The editorial in The Review, Saturday, May 24, regarding the replacement of Wellsville’s police chief, was thought-provoking.
Decades old prejudices still exist in the USA even in “the ville.” Since Chief Scarabino passed away, the hateful comments have been flying. The (editorial) stated that Wellsville is a close-knit community. That is true, and that means most of what is said regarding an issue can easily be heard just about anywhere in a “New York Minute.”
My hometown was similar to Wellsville. It was a river town of various ethnic groups, churches, people who came to America to find freedom, work and a new life.
Comments were there also. Ethnic terms such as Spic, Polack, Wop, Wasp, Dago, etc. And of course, the N-word and the dreaded Jew. Some of these aren’t used as much today, but in Wellsville and surrounding communities, those hateful, hurtful terms still prevail.
The (editorial) stated the chief was one of Wellsville’s own, still plenty of comments can be heard flying around Wellsville: “the Eye-talians are all stirred up now aren’t they?”
“Robert’s Funeral Home can’t hold all those Eye-talians, can they?”
“Those Dagos will be in an uproar now, won’t they?”
“Wellsville doesn’t want a black chief, do they?”
It’s puzzling. At gatherings, such as community church services, athletic events, memorial services, we all sit together and participate. We cheer together, refer to all the kids as “our kids,” we sing and pray together, we greet one another on the street with all the warmth and friendliness that only those who reside in “Smalltown USA” can appreciate. And yet, we leave those events and still use those age-old hurtful slurs on the very folks we were just sitting with! If called on it, the response usually is “Oh, I didn’t mean you!” Didn’t you? Think on that a bit.
There are good and bad people from every ethnic group, every political group, every job, every school and yes, every church in America. There are those who work hard, help others, and many who unabashedly “game the system.” We all know that too. What is the chosen group anyway, huh?
I would like to add something to the last paragraph of that editorial which was to eliminate the in-fighting and work together to select the best person for the job of chief. I would challenge the many, many good people here to also eliminate the hateful, hurtful slurs. Just stop a second and think about what you are saying. The very person you are saying it to may be, or related to one of those “Eye-talians,” an African-American or a Jew! Heck, they might even be Cochise’s brother! And just in case you don’t know the correct pronunciation of Italian, check the dictionary or just ask someone.
Oh, if you aren’t aware – acting chief of the WPD, Eddie Wilson, is one of Wellsville’s own also. I’m just sayin’. Hey, maybe those names ending in a vowel shouldn’t be on the Memorial Honor Roll. Whadaya think?