Letter: White privilege blinds many to racism

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To the editor:

It's hard for us white people to understand what it's like to walk through the world wearing black or brown skin, so it is abhorrent when we don't believe the minority voices who try to tell us about it.

I don't doubt for one second that the incidents at Jacob's Pillow are true. It's more likely that those incidents are just the tip of an uncatalogued mountain of rage.

I've raised four minority children to adulthood. I ache knowing my children can't walk through the world in the same way I can. I hear their stories. And I know how they swallow the insults. When a person of color chooses to speak we need to realize that there are many other unspoken stories never uttered in the open air where they will be disbelieved, shot down as overreacting, or told to stop whining.

If you are white, you have the privilege of being accepted for who you are. This is white privilege. Simple as that. Your actions and presence do not jar anyone into talking about your race so they can prove to you that they are not prejudiced, or worse so they can treat you in a manner that is less than ethically acceptable. You never have to wonder around which corner the next racist comment/attack will occur. My son keeps his wallet in full view in the console next to him while driving. I bet it has never occurred to any white person that they could actually be shot while reaching for their wallet in their pocket. He's been blind-sided in the most unsuspecting of places so he knows that safety exists nowhere.

For everyone thinking that they do not act in racist ways, think again. Before saying or doing anything to a person of color ask yourself if you would say/do that thing if they were white. If the answer is no, then just don't do it. And just don't say it.

We somehow need to evolve ourselves out of this mess we are in.Thank you to all of our local theaters for helping us in the painful process of evolving, whether it be Pamela Tatge's voice from Jacob's Pillow alerting us to the racism in our midst, or to Julianne Boyd's addressing important societal issues on the St Germaine stage at Barrington State. Some of us are taking hard looks at ourselves, and moving forward because of you.

Fern Leslie,

Hinsdale

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