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Plague of racism continues

Published: Sat, March 2, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

While perusing news websites CNN and Fox News, I read some things that sadly reminded me that racism continues to plague our nation and world.

Before I get into some of the snippets of what I read, I will share with you a letter I received after a column I wrote last year on the importance of Black History Month.

I keep this letter on my desk as a reminder to keep trying to convince and educate readers that individuals have to be proactive in eliminating this scourge on society.

Here is the letter:

“To Ernie Brown Jr.: I read your column periodically. I must say you write well, ALL for the black community, a little for the Hispanics, and NONE for the white people.

“You are the biggest racist I have ever to come read of. Every other word to be in print from you is BLACK.

“Get over it ‘Boy.’ You’ll NEVER be white.”

Of course the letter was unsigned with no return address.

On The Vindicator’s website and others, anonymous cowards feel free to spew out their racist venom all day. They seem to enjoy fanning the flames of bigotry.

Why does a 60-year-old Idaho man reportedly hit a crying child and use a racial slur on board a recent flight?

I’m sure you’ve heard the story by now.

According to a published report, Jessica Bennett, who is white, and her 2-year-old adopted black son, Jonah, took their seats next to Joe Hundley on a flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta in early February.

Hundley reportedly began to complain that Jonah was too big to sit on his mother’s lap, becoming more outspoken as the flight continued. Bennett said she was “annoyed with his comments. He’s turning my light back on after I would turn it off and constantly saying things to the staff in regards to my son, and so I took us out of the situation, and we stood back by the bathrooms.”

She stood there with Jonah for 90 minutes — only returning for the landing. When the two sat down, Jonah began to cry, and Hundley became irate. Bennett said, “He looked at me in a very hateful way and he said ... shut that [N-word] kid up!”

Hundley was president of a division of AGC Aerospace, an airplane-parts manufacturer. The company issued a statement, though not naming him, calling his behavior offensive and saying he was “no longer employed by the company.”

Why must black soccer athletes be degraded for playing the game they love?

Listen to the words from Jozy Altidore of the United States: “Batteries have been thrown at me and bags of pee. I’ve seen it all,” Altidore said in an article in the New York Daily News.

Playing for the Dutch club AZ Alkmaar recently, Altidore heard supporters of opposing FC Den Bosch chant monkey noises at him. Altidore, of Haitian-American descent, demonstrated remarkable restraint under the circumstances when he said, “You just hope that these people can improve themselves. You pray for them. I was raised better than to respond to such ridiculous behavior.”

Bravo for Altidore.

Recently I read that a Twitter account associated with the fast-food chain Burger King was suspended after an apparent hacking that defaced the page with messages that the account had been sold to rival McDonald’s.

The @BurgerKing account name was changed to “McDonalds” and the Golden Arches’ familiar logo was added to the page, as was a message that the account had been sold to McDonald’s “because the whopper flopped.”

Before the feed’s suspension, hackers posted tweets that included racial epithets to Burger King’s some 83,000 followers.

Why was there a need for racial epithets?

Some of you may not have heard of Altidore, but many have heard of black actor Forest Whitaker, an Oscar winner.

On Feb. 15, Whitaker was accused of shoplifting and prevented from leaving Milano Market on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. TMZ was first to report the incident.

A store employee frisked Whitaker in front of other customers, according to reports. The search didn’t turn up anything, but Whitaker left the market shocked and angry.

According to TMZ, a statement from Whitaker’s camp said: “This was an upsetting incident given the fact that Forest did nothing more than walk into the deli. What is most unfortunate about this situation is the inappropriate way store employees are treating patrons of their establishment.”

This was Whitaker’s reaction, according to TMZ: “Forest did not call the authorities at the request of the worker, who was in fear of losing his employment. Forest asked that, in the future, the store change [its] behavior and treat the public in a fair and just manner.”

A black man walks into a deli and is frisked. Why?

A recent Associated Press story says the NAACP has decried the New York Police Department’s practice of stopping, questioning and even frisking hundreds of thousands of people on city streets. City officials said the policy helps deter crime. Critics, however, say the stops intimidate innocent people and raise issues of racial profiling.

There used to be an expression that to keep harmony in any conversation you stayed away from discussing religion and politics.

Add race to that list. Few want to discuss it honestly and openly. And some are just content to remain stuck in their bigoted ways and are teaching their offspring to do likewise.

I would like to remind my letter writer of one important thing: With few exceptions, every word printed in newspapers is black.

Ernie Brown Jr., a regional editor at The Vindicator, writes a monthly column. He can be reached by email at ebrown@vindy.com.


1dawn421(265 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

though i do agree that the letter he got was rude and yes, racist, i am sick to death of the race card played all the time even when it has no bearing. Did anyone think that maybe that deli was robbed many times and what color was the robber? almost every shooting suspect and or other violent offenders in Youngstown are in fact Black sir. the judges do not just lock up black men for the fun of it, they committed a crime. so stop the race bs and realize that it is those few "blacks" that give an entire race a bad profile. just like Honey Boo Boo gives the white race a bad name

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2republicanRick(1731 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Racism doesn't happen both ways?
Ernie practices the worst racism by promoting the fact that it only goes one way.

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3redeye1(5656 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Makes one wonder , how come when a white person is called cracker , no one thinks it racist, but use the N-word and the world stops. Well maybe if they (BLACKS) would quit using it , that might stop too. The way i see it if they can call each that, then why can't I. Or is that a sign of affection among blacks?

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41970mach1(1005 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

The guy who wrote you the letter is a jerk. I can't even come up with a reason someone would do that. And the other instances cited in your column are instances of morons being morons.

"Few want to discuss (race) honestly and openly. And some are just content to remain stuck in their bigoted ways and are teaching their offspring to do likewise."

Your quote I cited is VERY true, but is applies to BOTH races. And that is the problem we have: we do not have free and open discussions because whites are fearful of stating an open and honest opinion w/o being labeled "racist".

Until open discussion can occur there will be little improvement .

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5kurtw(1816 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

I understand where you're coming from in your column and I agree- racial prejudice (of any kind is vile and stupid)- but, it seems to me, the only thing that black people- and other minorities- have to worry about is: what does the Law Say?

I meet racists and bigots every day (some of them minority members I might add) and I come away feeling sorry for them- their feelings are a purely private concern because the Law of the Land (may God be praised) doesn't support them anymore.

You can't legislate what is in the human heart. Some twisted souls find nurture in hatred. But as long as we have fair laws in place (as we do now)- our best response is simply to pity them. A hateful heart is a living hell for it's owner.

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6kurtw(1816 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

I like what 1970mach said: "whites are fearful of expressing an honest and open opinion without fear of being labeled "racist"." Amen to that.

No one is attacking or belittling African-Americans when they point out that having an Illegitimate Birth Rate of roughly 70 per cent may not be in the best interest of the community. Bill Cosby said much the same thing and he was promptly labelled an "Oreo" by the race hustlers- Jackson, Sharpton, etc.

Any community with those kinds of demographics can't possibly do well or- for that matter- survive in the long run.

P.S. I'm not worried about saying any of this because it isn't going to come back to me- it's anonymous- but, and this is how far PC has gone in our country- if I said any of this where I work- I might find myself looking next day for new employment.

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7kurtw(1816 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

I know, racism is racism, no matter who the racist is- black, white, or purple. But, to be absolutely fair, there is a fundamental difference between racist attitudes held by African-Americans and White Racism. The difference is that Black Racism (among African-Americans at least) is a reaction to our treatment of them- 300 years of oppression. Anyone who watches a documentary dealing with the Slave Trade, the selling of slaves in Charleston, the separation of families, etc. can't help but see that.

300 years. A long time for one group of people to oppress another. The phenomenon of black racism (Malcolm X, the Panthers, etc,), by comparison, started roughly 50 years ago (about the same time as the Sixties Counter-culture: I wonder if there's a connection?). And I believe- I know- the overwhelming majority of Black Americans don't feel that way. They just want decent lives for themselves- same as we do.

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8db(280 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Blacks are the biggest racists in America & it is time that it ends. Voting for Obama because he is black is racist. Endorsing Affirmative Action is racist. Condoning black-only colleges, pageants, clubs, etc. is racist. Endorsing black hiring quotas is racist. Black preference for professional school enrollment is racist. Black on white crime is never reported as race crime but the reverse is usually done in the rare case of white on black crime. Louis Farrakhan, the worst racist in this country, is accepted by the black community; that is despicable. As a white person who, like most white Americans, accepts blacks as anyone else based on their merit, I am sick of the black race-card crap. White America is primarily color blind but that is not the case for the majority of black Americans. Get an education, get a skill, get a job, get a life, and get on with it. Ernie, by virtue that you perpetuate this long-tired nonsense illustrates your racism, you are an embarrassment to the people of Youngstown.

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9db(280 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

BTW kurtw, you need to get an education. Blacks were sold into slavery by blacks. They were slaves in Africa, captured & owned by blacks, and sold by blacks. Black Americans should jump for joy at their arrival here in America where even as slaves they were treated better than their counterparts in Africa and ultimately they became part of the greatest society in world history. Blacks in Africa today are still enslaving each other and committing atrocious crimes on themselves. Look into the Hutus & Tootsies for an example. Here in America the black community's problems of drug abuse, 50%+ high school drop-out rate, teen pregnancy, & rampant crime is a direct result of them being coddled with welfare & other government programs instituted by well intentioned whites. Uncle Sam (& the U.S. taxpayer) has become the father figure and provider. Welfare has now created the largest group of second class citizens in America; rampant with problems directly resulting from the breakdown of family values and the two parent household; drug abuse, lack of motivation, crime, & low self esteem. The best thing that could happen to the black community is the elimination of welfare. Paying people to sit home simply produces more unmotivated losers. Blacks need to stop playing the race card and look in the mirror to see where their problems originate.

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10kurtw(1816 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

For: db

I don't need an education- everything you say I was already well aware of before you said it.

I know blacks were enslaved by other blacks (as well as Muslims) and that practice continues today- tribes fight each other and the losers- the ones that survive- end up being captured and enslaved. The Romans and the Greeks did the same thing.

But, in order for the slave traders to make a living, there had to be a market for slaves, correct? And where was the primary market for black slaves? It was here in the United States, a country which in it's Declaration of Independence proudly proclaimed: " We hold these Truths to be self-evident that All Men are Created Equal". Right. The economy of half the country was based on black slavery for 150 years and it took a Civil War to end it. And even after Blacks were officially "free"- it took another 100 years to end Jim Crow Segregation. Now, with a history like that, wouldn't you, if you were Black, be tempted to feel bitter? I know I would.

I do agree with your statement about the disastrous effect of the Welfare State on Black Americans (it hasn't done much to benefit Whites, either) especially the impact on Illegitimacy Rates. In the 50's- before the Great Society kicked in- Illegitimacy Rates for Blacks and Whites were minuscule- 4- 5 per cent. In the late 60's (the Great Society and the "If it feels good- it must be good Counter-culture Era") it shot up for both groups- especially Blacks- so that today roughly 70 per cent of black babies are born "out of Wedlock" (quaint phrase!).

The result has been a disaster for Black Americans: all the problems in their community- the exploding crime rates, the high rate of incarceration for black males, the poverty- can all be traced to that single statistic: seven out of ten black babies are born to women on Welfare. It has devastated African-Americans almost as much as Slavery itself.

I also strongly agree with your statement about "blacks looking in the mirror and seeing where their true problems originate". Everybody has to do that. Life has to be lived on a daily basis- rooted in the here and now. Everyone alive has issues they need to grapple with. If I woke up tomorrow morning and started dwelling on how I was wronged in the past I might become so discouraged that I might say to myself- "Screw it"- and roll over and go back to sleep. But what would that accomplish? It's important for all Americans to remember that they're living in an exceptional country that provides exceptional opportunities for all its citizens: Black, White and every shade in-between.

Hopefully, we won't screw it up.

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11kurtw(1816 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Another important point to remember is the huge responsibility of the Democratic Party in, first, enslaving Blacks, and, then, (after they had been officially freed by the Republicans) reimposing de-facto slavery for another hundred years with Jim Crow Laws. And, of course, Liberal Democrats are responsible for the current Welfare Laws which do so much harm to the Black Community.

The question is: with that kind of history, why do African-Americans overwhelmingly support the party that has historically oppressed them? But, of course, closer to home, why do most voters in the Mahoning Valley- Black or White- willingly allow themselves to become cogs in the Democrat Machine? Your guess is as good as mine.

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12db(280 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Kurtw, the Democratic Party has played the black community for fools and blacks keep coming back for more. They're analagous to a stray dog given just enough of a handout to keep them living under the back porch; never to discover the plentiful bounty & lovely life available elsewhere. It is surprising how easily and cheaply they can be bought. Slavery again? Yes, but self imposed. The local Democratic Party provides buses to the polls from Youngstown's inner city and black churches, paying 2 cigarettes for every vote. These people are happy to sell their vote for two smokes. Pathetic.
Current slavery is alive & well in most black countries. The child slaves of Jamaica, Nigeria, the Sudan, etc are all black on black forced slavery and there's not a white person involved. Black America needs to accept responsibility for their current situation and stop playing the blame game; white America needs to stop enabling. Clowns like Ernie Brown need to stop playing the race card in our media; perpetuating the 'it's okay for blacks to be losers; they've been cheated' routine. He appears to be the token black who does not deserve his job.

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13isaac45(411 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

i hope that letter writer is in the minority mr. brown...but i'll say it again....the letters that follow just indicate how out of the mainstream and majority of the community, the state, the country, and the world vindy commenters are, thank goodness....all you have to do is go back and look at the comments before the election..as clueless as right-wing pollsters and pundits

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14db(280 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Isaac45 maybe you have a better explanation into the pitiful condition of the black community today. Do you see their current situation as okay? Maybe they need more government programs? is the problem related to insufficient handouts? Is reverse discrimination okay in your world and as our nation sinker deeper & deeper into debt to enemies like China, should we borrow even more to support those who refuse to help themselves; those who refuse to get an education, those who refuse to get a skill, those who refuse to work. Keep voting Democrat; you'll continue to witness the black community living as that stray dog. With all of the preferential treatment given to blacks today and all of the Affirmative Action programs, racial quotas, etc, there is no excuse. Do you really feel that blacks are so inferior that they need preferential treatment, handouts, and government programs; and do you too find it bothersome that they would stoop so low by accepting them?

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15DSquared(1788 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

All you have to do is read the daily police reports Mr Brown. Check out the dozens of You-Tube videos showing groups of Blacks robbing and beating Whites in Drug Stores, Fast-Food Joints, Malls and on the streets of almost all major cities in this nation. (You'll never see them on TV or in the newspapers!) Then maybe you'll figure out why some Whites will cross the street if a Black person is walking towards them. Clean up your act already!

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16kurtw(1816 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

For: db

Calling somebody with whom you disagree a nasty name is characteristic of a bully.

You, obviously, disagree with Ernie Brown- fine, that's your privilege- but referring to him as "the token black who doesn't deserve his job" is beneath contempt. It's despicable.

I've read his work for many years and- even thought I often disagree with his opinions- I respect them and I think he is a good journalist. You, on the other hand, are a BIGOT.

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17kurtw(1816 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

I recently watched a PBS science documentary that put the whole matter of "race" in it's proper perspective.

According to genetic research all the human beings alive today- about 7 Billion- are the direct offspring of 500 breeding individuals in West Africa roughly 200, 000 years ago. 500 individuals- little more than a large extended family. The Human Family.

Maybe because we're so closely related, it explains why human history has been so bloody. Everyone knows, family feuds are the most ferocious.

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18ytown01(23 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Unfortunately Mr. Brown is correct. I grew up with Ernie on the East side of Youngstown in the 70's. It was a great place to live and learn. We played baseball and football in the streets and round ball in the the driveway or Lincoln park.

Was racism prevalent then? Yes it was, but not in our world. All of our parents worked in the mills and shared a common bond. Whether you were Black, Puerto Rican, White, Asian ,Italian or Irish. We were all kids with parents trying to give us a better life than they had. The sad part is it has not gotten better it has become much worse.

Our politicians and civic leaders have become devisive elements in our society. Our news media is no longer news but only opinionated, hate spewing propagandists.

Children are having children, our churchs have become a non factor in our society, prisoners and criminals have more rights than law abiding citizens and we have dehumanized communication in our society. .

Unfortunately most of America is so wrapped up in themselves and the technology age we have failed at the most basic premise of society. We have forgotten how to communicate. It is no longer acceptable to talk problems through and reach a compromise. We have a win at all cost society and it has driven deeper divisions socially,financially, politically, medically and yes racially. Not only must we win, we must also make the other side look bad. What has happened to our world?

The question is are we smart enough to learn from history and realize as we exclude people and draw boundarys we are creating pockets of cancer that will destroy us from within.?Does anyone remember the Roman empire.?
When did it become unacceptable to help your fellow man? When did it become unacceptable to act like a christian and help those that cannot for any reason help themselves?

We still have time to realize we are letting outside influences divide our country. What does your favorite poll say about any issue today? How divided are we? Divided enough to fall.

How blind can America be? Wake up my fellow Americans time is running short we must unite on any common ground we as citizens can find and help steer our country back from the brink. God Bless Us All
Thanks Ernie.

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19ytown01(23 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

DB do you wear a white sheet and have KKK on your forehead?

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20VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

I am an Army Veteran and have lived with black and white soldiers in a war zone where we depended on each other for our own protection. When you live together, there is no room for racism. But, I also know racism is still strong on the streets of America and I really doubt that it will ever change. It exists on both sides of the spectrum. The "N" word is commonly used by many blacks, just as are whitey or honkey.

In my work, I travel by vehicle, so I see a lot of variety. I was once told to leave a carry out store because "white boys" don't belong there. I can't recall the number of times I have been called a "honkey". I once was refused gas at a gas station because "we don't have gas for whitey's".

On the other end, there are still strong segments of white male society that talk down about the black community and how they are degrading society. This same segment is where I had a gun pointed at me and told to leave. I was lucky. One fellow worker was shot in the chest and robbed by a black man. He did recover, but it changed his life and his feelings, his family's feelings and his friends feelings towards the black community forever.

It is impossible to change the opinions and feelings of adults. We have become a society living in pockets. Segregation still exists. Whites over there, blacks over here. When too many blacks move in, the whites move out.

If we want to start somewhere, we have to start with our children. This is where we are failing miserably...on both sides of the isle. Our children are born as perfect angels, but by the time they reach 10, they have become programmed with negative feelings against other races. This is the real tragedy in American society today.

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