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Loaded terms in descriptions of mass killings

I am glad we are finally seeing a shift in the media's rhetoric and that the murder of black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., is being called a hate crime rather than being dismissed as "mental illness" ("Shooting suspect's friend says Dylann Roof ranted about race," June 19).

Too often, when crime is perpetrated by a white person (such as James Boulware in Dallas or Anders Breivik in Norway), the suspect is deemed mentally incapable of being held responsible.

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By contrast, crimes perpetrated by Muslims are generalized as "terrorist attacks," and those perpetrated by black people are generalized as "gang violence."

All black people and all Muslims are then obliged to publicly defend themselves and their respective racial or religious group. This is a double standard. It would be ridiculous to expect all white people to make a public apology for the crimes in which Dylann Roof has been charged.

All perpetrators of violence and hate should be brought to justice equally, no matter who they are.

Nazia Khurshid Ahmad, Pikesville

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