Crime is a bigger threat than racial bias [Letter]

February 22, 2014

Not wanting to trivialize the sentiment in Kaye Wise Whitehead's recent commentary ("A never ending war," Feb. 18), I feel compelled to point out that she just condemned an entire race based on the actions of a few.

What she did in writing about the Michael "loud music" Dunn and George Zimmerman verdicts is generalize, stereotype, prejudge, and to a degree, profile the entire white race.

She talks about keeping her boys safe from white men standing their ground. Professor Whitehead lives and work in the Baltimore area. She views and reads the same news I do. What are the real dangers to her son's life and safety? Can her son "walk free" in Baltimore without fear? Are white men the issue here?

She says that we live in a society where black boys are not able to walk free and where they are devalued and are without personhood. And it's white men with guns who are behind all of this? By the end of this year, hundreds of black men and boys will die at the hands of other black men and boys, and she wants to write about white prejudice?

The subject of a "never-ending war" is a two-way street. We just had an incident last month where a white guy was left for dead with his face disfigured for his car. A local TV channel just ran a piece related to crime in Baltimore City and its cost. Their estimate was $1 billion. How's that for a never ending war.

Ms. Whitehead, I'm sympathetic and empathetic to your thoughts and sentiments. Clearly you've done all the right stuff, and your children will face a challenge that white children will never face. And that is the truth.

However, the real question is why, after everything that has transpired over the last 60 years in terms of righting the wrongs, are we still talking about this? May I suggest that it is the news itself? The steady daily, almost hourly, drum beat of bad news coming out of Baltimore — most of it having to do with TV ratings.

Crime coverage equals high ratings and higher advertising revenue. There are very few images of a black youth playing a piano or fencing to lure viewers. There is no balance here — but that's just one white man's opinion.

I'll close by saying, Ms. Whitehead, the white man is the least of your worries with regard to walking free and valuing human life.

Ken Hines, Towson

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