The Baltimore Sun

Obama's triumph isn't end of racism

I couldn't agree more with David Levering Lewis' assessment, as reported by Scott Calvert, that the election of President Barack Obama should not lead us to think that racism is a thing of the past ("Obama election won't resolve 'problems of race,' historian says," Feb. 8).

Mr. Lewis goes on to stress that the president will need to address the "rather specific disabilities that afflict people of color."

As a white person who all my life has seen the racism white people direct toward people of color, particularly people of African descent, I would state the issue differently.

I think those of us who are white and supported Mr. Obama's campaign (or who didn't but want a country that is truly just) must rid ourselves, our families, our places of worship, our institutions of the affliction of racism - of white supremacy and our often unrecognized abuse of white privilege.

It is we who have a "disability" - blindness when it comes to seeing that racism still persists all around us.

It is up to us to stand behind Mr. Obama when he makes decisions and takes actions aimed at ending racial injustice.

It is up to us to stand against those in the media or the political arena who would label any attempt Mr. Obama makes to name and confront racism as "playing the race card" or "being divisive" or otherwise try to confound an issue that should be straightforward: If we seek justice, we must end racism.

Dottye Burt-Markowitz, Baltimore

Senate still must act to end discrimination

I want to thank Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski for her critical leadership in passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which President Barack Obama has already signed into law ("Every woman," editorial, Jan. 30).

Ms. Mikulski led the floor debate in support of this bill. Her leadership was crucial in building enough support for this legislation to pass the Senate. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin also deserves thanks for voting for the bill.

The House has also passed the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that is necessary to close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act.

Both bills are necessary to create real economic change for women and their families.

The Ledbetter law gets us part of the way. But the Senate's work is not done.

Elaine Franz, Perry Hall

The writer is vice president for public policy of the American Association of University Women of Maryland.

Gun bills threaten rights of the accused

No one denies that there are dangerous individuals who would harm others or that, in very rare cases, firearms are present when domestic violence occurs ("Reasonable to limit gun rights of abusers," letters, Feb. 9).

But the problem with some of the bills before the Maryland legislature to limit the gun rights of those accused of domestic abuse is that they would deny alleged abusers the right to their possessions without due process or review to verify claims of abuse before a temporary protective order is issued ("Violence vs. right to guns," Feb. 13).

If the temporary order is issued and a gun is confiscated, there may be no guaranteed process for safe handling, storage or transport of property that may be extremely valuable or for how that property might later be returned.

Under some of these proposed laws, the police would be likely to seize any firearms they find in a home when they act on a protective order, including firearms that may belong to the victim of abuse.

And in fact, an alleged abuser could claim to own guns belonging to the victim, which could leave her without a means of self-protection.

Jane Weaver, Fort Washington

The writer is Maryland state coordinator for Second Amendment Sisters Inc.

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