The purpose of journalism is to help readers to understand the truth about current events. In order to do that, a variety of viewpoints need to be presented and some attempt at objectivity made.
The lengthy article "George Floyd's search for salvation" (special section, Dec. 27) was not objective, nor did it present a variety of viewpoints. It presented the views of George Floyd's friends, family and supporters. His behavior was put into the best possible light with quotes from his friends and family. Although he had been convicted of aggravated robbery, the article minimized it by quoting a friend who said he didn't think that George did it. The article also minimized the likelihood that Floyd passed counterfeit money by quoting another friend. Another friend says that his fentanyl overdose on the day of his death should not be considered as contributing to his death. His friends are also quoted as saying that the police can murder Black people and get away with it.
Naturally, his friends and family have very positive opinions of him, but the public needs to understand the facts about what happened and why. That article presented a biased view of the man. It isn't the job of the newspaper to act as an advocate for certain citizens; it's your job to provide us with information that we can use to understand what happened.
James Brandt, New Brighton
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In his Dec. 27 column, Myron Medcalf makes a point: "Minnesotans, don't you think you brought this onto yourselves?" That goes for the Police Department as well.
Mary K. Lund, Minnetonka
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Stunning contradiction: Maybe because of increased awareness of how people of color are treated differently in society since the George Floyd murder, I couldn't help noticing how many ways the white male Nashville bomber was given benefit of the doubt, whereas I know a Black man would not be ("Investigators focus on bombing motive," Dec. 29).
The guy blew up several city blocks and injured several people. The only thing on his record was a marijuana charge when he was 21. Black men get 20-year prison sentences for the same, and yet this man went to be a successful IT and security professional.
Finally, the complete crickets on this incident from the GOP is exactly what I've sadly come to expect: White male? Well, we should wait and hear all the facts before we comment. A Black man? Well, thanks to Twitter and Fox News, we know how that would have gone.
Christine McLaren, Chanhassen
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I read Patrick Reusse's Dec. 28 column about how he came to his position as sportswriter. My hat's off to him for his hard work. But what jumped out to me were his initial contacts and his luck in getting the break that propelled him toward his 55-year career.
His first sportswriter job started in the same year as the passage of the Voting Rights Act, and only one year after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. What would Reusse's chances have been if he were Black? Could Reusse's dad gotten him hired as a copy boy? Could he have gotten hired in Duluth with virtually no experience or expertise whatsoever? Doubtful.
I'm taking nothing away from Reusse, but it would be interesting to get some of the Star Tribune writers of color to comment on his story and also the different roadblocks they encountered in how they got their start.
Zol Heyman, Arden Hills
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I read the Dec. 25 article "Distance learning worsens disparities" (between white students and those of color) with sadness and frustration.
I'm not an academic nor social worker but a 69-year-old white business guy who for the last 20 years has observed and mentored students at an inner-city school where 75% live below the poverty line. I have seen what works and doesn't, not only academically but outside the classroom.
It is not the need for more money; the city of Minneapolis already spends more than $20,000 per student each year. The sad part is that one cannot have a constructive conversation about what the fundamental issues are without being called insensitive, racist, judgmental, etc. So like last year, the year before, next year and the year after, we will be addressing this same disparity issue that will not go away but probably only grow worse.
Praying for open minds and hearts.
Rich Cammack, Minneapolis
Borlaug's admonition about overpopulation was on the mark
Many thanks to a Dec. 28 letter writer for pointing out the negative consequences of Norman Borlaug's well-intended Green Revolution. Indeed, the ability to grow more food to feed more people has unintended consequences. The letter concentrated on the resulting pollution and diminishment of family farmers. It is also true that the need to grow more food requires the destruction of carbon-absorbing forests. The invention of synthetic fertilizers and toxic pesticides has surely increased crop yields and fed more of the world. It also has given us more cancers, polluted waters and has contributed to an unsustainable population in the U.S. and around the world.
In his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970, Borlaug said that his scientific work to increase crop yields was intended only to buy us more time to deal with the huge problem of overpopulation. He raised his concerns about overpopulation when the U.S. had 205.1 million people. It now has 331 million. To paraphrase the late great James Baldwin, change doesn't necessarily happen because of awareness, but it never happens without it.
Karen I. Shragg, Bloomington
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In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Borlaug said: "Most people still fail to comprehend the magnitude and menace of the 'Population Monster.' " The following day in his Nobel Lecture, he said: "The green revolution has won a temporary success in man's war against hunger and deprivation; it has given man a breathing space. If fully implemented, the revolution can provide sufficient food for sustenance during the next three decades. But the frightening power of human reproduction must also be curbed; otherwise the success of the green revolution will be ephemeral only."
Five decades later, global population has more than doubled to 7.7 billion. Leave it to humans and governments to ignore wisdom, run with the quickie solution and kick the can down the road instead of making the tough choice: worldwide population balance measures. Our leaders and the press ride the global-warming bandwagon but remain in overpopulation denial. With urging from all of us, they need to heed Borlaug's words and act. Soon.