Over the years I’ve learned to seek out and appreciate those who say what is factual and accurate, even if what they say hurts.

Your writing is much more passionate, your points more hard-hitting than my own, yet you’re absolutely right that there are many so-called educated people who will give more credence to my writing over yours based simply on the degree of melanin in our respective skins. I hate that fact, but it is a fact nonetheless.

A few years ago my older brother passed away. He was in the hospital after having suffered a major stroke. He was the last of my close family back in Mississippi. I received the call while I was in our family house in the Delta, and I’d asked a couple of our Black neighbors (who’d put up with my family’s racism for decades) to come get whatever they wanted out of there before my distant relations (all racist) showed up the next day. I couldn’t ship it all to Washington state, so why not give it to those who could really use it? So the two men saw me crying after receiving the call, and one tried to comfort me by telling me he understood, that he’d lost two sons, one to sickness, the other to drowning. At that moment, I stopped crying. He’d lost two of his children, and that’s infinitely worse than losing an older brother. I thanked him, dried my tears, and got back to work.

That’s what you just did for me in your reply — you told me to toughen up, to have a stiff upper lip. I hope you know how grateful I am.

On another subject, have you considered running for office? In the Navy, I discovered I wasn’t a leader, no matter how hard I tried. But by what you have done in your writing and your replies to me, you’ve shown me that you are a natural leader. You have the passion and the skill, and instinctively know how to guide people (at least with the written word) better than I ever could. Please understand this is not patronization by any means, but just a sincere suggestion.

Retired Navy. Inveterate contrarian. If I haven’t done it, I’ve usually done something close.

Retired Navy. Inveterate contrarian. If I haven’t done it, I’ve usually done something close.