To the editor:
Ignorance is something that, many times, cannot be helped. How is one to know what they don’t know?
It is wise for a person to orient themselves with the fact that there will always be truth that exists outside the sphere of their knowledge.
I believe there to be numerous variations of ignorance manifest in the human condition:
There is blissful ignorance, of the nature described earlier; simply not knowing.
To digress, an example of this includes the fact that, as white Americans, despite our best efforts to cognitively appreciate the experience of racism in America, we will never know it. Just as there are multiple variations of ignorance, there are also multiple variations of knowledge. Moving on —
There is wanton ignorance, when a person is emotionally incapable of rectifying a fact with their overarching worldview, therefore suppressing its entertainment, albeit mostly subconsciously.
Then there is confident ignorance, self-assured and boastful, ignorance in its most dangerous form which I believe to be exemplified in a recent letter published on the topic of “white privilege.”
“White privilege,” is a hot-button issue among white Americans because it insinuates, to certain people, that we have lived our lives void of hardship. However, this is not the intended meaning of the phenomenon.
To break it down, in the context of white privilege, “privilege” is defined as having access to or enjoying rights that are not, in practice, enjoyed by all. Although the Constitution and legislation, in theory, guarantee all American citizens certain inalienable rights specifically in relation to the role government plays in our lives, the fact of the matter is these rights are more readily observed for white Americans, and conversely not-so-much for people of color and other racial and ethnic minorities.
Recently, I was pulled over. My main concerns were whether I would get a ticket and how inconvenient it was being stopped by the police. Meanwhile, given a litany of contemporary instances of unlawful use of force against minorities by the State, a black person must fear, not only abuse and higher scrutiny, but whether they might come out of the interaction alive.
In addition, just because the more explicitly racist coda that governed society are not as prevalent as they once were, does not mean that their legacies do not continue to affect minorities. It also does not mean that racism in its many forms does not exist in contemporary society: just as murder legislation didn’t end murders, anti-discrimination laws and policy do not spell the end to racism, because racism is rooted in ignorance, and ignorance can’t always be helped.
White privilege does not mean that white people don’t have it hard, too. It means that white people, while still enduring suffering, do not have to worry about adverse circumstances prompted by the color of their skin in addition to the problems that we all face.
We will never know the additional layers of adversity people of color need to face to be successful. It comes from a place of privilege to assume that black suffering is solely a matter of not working hard enough.
In some letters to this newspaper, racism is showing.
Former Kendallville resident