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Diversity statement divisive?

The R-C Editorial Board

Nevada, as a state, was not quite four years old when the original diversity statement, the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, was approved. Settlers had only lived full-time in Carson Valley for 17 years.

One of those settlers, Ben Palmer, a Black man, arrived in 1853, established a ranch near Sheridan and in the 1870s was one of the largest landowners in Douglas County.

That’s a story Douglas County should be proud of, but there are others, including the long problematic history of the Minden siren, which for decades signaled that it was time for the Washoe to leave town. There have been several minorities in the county who have felt the sting of racism, but few were as blatant as the treatment of the indigenous people here.

Reading through old issues of The R-C and its predecessors, it’s pretty easy to see the biases of its former operators reflected and preserved in print. A century from now, we imagine future readers aghast as they read through these pages.

But there are bright spots in our history, and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has been involved in several of them.

In 1970, Delaney Kizer came with in 72 votes of becoming Douglas County Sheriff.

Like everywhere else in America, there have been highs and lows to race relations in Douglas County, and the current Black Lives Matter debate is no exception.

We’re pleased that Sheriff Dan Coverley and Librarian Amy Dodson sat down and discussed a proposed diversity statement that prompted a letter from the sheriff to the Library Board that ended on an unfortunate note.

That’s too bad because there was some good in the sheriff’s letter that we fear will be lost because of its conclusion.

And we agree that the Library needs to be open to people of all races, creeds and colors. For many it is the only way they can access the Internet and it is a beacon of hope for those left behind in a digital age.

And as both Coverley and Dodson modeled on Tuesday, the best way to deal with our differences is to sit down and talk about them, because when everyone is yelling, no one is listening.