Every week, The Post runs a collection of letters of readers’ grievances — pointing out grammatical mistakes, missing coverage and inconsistencies. These letters tell us what we did wrong and, occasionally, offer praise. Here, we present this week’s Free for All letters.

Heed the writing on the wall

The Aug. 19 front page carried a photograph of a mural honoring African American citizens who were killed by police. The mural includes the words “Say Their Names.” And what did the caption read? “A mural seen earlier this month in Louisville honors Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, George Floyd and others.”

And others? If there was ever a time to do the research, this was it. Say their names.

Jodi Chernin, University Park

An earlier beginning

When Sharmila Sen wrote in her Aug. 16 Sunday Opinion essay, “A chance for Black-Indian reconciliation,” that the “Indian side of [the immigration] story begins variously in 1957, when Dalip Singh Saund became the first Indian American to be elected to the House of Representatives,” she ignored a significant phase of the Indian immigrant story that began many years earlier.

There was a wave of voluntary Indian immigrants that started in the late 19th century. They largely consisted of Sikhs who found farming and railroad construction opportunities in and around Yuba and Sutter counties in California.

Parminder Singh, Fairfax

Excluding Asian Americans

I was very disappointed to see the Aug. 17 news article “Poll: Majority approve of Harris as running mate,” about a Post-ABC News poll of more than 1,000 adults. It broke down attitudes by race but left out Asian Americans because the poll didn’t bother to sufficiently sample Asian Americans, presumably because we were deemed not relevant to the story.

The focus of the story was Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), the first Asian American to be nominated to run as vice president for a major party. Asians are 5.6 percent of the nation’s population and 8.4 percent of the Washington area.

I hope The Post is not going to similarly ignore the Asian American vote in an election that might be extremely close.

Karen K. Narasaki, Washington

Time for a novel name

I saw a comment about how naming the virus that is causing our current coronavirus pandemic the “novel” coronavirus could be confusing, because what happens when a new coronavirus appears? The current virus was named back in February. Its long name is “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2” or “SARS-CoV-2” for short. The disease it causes is covid-19. Yet, the Aug. 8 editorial “Filling the pandemic leadership gap” continued to call it the novel coronavirus.  And I’ve seen many articles in The Post using that term. An Aug. 8 op-ed and an editorial cartoon got it right. It’s time the rest of The Post did, too.

Melissa Yorks, Gaithersburg

Missing the point

I am a lifelong Republican who detests the current occupant of the White House as much as is humanly possible. However, I was struck by the absurd photograph that accompanied the Aug. 11 news article “Trump paints Biden in a way even critics don’t recognize.” The picture, apparently taken directly below the president’s lectern, shows only the presidential seal and President Trump’s finger. The article itself was excellent, pointing out the bizarre effort of the president attempting to paint himself as more religious than former vice president Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president.

Yet, the article lost credibility because of that distracting picture. It allowed the other side to promote stereotypes of The Post as a liberal bastion. Please consider words and images carefully. The president is quite effective at embarrassing himself. Just let him do it.

Jim South, Arlington

Halt the misinformation

The secondary headline on the Aug. 14 front-page article “Israel and UAE reach historic accord” was dangerously misleading. It said Israel will “halt” expansion into the West Bank.

When I was in Gen. George S. Patton’s 3rd Army Infantry in World War II, if we shouted “halt” to the retreating Germans, they knew it meant either stop or be shot.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will “suspend” his aggression, which means nothing more than “delay.” In other, more straightforward words, it means only “not today.” He further said, “I did not give up on the settlements.” What could be clearer?

The article further explained that the United Arab Emirates has achieved a “concession from Israel not to pursue formal annexation of Palestinian lands.” What kind of delusion is intended by such double talk?

The UAE ambassador to the United States wrote on June 12 that the Israeli plans to declare “sovereignty” over the West Bank would shatter the process of normalization that was underway. He further clarified that “normal is not annexation . . . annexation is a misguided provocation.”

The fine print exposed the misleading headline and makes one wonder what the UAE really means in its “agreement” with Israel.

Stanley J. Asrael, Silver Spring

X out these stereotypes

Petula Dvorak erred badly in perpetuating out-of-date stereotypes about aging and about the supposed traits of various generations in her Aug. 14 Metro column, “Harris for vice president is peak Gen X.”

“Busybody retirees”? “Geriatric history”? “Disrupting the natural evolution . . . of the workplace”? Really? And all this as she lamented the slacker labels that others mindlessly stuck on her “generation.”

Such arguments encourage people to engage in a “them vs. us” mind-set toward those born before or after them within blocks of years that are artificially defined. She wants to reduce social policy and the consideration of evolving demographics into some kind of “Salt-N-Pepa or Captain Kangaroo?” argument. To borrow from Sen. Kamala D. Harris, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee: It is a false choice.

We can be excited by a Gen Xer coming onto the national stage without concluding that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s age is “disruptive to the social order.” Dvorak should stop feeling sorry for Gen X and instead be celebrating that America is again extending the definition of what constitutes a “useful life.” In a decade or two, she will feel differently about older people being so easily written off. 

Paul McLane, Springfield

White people don't know what they don't know

While having a leisurely lunch at my neighborhood restaurant, outside and socially distant, I came across the Aug. 7 Weekend article “Winging it is better than you remember.” I was immediately appalled. Specifically, I was disgusted by the following reference to the late Dorothy Irene Height: “[A mural] features a portrait and quote from Dorothy I. Height, a name that I, with great embarrassment, do not recognize. I Google her and discover that Height was an activist fighting for equal rights for African Americans and women, two battles that continue to this day.” 

I am sure that if you mentioned Dorothy Irene Height to many of my White friends or to the White lawyers at my former job, they would not know who she is, either. Indeed, I am confident that if I had said to my White co-workers that I had drunk from a colored water fountain or had been, at age 13, the victim of a tirade by an irate White man who threatened to burn down the youth hostel in Michigan where I and other Black children were spending the weekend, my colleagues would have feigned ignorance of such things.   

 And that is a central problem in America. I am a 66-year-old Black woman, born and raised in the city of Detroit. As a Black person, I can tell you that in my whole life, we have constantly been told about and made to study White people in history, arts and culture. The history, art and culture of any group considered to be minority is greatly minimized. Thus, I can tell you so many things about White people and their lives, hang-ups, anxieties and fears, while White people often do not know nearly the same things about Black people, our contributions to this country, our art, our culture. The prevailing subtext is always that White writers, artists, whatever, are superior and more worthy.  

A reader would think Height was some obscure, forgotten person. That could not be further from the truth, and certainly not here in D.C. Height and her organization, the National Council of Negro Women, sponsored the Black Family Reunion on the Mall that was attended by thousands of people. It was an event that people looked forward to. When the National Council of Negro Women purchased a building in the 600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, that made the news. I’m sure I read about it in The Post. White people should ask why they don’t know these things.

June M. Jeffries, Oxon Hill

What lies beneath

After reading Robin Givhan’s Aug. 15 Style critique of the wardrobe and actions of White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, “Fully armed for TV,” I was left wondering why it is all right to objectify a professional’s appearance in such lurid and detailed terms. 

I thought part of the feminist movement’s appeal for women’s rights was to get away from labeling and obsessing about appearance and instead look for the substance that lies beneath a person’s appearance. Why is it acceptable, in the case of this article for example, to highlight descriptions of a person’s clothes and appearance at the expense of her justifiably examined roles and activities?

David Sherer, Chevy Chase

It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'stemwinder' is

In “3 takeaways from the second night of the Democratic National Convention” [Election 2020, Aug. 19], Aaron Blake referred to Bill Clinton as a man known for giving “lengthy stemwinders that often last longer than convention organizers would like.”

This would seem to imply that the speeches were overlong or boring.

In fact, “stemwinder” is (or should be) used to describe a rousing speech. It’s supposed to be a compliment, not a dig.

John Belz, Arlington

One sport, two pathways

In his Aug. 9 Sports column, “Setting out to forge new pathways,” Barry Svrluga described “a strange conundrum that a sport built on the backs of Black athletes has so many White people in leadership positions.” Svrluga sadly lost an opportunity to mention Native American Jim Thorpe, whose play professionally and in college increased football’s popularity. 

In 1920, Thorpe was chosen as the first president of the American Professional Football Association. American football was invented by, revised, played for decades and viewed by a largely White audience. 

Today, 65 percent of National Football League players are Black and, I suggest, are wealthy compared with most Americans. Michael Locksley, head coach at the University of Maryland, seems to be a dedicated and conscientious leader for the Terps. However, my hunch is he was surprised to land a Power Five-type conference coaching position, paying $2.5 million annually, based on his head coaching résumé totaling two wins and 26 losses for the New Mexico Lobos.

John P. Skram, Herndon

Memories of a Black-and-White town

I really appreciated the Aug. 15 Sports article about Andrew Washington, the football coach in Beaumont, Tex., who died of covid-19, “Clear eyes, broken hearts.”  

I haven’t lived in Beaumont since I graduated from Beaumont High in 1967, but, as a native of the town, I grew up well aware of the excellence of the football programs at the Black high schools.

The article quoted the status of Beaumont as the “pro football capital of the world” in the early 1970s because of the many National Football League players who had come “through its talent-rich high schools.” It should have said “talent-rich Black high schools,” Charlton-Pollard and Hebert. Just about every year, either C-PHS or HHS would be the state champion in Texas’s league for Black-only high schools. The White-only schools in town, however, were pretty poor at football. (My older brothers played on those teams, so I was at every game.) My memory (which is flawed) is that in the early 1970s there were 22 players in the NFL from Beaumont. All the NFL players from Beaumont were from Black schools. How could a town of 120,000 produce so many NFL players? My take has always been that the coaching must have been superior.

Incidentally, the photograph of Washington showed him wearing a Central Jaguars jersey. When the city got serious about desegregating its schools, it consolidated them. Beaumont High became Beaumont-Charlton Pollard and later was rechristened Central. All the names, colors and mascots were changed. So my high school became Washington’s high school for a time.

I don’t know how The Post found this story, but I’m glad it did. I hate the memory of the racism of the town and the times I grew up in. But, somehow, knowing that Washington was so beloved by his players and colleagues gives me a little balm for my soul.

Margaret Cervarich, Frederick

Undying gratitude

I have long admired The Post’s obituary writers — beginning maybe 40 years ago with the obit for Captain Dewey Blanton, a famed Chesapeake fisherman. But during the dog days of the coronavirus, the obits have provided an especially uplifting message about courage and determination of people from all walks of life.

The Aug. 11 obituaries for James Harris, “Wrestled as Ugandan tribal warrior Kamala,” and trombonist Helen Jones Woods, “Trombone player was in a barrier-breaking all-female jazz band,” were just some of the latest. My deepest thanks.

Judd Kessler, Bethesda

The American schism

The Aug. 9 obituary for Bernard Bailyn, “Harvard historian reframed the Founders’ motivations,” rightly pointed out his neglect of Blacks and Native Americans in his histories of the Revolution, but another important group was left out: the people we think of as evangelical Christians today.

Bailyn contributed to the idea that “the colonists” were mostly educated gentlemen with feet firmly planted in the Enlightenment. He says as much in “The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution” — that his use of the term “colonists” refers to the elite, not the soldiers who actually fought the Revolution’s battles.

Our division today between a blue America with its feet in the Enlightenment and a red America with its feet in the Reformation began at our founding. As I write in “Revolutionary Religion,” from the beginning we have been in part a rational nation with secular concerns, but the belief that we are an Israel destined to escape from Egypt and create a New Jerusalem in the wilderness has been very much a part of our history. Sermons such as Nicholas Street’s 1776 “The American States acting over the part of the Children of Israel in the Wilderness,” included in my book, point to this other, more religious side of the American Revolution.

No less an elite gentleman than John Adams knew that the common man feared that “if Parliament could tax us, they could establish the Church of England with all its creeds, articles, tests, ceremonies and tithes, and prohibit all other churches as conventicles and schism shops.” Bailyn’s was not the whole story of why we fought.

David Williams, Lincoln, Va.

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