Opinion | Reflections on Racism in America

To the Editor:

Re “As Americans Shift on Racism, Trump Digs In” (front page, June 12):

As I read this article, I was suddenly struck by a wonderful epiphany. We actually owe President Trump a great debt of gratitude. By doubling down on his racist, outdated, isolationist worldview, he has actually done more to move the equality needle in the right direction than any other leader in recent history.

Americans of all backgrounds are seeing right through his thin wisps of smoke and mirrors and taking matters into their own hands to rectify the historical wrongs of our nation’s past.

So, thank you, Donald. Job well done. Now, go away. Please.

David Rothstein

To the Editor:

Re “Anger and Mistrust in Georgia as Vote Dissolves Into Debacle” (front page, June 10):

“I can’t breathe” has moved millions to the streets to demand equal justice for all Americans. After watching the election debacle in Georgia, a rerun of so many other elections in our country, I fear that unless we recognize “I can’t vote” as a necessary theme in the movement, nothing will really change.

Stephen Gladstone
Shaker Heights, Ohio

To the Editor:

Re “G.O.P. Blindsided by Public’s Rage at Floyd Killing” (front page, June 10):

Senator Mitch McConnell correctly stated, “We are still wrestling with America’s original sin.” But the problem of systemic racism in this country is much larger than the stain created by our enslavement of another race, which ended 155 years ago. The persistence of racism stems from the myths and fantasies that were invented by our slave-owning society to justify its existence, which became so ingrained that they still fester in the American psyche.

I believe we should face the fraught origins of our country squarely. We need to strengthen and broaden our civic education to include an unsparing acknowledgment not only of slavery itself, but also a description of the methods employed to dehumanize enslaved black people, in an attempt to justify the act of enslavement and absolve the enslavers of any sin. Perhaps then we can begin to understand why we treat blacks the way we do, and true change may be possible.

Bill Madison
San Francisco

To the Editor:

There is a glaring omission in the current call for racial equality and redress of systemic bigotry in this country — Native Americans, whose oppression and marginalization by white America predates even slavery.

Native Americans were seen by American colonists and those who followed not as humans, but as inconvenient obstacles to white settlement. Those who were not exterminated outright were herded into internment on reservations.

Native Americans currently suffer from some of the highest levels of unemployment, alcoholism and suicide in this country. Education and health care are often substandard, and opportunity for economic advancement is woefully insufficient.

It is unthinkable to have a conversation about rectification of historical and current racism in America without including Native Americans. They have been victimized for centuries; it is long past time for that to be addressed and corrected.

Dennis B. Appleton
Madison, Wis.

To the Editor:

Re “‘This You?’ (It Definitely Is),” by Aisha Harris (Op-Ed, nytimes.com, June 9):

Yes, it definitely is me. I was ableist until I had a child with a disability, when I suddenly woke to the disability rights movement. I was homophobic until I fell in love with another woman, when I suddenly woke to gay pride. I was ageist until I got old, when I suddenly became an anti-ageism activist.

Being white didn’t make me ableist or homophobic or ageist. Privilege of all kinds is, regrettably, invisible to the privileged. Being white made me a racist, though, and owning that is the work of a lifetime.

Jody Savage
Pittsboro, N.C.

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