Systemic racism is real, whether you believe it or not

It’s a pattern, not one isolated event.

Editor’s note: This letter is in response to “‘Systemic racism’ is meant to divide us”, published Aug. 26.

Because Mr. Lowell can site statistics proving wage disparity is not a racism issue, that alone leaves him to conclude that systemic racism is not an issue in our country. Never mind the many, many other ways that can be sited that it is an issue.

I just watched a video today that a black man in North Carolina posted where he was driving down the highway, not doing anything wrong, when a police car going the other direction saw him, did a U-ey, started following him and finally pulled him over for an “illegal license plate frame”. You read that right, an “illegal license plate frame.”

The officer of course asked him for his license and registration which he quickly provided. The officer went back to his car to check those on his computer, came back and asked him to step out of the car, asked him if he had any weapons in the car, or any drugs — “no” was the answer to both these questions. By this time two other police cars had arrived, the officer then asked the man if he could search his car to which the man responded, “no”.

At this time he was asked to step away from his car so a drug sniffing dog could sniff around his car. All this in response to an “illegal license plate frame” — which he got with the car from the dealer by the way — and he had been driving the car for several months.

If this and thousands of incidents like it every day in this country don’t speak to you of systemic racism, then I would like to know what you would think if something like this happened to you. How many times do we have to see a person of color get killed for driving while Black or walking while Black or bird watching while Black or even just unnecessarily being harassed for an “illegal license plate frame.”

Larry Benson


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