As an African-American man who understands history, I have a problem with the idea that whenever a white person kills a black person the reason is always race ("A never ending war," Feb. 18).

It is more an assumption that we make rather than what is stated or proven. If it was proven that color was behind the slayings, that is one thing. But if not, we overlook and oversimplify an important truth: Being stupid or over-reactive does not automatically equate to being racist.

Does every white-on-black violent act evoke the days of slavery? Does this oft repeated comparison not cheapen the horrific enslavement, sale and murder of human beings that persists worldwide down to the present day? I fear it does.

Were the two murders of black teens in Florida particularly horrible? Certainly. But were the situations exactly the same? Probably not.

Either way, the challenge is to climb into the perpetrators' minds and see if they were thinking the same as slave owners before the Civil War, and that is something we cannot do.

Ron Harrison Jr.

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