US Has Confronted Racism
First, I find it puzzling that Rabbi Sid Schwarz only now (not, say, five years ago) is “feeling ashamed … for the way that the richest country in the world has refused to confront its systemic racism” (“I’ve Been a Rabbi Fighting Racial Injustice,” July 2).
Secondly, the statement on its face is patently untrue given the historical facts. I’d like to remind the rabbi that 360,000 Union soldiers lost their lives confronting slavery back in the 19th century. Since then, the country, through its elected representatives and citizenry, perhaps slowly, adopted laws, practices and numerous administrative measures to address the remnants of “systemic” racism that indeed existed in the past.
Unfortunately, racism, just like anti-Semitism, still exists on the individual level and always will. However, it is unseemly, particularly for a rabbi, to libel the great country by ascribing a vile trait of racism to its governing institutions and tens of millions of decent Americans.
Isaac Svartsman | Philadelphia
Progress Has Been Made
Regarding “Leaders, Business Owners Look Forward After Protests,” June 11, 2020, during the last 50 years we have seen enormous changes in American society. After Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, the majority of Americans took his message to heart. Most saw the unfair treatment of Black Americans through his eyes. His message was heard and accepted. Many changes began.
Young people don’t know how different their world is compared to 1963. They grew up seeing African Americans on television shows as hosts, commentators, contestants, in commercials, print ads, movies, as sports heroes. It’s quite common to see Black school principals, teachers, doctors, government officials, business leaders, authors, as well as bus drivers, postal workers, bank tellers, sales people — plus Obama, voted in twice.
Today’s world is far more inclusive than ever. People mix and mingle at work, in restaurants, stadiums, stores, schools, on teams. It is infuriating that race hustlers and agitators keep claiming that racism is “systemic” in America. We need many voices to refute these claims.
The terrible death of George Floyd, and the many claims of victimhood, have produced enough “white guilt” that even criminal behavior is excused. But looting and destruction is criminal. To excuse criminality is wrong.
Roberta E. Dzubow | Plymouth Meeting