- - Wednesday, February 3, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Those who say we no longer have a problem with race relations in the United States are either blind or ignoring the facts. In 1962, my mother became enraged when a cousin, who at the time was a police officer in Dodge City, Kan., said that the “problem” of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement could be solved by marching every black American into the deserts of Nevada and dropping a couple of hydrogen bombs. After that incident, we didn’t visit that cousin or his family for at least three years.

A few years back, I had a co-worker named George. George was black and married to a white woman whose family lived in a very conservative part of the state, in western Kansas. George and his wife often drove by car to see her family, and during each trip, without exception, George was stopped at some point by a white deputy sheriff. He was never told why the officer had pulled him over, nor was he ever given a citation. During one of these stops, he was forced to wait a good 20 minutes before the deputy came back with his license and registration. And on one trip he was stopped on both legs og the trip.

I, too, have family in west Kansas. Like George, I have driven out there and back to Wichita many times, but unlike George, I have never been stopped by a white officer. I am certain it is because I am also white. This is why I find it hard to believe those Americans who insist we no longer have a race problem in this country.

MICHAL BETZ

Wichita, Kan.

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