Regarding the May 31 commentary "Black voters don't want Klobuchar on the ticket," I'd like to say very loudly and clearly that I hate when anyone inserts themselves as the speaker for a whole group of people. I'm Jewish, and I wouldn't pretend to speak for every Jew in the world, our nation, the state, Minneapolis, or even my particular congregation.
As for writer Jonathan Capehart's views about Klobuchar, I have a black cousin in Ames, Iowa, who caucused for Klobuchar for president, and based on my conversations with him I know he'd have no problem at all having her on the Democratic ticket with Joe Biden. Capehart is certainly free to lay out reasons why he thinks blacks shouldn't support Klobuchar, but he's stepping over the line saying that blacks in general won't support her. Especially with the insensitivity toward anything even approaching reasonable being exhibited by our current administration, I'm guessing that most blacks, Hispanics, Asians, East African immigrants, nonbinary citizens, etc., won't find it very difficult to support a Biden-Klobuchar ticket if that's what comes to pass.
Larry A. Etkin, Minneapolis
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I strongly disagree with Jonathan Capehart that Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris should be Biden's running mate. First, as to Warren, she did not score well with African-American voters in the presidential primary; she did not even score well in her home state of Massachusetts, coming in third behind Biden and Sanders. As for Harris, she comes from California, a state that is securely blue. As to her appeal to black voters, progressives — and right-wing trolls — have also hammered Harris for her résumé as a state attorney general and local prosecutor.
The Democratic tent is very large. Coming from a state that is more purple than blue, Amy Klobuchar appeals to independents, swing voters, and moderate Republicans and Democrats. We cannot ignore those voters, too, in hopes of winning back the White House.
Deborah Deutsch, Minneapolis
That photo spread of victims didn't reflect victims as a whole
While I appreciate the tribute to those who lost their lives in Minnesota's COVID-19 outbreak ("1,000 we've lost," May 31), I find it interesting — in these days of protest and rioting over the senseless loss of George Floyd's life — that of the 30 Minnesotans highlighted by the presentation, only one or two were people of color.
An associated article states that the virus has "taken a significant toll on people of color, who are dying in disproportionate numbers." We Minnesotans need to see the beautiful black and brown faces of those who have lost their lives to this pandemic. We need to hear stories that these people were loved and treasured and important parts of the community.
Could this be a further symptom of bias in our community? If we hope to make our communities truly supportive of all, we need to take a deep look at how our entire community is valued and supported through all of our public institutions.
Melinda Bennett, Plymouth
The lesson from St. Anthony
George Floyd's death has rekindled the sadness and despair I felt after Philando Castile was killed by a St. Anthony cop in 2016. After Philando's death I worked with my predominantly white neighbors to push for structural change in St. Anthony and its small police department of 20 sworn officers. We sought to end systemic racism and police brutality against people of color in our city and neighboring communities. We failed.
Our Police Department is widely beloved among us white homeowners in St. Anthony. We get friendly responses and lots of patrols. We get to feel safe. After Philando's death, the "other" St. Anthony Police Department had just a little light shone on it. We heard stories in public meetings from people of color about racist and brutal policing against them right here in St. Anthony. When we pressed for more information, we found shoddy record-keeping on issues related to racial profiling and biased policing.
St. Anthony's solution to bad press, public testimony and public outcries after Philando's death was to keep up the friendly policing to white homeowners and aggressively suppress dissent. We found legitimating cover by participating in a technical assistance program for police from the U.S. Department of Justice, despite there being no public accountability measures and little acknowledgment of fault.
Those of us who pushed for better reform and acknowledgment of systemic racism and brutality against people of color in policing were silenced and derided as "anti-police" by the mayor and City Council, and by many of our white neighbors. Notably absent in this debate was any significant presence and voice of the people of color who live in St. Anthony. I suspect that many already knew what the outcome was likely to be and didn't bother to participate.
I am in despair that St. Anthony failed to bring significant change to our Police Department after Philando's death. I can only bear witness today that there was no meaningful change. Our city and Police Department continue to be part of the problem, as we confront American policing after the death of George Floyd.
Nancy Robinett, St Anthony
RACE IN GENERAL
Such a fine line
Bill Bryson said it best in his book "The Body: A Guide for Occupants": "People act as if skin color is a determinant of character when all it is is a reaction to sunlight. Biologically, there is actually no such thing as race — nothing in terms of skin color, facial features, hair type, bone structure, or anything else that is a defining quality among peoples. And yet look how many people have been enslaved or hated or lynched or deprived of fundamental rights through history because of the color of their skin." He went on to say that about a millimeter thick of skin was so thin as to be translucent. "That," he wrote, "is where all your skin color is. That's all race is — a sliver of epidermis."
Richard Haines, Hopkins
The Postal Service rocks!
Recently, as rioters burned and looted four of our post office stations, I was waiting for a package. The tracking had it out for delivery a week ago Thursday and I was thinking the worst after the preceding Tuesday and Wednesday. Being a retired postal employee, I understand what might have happened to it during the chaos — small potatoes in the big picture. Imagine my pleasure when a city carrier dropped it off on my doorstep last weekend, on a Sunday no less.
Thank you to the postal employees who kept the country's mail safe during a horrible week. Not only struggling because of the coronavirus, riots and fires, looting, now we have buildings to replace. Losing a piece of mail wouldn't have been the worst thing to happen, and I'm sure we did lose some, but thank you for doing everything you could to ensure the sanctity of the mail.
Cathy Hanson, Minneapolis