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National Columnist Talks Racial Inequality at Augustana

WVIK Staff

  "How to be Decent and White in an Era of Black Rage." That was the theme for today's speech at Augustana College by Leonard Pitts Jr. The nationally syndicated columnist and author addressed about 500 students, faculty, and local residents as part of the college's Symposium Day. 

Pitts cited about a dozen incidents where innocent African Americans have been discriminated against, injured, or killed due to their race. And in each case, white Americans have removed themselves from the blame. 

He says white Americans often claim innocence or make excuses in situations of racial injustice. And while they can't help being what he calls, "an inert part of vast oppression," they can identify and talk about institutional inequality.

He says if nothing else, you can see injustice and let it be known.

And Pitts says African Americans should focus on education and pursuing better careers, but those efforts won't go far without serious changes to the "structural racism" in our society.