Re: “Commentary: Woodrow Wilson, as racist, reflected failings of his era, as do other presidents” (Nov. 28):

I read with disgust Roger Bowen’s justification of some of Woodrow Wilson’s racist, misogynist and pro-eugenics views. In his commentary, Bowen attributes those beliefs to Wilson’s being a product of his time.

“He held some views that are controversial by today’s standards because his thinking, mores and outlook were shaped by his own era,” he writes mildly. All other American presidents have behaved in similar ways, Bowen states.

Bowen conveniently forgets the many people who have worked for civil, women’s and just plain human rights throughout history at a serious cost to their reputations and lives. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and the suffragettes are but a few examples of true leaders who saw beyond the mores and outlooks of their times and encouraged others to move to a higher moral ground.

Bowen’s justification of Wilson’s vile views is nearly as reprehensible as those views.

Barbara Doughty

Portland