LETTER: Judge not by color, stereotypeA lot of folks are up in arms about what the president said about race in America. He had the audacity to talk about what the black experience was, and in many ways still is, in our great nation.
A lot of folks are up in arms about what the president said about race in America. He had the audacity to talk about what the black experience was, and in many ways still is, in our great nation. Who do these people think would be better qualified to describe that experience than a black man?
I’m an old white guy and I certainly am not qualified but growing up in a neighborhood that was predominately minority, I did have a front row seat to what the black experience was all about.
Growing up in the Dale-Selby area of St. Paul in the 1950s and early 1960s, nearly everyone, no matter color, had a common denominator. We were all poor, but one thing I realized by the time I was in high school was that even though I was poor, I still, because of the color of my skin had a leg up on opportunities to better myself. Even though I was white, coming from a poor area, I was able to feel a small amount of scorn from people in the “better” parts of town. More than once, I had parents of girls I dated ask me where I lived or went to school to get a negative reaction.
As if we had a choice of where were born or went to school. That is just a small thing, but what about the black kid, who hears a car door lock or sees a lady grab her purse tighter or crosses to the other side of the street when he comes near?
Keep in mind the kid has done nothing wrong at all, except be born black.
Where does this irrational fear come from? That’s just another kid I grew up with and never feared. Where does it come from? Why the stereotypes? Not all black kids with hoodies are gangsters or Chicanos carry knives, and not all Muslims are terrorists.
Sometimes it’s really hard to be a white guy, at least an American white guy. I wonder sometimes, when I talk to a person of another race, what is he or she thinking? Is this person judging me by what others of my race have done?
If you see a black kid in a hood rob someone, then is it correct to say all black kids with hoodies are robbers? If you see a Hispanic person use food stamps, then would it be right to assume all Hispanics are on food stamps? If you see an old bald white guy hold up a bank, are then all old bald white guys bank robbers?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, would it be safe for me to assume that someone had to read this letter to you?
New Richmond, Wis.