Regarding J. Peder Zane’s Feb. 25 column “Victims, not crime, typified the American experience”: The threat to our democratic ethic is not, as he asserted, “the steady stream of stories ... including claims of wars on women and minorities.” A war exists – it is a war of omission.
Women and minorities are invisible – greatly impacted by policy decisions, yet not contributing meaningfully to them. North Carolina’s population is 51 percent female and 35 percent minority. By contrast, the N.C. General Assembly is 78 percent male and 80 percent white. Minority representation is nearly exclusively African-American. There is one Native American legislator. There are no Latino or Asian legislators, despite being 12 percent of the state’s population.
Women and minorities are also missing from political discourse, which might influence public opinion and, thus, indirectly sway legislative decisions. Among the top five circulation newspapers in North Carolina, none – including The News & Observer – currently has a female, Asian or Latino opinion columnist on the editorial pages.
Isolation breeds bigotry. If we hear only our own voice reflected back, when we encounter people too “different,” we will treat them with suspicion instead of as equals endowed with the same unalienable rights.