Editor’s note: The previous letter was published June 23 in the Green Valley News. The following response was published today.

As an African American, college graduate and Viet Nam Vet who grew up in the “ghetto,” I have mixed feelings and doubts about reparations.

My reservations are based on cost and how it would be decided who gets them. More importantly, we are not close to anything happening because the House bill being considered is to form a committee to evaluate what could be done.

That said, I have some issues with most of statements outlined in recent letter to the editor relative to reparations. I am curious how many black people the writer consulted before making the statement that we are “extremely insulted” about the notion of reparations.

It sounds like the writer believes that President Obama couldn’t have been elected twice without “white guilt,” which belies his point about giving black people an opportunity to achieve based on their abilities. I wonder what he would suggest propelled our current “unaccomplished” president to victory in 2016. Was it “white regret”?

The Great Society was well-meaning but the legacies of slavery and ongoing racism were the cause of the malaise he outlines as being a result of the Great Society.

I agree that black people don’t need free stuff. What we need is an opportunity to succeed on an even playing field; sometimes we need the opportunity to even get on the field. I spent over 40 years in corporate America and was quite successful. My apparent success came about as a result of hard work constantly working against stereotypes and institutional racism. I disagree that institutional racism no longer exists; it does because I faced it and fought against it over the years.

The letter talks about not giving black people a pass because of their skin color. I agree, but white people have been given a pass and it continues to this day because of their skin color.

The news is full of innocent black people being arrested and questioned for living in their own neighborhoods with the “assumption” that they should not be there. Do white folks get the same scrutiny? I live with that fear as a resident of Green Valley that I will be questioned about whether I belong here and am always prepared to identify myself as such.

I agree that we should demand the same behavior from all people regardless of their skin color, but we still have a long way to go. I don’t know how the reparations issue will be resolved but I understand that it is focused on righting wrongs that existed during slavery and still exist today.

Elliott Jones, Green Valley

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