A missed opportunity | Letter

Your article (“Let’s talk about race,” Bothell-Kenmore Reporter, Dec. 14) missed an opportunity to explain the reasons for the enormity of racism. All humans are equal, having been made in God’s image. Because God is infinite, every human is therefore imputed this infinite worth. Human race therefore becomes sacred. Racism is a violation of that sacredness, and therefore abhorrent and despicable.

Apropos the Menchie’s incident, was Mr. Ragland unfairly treated? Yes. Is he owed an apology by the store owner? Yes. Does the incident pass the sniff test for racism? I will let you and your readers judge based on three facts that are easy to overlook:

1. If this was about race, the female employees would have informed the store owner of Mr. Ragland’s ethnicity the first time they called him. They didn’t. How do we know that? Simply because the owner did not know Mr. Ragland’s ethnicity when asked to describe by the 911 operator. The owner had to look into the camera to determine that. If this was racism, the employees would have been reported this first to their boss.

2. If this was about race, the store owner would have brought up Mr. Ragland’s ethnicity to the 911 operator at the very first opportunity to do so. He doesn’t. In fact, the owner initially only describes Mr. Ragland as a “guy” and goes on to describe his behavior never his looks, leave alone his ethnicity.

3. If this was about race, the store owner would have sounded demeaning when describing Mr. Ragland. He doesn’t. In fact he does not even mention Mr. Ragland’s ethnicity until only after the 911 dispatcher asked for that information. The owner describes Mr. Ragland as “African American” instead of “black” and is careful to caveat that his only somewhat-confident description of Mr. Ragland was “based on what I (he) see (saw) in the camera.” The owner primarily expresses concern for his female staff and mentions previous incidents of their restrooms being used to shoot drugs and a robbery.

I encourage my community to be fair-minded and reevaluate by listening carefully to the 911 call recording. Mr. Ragland was unfairly treated and deserves (and has received) a sincere apology from the store owner. Racism is a scourge and “crying wolf” desensitizes us to its abhorrence.

Stop judging by mere appearance but instead judge correctly, said the Man whose birthday we celebrate on the 25th.

Joy and Peace!

Richard Lewis

Kirkland

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