Letter: Parnell needs remedial course on discrimination in Alaska

I was stunned to read that Gov. Parnell thinks that Alaska has no history of voting discrimination. I teach fifth grade and my class just spent the last month studying the civil rights movements in Alaska and the Lower 48. The parallels between the two are astounding (I should send the governor a Venn diagram). 

The centerpiece of our study was the Elizabeth Peratrovich story “For the Rights of All.” It lays out in great detail the history of hatred and legal discrimination, including the right to vote, against Alaska Natives. All appointed and elected officials of the State of Alaska are required to watch this video as a part of mandatory anti-discrimination training. As a former commissioner of Alaska’s State Commission on Human Rights I was required to watch it. Evidently the governor is exempt.

Gov. Parnell should immediately withdraw the state’s lawsuit that seeks to eliminate federal oversight of state redistricting, publicly apologize to Alaska’s Native people, wear a “scarlet letter” of ignorance and never run for public office in Alaska again.

— Karen Rhoades