Letters to the Editor: The L.A. Times had years to show it cared about diversity. It failed
To the editor: I am a South L.A.-based African American writer, playwright and book author. Despite having submitted numerous opinion pieces to the Los Angeles Times, I have been published only twice in 17 years. (“L.A. Times faces painful reckoning over race in its staff and pages,” June 24)
The Times’ op-ed editors were clearly uninterested in local, progressive Black voices and rarely acknowledged the complexity of L.A.'s African American communities, especially vis-a-vis gender, LGBTQI+ issues and educational justice. Over the past decade, the op-ed pages have devolved into a bastion of non-local white writers with high-profile book deals.
In 2015 and 2018, I along with a group of Black and Latinx female youth leaders, wrote letters of complaint to The Times’ editors and never received a response. I subsequently canceled my subscription.
Now that the newspaper industry is in a death spiral, and it’s become politically correct for corporate America to be perceived as “anti-racist,” the paper’s overt white supremacy is no longer expedient for its bottom line.
Sikivu Hutchinson, Los Angeles
To the editor: There is a horrific hypocrisy at your paper on the subject of race, and you have traveled at a snail’s pace to correct it.
You have a sea of white faces that daily dominate your pages. At the same time, you constantly preach to the rest of us about inclusion and how diversity is our strength. These white faces don’t come close to matching their proportion in L.A. County by a long shot.
Whites make up only 26% of Los Angeles County, but they are 61% of your journalists. To me, that smacks of systemic racism.
The same finger-wagging you’ve done to others unmercifully over the years has come back to bite you hard. I think they call that karma. And, if diversity was your strength, then you might also add diversity of opinions to your opinion pages. Apparently, conservatives need not apply.
If diversity is our strength, then prove it. Put your money where your mouth is. Your credibility is on the line.
Dan Jones, Rancho Santa Margarita
To the editor: Recently, I learned that nonwhites and Latinos now make up the majority of people under age 16 in this country. I also learned that The Times’ newsroom has 502 journalists, the bulk of whom are white in a [county] where whites are only 26% of the population.
Two years ago, the Times began to hire more reporters and missed a golden opportunity to diversify its ranks. The oversights in hiring are now lamented by Executive Editor Norman Pearlstine.
Publisher and owner Patrick Soon-Shiong has indicated his support in keeping Pearlstine, but as a long-time reader, I disagree with that decision. His hires were made willingly and were done with indifference to the racial homogeneity of his staff.
If this shift in consciousness to diversity is to last, the leadership must reflect that diversity through lived experience. No minority leader at the executive level would ignore or miss hiring opportunities as Pearlstine has.
More importantly, the urgency that hiring decisions require at this time demand an executive editor who has experienced oversights such as this.
Carmen R. Gonzalez, Glendale
To the editor: While The Times is confronting its glaring deficiencies and missteps regarding race, could it also consider improving the diversity of opinion at the paper?
In its reporting and punditry, The Times is overwhelmingly progressive. In Los Angeles County, about 22% of voters are Republican or conservative, judging by the vote in the 2016 presidential election.
Are there any conservatives journalists in The Times’ newsroom?
Glynn Morris, Playa del Rey
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