Whites have much to answer for.

Paul Burnam,
Westerville, OH.

I am a 68-year-old white male. I am so, so tired of hearing about whites who think they are being persecuted such as those who posted to The Race Card Project about the mistreatment of whites. I heard all this again on “All Things Considered” on March 13 when Michele Norris was interviewed. What I mean in my “Six Words” comes from my mother telling me when I was in my early 20s that she and my father selected the neighborhood to buy their first house because it would insure that my brother and I would not have to go to school with African Americans. I was disgusted by a white minister or chaplain who was organizing a memorial services for the wife of one of my wife’s former faculty colleagues. We entered the retirement community with my wife’s African American colleague and her husband. As we were signing in at the receptionist’s desk, the chaplain came up to the husband of my wife’s colleague and asked him if he would help put up chairs. He just assumed any black man present was there to do manual labor (the gentleman was dressed in dress slacks, a sport coat, and an open-neck dress shirt).

I also want to acknowledge Michele Norris’ efforts in making me aware of white privilege in the focus groups she and Steve Inskeep did in Des Moines, IA and York, PA during the 2008 election. The comments of a book publisher in Des Moines about being tired of having her tax money be used for school lunches and a female factory worker in York who wondered out loud if she would have to walk in the street if Barack Obama were elected crystallized how upsetting white privilege is to me.


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