Readers React

Caution around police is good, color-blind advice

To the editor: Kerman Maddox writes with great feeling about the humiliation and fear many black people feel when stopped by the police. With recent cellphone videos of encounters with police, it's become much clearer that black people aren't making this stuff up. ("As police killings show, the African American community needs more change," op-ed, April 22)

However, some of Maddox's comments deserve more scrutiny.

Police working in high-crime neighborhoods have a very tough and dangerous job, a fact that must be acknowledged. They use tactics to protect themselves that they probably don't use elsewhere.

Maddox also mentions "the talk" black parents have with their children about what to do when stopped by the police. But virtually every kid has received this talk in one way or another from his parents.

I know I had this talk as a kid, and so did my friends — because dealing with the police is serious business.

Robert Newman, West Hills

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To the editor: Like Maddox, I've been counting up the frightening number of recent killings of unarmed black men and boys by police officers. I'm a white woman, and the day before Maddox's article appeared, I told my husband that if he or our son were black, I would want him to become invisible so he wouldn't draw any attention to himself.

Then I thought about what kind of life that would be and changed my mind, saying we could move out of the country instead — somewhere away from the historical American DNA, which seems to have an evil strain of entitlement, race hate and addiction to guns.

Now I feel that we all need to do some deep soul-searching, to arrive at our common humanity and the realization that we're all in this together.

Pamela Kelly, Long Beach

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