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Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016 12:20 am

Letters to the Editor 11/24/16

Kelly Wickham Hurst, also known as Mocha Momma.


Dusty Rhodes’ interview with Kelly Wickham Hurst (“Speaking out of school,” Nov. 17) was very enlightening reading, and it shows why a conversation on race is needed in this country. Most people who regard themselves as white genuinely feel they are not racist because they associate that term with genuinely mean-spirited people. Maybe “racist” isn’t the proper way to describe it. I think it’s more of a “Starship Enterprise” syndrome where it’s great to have many different kinds of people working together, as long as Captain Kirk, the white guy, is in charge.

The thing about the concept of race is that it began as a self-delusion to excuse the horrors of slavery; if they’re not really human like us, it’s not really cruelty. The echoes of that twisted logic are still with us today.

Yet, even just by looking at the pictures of Hurst’s family, from a father who would clearly be thought of as “black” to daughters who could blend in easily in northern Europe, it is clear that racial differences are not deep and definitive. We are all fully human, regardless of what we look like.

I think Ms. Hurst’s work is very critically needed, especially now, and I wish her success.

Jeffrey Hobbs

The National Federation of Independent Business is America’s leading small business advocate. We are proud to represent 350,000 small, independent business owners nationwide, including more than 11,000 in Illinois. We are also very proud to cosponsor the 2016 Small Business Saturday promotion with American Express.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses account for most of the jobs in this country. They have provided 66 percent of all net new jobs since the 1970s. They represent 99.7 percent of all U.S. employers.

Most Americans don’t know an owner of a big department store, but there’s a good chance that many people know small-business owners. They’re our friends and neighbors. They’re among the most generous supporters of civic groups, local charities, youth sports, schools and virtually every other form of community activity.

Nov. 26, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, is Small Business Saturday. It’s intended to encourage Americans to support small business not just one day a year, but whenever they go shopping.

Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, is when families wake early, sit in traffic, compete with other drivers for mall parking spots, jostle with crowds and stand in line to buy things they could find much closer to home.

Small Business Saturday offers a much different experience. Shoppers who visit locally owned businesses will find almost everything they could get at the mall and plenty of items by local artisans, designers, bakers, chocolatiers, brewers and tinkerers that can be found only on Main Street. In terms of service, Americans who “shop small” likely will be dealing directly with owners who know that happy customers usually come back.

The campaign to “shop small” on the Saturday after Thanksgiving started in 2010. It has grown every year. Last year, more than 95 million Americans visited local businesses on Small Business Saturday, and they spent more than $16 billion.

We hope that even more Americans participate this year. Small Business Saturday is a great way to start the holidays, support local communities and boost the national economy.

Kim Clarke Maisch
National Federation of Independent Business

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