We should not assume things about other people

August 18, 2013 

I must respond to David Altenbach's Aug. 10 letter in which he mentions "... not to mention the negative effect that drug use, high school drop out rates, gang affiliations and single family homes have on many of these same young men. But I guess focusing on these issues would not bring them the notoriety and financial gain that race baiting does, sad."

Having worked with troubled youth for well over 38 years, I am here to say that in reality the issues Mr. Altenbach attributes to minority males speaks directly to the issue of another racial assumption that is clearly wrong.

Detention centers and prisons are not made up of only minority members of our society; they also have a good number of white members. White members who have come from single adult homes, drug users, high school dropouts and gang affiliations. Some of our most horrific crimes have been perpetrated by young white males.

Many people see through the eyes of Fox News that Trayvon Martin, because he was of color (and presumably fit a biased understanding of youth of color), had no right to be able to walk freely from a convenience store back to his father's apartment without Mr. George Zimmerman assuming that he was "up to no good," giving him the right to follow.

If Trayvon Martin had been a white male with a hoodie, Zimmerman would not have taken a second look. That is the reality of a lot of recent letter writers.

Unless we, as Americans, begin to look at situations through the eyes and reality of people of color and the everyday reactions that we white people judge and proclaim to understand, we should not be claiming and assuming things about other people.

I will finish by stating that in our so called Christian universe, greed, power and guns have no place in our society. Had Zimmerman not believed that his gun made him a man, Trayvon Martin would still be here on Earth.

Katherine J. McDonald


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