Plague of racism continues

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

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