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LETTERS

‘No shortcut to unity’ in a nation wracked by division and overdue for racial reckoning

Protesters march in Bridgewater, N.J., on June 13 during a demonstration against police brutality and racism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.
Protesters march in Bridgewater, N.J., on June 13 during a demonstration against police brutality and racism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

Re “America doesn’t want unity. It wants absolution without restitution” (Opinion, Nov. 16): Renée Graham is right that there is “no shortcut to unity” in an America that is both wracked by political division and long overdue for a racial reckoning. Unfortunately, Graham’s sweeping generalizations — explicit and implicit — about 73 million Trump voters are precisely the type of shortcut that will itself short-circuit any hope for the type of recognition, restitution, and reconstruction that America needs.

But don’t take it from me. Last year, when former vice president Joe Biden was criticized for his comments about working across the aisle with segregationist senators, the late Representative John Lewis came to his defense, stating, “During the height of the civil rights movement we worked with people and got to know people that were members of the [Ku Klux Klan], people who opposed us, even people who beat us, arrested us, and jailed us. We never gave up on our fellow human beings.”

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It is all too easy to cast aside institutions that have let us down or neighbors who think differently than we do. But our secular faith — our democracy — requires something else: a renewed commitment to fighting for our democracy’s future, building bridges with those with whom we disagree, and believing that our best days are ahead.

Andrew L. Kalloch

Eugene, Ore.


Thanks to Renée Graham for her column “America does not want unity. It wants absolution without restitution.” Until white people finally come to terms with the repair work that needs to be done before we can have justice and peace — real equality among us all — there is no peace and no justice. And there can be no compromise here.

I stand with Black Lives Matter and undocumented people. I am a 75-year-old white man — a “refugee” from the 1960s.

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Peter Lowber

Cambridge