A week ago I mentioned an e-mail I received, as did a few in the news department, that seemed to me so incredibly inappropriate, I didn't think at the time I would ever share it on this segment. But as I got to thinking about it, and actually started conversing via e-mail with the individual who sent the note, it became apparent the e-mail was sent out of sheer frustration with what is going on in this country with regard to illegal immigration.
Each morning on KBTX, we air a segment that features various classrooms reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. KBTX starts our broadcast each morning with the Star Spangled Banner as played by the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band. Though we are country divided on many issues, we stand as one. To me, to parent company Gray Television, and to the family of KBTX, this is important, as is the pledge. It so happened that recently we aired a segment featuring a predominantly Hispanic class of children.
Then comes this note. Hang on to your seats or brace yourself on the kitchen cabinet. And by the way - it is unedited:
"I was absolutely dumb-founded this morning to see this spot on your station. Are you serious, people? Here we have an illegal immigration problem and people are very unhappy about this and you show this spot: the future of Texas! The future of Texas should not be Hispanics or any one race here in Texas, especially not Mexicans or Hispanics or people from South America! This spot was in such poor taste, I am shocked that KBTX would even consider it! Did you think how it might upset people! This is not the time to be encouraging the presence of these people as a unit on your TV station. It is not even digestable for the rest of us who struggle to remain a part of this country: whites. There are many people who make up Texas and the future is NOT these people from across the border!! Please use your common sense next time! This is way too touchy a subject and KBTX needs to reconsider their stance! My husband I are so angry about this as I am sure others are and would be! Let's use good taste!!!!!!!!!!!!"
I responded. It wasn't nice. And I did wind up apologizing for the "tone" of the note I wrote. Here's a brief excerpt, just a small part of the full response:
"This classroom of children were from Neal Elementary, predominantly Hispanic, certified, legal citizens. I am SHOCKED that YOU were shocked by seeing children, many of whom will indeed grow up to be leaders of tomorrow, reciting the pledge! In fact, odds are they may not because of their age, but in my older years and perhaps yours, what would you do if their parents were actually caring for you? Helping you in some way? Were a doctor who tended to you, who healed you? Our stance at KBTX? To support America. To support those who stand up for what they believe and recite allegiance to THEIR country. Who else is angry that we showed a classroom of children reciting the pledge? Send them my way. As for KBTX, we will continue to support what is good and right about this country without regard to race, religion, age, or gender. Proudly, I stand by that."
And I think after some back and forth e-mails, I understand a little better, but honestly, this was just...well...disturbing. We are still in contact. Again, there was misunderstanding on this person's part, and we do believe that all children who recite the pledge on that segment are indeed leaders of tomorrow for Texas and for this country. God bless schools like Neal Elementary and all in this region, those in private and those who home school. Just make sure you are teaching and leading so that these children understand the concept of strong leadership. This country will need it in the future. It starts with the young generation.
Here's an update. Since that first e-mail, we received one back equally as kind from this individual, sent to News 3's Michael Oder. Again, this first e-mail was rooted in sheer frustration. The update next week. Be in touch anytime. Your opinion matters to the family of KBTX News 3.