Reviews | How the news media vilified black Americans

For the publisher:

Re “How the White Press Wrote Off Black America”, by Brent Staples (opinion piece, Sunday Review, July 11):

I am a retired white journalist who worked for five newspapers. One of my most telling experiences happened about 10 years ago, when I microfilmed a few pages from the 1940s and 1950s of my last article.

Going through a few randomly chosen issues, I found anti-black hostility on almost every page and not just in the news columns, with their grim headlines on Blacks Accused of Crimes. I’ve also found it in several nationally released comics, whose exaggerated features and stereotypical black character language came straight out of Jim Crow’s playbook.

Company news, of course, was all white, like almost everyone in advertising and in news photography, except for very few sports figures.

I am so happy to see Mr. Staples shine a light on this brazen racist influence, which has reached millions of homes every day and for generations, slyly fortified systems of racial oppression.

Marie Bishop
Roanoke, Virginia

For the publisher:

Brent Staples’ essay is an important reminder of how the Fourth Estate sought to dehumanize black America for much of the country’s history. His article emphasizes the importance of teaching critical race theory in schools.

Indeed, racism is not only the consequence of prejudices or individual prejudices, but it is also embedded in fundamental systems and institutions like the press.

The press has not only failed to be an impartial arbiter of truth, but has also used its power to promote racist ideas, false narratives about black America and, perhaps most importantly, has failed. failed to cover stories that would have shed vivid light on the many injustices and horrors directed against African Americans.

Historians, educators and the general public depend on newspapers for an accurate and unbiased view of our country’s past and present. The question is not whether historically white papers have contributed to white supremacy; clearly they did. This is how they contributed to it and what they are doing to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Julian Kenneth Braxton
Boston

For the publisher:

Re “Biden Steps Up Mission to Curb Big Business” (homepage, July 10):

President Biden has drawn up a long list of wishes for long-awaited reforms from concentrated markets to the benefit of consumers, workers and stifled competitors. But he’s a cheerleader in the darkness of regulatory paralysis.

This stasis is the work of corporate attorneys who, with the help of allies in Congress and the courts, have played so much against these agencies that they have delayed the best-intentioned rule-making process for decades. years. Long enough to survive presidential terms.

With small budgets, inadequate staff, poorly worded laws and constant harassment from Congress, regulators are beset by headwinds and dead ends that encroach on eternity.

Unless the Bidenites bring their enthusiasm to the high-profile audiences of agencies and Congress that turn these “kitchen table” problems into popular election platforms, this remarkable executive decree will cause little more than dashed expectations for millions of its beneficiaries. promised.

Ralph Nader
Washington
The writer is the consumer advocate and author of the recent fable “The Day the Rats Vetoed Congress. “

Our organization, the National Association to End Guardian Abuse, receives stacks of letters from senior families and others stuck in the system. Many have lost their homes, bank accounts, property, and even the freedom to leave an establishment. Families and friends may be prevented from visiting or associating with a person under guardianship.

Since a guardian has access to the protected person’s money, the risk of abuse is high. How can this be changed?

Congress must reconsider the Guardianship Accountability Act 2019, which would help states collect data and improve courts. States should adopt the 2017 Uniform Law on Guardianship, Guardianship and Other Protective Measures. This bill focuses on preserving the rights of people under protection and creates a model for judges to consider full (plenary) guardianship as a last resort, not the first and only solution.

Thank you, Britney Spears, for breaking through the barrier of secrecy! We wish you strength in your journey to get your life back in hand.

Marcia Southwick
Santa Fé, New Mexico
The writer is director of the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse.

For the publisher:

Re “For Young People in China, ‘Lying Flat’ Beats Working” (press article, July 4):

So now the Chinese government is censoring young people who prefer to give up the frantic race for dull, dead-end jobs in favor of chilling out or “lying flat”. It makes me wonder: do the authorities also ban the work of the country’s classical poets, who often expressed precisely this sentiment?

“Life in this world is just a glorious dream, so why should we sweat and work our lives? As poet Li Bai observed. “Be lazy – pour wine, always stay drunk like me. Laid out on the porch all day.

That seems like the definition of staying flat, and compared to the jobs abandoned by the subjects of your article, it doesn’t strike me as such a terrible strategy.

Gerry Khermouch
New York

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