to overcome its past sins including those slavery and indigenous extermination, those of us lucky enough to have been born in the dominant culture must be ever mindful as we write, speak and act. Word choices reflect our attitudes and values.
A few paragraphs acknowledging domestic violence is knows no gender, race, class or community limits is all that was necessary to make the good article better. Domestic violence is an equal opportunity offense.
The DNM can and must to better.