Garnell Whitfield, Jr., of Buffalo, N.Y., whose mother, Ruth Whitfield, was killed in the Buffalo Tops supermarket mass shooting, testifies at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on domestic terrorism, Tuesday, June 7, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Credit: Jacquelyn Martin

Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to

Let’s all look this moment squarely in the face — no flinching allowed.

The rejection and hatred of Black people in this country is nothing new. From Claude Neal, to Medgar Evers, George Floyd, and now to Ruth Whitfield, murdered in Buffalo, this prejudice has been carefully nurtured, allowed to metastasize into the lethal dehumanization we now witness month after month.

An appalling number of white men are out there, poised to become “heroes” of the great replacement theory if they will gun down good human beings in the name of white supremacy. If people think they might aspire to such an act, consider the ignorance and cowardice it reveals:

Do they really want to stand there and tell me that they — in their wet-behind-the-ears naiveté — are superior to the elegant woman, the devoted father that they just shot to death?

Can they understand that it could take them six lifetimes to accumulate the wit, wisdom, skill, sophistication, and just plain enduring love evidenced by so many Black people?

Did someone try to tell them that they belong to the white race? Well, they should say they prefer the human race. Come on in, the water’s fine!

The creators of A Long Talk About the Uncomfortable Truth have a vision: An anti-racist at every dinner table in America ( I’ve been part of these community conversations since February, because I don’t want a gentle and talented friend to live in fear of his life. Silence equals complicity.

Diane Oltarzewski


Election notice: The BDN will stop accepting letters and commentary related to the June 14 primary election on Friday, June 10. Not all submissions can be published.