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Join us in post-racial America

| Thursday, January 23, 2014

Katrina Linden’s article on Jan. 23, “‘Post-racial America’ isn’t a thing,” is tragic. You say that you “would love for one’s skin color or ethnic sounding name not to play a part in the judgment of his or her character.” I suggest you begin by judging yourself not by the color of your skin, but by the content of your own character. You state that “racism is very much alive” at Notre Dame and “there still exists a distinct tension amongst a fair amount of the student body.” You identify “those innocent enough to hold nothing but positive views of their racially diverse peers.”

Which is it? Rather than mock us as “innocent” for holding “positive views of racially diverse peers,” I invite you to join us. You suggest that “there are people alive today in America who fully support segregation.” There are also those who believe that Elvis lives. Unless you feel segregation is a growing threat, what exactly is your point? You presume that you “will likely be paid less than [your] white female counterpart” or that you “will likely be passed up for a job because a less qualified, but more Caucasian-appearing woman looks better.” These are transparently pre-emptive excuses for failure. You, and I, will succeed, or fail, not because of our skin tone or “ethnic-sounding” names. You are aggrieved, without any concrete evidence to support your victimhood. You state that “I will always be an ‘other’ in predominantly white America.” Permit yourself to check any box you like next time you are asked your race. Self-identifying should not make you uncomfortable. You indicate that you enjoy “being recognized as an individual with a rich heritage and background.” Doesn’t everyone? We each enjoy a “rich heritage,” in my case including the ambiguities of ancestral adoptions. Appropriately, I acknowledge that the achievements and sins of my ancestors are not mine. I am more concerned with the content of my own character, measured by my deeds. I find it shocking that you did not mention the likely sins of your German ancestors who slaughtered many Caucasian Jews. Your demanding that your ethnicity be respected contradicts your lament that “there will never be a point in which I can just be a human being.” Most disturbingly, you claim “we will never live in a post-racial America.” How does your letter, and your apocalyptic perspective, advance the goal of a post-racial society, and the human condition? I’m praying for you.

Johnny Whichard
Sorin College
Jan. 24

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.


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