To the Editor:
My biggest disappointment in reading the recent “Rethinking White Privilege” is how much it coasts on tribal stereotypes of progressive political activism and how little detail it offers about specific policies or positions that supposedly make white persons tools “for revolution aimed at destroying your own civilization.” True dialogue between those holding very conservative political positons and those holding very progressive political positions means not resorting to slinging caricatures about “tyranny” and “revolution” (with no evidence offered to support such incendiary accusations). It means examining the research that’s the basis for why “white privilege” was coined in the first place, research that concludes racist attitudes, behaviors and policies are still prevalent in American culture.
For instance, Michelle Alexander explains in “The New Jim Crow” that 60 percent of the poor black men on Chicago’s West Side with criminal records are for drug convictions. In comparison, poor whites are “far less likely to be imprisoned for drug offences” (196). In another example, Implicit Bias testing research shows, when making split-second decisions, study subjects wrongly identify black faces as posing a threat. Namely, subjects “falsely claimed to see a gun more often when the face was black than when it was white” (http://www.psych.uncc.edu/pagoolka/cdps287.pdf).
These are examples of factual research that confirm the relative disadvantages African Americans suffer within American culture. If Mr. Dugan would like constructive discussion on how to rid this country of such unjust practices, there are plenty of politically progressive people on West Chester University’s campus interested in real dialogue about solutions. Anything short of that seems disingenuous.
Margaret Betz, Ph.D.