Letters to the Editor

Officer gives insights, dismisses systemic racism

Thank you Trish Mehaffey and The Gazette for giving readers insight from Cedar Rapids Officer E.J. Merriweather (“Black officer — and Cedar Rapids police union leader — speaks up for peers,” Nov. 13). The most profound comment Officer Merriweather said was “We don’t fix the whole world, just the problem in front of us at the time.”

Sound advice for tough times and every day concerns. What if the problem in front of us is how to define “systemic racism?” I would have liked to know what Officer Merriweather defines systemic racism to be, especially since he “flatly says he doesn’t believe systemic racism exists in law enforcement — locally or nationally.”

That’s a broad, sweeping statement. Believing something doesn’t always make it so. The phrase systemic racism is now broadly used and my concern is its definition isn’t clear, broadly or not.

And yet we need law enforcement to fix the problem(s) in front of us. I would suggest one problem is how thin the line is between systemic and not systemic. Iowans may be “the most decent people around” according to Officer Merriweather. And yet we still have problems. Some may be systemic.

Gretchen Reeh-Robinson

Mount Vernon

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