Census undercount is another sign of racism

Not only do we have to contend with a maddening COVID-19 virus, we must also deal with the constant manifestation of the ongoing pernicious American sin of racism.

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2020 census, race and origin, immigrants, Latinos, Middle East, North Africa

The 2020 U.S. Census undercounted Blacks, Hispanics and other people of color, while there was a slight overcount of whites.

Paul Sancya/AP

The 2020 Census undercount of Black, Hispanic and Indigenous citizens is another example of the virus of racism that infects every aspect of our lives.

Guess what? The undercount rates are substantially higher than the undercount in the 2010 Census. And guess what again? The white population had an overcount, once again. Does this matter? Indeed yes, because these inaccurate counts influence Congressional voting districts and the distribution of federal spending.

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From housing to education to jobs to police departments to the halls of Congress, the virus of racism is alive and well. Even to the extent of new Jim Crow laws that try to censure the teaching of factual American history if it disturbs white children. Dr. King would be hanging his head in America today.

Rev. Martin Deppe, Edgewater

Suspend the gas tax

The taxpayers of Illinois need a break. Let’s have a 90-day moratorium on the gas tax and tax until we can increased production to meet demand. Gov. J.B. Pritzker doubled the gas tax during good times in 2019. He should lower the gas taxes now during war times.

Marvin Neely, Calumet City

Smollett case was never an ordinary felony

I am an African American and was an attorney focusing on federal civil rights and housing law before retiring in 2019. I represented African Americans, Latinos and Caucasians who alleged employment discrimination based on race and sex. I have also represented employees who were of Chinese, East Indian and Korean descent.

Some of the cases alleged both sexual and racial harassment, and those were especially difficult to litigate and prove.

Some of the remarks by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx about the Jussie Smollett case miss a major point. This was never just an ordinary case of making false statements to the police. This case immediately attracted nationwide attention, including from numerous politicians and television commentators.

Many people have stated their belief that Smollett’s false claims could discourage those with legitimate claims of discrimination or harassment from coming forward. That may in fact happen, and if so, that will be a tragic outcome.

However, the other tragic possibility is the increased difficulty of proving racial or sexual discrimination and/or harassment to judges and juries in federal civil rights cases. I have won some civil rights cases, settled some and lost others. All of these cases were extremely difficult to prove.

False claims of racial and sexual discrimination or harassment make these cases even harder to prove, and may even discourage some attorneys from litigating them. That is especially true when a case results in the kind of widespread attention given the Smollett case. Another important reason why this was never just an ordinary felony case.

Robert Whitfield, Hyde Park

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