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Letters to the Editor April 13
Published 4/13/2012
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Racial equality has not been reached yet

Editor:

In response to Ashley Fisher’s column on racism in America, I would like to respectfully disagree with her on the statement that, “We elected an African-American to be the 44th president of the U.S., and that is the only supporting evidence I need to prove our country is not becoming increasingly racist toward the black population.”

It seems Fisher is only categorizing racism against black people with images of the civil rights movement, and fails to acknowledge contemporary racism. Racism today is not better or improved, it is different. We have institutionalized it into our media, every day words and politics to the point where it has become culturally acceptable.

If we use the argument that racism in America is improving because we have a black president, we can also say that because we have a female governor the women of Washington face little to no discrimination, and because we have openly gay entertainers (i.e. Ellen DeGeneres) homophobia is rare in our media. We cannot use minority individuals in places of power or popularity as indicators of the experience of other minorities in the United States.

America has been shocked by the murder of Trayvon Martin. Black America would love to have been shocked by this story, but  black America could only be shocked by stories like this if they were something new to our cultural experience. These are not isolated incidents, killings of people of color happen every day in America, but these are not often made national news stories. If anyone wants proof of this, all they need to do is perform a simple search on the Internet.

Are we getting better? Or are we making sure its embedded into our culture so deep we cannot touch it?

Nikki Brueggeman
Black Student Union Vice President

Column perpetuated racial stereotypes

Editor:

There was a column on Wednesday that was both irresponsibly misleading and reliant on inaccurate racial myths. Ashley Fisher mentions the increase in hate crime coverage within the news as if the coverage is for ratings purposes. However, that ignores the facts that hate crime occurrences have increased and intensified since the election of President Barack Obama.

Fisher made a point to identify that there were a larger number of whites murdered by blacks in 2010 than vice versa, however anyone who checks the same database will notice that in 2010, 70 percent of racial-biased hate crime victims were black, and that 58 percent of hate crime offenders were white. Likewise, the majority of arrests for both violent and property crimes in 2010 were white, not black.

A Duke University study revealed that black and Asian young people are less likely than white young people to use illicit drugs. Yet the rate at which African-Americans are incarcerated for drug usage far outnumbers that of whites. The "racial criminal" profile of high-offending blacks that this column begs is a racial myth. As shown with recent events in Florida, it is these types of stereotypes that result in innocent people having their rights violated or worst due to the color of their skin.

While the story told by Fisher is a saddening tale, there are equally as many tales that give the inverse example. Stories such as that of women like Andrea Yates, Bethany Storro and Ashley Todd, who utilized public racial biases by falsely claiming they were victimized by black individuals to divert attention away from their own misdoings. The same racial biases Fisher’s column perpetuates.

Racism persists partially due to individuals deflecting the seriousness of its nature and defending its occurrence with stereotypical counter examples.

Isaac Harrison
WSU alumnus, 2005

Columnist used offensive logic

Editor:

I am personally offended by the column written by Ashley Fisher. The preponderance of data argue against her thesis. It is obvious that she is not a minority who has suffered racial profiling and abuse by those who are sworn to protect us. We have witnessed many, many cases where the moment a white girl goes missing, there is 24/7 news coverage, but the same level of news coverage is non-existent when a girl of color is raped, killed and discarded.

Check the data by Hatty Lee of the Children’s Defense Fund report on “Protect Children, Not Guns 2012” that highlights national and state data on how gun violence affects children and teens in America. Not that Fisher would care to know, but “According to the report, the children and teens killed by guns in 2008 and 2009 would fill more than 229 classrooms of 25 students each. Gun homicide is the number one cause of death for black teens.”

To argue that news coverage is excess in favor of minorities is ludicrous and absent of data to support this contention.

Dr. John F. Alderete
professor, School of Molecular Biosciences 

Columnist successfully thought outside the box

Editor:

I want to thank Ashley Fisher for having the nerve to go against the prevailing reporting practice of sensationalizing a story and being so politically correct about a story. If you continue to write, report and give opinions in this manner, without an agenda, you will go far in the journalistic world. Again, thank you for such a clear and unbiased column.

Joe B. Enloe, Jr.
building superintendent, Idaho Commons and Student Union

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