Aaryn Belfer's admonition in her Aug. 20 "Backwards & in High Heels" column—"All white people... should be in serious dialogue" about racism— is predicable, but, inadvertently, she seems to suggest a reverse racist message: that it's always or primarily whites who are more racist than are other peoples, and that's a dialogue that equally needs to be seriously confronted.
I don't believe she intended any conscious insinuation, as her heart is in the right place. Still, I never hear anyone publicly suggesting that people of color or various ethnicities ever consider their own racist attitudes and behaviors. Why is the whole white race (as if there really was such a simple abstraction) implicated as guilty? Most minorities would not stand for such generalized prejudices.
So-called demands for dialogue about racism have often assumed that white people need to be explaining things and are guilty in soul (while every one else is innocent and can stay in accusation mode). Such "dialogue" seems just more "monologue" controlled by certain political factions and suasions of the rainbow coalition (many who routinely pit themselves both politically and academically against white men as the enemy—including white women).
If the U.S. population is more than 300 million people (a huge statistical field), there can always be a cherry-picking of tragic instances that suggest skewed exaggerations (even while those skewed exaggerations can point to real problems). Because some white people have engaged in atrocities or racist endeavors, then anyone with white skin is somehow implicated as guilty? No double standard? I refuse to accept the idea that because my skin is white, I should be suspected of more racist inclination than other peoples.
I don't dispute plenty racist evils—some very ugly and prevalent—happen in this country, and people of color are subject to more consequential results; however, I deplore this prevalent rainbowist racism that somehow because my skin is white, I am always more suspect.
Also, while there are police inclined to power abuse and racism, there are equally thousands of white police officers across the country who do good and humane things from time to time.
If some white people find rationalizations for inequality and oppression, there are equally people who automatically believe the worst about a white person versus a minority when a negative event occurs, automatically believing the white person must be the guilty party. This, too, is racism and is more prevalent than what some would like to believe.
Brian Becker, South Park
Looking out for their own
Regarding your Sept. 10 editorial about the deaths in county jails: County inmates have a slight advantage over state prisoners in that there is some oversight, as disingenuous as it may be. State prisoners have only the local coroners and California's inspector general, who never investigates inmate deaths unless they end up in litigation. And as most people are aware, the Coroner's office is run by the local sheriff, who, like the local district attorney, is unwilling to investigate any inmate deaths that might implicate or find liable another law-enforcement agency.
So who really cares? Only the family members of those who die. No attorney will touch such a case unless that person was beaten, shot, stabbed or strangled by law enforcement and they have evidence and witnesses to be able to prove that a death was caused by said law-enforcement agency. I know this because I have been down that road and will tell you they will do almost anything to withhold evidence, threaten witnesses, refuse to answer questions or cooperate in any way. And to make things worse, you must ask permission to sue the state by filing a claim in which the statute of limitations is six months. If you're lucky, you might get the coroner's report in five months!
Law enforcement no longer serves the people; it serves itself!
Frank Courser, Escondido
Editor's note: The San Diego County Sheriff 's Department does not run the county Medical Examiner's office (the coroner).
An editorial that's not annoying
I just wanted to thank you for your fantastic Sept. 17 editorial, "You, football fan, hold the power." Aside from voicing a much-needed perspective on domestic abuse, this editorial was written in a relaxed, un-argumentative tone that made reading it a good experience. I read, and heard, every word.
Usually, I find this "editorial" column quite annoying. Even though I often agree with the subject matter, I'm put off by the one-sided, scolding tone that it is written in. It always sounds like a passionate, unapproachable, yelling enthusiast who is pointing his finger at me, and it automatically makes me annoyed as I attempt to enjoy the rest of your magazine. The latest editorial column, "You, football fan, hold the power," was very well-written, and it made me think. I wanted to follow the author's advice. It made me want to continue reading all of the articles in the magazine, instead of feeling annoyed while skimming through them.
I hope this writer continues to write the editorial pieces. It's the first article, and it really sets the tone for the entire issue.
Brett Wagner, Ocean Beach
Nasty' cover image
Question for you: On your Oct. 8 issue cover, why didn't you pose Scott Peters as Moses descending the Mount with the 10 Commandments, or as Mohammed circling the Karbala in Mecca? I guess it was just easier to pick on the central figure of the Christian faith. My wife and I found your cover to be not just offensive, but disgustingly so!
CityBeat should offer an apology to your readers of the Christian faith, and to all who have just seen the cover, even if they didn't read the feature article to which the cover is supposed to relate. This is truly nasty gutter politics. Shame on you!
Lou Cumming, La Jolla
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