Racism about ‘other guy’ doing it

Dear Editor,

With regard to Gary Abernathy’s column on labels on Sept. 26, I write. I find his definition on racism puzzling. He says racism is “a belief that an entire race of people is inferior, or superior, to another race of people.”

In its broadest sense, perhaps. But he goes on to suggest that based on race “insulting someone, or being unfair to someone, or even disliking someone” is not a prejudiced act, unless all members of that race are somehow condemned in the process.

By this standard, if you are willing to write off say 95 percent of a given race you could not be accused of prejudiced. Really?

A more realistic appraisal, in my view, would take into account “cultural racism.” That is, thinking and doing things the way they have always been done because that is familiar and comfortable. Hillary Clinton, in the recent presidential debate, commented that to some degree we are all racially prejudiced because that is the way our society has developed. It is nowhere more apparent than in the ghastly mistreatment of young African-American men by so many police and courts.

We need not wonder if Donald Trump is racially prejudiced. In that same presidential debate he was questioned about the Federal Fair Housing Suit brought against him, his father and his company in the 1970s. He and his agents refused to rent properties to African-Americans. He replied that there was no admission of guilt.

However, after two years of failed litigation on his part, he was forced not only to rent to minorities, but to advertise that he would do so. Trump claimed that it was not important because lots of other realtors were doing it.

That kind of excuse is all too familiar to me from my many years of teaching high school, “the other guys were doing it.” As a matter of fact, it was a landmark major civil liberties victory dealing with Trump’s racially prejudiced actions.

—Colleen Huckabee