Letter to the Editor:

After reading Anna Lovat’s letter in last week’s issue, I wonder if I have been living in a parallel universe. 

She claimed that “America was built on the labor of enslaved people” yet the actual percentage of Americans who owned slaves in 1860 was 1.4% (5% if you only consider the 15 seceding states where slavery was legal) So 98.6% of America was built on the hard work and ingenuity of free Americans. I am not ashamed of that.

Ms. Lovat also accused Byron McNutt of having white privilege. I would like to know what evidence she has that Mr. McNutt did not study and work hard without any magical benefit from being white. I worked in an inner city hospital 42 years ago. My black female colleague was promoted to be my supervisor. Was that black privilege? Of course not. She was more experienced and more qualified than me. I was a reliable and very hard worker, yet my supposed white privilege did not result in me getting the promotion. 

Ms. Lovat might be interested to hear that I took the postal exam years ago and scored 97%, but that wasn’t good enough to get a carrier position because I didn’t get the bonus points that minorities received. Even with my alleged white privilege, I couldn’t compete with exams scoring over 100% because of the extra points. I guess I’d call that non-white privilege.

I’ve worked with many people of different races and ethnicities in a couple of large organizations. Those who were smart, talented and worked hard moved up the ladder, just like their white colleagues.

I imagine they would be very insulted that Ms. Lovat and others believe they needed white people to change in order for them to achieve success, as opposed to recognizing they were responsible for their own achievements. That’s not to say there are no racists in America. Most of them, however, stick out like a sore thumb. 

The reality is that racism is not mainstream nor systemic, as witnessed by those of us who have worked and lived harmoniously with people of other races and ethnicities for many years. 

Using critical race theory to focus children on our differences and to make white children feel ashamed and responsible for the past just because of their skin color, will only serve to divide us. If you want to see all children succeed, teach them reading, writing and arithmetic.

Nancy Vogt