To the editor — I have been surprised at the flaws in many of our country’s leaders and institutions both past and present. I don’t remember learning much about individual racism while in school. The Black Lives Matter movement has certainly opened my eyes.

My biggest revelation, however, revolves around the Civil War. Ending slavery was purely a legislative exercise (although enforcing that change was devastating). That being said, it had little, if anything, to do with racism. It appeared to be easy to disavow slavery while still being overtly racist.

Racism may be a learned behavior, but it is deeply ingrained in our collective psyche. I am pessimistic that it will ever be completely exorcised. All I can do is have empathy toward those around me and pass that on to my children.

LAWRENCE A. WEYER

Goldendale