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Injustice baked into the cake

Dan Metz missed two important points in his recent “advice for protesters” letter.

Metz presents six suggestions to the “Black community” for responding to the murder of George Floyd as if those who are not Black have no role to play.

For years, people of color have protested their abuse by police. Yet the abuse continues. What is needed — long overdue — is a recognition that systems of racial injustice are baked into our nation’s institutions — our financial, housing, education, political, health care and judicial institutions, institutions which have historically benefited whites.

If we are to make any progress in police reform (or in any of our other institutions that discriminate against people of color), White people need to speak up. Our silence has enabled and perpetuated continued injustices.

Secondly, Metz suggests that the Black community demand an end to teachers’ unions because of their opposition to charter schools. Despite charter schools’ original vision as laboratories for experimentation to share with public schools, charters today compete with traditional public schools.

Yet, charters are not held to the same levels of accountability and transparency about their use of public funds and can be more selective in who they accept. There is growing evidence that charters contribute to a resegregation of our nation’s classrooms, which is why national groups, including the NAACP, have called for a moratorium on charter schools. To best educate all our students, we need to strengthen and improve our public schools.

PEGGY PATTEN

Urbana