Dear Steven Nikitas:
You do not represent us.
Mr. Nikitas, I reach out today in response to your racist manifesto otherwise known as “Steven Nikitas: Here's the solution for black America” published in the Berkshire Eagle on June 12th. Having read your column, and after considering your position, I enthusiastically and politely request that you recuse yourself from speaking on behalf of white people.
You wasted 742 words that might have otherwise put to better use.
Your dangerous opinions -- penned from a position of witlessness -- offer a “solution” to a problem which you clearly do not understand, and are based on your oversimplified analysis for an entire race, with whom I am fairly certain you have never had the fortune of interacting.
While it is never prudent to fight hate with hate, it is important to disallow ignorance from holding the final word.
According to your bigoted rant organized under the guise of a political column – and I am admittedly paraphrasing – Black America is comprised of nothing more than thugs with saggy pants, an affinity for violence, and who would rather take a government handout than work.
This is a lazy opinion with no basis in fact.
Yes, you can (and probably will) argue that those numbers are skewed based on the disparate racial demographics of the United States. According to the U.S. Census (2013 estimate), whites represent 77.7 percent of the population, and blacks represent just 13.2 percent. However, that same demographic skew highlights why the following statistics are much more troubling. These are statistics that your column conveniently overlooked.
In the wake of recent black deaths from lethal force by police, conservative pundits were quick to cite that from May 2, 2013 through April 8, 2015 police in America killed more whites than blacks -- specifically, 782 white (49%), and 464 black (30%). Additionally, these analysts cited CDC data for Fatal Injuries by Legal Intervention (1999-2011) which showed that 2,151 whites died at the hands of lethal police force, compared to 1,130 blacks. But that argument left out the same demographic disproportion highlighted supra. If we adjust those raw numbers to represent police kills proportionately, black Americans are approximately 3.5 times more likely to be killed by police than are white Americans.
Race is a social construct
You, Mr. Nikitas, have clearly misidentified the issue – what you call a problem with Black America is in reality a problem with Poor America. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income (1967-2012) for blacks ($33,321) was nearly half of whites ($57,009).
Science has proven that race is a social construct. The color of one’s skin, genetically, is completely superficial and is determined solely on your ancestor’s proximity to the Equator. But in our society, we tend to pretend that we are different species than those of different skin tone.
Your denial that white privilege exists is irresponsible, and makes me believe that you do not understand the plight of Black America at all. So by offering a “solution” and removing the onus from “we” the white people to intervene is nothing short of reckless.
You don’t get it. And it is unfortunate that you have a soapbox to spew this elitist agenda of unveiled hate, racism, and ignorance.
A goose does not make the gander
Those who participated in looting and vandalism during the Baltimore protests for Freddie Gray represent a very small percent of the overall unrest. That group; composed of White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, and other irrelevant labels, are criminals and should be prosecuted as such. But your focus on the outliers disintegrates the complexities of the overall situation.
Your argument insinuates that the Baltimore looters represent the entire black race, which is akin to arguing that terrorists represent all of Islam – which is also analogous to arguing that racists such as yourself represent all of White America.
You do not represent me. You do not represent white people. But you do represent much of what is wrong with America today.
Born and raised in Lanesborough, Mass., Kevin Aherne is a graduate of Mount Greylock Regional High School. He currently resides in Providence, Rhode Island, and is host of The Cobblestone Press, a political talk show airing on 990WBOB.