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‘All American white people have racism within us’?

To the editor:

Regarding the following statements in recent posted petition, “We’re working to fight racism in our area”:

“We are committed to doing the work necessary to dismantle white privilege within ourselves and our society. We are dedicated to liberty and justice for all, not just for some.

“Racist graffiti is not welcome here, nor are racist viewpoints, but we, the undersigned recognize that all American white people have racism within us.”

Some questions concerning the above declarations made by the signed petitioners:

Will those well-meaning petitioners who presently reside in the beautiful Adirondacks dismantle their own white privilege by exchanging their homes and apartments with those in run-down tenant buildings within impoverished minority urban neighborhoods? Redistribute their cars, iPods, college tuitions and other possessions to make reparations for all the benefits they previously enjoyed under their white privilege? Please set a good example for the rest of us allegedly privileged white Americans. You will walk the talk, won’t you?

Secondly, you only mention only that “all American white people having racism,” apparently either consciously or unconscionably. So Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, those of Indian ancestry from India, and other non-white American citizens are free of the taint of racism themselves? That you believe racism is an exclusively white American vice, instead of one that can impact all humans beings? If so, then something is seriously wrong with your understanding of human nature.

Racism against Blacks in America is a serious issue. To focus only on one race is committing the sin of stereotyping, which has been practiced against Black Americans as well as others in this country. It is unfair and unjust to hold all white people today responsible for the sins of slavery and racism in the past. You will only push away those whom you seek to enlighten because no one likes to be labeled with a broad brush they do not deserve, any more than a minority dislikes being treated with stereotyped racist labels. You are cataloging and putting people in boxes they do not deserve, because it’s so easy to lump people together than to treat them as individuals.

So if you truly do not welcome racist viewpoints, then start with your own preconceived notion that “all American white people have racism within us.”

Ron Shirtz

Rensselaer Falls

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