By John J. Duncan Jr.

In the upside-down world of today, a person can sometimes get in more trouble and controversy for saying something that is true than for saying some politically-correct falsehood.

This happened recently to James Patterson, one of the most successful authors in the world, having sold so many books he is worth about 800 million.

In an interview with the Sunday Times in Great Britain, Patterson said “white older male writers” were not getting hired for “writing gigs in film, theater, TV or publishing” and that this was “just another form of racism.”

He got in so much trouble for saying this that he felt he had to apologize a couple of days later.

I realize that for many years in this country, there was far too much discrimination against Blacks and women.

But that was a long time ago. Now, there is a great deal of discrimination in favor of women and Blacks. Maybe some of it is justified to try to right past wrongs.

But it is a legitimate question to ask, is it going too far. We should all hope for a day when there is no discrimination for or against anyone and especially not for the color of their skin, white or Black.

A friend told me yesterday that he had read that with only 13% of the population, Blacks make up 58% of those who are in national TV ads.

I suppose a major company today would be afraid or at least very hesitant to run ads that did not feature Blacks and women.

It was racist for Joe Biden, during his campaign, to say he would consider only “a woman of color” as his running mate. Do you really think Kamala Harris would have been anyone’s first choice for vice president if she was white?

Now, almost every major city has or has had a woman or a Black chief of police.

And while I am at it, why has the City of Knoxville hired a man from New Orleans as the next Chief of Police when there are many well-qualified, outstanding people on the force right here who could and should have been promoted to the position?

The new chief may be a fine man. But why do we keep falling for the myth that someone from 500 or 1000 miles away is better? We had a fire chief from Miami a few years ago who was a disaster.

My late mother moved from Iowa to Knoxville after college a long time ago, and I have friends and relatives all over the country. But I have sometimes wondered if there is discrimination against people with East Tennessee accents when hiring for some of our top jobs.

I read recently that Blackstone and some of the other big banks and hedge funds are refusing to lend or invest in companies that are not adding more Blacks and women to their boards.

Any type of racial or sex discrimination, for or against someone, is wrong.

My Dad got 90% of the Black vote in his three races for mayor of Knoxville. In 1956, he started a savings and loan association that was the first Knoxville bank to routinely make home loans to Blacks.

I represented many Blacks when I was a lawyer and many Black families wanted their sons in my court when I was a judge because they knew or had heard I had so many friends in the Black community and I would be fair.

I have no “white guilt” at all because I know down deep inside how I have treated Blacks during my life. White liberals seem to have a lot of “white guilt” because they send their kids to elitist private schools that are 98% white or because they have had little close contact with Blacks during their lives.

This makes them afraid to criticize young Blacks who riot and burn or steal or commit other crimes.

And when major universities cave in to demands from students for Black-only dorms or graduation ceremonies, they seem to be heading in the wrong direction.

And demands for reparations would create more racism and resentment and would do more harm than good.

There are white racists and Black racists, but very few of both. Probably 95% of the American people treat each other with kindness and decency.