Letters to the Editor

Hey, what can I say? No, really

Re Sept. 2 column by Leonard Pitts, “Race in political code-speak”

Is anyone else as fed up with the obvious race baiting? Mr. Pitts must have a PhD in it.

I’m a typical white guy. Uh-oh. Oh well, there, I said it out loud. A few facts: I have a job, pay my bills, vote my conscience and love my family.

The “racially sensitive” media members and countless other “minority advancement” groups would rather I whisper the above facts. Why? Evidently we’re learning that they’ve become racist facts. Who knew?

Leonard Pitts would declare unemployment, poor credit, poor voter turnout, disintegration of the family and incarceration rates as unique issues of the black community, off limits to white politicians. A 44 percent increase in food stamp recipients from 2009-2012 is solely a black issue? They are certainly issues, but unique to blacks? Really?

The Kaiser Foundation reports that 992,800 people live below the poverty line in South Carolina and 466,000 (47 percent) of them are black. Guess what? Another 460,000 (46 percent) of them are white. If we rounded them all up and put them in Williams-Brice Stadium, it’d look like a checker board. No, these are truly issues of the human community.

Yet you decry white politicians who dare engage in the conversation. If they mention race in the context of these issue, they’re racists. If they don’t, they’re engaging in “code-speak.”

What are we to take-away from your teachings? That these issues are added to the list of topics that whites aren’t allowed to discuss? Should we then be surprised that they never reach top-of-mind among whites? You would have two-thirds of the U.S. population excluded from the dialogue and the resulting solutions that might reveal themselves.

Surely, Leo, you’re smarter than that. I’m pretty sure you were taught at least one universal truth. Namely, stated loud and clear so those in the back of the bus can hear (oops again, wait a minute, was that racist?), these issues are attributable to specific behaviors that ensure their survival.

Behaviors, Leonard, cause and effect. That’s it. There’s nothing more to it. It’s not hard to understand and it has nothing to do with color, gender, nationality or religion. Sell crack – go to jail. Chronic pregnancy – have kids you can’t afford and later won’t control. Don’t learn – be stupid. We all, individually, decide to do or not do these things. It seems lost on you that no individual can force another individual to educate themselves for a better future. Well, moms and dads can, not necessarily will, force their kids. Did I mention disintegration of the family?

Yes, Mr. Pitts, the Caddie is in the ditch. But you, Farrakhan and Jackson choose to respond with a million-man-march on the “blatant, discriminatory pricing of its rims.”

Sometimes the truth hurts. It hurts all of us facing these issues but it is, in fact, the truth. Truth doesn’t care what color you are. Your enthusiasm for “going all Sharpton” on Gingrich, Reagan, Romney and even Clinton is astounding. And the worst part is you know very well it does absolutely nothing to confront the issues beyond shooting the messenger.

Clearly, your goal (nauseating as it may be) is twofold: to enrage black folk and exasperate white folk. Perhaps we should thank you. You, Mr. Pitts, through demonstration, couldn’t have more clearly defined race baiting!

Grow up! When will today’s black “leaders” join the rest of us (black and white alike) in the new millennium? If you’re going to continue to lay claim to these issues for the black community – and demonize any white guy that dares mention them – then shouldn’t more of your tired, incessant nattering be spent on the former rather than the latter?

Enough ranting, already. It’s time to get on with our Labor Day cookout. The family will be here pretty soon (several of whom are black, by the way). Racially sensitive beings that my wife and I are, we no longer describe the menu in advance.

The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.