Discrimination is not new

May 21, 2013 

Letter writer Kevin Gagin really pitched a hissy fit over my "Simple Simon" letter. He believes that only black people suffered slavery and discrimination.

Let's set the record straight. Slave has its etymological roots in the word "Slav," an ethnic group of people from Eastern, South Eastern and Central Europe.

My father's parents immigrated to this country from Austria-Hungary before 1910. Hungarians are Slavs. Until the 19th century, the Slavic people were sold into slavery in the Middle East and other parts of Europe and Asia.

When my grandparents came to this country they were discriminated against because they couldn't speak English, had strange customs and wore odd-looking clothes. Many immigrants from many countries were treated the same. Witness the Irish in the 1840s, '50s and '60s. "No Irish need apply" signs abounded. When the Eastern European Jews came here, they were called "Kikes." The list goes on and on. All theses people faced discrimination and bigotry.

The history of blacks is no different. Black slaves were offered to White Europeans by African tribes. See the TV miniseries "Roots."

Gagen tells of all the indignities and bigotry inflicted on blacks in this country. For the record, let's see who is behind this.

John Simon

Fairview Heights

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