Susan Sink, St. Joseph
I am deeply disappointed by the Newsleader’s bad judgment in running Ron Scarbro’s column in the Sept. 19 issue: “True justice is color-blind.” The ignorance shown by Scarbro is breathtaking. It can only be explained by his complete lack of experience with people of color and/or the justice system in America and his inability to take seriously the experience related by countless African Americans in this country and their allies.
The decision to print Scarbro’s piece, however, makes me very sad and embarrassed for my community. What must it be like to be a person of color in St. Joseph and read in the local paper there are people here who feel completely free to express in print that African Americans are imprisoned disproportionately solely because they commit more crimes and there is no bias against them by the police or the justice system? As a member of a jury in Illinois, I heard racial bias expressed by another jury member firsthand. When I taught at a community college, I had a student in my class, a middle-class African American who had served in the military. He was chronically late to class, affecting his grade because he missed quizzes. When I asked him why he was late, knowing he was prompt and responsible in every way in class, he explained many evenings he couldn’t drive to our suburban classroom without being pulled over by the police and subject to questioning about why he was in that town.
But it’s not my intention to provide counter arguments to Scarbro’s article. The claims he makes are without merit and beyond reason. It’s the fact such misguided and ugly opinions were printed in the local paper that baffles me. I know there are conservatives in this town who have more reasoned opinions and would be worth reading. I also hope the Newsleader is interested in presenting views that reflect the openness and welcoming nature of so many St. Joseph residents and the importance of diversity in our community. Articles like this give St. Joseph a bad name, and I could not sit back in disgusted silence on this issue.
(Editor’s note: Columnist Ron Scarbro is entitled to express his own opinions in this newspaper. The Newsleader policy is to print a variety of opinions on the Opinion Page, even if some of those viewpoints are found to be disagreeable to some readers. This writer has every right to express her strong distaste and disagreement with Scarbro’s opinions. But we take issue with her lambasting the Newsleader for printing those opinions. It’s a case of blaming the messenger. Furthermore, the Newsleader for 25 years has published a staggering number of news stories, feature stories, editorials and columns that, as the letter writer states, “reflect the openness and welcoming nature of so many residents and the importance of diversity in our community.”)