Letters to the Editor: How racism, bigotry and elitism may be driving mask resistance

People wear masks, some only partially, in downtown Los Angeles onThursday.  (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Racism strikes again in the aversion to masks. Many people in parts of Asia wear masks, and some Muslim women cover their faces. Racism is visceral, profoundly and personally physical. ("California's mask order tests the limits of Newsom's executive power," June 29)

Plus, law-and-order types might not like masks. Terrorists, outlaws and taggers wear them, they say.

Then there's classism. Manual laborers and farm workers wear masks.

These are some reasons why masks are seen as political. Just wear one already.

Barbara May, Eagle Rock

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To the editor: I was 19 years old when I was drafted into the U.S. Army. I was opposed to the Vietnam War. Going into the Army was not appealing to me, but many of my friends were getting drafted, so I thought it was my duty to serve.

I never saw combat but spent 13 months in South Korea just miles from the de-militarized zone. I never got shot at doing my office job. What I remember is the loneliness and feeling a bit uncomfortable in a far-off land.

Fast forward to 2020. I survived a bout with pancreatic cancer eight years ago but was left with a very compromised immune system. In my condition at 73, I am no match for COVID-19. I might have had a fighting chance in Vietnam, but I have little ammunition in this pandemic.

Bottom line: I am very blessed. My wife and I will celebrate our 50th anniversary in July. If I die tomorrow, I'm good. But if I get infected and cash in because one of my fellow citizens was "uncomfortable" in a mask or felt his rights were being violated, I will be angry.

Be a patriot, do your duty and wear a mask.

Bob Baedeker, Capistrano Beach

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To the editor: Trying to sell people on wearing a mask to protect others from an infectious disease that we may be carrying is a fool's mission and a waste of time. Average people are not concerned enough with a stranger's well being to inconvenience themselves or mess with their makeup.

So, I wear a mask to protect myself from you.

Sandra Dannenbaum, Los Angeles

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To the editor: It's clear that wearing masks to slow the spread of COVID-19 has become politicized. Since the president won't model good behavior, let's give his supporters some new swag.

Will some creative, entrepreneurial person please start mass-producing red masks that say, "Make America Great Again"?

Kathleen Zakoski, Carlsbad

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To the editor: Sad to say, but there's a virtually unbridgeable divide between young and old that makes it unlikely the former will lend a hand at bringing the pandemic under control.

The older segment of the population views COVID-19 as an existential threat, while the younger sees it as a potential bad cold.

Mark Steinberg, Los Angeles