Leonard Pitts Jr. writes for the Miami Herald. An interesting writer who engages in social discussions which are thought provoking and often irritating–we see the world from different perspectives. But it is the thought provoking aspect in his essays that grabs my interest. So on occasion when I see his name attached to an article, I take a peek, most often finish reading what he has to say. To set the stage: I’m white, a ‘northerner’, worried about social issues of all kinds, always have been, and I listen to the opposing argument on any subject. I could throw in that I’m a strong…’fill in the political party blank’…but it truly would be irrelevant. Ditto for religion, too. What is important? Pitts makes the argument that if you read the facts about crime rates and white vs. black, you can only conclude our justice system jails blacks in disproportionate numbers. He has various examples for his thesis with antecdotal accounts from other readers of his column who disclaim his facts. White kids are a third more likely to have sold drugs than black kids, he writes. But blacks account for 90 percent of all drug offenders in prison. Most people, white or black, believe that a white person is more likely to be murdered by a black than a white. Would the rate be 75%? Actually, its closer to 13%. With murder, white or black, the offender is usually close to home. The Justice Department supports this contention. I believe Leonard Pitts writes the truth. I believe, too, there is a deep racial divide among people…in this country, throughout the world. I’m disturbed when writers and the general public point a finger at ‘American’ racial injustice. The U.S. doesn’t have a monoply on serious social issues or injustice. Travel a little…listen to how people describe their fellow man, read their newspapers, look at their neighborhoods, their schools. Japanese and Chinese angst, Germans and Turks, Englanders and Germans, French and Albanians, Muslems and Jews, South and North. Western or Eastern Civilization…man destroys man in every form. I’m inclined to believe there will always be social injustice…that human beings can’t and won’t function as a whole on intellect and reason. We are emotional beasts on two legs; we are driven by fear, lust and greed and react accordingly. I’ve never been attacked by a lion but I’m leary even at the zoo. Once a fear takes hold, it sticks like a magnet. Bipolar forces, the stranglehold so great even with a slight release, the energy violently rebounds into a no win situation. Mr. Pitts prefaces his essay about injustice, blacks being funneled into prisons at a larger number than their white counterparts, with a quote from George Orwells, “1984”: Then the lie passed into history and became truth. He bemoans the fact that his column is a futile attempt to get his point across. I’m writing to let him know I listen. I hear his argument, his pain. The world isn’t a safe place, humans are not nice, racial injustice is a reality. Black is black and white is white. Facts…keep feeding them to us. And if only one person gains insight and their perspective changes then the truth is not futile, your efforts are not futile. I don’t think the world will change in our lifetime, Mr. Pitts, but like a toddler, small steps are made each day. We can move forward. We will move forward. We have moved forward. We have to get over this black vs. white thing that continues to feed the fires of discontent with each other and focus on how to improve our thoughts, our actions, our deeds towards fellow humans as a whole. I’m white, Mr. Pitts. Your black. Wouldn’t it be grand if we were defined as writers who share the same concerns about ineqality and injustice. Thankfully, we are not stupid, good man, we are equal in a writer’s journey to make the world a better place.
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