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A response to 'Woke on the warpath' 

I've been trying to fill my head with happy thoughts these past few months, and "Woke on the warpath" (Nov. 19) put a dent in that. I'm not sure how John Donegan derives his pronouncements if not from breathtaking naiveté. The now-scrubbed material from Pete Sysak's social media went way beyond calling distant protesters "thugs," it was vile, hateful, and I will not honor it with a description. Someone who hatefully denigrates so many of the same populations that the college is designed to serve has zero business serving in any capacity there. I won't comment on John's description of "nontraditional shopping" beyond saying that there are protesters, looters, and rioters. Specific actors in the summer's protests, educate yourself. Look at the role white supremacists played, if you dare.

Is there systemic racism in our happy place? Yes. Can I load you up with local statistics? I looked for 45 minutes; I'm not giving any more of my life to this rebuke. I will say that you can look no further than the treatments by our District Attorney, Pastor Dan Dow, of a young black woman, Tianna Arata, charged with 13 crimes, while Dow "couldn't find anything to prosecute" in his examination of Chris McGuire, an alleged white sexual predator and former Paso Robles police sergeant.

Nationally, a Black man is more likely to die in police custody than a white man. He is more likely to be pulled over, suffer violence at that time, be arrested, more likely to be tried and convicted, and with demonstrably stiffer sentences. Blacks have higher unemployment rates, lack access to financing, are offered poorer educations. Tellingly, people of color have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. If not for systemic discrimination, how would that be explained?

I'm not going to chase John down his wormhole of Chinese or Russian upheavals, and how that macabre history foretells what awaits our hapless youth. I will say that I am proud of our youngsters, of how they speak up and instigate needed change. There is injustice in our world, inequality is rampant. I'm not sure that any of us on the left want to banish the Pete Sysaks, the Chris Arends, or the John Donegans, we just want you to be respectful. To realize that there are those who have been beleaguered in the nation for 400 years, and to know that the work to be done is to be done by the oppressors, white people. Our society needs conflicting viewpoints to function, to maintain a balance. We just can't allow you to be dickish about it.

Allen Root

San Luis Obispo

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