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John Diaz: 'Too offensive?' Let’s paint a Northampton crosswalk red, white and blue

Rippled USA flag, detail

Rippled USA flag, detail

To the editor:

If the recent rainbow painted crosswalk in the center of Northampton is not a political statement and truly is just about having a bright and colorful sidewalk then how about we paint it red, white, and blue instead. Then it would be colorful and patriotic. Or would that be too offensive? I think we all know the answer to that.

John Diaz


Legacy Comments10

Update to my posting, the other white ones should have been repainted white. After all it is about safety, isn't it?

I drove over the painted sidewalk for the first time today, I see accidents in its future. Then I continued driving through town over the "unpainted" sidewalks. The least that should have been done was to paint the others as well.

I hate to say it but, as an artist, I am actually much more interested in the feeling and aesthetics of the new rainbow crosswalk than in its safety implications or the political messages or meanings it may or may not contain. I have heard and read a fair amount of criticism of the actual colors chosen. And I beg to differ. The palette actually bespeaks an amicable meeting of progressive ideals and New England temperance. Clearly a rainbow of sorts - but not excessively vivid. I imagine a season or two of contemplative foot traffic will lend a softened well worn patina to our junction of ideas and the mild disagreements that surround it. BTW I would also like to compliment the painters who applied the colors with such a pleasingly loose precision. Nicely done.

The reason the crosswalk was painted was because one person decided to see if she could make it happen. If someone wants a red white and blue crosswalk, then I suggest they get cracking and make it happen. How about a local veterans group? It's the perfect time: the town could hardly say no after allowing the rainbow colored one!

I think crosswalks should be painted white for uniformity, so all drivers will recognize there may be pedestrians ahead. I didn't mind the one downtown being painted in rainbow colors (I agree that the colors should have been more vibrant), but I thought it shouldn't remain much after Pride Day. I am all for the red, white, and blue, but rather than painting the colors of our flag on cement, how 'bout we fly some flags on some of the lamp posts on Main St.?

That is so right on Theresa.

Stop making silly generalizations and stop assuming that you have enemies. I think a red white and blue crosswalk is a great idea and I also liked the rainbow (except that the orange is not orange-y enough). Color is good.

I found it interesting when I suggested painting a red white and blue crosswalk and promoting a bigger Veteran's Day parade how those who openly supported the rainbow crosswalk did not support my idea, and those who opposed the rainbow sidewalk did. I cannot help but note the irony that the people who shout tolerance for all are so intolerant themselves regarding symbols of patriotism. Wear a shirt with a rainbow on it and a pair of jeans downtown, and you are widely met with smiles. Wear a shirt with an American flag on it and a pair of camouflage pants, and you are met with less than welcoming demeanor. I understand that the LGBTQ community has been (and still is) oppressed. However, I do not believe that many of those who are fighting that oppression realize that they are treating others in a similar way. It is becoming increasingly rare around here to find people who truly value individuality. Individuality has taken on it's own definition in out city. It makes me sad to see that those whose beliefs align with patriotism or conservatism are not accepted by all. To truly promote acceptance of all individuals, you must strive to accept ALL. Not just the ones you agree with. I mean, isn't that what we want to see from those who are intolerant or not accepting of the LGBTQ community? Do we not have a wish to see oppression and discrimination of LGBTQ individuals become a part of our history? In order to do that, we must change. You cannot preach do as I say, not as I do, and expect others to listen.

Might happen in another town, but Noho and Amherst wouldn't go for a stars and stripes theme.... too oppressive ;-)

I think they would do it in Northampton. It is worth giving it a try.

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