Letters to the Editor: This time, black Americans should feel empowered and optimistic
To the editor: Recently, I woke up sick — sick of the inexplicable turbulence that has been the theme of this year. (“‘White people don’t get treated like that’: South L.A. kids react to George Floyd’s death,” Opinion, June 2)
In January, Kobe Bryant left this world. In February, Ahmaud Arbery was killed for the rebellious act of jogging while black. In March, many of us lost our jobs because of COVID-19. In April and May, we watched many Americans die from the disease — and we witnessed deadly police brutality.
Despite the unceasing turbulence of 2020, we must use the momentum created by this uprising to create long-lasting changes for the black community. Yes, it is true that our mere existence is a protest against the injustice that is America (white America in particular). However, in developing long-range plans to counter police brutality, in striving for positions of power that will allow us to have more control over institutions, in simply registering to vote, we will create a future in which blackness is not feared, but celebrated.
More recently, I woke up empowered — empowered by all of those who came before me and fought tirelessly for black freedom, and by the response of my community as well as allies of the black community to injustice that was George Floyd’s death and those of so many others.
In the words of Kendrick Lamar, “We’re gonna be all right.”
Ronald Clinton, Manhattan Beach
To the editor: As we confront the double whammy of the COVID-19 pandemic and the George Floyd killing, we must pay attention to the lessons being offered.
The pandemic exposed some failures of our society including the consequences of allowing extreme income and healthcare inequality to persist. Floyd’s killing has put racism -- not just from some in law enforcement but the systemic racism we have been unable to eradicate for centuries -- back in the spotlight. Where do we even begin to solve any of this?
Columnist Robin Abcarian’s interview of a 12-year-old boy in South Los Angeles offers some hope. This boy said he would trade his dream of becoming a professional football player “just for equality and just for black people to get treated right.”
He added, “I would sacrifice my life so that could happen, so black people can get what they have been deserving since the beginning of time.”
Maybe we could all start thinking about what we might be willing to sacrifice for equality so black people can be treated right.
Joanna Ryder, Hermosa Beach
To the editor: Thanks to Abcarian for bringing brothers Noah and Evan to our attention. They are exactly what is right with our country.
I am sure their mother is so proud of them, but my guess is that she is also afraid for them. What if they are in the wrong place at the wrong time and are harassed or worse simply because of the color of their skin? I cannot imagine her dread.
I pray that Noah and Evan grow into adulthood and continue to be the deep feeling people they are at this young age. We as a country must demand that this happens. We cannot lose these future leaders. They are a precious ingredient to strengthen our struggling democracy.
How could anyone disagree with this?
Judith Braun, Woodland Hills
To the editor: Yes, we need to take action against racism, but there is another problem: systemic racism.
It has been around for a long time. Due to recent events, it is now rightfully being acknowledged.
The systemic racism we’re dealing with now originated in Europe in the 15th century with the Doctrine of Discovery, which legalized and empowered the dehumanizing slavery of Africans and the domination of non-Christian lands and their indigenous people. It exemplified a vile expression of European supremacy, and because of the Supreme Court it became legal precedent in America in 1823.
I am an 89-year-old Native American and am astounded that only recently I became aware of this constitutional plight. I didn’t learn about it in school or college. It is time to learn and reveal more about the doctrine and how it has impacted our governance.
Once learned, we will see that systemic changes are needed, not ineffectual Band-Aids on the existing system.
Harold Printup, Mar Vista
To the editor: For many years as a diversity trainer, I led workshops and seminars that focused on seeking justice and fair treatment for all people. After facilitating hundreds of these workshops, I felt like progress was being made.
Discussions got real, awareness increased, and people left feeling optimistic. Looking back, I note that many of the contracts I secured from county or city governments exempted their police departments from mandatory workshops.
Barack Obama’s election symbolized a move away from institutionalized racism. We felt our work had been validated.
How quickly all of that progress dissipated with the election of Donald Trump. His racist utterances and embodiment of white privilege opposed everything to which we diversity trainers had devoted our lives.
Unfortunately, his rhetoric ended the restraint some police officers had been exhibiting in their treatment of black men and women. The ongoing uprising demonstrates the frustration and anger of black people in this country, a completely understandable sentiment considering not only the police brutality, but also the disproportionate number of people of color who have died from COVID-19 because of poverty and lack of good healthcare.
My heart breaks over the continuous acts of violence toward black men.
Roberta Youtan Kay, Palm Desert
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