Sounding off: On racism, we’ve come a long way – TribLIVE


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The author of the letter “Let’s tell the truth about racism” states that systemic racism “has and continues to be prevalent in all facets of our society.” From my perspective, our country has arguably been more successful at eradicating all forms of racism than perhaps any other.
Just look at some of the groundbreaking Supreme Court decisions, such as the 1954 decision desegregating schools, the 1956 decision declaring bus segregation unconstitutional and the 1960 decision desegregating interstate travel. Look at groundbreaking laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and lesser known laws like the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992, which charged Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with the task of ensuring that people living in inner cities had reasonable access to mortgages. Look at the Code of Federal Regulations, which requires primary contractors to hire a certain percentage of minority-owned subcontractors.
As proof that these efforts are working, I direct your attention to the plethora of TV shows, commercials and newscasts that are populated with Black people and a Supreme Court that soon will have two sitting Black justices.
How can a country that has a Black population of just 12% be systemically racist while electing a Black man president, not once, but twice?
We will never be perfect, but we have come a very long way in my lifetime.
Edward Pencoske, Trafford

The good ol’ days of January 2021
Ah, the good ol’ days.
January 2021: Gasoline averaged $2.67 a gallon in the East and $3.70 a gallon in the West.
Household electricity was 13.09 cents per kilowatt hour.
Eggs cost $1.67 a dozen.
Yep, January 2021. Think everything costs more? Guess what? Even President Biden’s U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) agrees with you. “No joke.”
Biden’s BLS states that from February 2021 to February 2022, gas increased 38%, electricity increased 9% and food increased 7.9%. “That’s not hyperbole.”
Why? What happened in early 2021? Hmmm … well, Biden took the presidency, and after months of reporting “transitory” escalating prices, his administration finally acknowledged inflation.
Biden blames it on the pandemic and Putin. OK, so let’s see.
The pandemic is an easy scapegoat, but it began in March 2020. Per Biden’s BLS, inflation was 1.9% in 2018, 2.3% in 2019, 1.4% in 2020 and 7% in 2021. And although the pandemic began in early 2020 and inflation wasn’t an issue until 2021, Biden blamed it as the primary reason for inflation in his Democratic Caucus Issues Conference speech.
During that same caucus speech, Biden blamed Putin as inflation’s second reason. On Feb. 7, 2022, weeks before Putin invaded Ukraine, AAA stated the average price for a gallon of gas was $3.44, 98 cents more than the previous year. Biden’s closing words to the caucus were “Democrats didn’t cause this problem. Vladimir Putin did.” Blaming Putin for higher prices prior to the invasion is simply nonsense.
Biden blames the pandemic and Putin.
“C’mon, man.”
Mary Rita Turka, Murrysville

Who benefits from critical race theory?
I believe critical race theory utilizes “stories” and “counter stories” to propagate “systemic racism,” replacing factual right and wrong with perceived wrongs. In my opinion, CRT holds victimhood in high regard, removes individuals’ rights and promotes “special” rights for “special” groups, “normalizes” intolerance, bullies and objects to free speech.
So much effort used to convince us we are hurt, hurtful, mean, exploited, defeated, manipulated, damaged, cruel, tyrants, tormentors. If only more effort were made to uplift and congratulate individuals’ accomplishments, achievements and successes. Constant criticism is in no one’s best interest.
Does CRT improve literacy? Does CRT boost math or science skills? Does it teach skills necessary to maintain a home, a job, a vehicle?
Very few leave this world unscathed. Sickness, economic strife, loss of loved ones; we all face challenges. Most of us know desperation. These afflictions know no ethnicity.
I believe CRT affects justice, business, the government and national defense; targets individuals’ rights to enjoy free speech, own property, practice religion, bear arms; targets capitalism; and preaches equity in outcome (communism).
CRT appears to be an attempt to divide and conquer. CRT is certainly not how to unite people — the American people.
Carol A. Holland, Murrysville

Doom, gloom and Democrats
Dave Majernik writes a deceptive letter, painting a gloomy picture for the future based on a false premise that “radical policies” are calling for banning gasoline cars and oil drilling (“Radical fuel policies would bankrupt us”).
As a strong defender of the environment, I would never advocate that. At the very least, we need drilling for plastic, and at the moment we still need gasoline-powered cars because battery technology isn’t ready for the full conversion. Majernik and like-minded people fail to see that the gloomiest future is what their “drill-baby-drill” philosophies will bring.
Hopefully, technology will soon allow us to kick our oil addiction, but in the meantime, can’t we conserve a bit? Get a hybrid. I get 60 mpg. Use rails instead of long-distance trucks. Buy a small vehicle. How about a rule that if you want a pickup, you have to show why you need it for your work? Driving a guzzler increases demand and raises the price of gasoline for everyone. Even if you don’t believe in climate change, do you really want to pay more for gasoline?
Sounds radical to you? Think about a future where Earth is uninhabitable. The experts say that is coming soon if we don’t make lifestyle concessions. Mr. Majernik, do you have any children you care about, or do you only care about yourself in the present? Let’s listen to the experts and do the best we can to save our world, instead of deliberately spreading false information for selfish purposes.
Fred Durig, Delmont

Censorship threatens intellectual freedom
April is National Library Month. Here are some important points to ponder as we celebrate the intellectual freedom that libraries provide.
Intellectual freedom, the very basis for our democracy, supports the right of every individual to both seek and access information from varied points of view without restriction.
Censorship, the suppression of ideas and information that certain individuals, groups or government officials find objectionable or dangerous, is basically someone saying, “Don’t let anyone read this book, or buy that magazine, or view that film, because I object to it!”
Censors want to prejudge materials for everyone, not just for their children, but also for yours. The problem is that if one person’s preferences are considered to ban a book, others will expect the same — making almost everything vulnerable to challenge. When books are kept from students, because of the personal or political beliefs of any person or group or placed on a special shelf, that’s censorship.
Professionals make the decision about which books will be used in classrooms and placed in the library. Policies exist in many school districts that permit concerned parents to decide what their own children read/view. No individual or group has the right to impose their beliefs on other parents’ children.
School boards have a First Amendment responsibility to ensure that all students have intellectual freedom.
Eileen Elicker, Washington Township, Westmoreland County

Conservatives have reason to be skeptical of media
The print edition headline on Leonard Pitts Jr.’s column “No more common national identity” is correct, but his conclusions are wrong. Not one for introspection, he of course blames conservatives. Apparently with a straight face he states, “The average Republican trusts almost no mainstream source of information.“
With mainstream media ignoring the border crisis, actively blocking information on Hunter Biden’s laptop, telling us burning riots were mostly peaceful, that Joe Biden was competent at, well anything, and spending four years screaming Russia collusion, he might want to cut us some slack for being a tad skeptical believing what we’re told.
Thomas Wagner, Murrysville

Voice of Westmoreland works to improve lives
In his letter “Actions speak louder than words”, Bill Herald suggests that Voice of Westmoreland, a nonpartisan grassroots group, should bring the homeless and mentally ill into their homes instead of writing letters.
Herald glosses over the security and liability issues involved in individuals attempting to take on this responsibility. Anyone leaving an abusive relationship needs a secure and unknown location so that they and those helping them are not risking further violence. Many with mental health issues need specialized care that the average person is not equipped to give.
In lobbying Commissioners Sean Kertes, Gina Cerilli Thrasher and Doug Chew to invest American Rescue Plan dollars where they are most needed, we are taking action. Through civic engagement, VOW volunteers give voice to marginalized communities while demanding accountability and transparency from our local government. The commissioners work for us and are elected to serve all county residents. They have the influence and access to these funds to make a real difference if they choose to do the right thing.
VOW has hundreds of people taking various community-based actions to improve the quality of life for county residents. What actions have you taken to help others?
Kat Emery, New Alexandria

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