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Archive for Friday, July 18, 2003

Subtle racism

July 18, 2003

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To the editor:

Re: "Parents: Be wary in Lawrence" by Carl Williams from the "Take a Stand" opinion column on July 10. This article concerns his daughter's encounter with a shady character in downtown Lawrence. He warns young people to be wary of strangers. This is a valid point, but there are disturbing elements to his argument. Although the issue of race is irrelevant to his purpose, he continually points out how free from racism both he and his daughter are. While he never actually specifies which "races" he means, we assume that he's white.

Quotes from the article: "Having taught our daughter that a person's race is not relevant to anything, she was not prepared to doubt such a sophisticated 'come-on'" and "Those of us who are most susceptible are not racists or prejudiced."

These bizarre sentences don't make sense. While claiming that he is not racist, he implies that in order to stay safe, one ought to racially profile. He almost expresses a regret that he is not more racist or has not instilled racist values in his children. This is the type of backhanded racism that is so present in the institutions and practices that contribute to racial inequality in our country. It should have no place in a professional newspaper. We realize this is an opinion column, but why was the letter published as a feature article? Let's "take a stand" and resist this kind of racial profiling.

Lee Davis,

Laura Blosser,

Corinna Kimball-Brown,

Lawrence

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