Bothell letter writer cherry-picks data | Letter

Talijah Vaotogo of Bothell led in a letter, “If the world was blind, how many people would you impress.”

Letters to the editor

Talijah Vaotogo of Bothell led in a letter, “If the world was blind, how many people would you impress.”

Vaotogo added to mysteriousness of that by possibly inadvertently writing a letter that cherry-picks data in order to make a point.

But Vaotogo is right that racism is a problem but doesn’t note that it is more so of an issue today than it was in 2008, when a clear majority of those who voted showed little penchant for racism in electing a black president.

A good case can be made that actions on the part of this administration has created this change.

Vaotogo identifies the need to stop “stereotyping and racial profiling” identifiers of racism today, without noting that they involve generalizing from numbers of exposure. If one expects to see Hispanics near our southern border it is because of experience.

But most egregiously, Vaotogo identifies incidents that he/she thinks reflects racism without identifying the specifics of each. In the Michael Brown case, it was clear he robbed a store, and apparently those, including blacks, who found the officer innocent believed witnesses who testified Brown attacked the officer. In the Tamir Rice case, he aimed a gun at the officer and it should be made clear even to a kindergartner that doing so, especially under the kind of circumstances involved in this case, carries consequences. And in the Eric Garner case, if you violently resist arrest, you must expect a determined effort to subdue that resistance regardless of your color.

Vaotogo cherry picks by stating that the officers involved used terms like “appeared aggressive” (appeared when attacked, point a gun, resist arrest?) apparently in reports that he/she is quoting. That makes clear the reading of those reports must have involved very selective perception.

Racial tensions are not confined to one race. Those that result in harm to individuals arise out of limited understanding and capacity for empathy. Being “blind” has many causes and manifestations making “impressing” particularly difficult.

Richard Pelto, Kenmore

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