Are we turning a blind eye to oppression?

Dear Editor,

I recently read an editorial where the writer resented that white male privilege was criticized. He stated that he got where he was due to hard work and perseverance. I have no doubt that he did work hard and persevered, but it should be remembered that one needs to have opportunities to work hard and persevere. 

To try to lay the blame for the present existence of racial financial inequality on the past history of slavery and discrimination is to ignore the events of the more recent past and indeed even the present. 

Turning a blind eye to these events or saying that I and my friends and relatives didn’t do them means that I/we are just innocent bystanders so leave us alone, is to invite calamity through complancency. 

The writer mentions some government programs that are geared to redressing some of the wrongs perpetrated in the past but I know of precious few people of color that received free tuition, easy loans tax breaks, and affirmative action has been frequently and very publicly challenged by white males privileged or not. 

Prior to WWII the United States was undergoing the Great Depression. During and just after the war the great white middle class was created by government programs, most notably the New Deal, Labor Reform, and the GI Bill. 

All of these government programs were given to local agencies to administer where racial discrimination was already firmly entrenched both in the north and the south. In fact, Labor Reform wasn’t about to be passed unless domestics and farm laborers were specifically excluded from the bill. These vocations were filled almost exclusively by black people.

More recently there has existed “sundown towns” both in the north and the south, where black people were not to be after the sun went down. It would be hard to even wash dishes in a restaurant if you couldn’t be in town after dark. There is ample evidence to suggest that such towns exist even today.

Redlining is the practice of not showing real estate to prospective black home buyers. This practice is supposed to be illegal but there is no doubt in my mind that it still happens. Don’t you imagine it will have an impact on someone’s financial potential if access to schools for their children or access to jobs can be so affected?

In WWII the United States and its allies won a war against two military powerhouses on two fronts separated by an entire planet. It was done by unifying the country and assuring the citizens that there was nothing to fear but fear itself. Now we have leaders telling us that we need to fear each other.

Maybe we just need to look out for each other. Either there was no Jesus Christ or there was a Jesus Christ who said “As you do to the least of my brothers you do also to me.” 

If you want to learn more about the reasons for racial inequality today, read some of the books written by Tim Wise. Look up what happened in Greenwood, Oklahoma in the early 20th century. Learn about lynchings and how it seems to be going on even today.

Many people resent “political correctness” as some kind of nefarious agenda when it’s really nothing more than respecting those who are different from yourself. Those who can’t respect different people must really see themselves as deserving respect just because they were born white, male, rich, or in some other exalted condition. I feel sorry for people who delude themselves this way as it seems to be against Christianity, un-American, and against civilization itself. It seems to be a very “spoiled brat” way of dealing with others and the world. It should be remembered that the loss of privilege is felt as oppression. Maybe that’s why some who feel that privilege slipping away are reacting to it in such an extreme manner.

Respectfully,

Tony Windsor