Ennis Cosby Killing and Race

In reading the Julianne Malveaux and Cynthia Tucker columns (Commentary, July 13, regarding the Ennis Cosby murder), I have to say that when talking about race one should stick to the facts. As Tucker notes, Ennis Cosby drove a Mercedes, wore a Rolex. Criminals like Mikail Markhasev go where the money is. By using race as an instrument of blame as is asserted by Camille Cosby in her USA Today column (July 8) and reinforced by Malveaux, we are not only off the mark, we are fueling the already intense flames of racial division.

True, there is racism in this country. In fact there is racism in all of our backyards. I live in what is perceived to be a black neighborhood in Venice. Here, it is as commonplace for whites to be the victims of racial hatred as it is for blacks to be the victims of racial hatred in other neighborhoods; I’ve had racial epithets hurled at me often. In my neighborhood it’s not uncommon for black families to refuse to sell homes to whites.

I can’t begin to understand Mrs. Cosby’s pain in losing her son. On the other hand, race-baiting for the purpose of blame only serves to further divide an already divisive issue. Racism is a two-way street and there are plenty of legitimate examples to discuss, but I have to say that this horrific murder of a promising young black man isn’t one of them.





Re “A Slide From Honor Student to Killer,” July 12: So if Markhasev had been in the remedial reading class, would it have been all right for him to murder? In a time when the governor lauds the Stanford 9 for objectively measuring California students’ progress, I wonder if it wouldn’t be more productive to focus an equal amount of energy on nurturing their personhood and sense of belonging. This condescending fantasy that smart kids are predetermined to make smart choices while students who struggle in school are expected to make bad choices is shameful.