The March 20 Talkback section included this comment: “I cannot imagine that a black man raped a white woman in downtown Aiken, broke every bone in her face and left her for dead. He is sentenced to only 20 years with the possibility of parole.”

Can the writer imagine a white man raping a black woman, inflicting enormous physical injury and leaving her for dead? In that scenario, can the writer imagine similar criminal punishment meted out? And can the writer imagine writing to this newspaper in a fit of equal indignation, decrying a perceived injustice?

I am of two minds about the Aiken Standard’s decision to print such ill-informed and myopic comments in an anonymous forum: On the one hand, such ignorant rhetoric is nothing but divisive. On the other hand, this narrow-minded hate speech exposes the indisputable fact that racism still exists in this community.

This racially charged invective is all the proof I need that a large gap – societal and judicial –still separates black from white in our area.

On an artist’s palette, what do you get when you mix white and black? Grey. How many shades of grey are there in the March 20 Talkback writer’s narrow mind? Zero.

The crime was horrific. The races of the perpetrator and the victim are irrelevant ... or should be.

Laura Bagwell