Originally created 07/18/02

Pitts' columns reflect prejudice



Leonard Pitts Jr.'s July 2 column, "R. Kelly is no reflection of black America," is seriously flawed. Does he really believe that O.J. Simpson received more unfair media attention than Robert Blake because Mr. Simpson is "black" (Mr. Pitts' word) and Mr. Blake is white?

Amazingly, Mr. Pitts contradicts his own premise by stating, "Taken on their merits, his (O.J's) arrest and trial on charges of murder had absolutely nothing to do with race," followed by, "Had Simpson been a fading white celebrity accused of killing his wife, the level of interest would have been middling at best."

Has Mr. Pitts forgotten that Mr. Simpson (Heisman Trophy winner, NFL All Star, movie/TV actor and name recognition in sports second only to Ted Williams and Muhammad Ali) almost decapitated his wife and her friend, then was captured on live TV trying to avoid arrest by leading the police on a dramatic high-speed chase on California's highways?

His trial, too, was pure soap opera, with his lawyers playing to the jury and TV cameras with skills equal to Niccolo Paganini playing the violin. Robert Blake's only claim to fame stems from a 1970s TV series, Baretta, and a few B-movies shown on late-night TV. Where's the comparison?

Needless to say, blacks historically have been treated more harshly in the courts than whites guilty of the same (mis)behaviors. I do believe, however, that steady progress is being made to eliminate such disparate treatment. What Mr. Pitts needs to realize is that his attempts to dump guilt on whites, by falsely crying "wolf," will only fan the flames of racial tensions. Is that what he hopes to do?

This is not the only time Mr. Pitts has grasped thin limbs in attempting to support his closely held, biased views. I've enjoyed his less controversial columns but, when he opines about politics and race relations, he needs to engage in introspection and examine what his ideas are truly based on. He might also consider doing a piece expressing his thoughts about the predominantly black jury that allowed Mr. Simpson to, literally, get away with murder.

T. Greco, Graniteville, S.C.