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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 1, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Rosa Parks statue: a symbol of progress and problems

Discrimination is not the only problem

President Barack Obama, members of Congress and guests unveil the new statue of Rosa Parks at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C., Feb. 27. (OLIVIER DOULIERY/ABACA PRESS/MCT)

President Barack Obama, members of Congress and guests unveil the new statue of Rosa Parks at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C., Feb. 27. (OLIVIER DOULIERY/ABACA PRESS/MCT)

Jerry Large’s column “Her statue a sign of progress, problems” [NWThursday, Feb. 28] simplistically focuses on racial discrimination to explain the generally lower levels of economic achievement by African Americans.

Undoubtedly, discrimination against African Americans persists. It is abhorrent to most of us and I think, thankfully, is in decline. The real problem it seems to me is that blind focus only on racial discrimination as the problem (as illustrated by Large’s column), obscures and detracts from the more significant social and cultural factors at play in the African-American community, which they themselves can address.

We all need more African-American leadership and community engagement on the importance of family, education, thrift and community. Excessive focus on only discrimination as the problem has a corrosive effect, distracting African Americans from more immediate, self-determined and practical solutions to improve their and the broader community’s welfare.

–Stavros Birkolopoulos, Seattle

Comments | More in Race | Topics: African-American community, Jerry Large, Rosa Parks

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