Pittsburgh City Paper editor explains to racists why Leon Ford was the perfect person to be named CP’s Pittsburgher of the Year. | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper
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Pittsburgh City Paper editor explains to racists why Leon Ford was the perfect person to be named CP’s Pittsburgher of the Year. 

Thanks for writing. You’ve probably heard this before but you’re a racist.

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Last week, City Paper named activist and police-brutality victim Leon Ford our first-ever Pittsburgher of the Year. Ford, who was unarmed, was paralyzed after being shot by police during a routine traffic stop in 2012. The award was met with a lot of positivity. But not everyone felt that way. Below is an unedited email exchange that I had with one dissenter on Dec. 20.

From: Baseball Joe <REDACTED@aol.com>
Sent: Wed., Dec. 20, 2017 10:36 p.m.
To: cdeitch@pghcitypaper.com

Subject: pgher of year

is city paper serious
choosing a thug for Pittsburgher of the year
he was shot by police after trying to flee
let citizens of Pittsburgh choose pgher of year
seems like city paper is so black oriented
blacks comprise only about 28% of the city and only about 9% of the tri-state area
paper needs to focus more on MAJORITY, NOT MINORITY
sad that pgh seems to be on same path as Detroit


From: Charlie Deitch <cdeitch@pghcitypaper.com>
To: ‘Baseball Joe’ <REDACTED@aol.com>
Sent: Thu., Dec. 21, 2017 10:03 a.m.

Subject: RE: pgher of year

Hi Joe, Thanks for writing. You’ve probably heard this before but you’re a racist. You sir, are what’s wrong in this city. An Attitude like yours is the reason that white police officers couldn’t believe that Leon Ford, a black man, wasn’t a criminal, a “thug” or a person of interest in something illegal despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary. They are the reason that Leon Ford is paralyzed and confined to a wheel chair. And people like you and your inability to see injustice is the reason that it will, unfortunately, happen again to someone else.

Happy Holidays,

Charlie Deitch


From: Baseball Joe [REDACTED@aol.com]
Sent: Thu., Dec. 21, 2017 10:24 a.m.
To: cdeitch@pghcitypaper.com

Subject: Re: pgher of year

a racist is someone who hates EVERYONE of a certain race
ANYONE can be a racist-black, white, Asian, Hispanic
there are MANY fine blacks and I have some black friends
there are such racial DOUBLE STANDARDS in this country
blacks can say or do basically anything they want and are called ACTIVISTS
while whites say anything remotely racial, they are called RACISTS
WHY is MLK the ONLY AMERICAN to have his own NATIONAL holiday
while Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR and others DO NOT have their own national holiday
MLK day should be replaced by A GREAT AMERICANS DAY. so everyone can honor whatever great American they wish
If Leon Ford didn’t do anything wrong, why did he run from police
if he would not sped away he would not have been shot
EVERY TIME  a black gets injured or killed there is such outrage
but whenever a black kills a police officer where is all the outrage  TELL ME
WHY after JFK and RFK were assassinated  there was no outage
but after MLK was assassinated there were MASSIVE RIOTS
MEDIA NEEDS TO TELL both sides OF AN ISSUE

From: Charlie Deitch <cdeitch@pghcitypaper.com>
To: ‘Baseball Joe’ <REDACTED@aol.com>
Sent: Thu., Dec. 21, 2017 12:24 p.m.

Subject: RE: pgher of year

Hi Joe,

Actually, I’ve found that when somebody claims they’re not racist by claiming to have black friends, they’re racist. Because this might be difficult to understand, below is a translation in the language of one of America’s great white philosophers, Jeff Foxworthy:

“If someone calls you a racist and you say you can’t be a racist because you have black friends, yooooou might be a racist.”

From: Baseball Joe [mailto: REDACTED@aol.com]
Sent: Thu., Dec. 21, 2017 12:31p.m.
To: cdeitch@pghcitypaper.com

Subject: Re: pgher of year

SUCH STUPIDITY
whats your view about replacing MLK Day with GREAT AMERICANS DAY
NO ONE should object to that
give EVERYONE a choice on what great American they choose to honor

From: Charlie Deitch <cdeitch@pghcitypaper.com>
To: ‘Baseball Joe’ <REDACTED@aol.com>
Sent: Thu., Dec. 21, 2017 1:01 p.m.

Subject: RE: pgher of year

Well, my view stands that you are a racist and that’s about the dumbest, most racist goddamned idea I’ve ever heard in my life. You are also ignorant and oblivious to the world around you. It’s our world, Joe, not yours. Not “Our World” in terms of race, but one belonging to people of tolerance and people who recognize that there is not equality in this world and there must be regardless of a person’s race, gender and sexual identity. But, despite your obvious hatred and bigotry, there is room for you in our world if you smarten up and instead of denying there’s a race problem in America, stand up and do something about it. You need to be able to see that police officers aren’t always right and sometimes bring situations on themselves. They stopped Leon Ford for a moving violation and then spent the next 15 minutes convincing themselves that every fact in front of them was a lie and that Leon Ford was someone else. I can’t imagine what Ford felt sitting in that car for that amount of time. Neither can you. And you and I might not feel uncomfortable because we’re white men and aren’t subject to the same kind of nonsense that black men are on a daily basis by police. If history in these types of situations has taught us nothing else, it’s that unarmed black men die at the hands of police every year. He was 19. He got scared because he knows what happens to men like him. He knew what happened when white police officers decide that someone who is innocent must be guilty of something. I’m white and I will not sit here and pretend to know what that feels like. But I recognize it’s a major problem and needs fixed. You won’t even acknowledge it’s a possibility. You’re what’s wrong with America, Joe. People like you are the reason that Pittsburgh is identified as a racist city by a lot of people. I’m not going to argue with you anymore because I’m never going to get through to you. But I’ll leave you with one final observation. I noticed that you’re still using an AOL account, maybe switch to Gmail; you need to bring your email and your asinine views on race out of the 20th Century. 

Charlie Deitch


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