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Ray Haley of Omaha and thousands of other protesters rally in response to the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis near 72nd and Dodge Streets in Omaha on May 29.

Omaha’s race problem

Omaha, Nebraska, is not a city that embraces diversity and inclusion, and neither does Nebraska in general. Most African Americans in Nebraska understand that unless you wear a white helmet with an “N” on it, most people in the white community could care less about your rights, treatment — including by what most African Americans believe are racist police — or life.

That truth is ugly and inconvenient, but it is the truth. And until we acknowledge that truth, nothing is going to change.

Marvin Wilson, Omaha

Ricketts risks lives

Pete Ricketts calls himself pro-life. But he’s not when it comes to the lives of older Nebraskans and others vulnerable to the pandemic. He demonstrated his willingness to sacrifice our lives to raise his standing with the far-right base when he blocked funding to local governments that require face masks in their offices.

Ricketts is disingenuous in claiming to protect our rights. No one has a right to spread a deadly infection to their neighbors by refusing to wear a mask in public buildings, just as no one has the right to risk others’ lives by driving drunk. But we certainly should have the right to safely use government buildings for which we’ve paid.

Ricketts is actually trampling on our rights, as he risks our lives.

Chuck Hassebrook, Lincoln

Both sides went too far

I’m sad the 11-Worth Cafe had to close there doors. This was one of those places that everybody enjoyed. All types of people stopped in — old, young, white and black, rich or poor. All types also worked there. Just look at the variety of cars in the parking lot. The location was perfect, held the neighborhood together. Brought people from far and wide who would probably never go downtown, except they could not resist the good food. Received a bang for your buck. Even the wait time was enjoyable.

Both sides went too far. The owner’s son should never had said things like he said on social media. I’m sure he regrets it. Too easy to say things on your phone without thinking what you said. Maybe the Robert E. Lee omelet could have been changed to Black Lives Matter. On the other side, the protesters went too far, harassing people going in and out. They should have left their protesting on the sides of Leavenworth Street. Never harass someone at their home.

I’ll miss the 11-Worth Cafe. A little part of my life is over, little pieces that are hard to find. For the people who worked there and the regulars, a big piece is missing. We need more places like this, not fewer.

Stephen D. Buchholz, Omaha

What racism is not

I’m not racist because I’m white. I’m not racist because I am a patriot. I am not a racist because I believe the police, like other first responders are brave, men and women dedicated to the protection of the city. I’m not racist because I believe police should pay more attention to any group of people who commit most of the crime in our city. I’m not a racist if I believe in standing for the national anthem and feeling others who live in this country should also stand in respect for the flag that so many millions died to preserve.

I’m not racist if I believe everyone should receive equal treatment but that no one should be given special treatment because of color, race or religion. I’m not a racist if I believe anyone who wants to succeed in life is given an equal opportunity, but that no one should be given preference because of color, or because the “racial balance is not right.”

My bottom line is that everyone in this country has the same opportunity even if they refuse to believe it or fail to take advantage of the opportunities provided for them, and no one should be given special consideration based on race, creed or religion. We live in a great country even though some fail to see that. So stop complaining about what you don’t have and start to work to build a better life, because it’s not my responsibility to give you a better life; that’s your responsibility.

John Wright, Omaha

Fine journalism

So much went right with the Sunday story headlined “What Went Wrong at 72nd and Dodge.” I’m sure some with strong opinions on all sides of the issue can find faults with this meticulously even-handed look at a complex, volatile situation. As an observer with a lifelong dedication to looking closely at media content, I find it hard to recall a more valuable contribution to understanding. It’s fair to the police and fair to the protesters. It shows clearly why the police took decisive actions when state troopers were surrounded in their car and shows just as clearly why otherwise peaceful protesters weren’t aware of the specific circumstances that prompted those decisive actions. And it leaves room for readers to reach their own conclusions on the consequences. To avoid conflict takes more discipline than those with the best of intentions on all sides are likely to manage.

Bravo, Henry Cordes, Erin Duffy and The World-Herald for the kind of thorough reporting not available anywhere but in the daily newspaper.

Warren Francke, Omaha

professor emeritus, UNO Journalism and Mass Communication

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