Letter to the Editor
I just finished reading the article "I’m Hearing a Lot about "White Privilege" and my insides are in knots. The writer of the article clearly does not understand the meaning of the term. It has nothing to do with what you had or didn’t have when you were growing up. It has nothing to do with what type of transportation you had or didn’t have to get back and forth to work or school. It has nothing to do with what type of work your parents did. It has nothing to do with how much money your family had or didn’t have or how much it has now. It does have everything to do with how people are treated and whether or not they have access to the same public services and facilities as every other person in this country regardless of race, creed, color, or gender.
I would challenge the writer of this article to "walk a mile in my shoes" of those who talk about "White Privilege." Things are much better now in this country than they were when I was growing up, but let me just give the writer a few examples of being treated differently.
Examples of not being under the influence of "White Privilege"
1.After about an hour and a half drive from camp and arriving in an adjoining county, the kids need to use the restroom. The driver stops at the courthouse and two of the kids ask where the restrooms were located. The answer was that there are no colored restrooms in the courthouse. During the remaining thirty minute ride home, one of the kids thought to herself that she wasn’t going to be able to hold the content of her bladder until she got home and she wasn’t. When arriving home, she just thought, "Oh, I just hope no one can tell that I’m wet.
2.Trying to find an apartment to rent after her husband returned from the Army, a young woman saw a sign saying that there were apartments available in a particular complex. She went to the office and inquired about the apartment and how much the rent would be only to be told that everything was full.
3.During a lay-over in New York, person of color waited in line to get change to call home to tell her parents that she was okay. When she got to the counter, the person behind the counter said that they couldn’t help her because they did not work there.
4.And lastly, a parents feeling compelled to tell their children and their spouses who are in a mixed marriage to be careful where they go and be watchful of those around them in order to be safe.
These are only a few examples of things which I don’t believe the writer of the article has experienced because of his color. It is to experiences such as these that those who use the term "White Privilege" (meaning not having to experience these situations) are referring.
I thank the Lord that things are much better today. We’ve come a long way, but we have a little ways longer to go. I’ve lived here all my life, through the good times and the not so good times and there’s no place that I would rather live.
Many of us have had the same experiences growing up as did the writer of the article. In that, I empathize and they were good points to use to bring us together. It is my hope that what I have said better clarifies what is meant by the phrase "White Privilege" when you hear it again.
Jacqueline Neal Smith