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Editor, The Commercial:

In an article published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Bradley R. Gitz argues that Black Americans make up only 13 percent of the U.S. population but account for roughly 55 percent of those arrested for murder, with young Black males comprising the vast majority of those detained by law enforcement.

As a person of color and a pastor, I am against any person-to-person violence, regardless of color or culture. I am also not providing excuses for the deviant culprits that are part of every culture, but I'd invite us to look at a couple of behavior theories to consider when looking at the behavior of communities of color.

Robert Merton's Behavior Theory says that socially deviant or unacceptable behavior occurs in certain groups within American society because, while the majority shares the fundamental goals of society, all do not share the means of achieving these goals. Consequently, society's very structure encourages certain individuals to function deviantly to obtain their cultural goals (material and social prestige awards of society).

In another study, confirming the link between violence and racial inequality, sociologists, Judith and Peter Blau discovered that violence is nurtured by the sense of injustice and unfairness generated by the highly visible reality that other people are doing better not because they were worthier but because they were whiter. They concluded that violence is not so much from the lack of advantages but from being taken advantage of.

The founding principle of this country is that "all men are created equal." Don't we violate the spirit of democracy when there are opportunities in this country within view but not within reach for all?

Don't we violate the spirit of democracy when, according to Mr. Gitz's article, Black Americans are a "vastly greater threat" to "Black Americans" than to "White police officers:" however Black residents are more likely than whites to be pulled over, arrested, victimized and killed than white residents? Don't we violate the spirit of democracy when we attempt to disenfranchise the votes of millions of Black Americans?

Whatever happened to "liberty and justice for all?"

Chestine Sims,

White Hall


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