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Dixie Tate was the Letters/Readers Forum editor for the Orlando Sentinel for 31 years and was replaced by Terri Winefordner in 2008.  I have been on the whole disappointed in her selections, but today I am downright outraged.  Out of the hundreds to thousands of letters she gets I cannot fathom why she decided to feature this one, on Sunday no less: "1 reader threatened by black male youths" by Scott Davis of Deltona:

Regarding Jeremy Levitt's column, "Hassle Doctrine denies justice for young black males in Fla.," in Thursday's Sentinel:

Levitt hit the nail right on the head when he stated, "Floridians naturally consider black male youth threatening."

No, its only "natural" to fear the pigmentation in someone's skin if there is something wrong with you.  (And wait...blacks don't count as Floridians?) But please, let's hear your justification of racism:
Just turn on the local news at 6 p.m., and you see a substantial number of young African-American males arrested for a variety of violent crimes night after night. It is the same when you read the local newspaper.
The local media here does love to focus on the "dangerous black kid", which is what the Sentinel is doing right now.  That is why we have "Stand Your Ground" laws that allow scared white people to shoot and kill unarmed black teens.  The news media chooses what they focus on, and they choose to focus on the violent black youth myth.  The media here never leads with issues that are far more likely to actually kill you, like our Governor closing TB hospitals, cutting healthcare or allowing severe pollution in our water.  No, the "guy with the gun" will always lead the story--especially if its a black guy.
In the 24 years I have run my own business, I have been robbed three times. All by young black males.

I live in a gated community, and last year, while I was at work, my home was burglarized. My surveillance cameras recorded two young black males committing the crime.

Naturally, we will take your word, Scott.  The Sentinel sure did.  It does fit into your preconceived narrative of African-Americans having a proclivity for being violent against whites--and make no doubt, THAT is what Mr. Davis is arguing.

And its bullSh---.  The reality is most crime is intraracial.  86% of white victims were killed by white offenders, and 94% of black victims were killed by black offenders.  

I did my own research and was shocked to find the disproportionate numbers of black-on-white crime in the United States.
Googling black-on-white crime will lead you to a ton of right-wing and supremacist sites, which is where he no doubt got his "research".  Again, as I pointed out, most murders actually intraracial, not interracial.  But the Anti-Defamation League says white supremacists are hyping claims of a so-called "epidemic" of black-on-white crime as propaganda to instill fear.

The numbers are disproportionate, but not in the way Mr. Davis thinks.  According to the FBI, in 2011, there were 3,645 victims of racially motivated hate crimes. Nearly 72% of them were victims of an offender's "anti-black bias," as the FBI puts it. The victims of an "anti-white" bias?  Only 16%! Black youths have more to fear from Mr. Davis than the other way around.

He closes:

Yes, I do find many black youth threatening, and with good reason.
The words of a bigot in Florida do not disturb me.  For they are many, they are legion.  

The fact that Central Florida's only major newspaper chose to give their limited but loud platform to filthy fear-mongering on their most popular day with no opposing viewpoint is what disturbs me.  And spare me any defense that this somehow contributes to a "discussion" on race.  The letter's entire point is to say its okay to fear someone based solely on their skin color.  What exactly does that contribute?

Scott Davis doesn't have to live in fear everyday of being a white bigot.  The same can't be said of innocent black teenagers, who today in Florida can be gunned down because their audacity to exist can be a capital offense.  I know of a mother who is absolutely TERRIFIED to let her happy, brilliant, and yet black teenage son out of the house for running into a white "thug" who, according to the verbiage in SYG, only has to claim he was terrified for his life. For bigots like Mr. Davis, being black is all that qualifies.

And thanks to you, Terri Winefordner. Your decision to feature inaccurate, hate-filled, white supremacist propaganda adds nothing to rational discourse but it does make it that much harder for this young man to go out---and a lot easier for someone to "stand their ground" against him.

Disgraceful.

 


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Originally posted to SemDem on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 11:25 AM PST.

Also republished by Black Kos community, White Privilege Working Group, DKos Florida, North & Central Florida Kossacks, and Barriers and Bridges.

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