Racial legacies at work | Letters to the Editor | Indy Week

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Racial legacies at work


Mara Evans blames the victim for behaving irresponsibly (Back Talk, June 7). What more responsible behavior is there than working hard to support your child and put yourself through school?

Evans condescendingly says the woman brought the violence on herself by choosing to work under dangerous conditions, instead of simply choosing one of the safer options she most assuredly had. Many people choose to work in dangerous jobs because it is the only way they can support their families and fulfill their other obligations. When a night clerk in a convenience store is killed by a robber, we don't say he shouldn't have been doing that kind of work. But when a woman is raped, well, she "co-created" the situation.

Evans calls on the victim to liberate herself from degrading, dangerous work. For hundreds of years, African Americans have been forced to work in hostile white territory where they were, and still are, routinely humiliated, beaten, raped and murdered. This woman was victimized because a black female carrying the legacy of slaves is fair game for white cotton-shirted males claiming the legacy of slave owners.

Evans' way of thinking pervades our society. It is integral to the racist and sexist structure that makes a black woman parade her naked body in front of bigoted, misogynistic sons of white privilege. She deserves our praise and commendation for her courage and service to her community in challenging racism and sexism by reporting the alleged crime, and exposing herself to the all-too-predictable slander that it was her own fault.

Jack Leiss
Cedar Grove

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