Letters to the Editor: How to stop racism and deaths like George Floyd’s? White people need to integrate

A portrait of George Floyd is part of a makeshift memorial for him on May 27 near the site of his arrest in Minneapolis.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: Forty years ago, I wrote to the L.A. Times to criticize an article lauding then-Los Angeles Police Department Chief Daryl Gates because you failed to mention his chokehold policy was killing African Americans. (“George Floyd, Central Park and the familiar terror they inspire,” column, May 28)

When will we require psychological profiling to prevent monsters from joining the police force and needlessly killing citizens like George Floyd in Minneapolis, Eric Garner in New York and other unarmed, nonviolent black men?

It has been said that if we want to see how inhumane one person can be to another, just sit back and watch, and that all evil needs to succeed is for good people to do nothing. My advice for ending racism is for white people to start integrating their personal lives with those of people of color.

Leonard Baker, Los Angeles



To the editor: Life is hard and I’ve got it easy. I’m white and middle class. Every day my heart is broken by stories of injustice in my country.

I am begging the people who control the policies of our state, county and city law enforcement agencies to make our communities better. As a white parent, I am heartbroken and enraged.

But this is the thing: I can’t even imagine what that heartbreak and rage would feel like if I were a parent of color. Really, if you’re a parent, wrap your head around that. Imagine fearing your child could be stopped by a police officer.

For goodness’ sake, make sure all government employees are educated about implicit bias and deescalation. All patrol officers must wear body cameras.

There is a viral pandemic that scares me, but the greatest fear and ache in my heart is the callousness and cruelty of human beings. Education and training can help mitigate that.

Alisa Willens-Davis, Vista



To the editor: Any decent person looks back in horror on the dark days when African Americans had to fear lynching.

It is estimated that from 1877-1950, nearly 4,000 people were killed in terroristic lynchings. That averages down to about 55 killings a year, or around one a week.

But if we just look at the year 2015, police killed at least 104 unarmed black people. That’s about two a week and five times the rate of police killings of unarmed whites. Only 13 of these cases resulted in officers being charged with a crime, and four of those cases got dropped.

As we learn from George Floyd and so many more, to this very day, our “land of the free” is still a terrorist state for 13% of its citizens.


Rhonda Hayter, Los Angeles