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An off-balance magazine

Letter from Terry Robertson

Colorado Central – November 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

Colorado Central:

Enclosed you will find my renewal payment for your magazine. On the whole I find your magazine excellent, with good writing and in-depth coverage of many items that I am interested in, but only get the highlights of in the Mountain Mail (which I also have delivered to Oklahoma).

I do have one mild gripe. It seems that there is a constant editorial tone of denigrating visitors or part-time residents in the Salida area. The gist of it seems to be that anyone who isn’t a full-time resident is a wealthy, clueless “outsider,” suitable for ridicule. I am such a part-time resident. I know I’m not wealthy, and I’m pretty sure I’m not clueless about how to act in Salida and the mountains. I’m not against poking a little fun at various groups, but this is more a constant tone. It’s small-time. I’d appreciate a little more balance.

Terry Robertson

Oklahoma City

And the editor explains

Editor’s note:

I too appreciate balance, but find it more difficult on this issue than on any other. Tensions between “natives” and “newcomers” in Colorado — presumably due to growth, change. and immigration from other states — have been notable since I moved to Colorado in 1967.

I’m afraid this is something I seldom edit out of Colorado Central, however, partly because I think this animosity is a central part of the issues facing Colorado, and also because I don’t want to cover-up the partiality or sentiments of any of our writers (although cracks about Texans do make me wince on occasion since most of my family now resides in Texas). Generally, I edit for grammar, libel, clarity, malice, and vindictiveness, but I try not to edit out opinion or bias, or demand any standard of “political correctness.”

Thus, I’d like to thank you, Mr. Robertson, for writing, and to remind all of our readers that if they find something by myself, my husband, our contributors, or our columnists to be unfair or prejudicial, by all means to feel free to drop us a line. In essence, we rely on our critics to supply some of our balance.

Also, I suspect I know how many new Coloradans feel. After I married a Colorado native (in this context native means at least a third- or fourth-generation Coloradan from a pioneer family recognized in at least one local museum), I found out that I was an Easterner. Before my enlightenment by natives, I had thought myself a Midwesterner because I was born in Michigan, or perhaps even a Denverite because I graduated from high school in Denver.

But within a short time I realized that — although my husband is a native, and my children are natives, and my in-laws are natives, and many of my best friends are natives — I will never be a “real” Coloradan, I will always be an Easterner.

And yet, although I respect and admire natives, and have studied their history, and have struggled to understand their habits, and have seriously endeavored not to tread upon their traditions, I am at this point absolutely proud to say that I am not a native, have never been a native, and can never be a native. (Because personally I think natives tend toward bitterness and resentment.)

Terry Robertson, on behalf of Colorado’s non-native citizens of the world, I say welcome to Colorado. Be proud of your dual citizenship –and by all means think twice before you give it up.

–Martha Quillen