By Uwe Siemon-Netto
Rick Nagel's response (Letters, March 31) to Juan Williams's "The Trayvon Martin Tragedies" provides a sad testimony of the current state of journalism. Why do we read and hear so little of those black "entrepreneurs, fund managers, attorneys, teachers" who once studied under Mr. Nagel and similar teachers?
As a former foreign correspondent covering this country for decades, I blame the dearth of curiosity and imagination among assignment editors and reporters for this. Rather than dig up exciting stories about such remarkable people, they perpetuate clichés by parading out opportunistic and boring characters such as the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who should have long been relegated to dotage in obscurity.
You rarely find out much about competent pastors of healthy black congregations. When I lived in downtown Washington, I attended Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, an almost all-black parish a 10-minute walk from the offices of the capital's leading newspaper. Not once did Mount Olivet's elegant and Gospel-centered sermons, its fine liturgy and educated, successful members attract media attention. The problem was that they were too "normal"; they did not fit stereotypes as readily as Messrs. Sharpton or Jackson.
Is it good journalism to ignore what's excellent and normal? Trust an old newspaperman: It is not and does harm to all of us, especially African-Americans.
Laguna Woods, Cal
EDITOR'S NOTE: For more on this subject, check out the interesting political and social observations of Micah Bournes on our upcoming podcast "ViW: Art in the Wasteland".