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Previous letter writer answered own question

To the editor:

Michael Spahr, on June 1, asked (then answered) the question “Why?” Why do we “blanket it as ‘systemic'” you ask. Well let me explain how your very next sentence, “These types of incidents you cite have been going on for decades,” answers your question.

First we have to admit that yes, this has been going on for decades, centuries actually. “These types of incidents” are the extrajudicial killings of unarmed black men by law enforcement. You say “(we) cite” and then later imply that it is the media is cherry picking and exploiting these “incidents,” to which I have to remind you of the ubiquity of cameras that have allowed us to now witness and share what you admit has “been going on for decades.”

It is almost like there is a process that has been in place to allow “these types of incidents” — a structure that has been followed for “decades,” an organization that has routinely covered up or lied about “incidents” as it was the word of the “credible” law enforcement against the word of the dead “criminal,” sort of an arrangement, or an institutional understanding that one group of people are presumed guilty based on, say, where they live, whom they associate with or some past action while the other group is presumed innocent based on, say, their chosen profession, the fraternity that backs them or the lack of acknowledgment of past actions. You might say there is a practice in place that has, for generations, seen different standards applied and disproportionate sentencing for one group of people over another that when viewed objectively, kind of comes down to one thing — the color of one’s skin.

What might we call this? A system? That affects people differently based on — what do we call it when skin color is involved? — race, maybe? A system affecting a race? What might that be? Oh yeah, systemic racism!

So there is your answer as to “why” we “blanket it as ‘systemic'” with regards to law enforcement. I could go through how the system has disadvantaged people of color in banking, legal representation, housing, health care, education, employment and many other aspects of society but I won’t. Instead I will just ask that you take a mere fraction of the energy you spend denying the lived experience of millions of your fellow Americans and put it toward some empathy, understanding and a touch of self reflection.

What is it that you fear about learning about what others experience? How does it hurt for you and others to learn the answers to the questions you posed by simply reading the forbidden texts of the 1619 Project or Critical Race Theory? Why not step out of your comfort zone and see that in this country, we are not all treated equally — yet — and that we can all do more to work on the promise to strive toward that more perfect union.

Eric Becht

Mifflintown

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