Letters to the Editor: It’s OK to celebrate racial progress even though racism persists

LZ Granderson's column on the Fourth of the July made a reader think — though maybe not as intended.
LZ Granderson’s column on the Fourth of the July made a reader think — though maybe not as intended.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
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To the editor: As with all useful opinion pieces, LZ Granderson’s column on the Fourth of July makes you think. He made me think and reread Frederick Douglass’ “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” He also made me ponder our history past and present, but maybe not always in the ways he intended.

When Granderson pointed out that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed off on a congressional map with zero Black-majority districts despite the state having the largest Black population in the country, it made me think, so I looked it up.

Sure enough, greater than 12% of Texans are Black. On the other hand, six of the state’s 38 congressional representatives are Black. How could that be?


It’s fairly easy to make people mad. But could it be that even in that benighted backward place called Texas, some people think for themselves and choose their leaders on criteria other than race?

We surely are not done with racism or other forms of idiotic prejudice. But maybe we are making progress. Easy as it is to rouse people to feeling hard done by, it’s equally hard to cheer and parade a more measured, thoughtful success. But nonetheless, it happens.

Mark Arnott, Los Angeles


To the editor: As Black people were being exploited and enslaved, the hallowed founders declared independence in 1776. Not for everyone, but chiefly for white men.

Blacks were diners at a lavish feast, but they were forbidden from eating. Instead, they watched white diners gorge themselves.

In 2001, Kalisha White, a Black woman in Wisconsin, applied for an executive team leader position at Target. She could not get an interview. Suspicious, Smith put a different name with fewer qualifications on a resume, and she received an interview. She ended up sharing a settlement with other plaintiffs in a discrimination lawsuit.


In 2021, economists from UC Berkeley and the University of Chicago submitted 83,000 job applications to 108 Fortune 500 companies, half with Black-sounding names. Applicants with Black-sounding names were called back 10% less often than others.

The Supreme Court notwithstanding, racial preferences in hiring abound.

Marc D. Greenwood, Opelika, Ala.


To the editor: Granderson writes that the Supreme Court prohibited the use of racial preferences in college admissions “under the pretense that America is race neutral.”

In truth, the court majority never affirmatively stated (or even suggested) that America is race neutral. In fact, at many points in the opinion, there is an unqualified acknowledgment that there has been and still is maltreatment of minorities.

The majority presented a very simple proposition: The Constitution requires that all persons be treated in a race-neutral fashion. It is hoped that the latter would lead to the former.

Humans being as they are, the effort has not been entirely successful. But the need to do better with race does not, under our legal system, allow for the Constitution to be ignored.


That very Constitution allows Granderson to express his opinion about the court’s decision and to even misrepresent it. But just because he has the right as an American to misrepresent what the court actually said does not mean he should do so.

Joel Drum, Van Nuys