READERS WRITE

Understanding key to resolving race issues

I’ve lived in Atlanta all of my 64 years. I’ve seen race relations move from blacks being fearful of whites to whites being fearful of blacks. Before the civil rights era, blacks were very understandably fearful of whites because of how they were treated for over 400 years. This fear became part of the black DNA. It is also very understandable that blacks struggle in this majority white culture because of a stigma that became attached to being black. Blacks became more and more tired of trying to “fit in” to the white culture because they were continually pushed away by whites who rigged the system against them. Blacks started to embrace their own culture. This culture does not always embrace the white culture and this is also very understandable. Until we start to embrace and understand each other’s cultures, and this includes all minorities, we will continue to have episodes such as the teacher cheating scandal, police unjustly targeting minorities, and a justice system that is tilted toward incarcerating the most vulnerable of all of us.

MICHAEL DE GIVE, DECATUR

APS defendants, reform efforts failed kids

Instead of invoking the absurd specter of “crucifixion,” maximum prison time, and Wall Street bankers roaming free, the African-American leadership of Atlanta, and particularly the preachers and pastors, should be calling out the convicted black teachers and administrators for their total lack of character and courage in conspiring to inflate grades for cash payments and other considerations. These educators’ (and the ones who pleaded guilty) organized enterprise may not rise to racketeering we associate with Al Capone or cocaine cartels, but these people just as depravedly broke a sacred trust in conspiring to deprive their students of an honest assessment of their achievement, with no thought or care to the doubt, confusion, and despair they were delivering to them and their families. This is also the unfortunate, but perhaps, inevitable result of a “reform” movement — backed by Michelle Rhee, Eli Broad and others — that entices with monetary reward instead of doubling down on honest achievement.

MITCH PARADISE, LOS ANGELES

Learn from other cities’ history

The second installment of the Atlanta Forward series by Dan Chapman and Michael E. Kanell (“Our Future: Boom or Bust?, News, April 12) is the type of reporting that compels me to be an avid reader of the AJC. The writers stated the premise and the anticipated backlash of the ostrichlike powers-that-be. They referred to their previous findings (Atlanta’s lack of growth compared to Charlotte and Dallas), then show us what must be addressed in a cooperative manner if the metro area wants to emulate the rise of Chicago or the decline of St. Louis. The authors’ companion pieces on the two cities further makes the case for action. Your articles were thought-provoking and worthy of praise.

ALFRED M. SMITH, MARIETTA

Climate really isn’t changing

Many government scientists, politicians, and environmental groups claim increased carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is causing global warming. Global warming produces shorter winters and earlier springs. Spring’s arrival is important because I open an outdoor heated swimming pool for exercise. This can’t be done until tree pollen and Dogwood petals have fallen. For many years, the pool was operational by April 15. This year is the third year in a row I was unable to open the pool because of heavy pollen and blooming Dogwood trees. Atlanta has a Dogwood Festival for a three-day weekend in mid-April. Usually Dogwoods have long lost their blooms before the festival. This year’s Dogwood blooms were at their peak for the festival start. My estimate is spring is 10 days later the past three years — no global warming. Most of the rest of the country has the same result.

JAMES H. RUST, POLICY ADVISOR, THE HEARTLAND INSTITUTE

Smell the coffee on racial issues

So long as we have the present situation of black-on-black violence, and the killing of blacks by police departments, we shall continue to suffer the consequences of our foolish lack of insight in dealing with this vast problem. When you consider that more people were killed by police in the U.S. in March than were killed in the entire 20th century in England, we have a serious problem. Yet we refuse to talk intelligently about this; rather we just accuse each other of wrongdoing. We have got to “smell the coffee”, for we are laboring under false pretenses when it comes to intelligent thinking about killings of fellow Americans!

DAVID CLARKE, BUFORD