The Journal Gazette
Monday, August 19, 2019 1:00 am


Racial discrimination a staining legacy

Jacqueline St. John's letter of Aug. 10 lamented how much attention has been placed on the phenomena of white privilege and racism. She argued that such complaints come “straight out of the 1960s” and that there is “very little still relevant today.”

William Faulkner's well-worn wisdom is useful here: “The past is never dead. It's not even past.” Racial discrimination has a long legacy that shapes our nation still today. After World War II, notorious “housing covenants” denied black veterans the same opportunity as white veterans to use their GI Bill benefits to buy family homes in the suburbs. This still affects black families today, who struggle to accrue the financial stability their white counterparts achieved by investing in lucrative suburban housing more than half a century ago.

The “war on drugs” that began in the 1970s and grew into a “tough on crime” movement by the 1990s resulted in millions of people going to jail. By 1999, 74% of all Americans going to jail on drug offenses were black. This is not because black people were responsible for 74% of drug use; it is because the police and judicial system enforced laws against blacks more vigorously than against whites. As professor Michelle Alexander explained in “The New Jim Crow” (2010), this has led to African American communities struggling to achieve economic and social advancement.

Most white folks, and I am one, don't spend much time in black communities and, as a result, lack an intuitive understanding of the legacy of racism. To be sure, the legacy exists. The activists today raising issues of white privilege and racism follow a proud and honorable American tradition that goes back hundreds of years. Their America is your America, and it is a nation that has long wrestled with racial discrimination and its legacy.

David G. Schuster

Fort Wayne

Consumers get gouged thanks to big pharma

All the arguments might be resolved by putting the entire country on the same medical insurance enjoyed by government workers.

Remove the “donut” hole. For example, I just hit the lower side of that and was shocked to find that one medication more than doubled, from $130 for a 90-day supply to $280.99 until out-of-pocket payments clear the upper limit. While learning the reason for the increase, it was disclosed that the pharmaceutical company raised the price from about $1,400 for a 90-day supply to about $1,700. Aside from greed, what is the motivation? Which entity benefits more from this, big pharma or the insurance company, and who loses?

No wonder lower-income people have to choose between which bills to pay and which to keep in order to keep life going. Really pathetic, is it not?

Don Hicks

Fort Wayne

Killing for sport

I see Congress will not do what is necessary to end our relentless killings, so I have an alternative.

Make serial killings an Olympic sport; we will be the best – no competition. We have the attitude, the technology, the Second Amendment and the politicians who have thoughts and prayers for everyone. If we can't take military killing machines from civilians, let's be the best in the world at it. Most gun fans are sports fans, so it's perfect.

The NRA will sell more guns and Walmart can feel better about selling them. All in all, a win-win for all of us.

Unless you're one of those snowflakes who believes guitars are better than guns. Guitars don't kill people; they just kill.

Roger Blansit

Coldwater, Michigan

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