I would like to thank Carter E. Cates for his op-ed in the April 26 Maine Sunday Telegram, “Maine Voices: LePage action abrupt, hurtful to tribes.”

By openly sharing the pain he has felt – not only because of the governor’s recent action, rescinding the 2011 executive order promoting state cooperation with Indian tribes, but also because of the questions he has endured about his race – Mr. Cates has prompted at least this reader to think about how our actions and words affect others.

It is natural for us to notice differences between ourselves and those we encounter (physical, ethnic, religious, racial, sexual, etc.), but it is in how we react or abstain from reacting that makes this a better world (community, society or family) or not.

As a “white person” first entering a town in the middle of the Sahara Desert in the Republic of Niger as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1973, I was clearly different. Some children openly stared at the first “anasara” they had ever seen and wanted to touch my strange, straight blond hair. The adults might have wanted to do the same, but they showed self-restraint.

I am not trying to equate my experience in Africa with that of minority peoples here (I “gave up” my minority status after two years and returned to the United States).

All I am trying to say is that we should feel an obligation to be more sensitive (and kind) and also to think before we speak and act. This is something we all can probably become better at – even Gov. LePage.

Tom Werley