In regard to Rob Jenkin’s column (“The ‘Racial Discord’ Disconnect,” Sept. 10, 11C) — I respectfully disagree.
The premise of the article espoused that middle class racism is a thing of the past and is no longer prevalent. This denial of racism has become commonplace within the conservative realms of conversation, citing major African American figures such as Obama, Oprah, and others as evidence of the American dream being available to all who wish to achieve it.
However, to claim that racism is no longer prevalent because of the presence of a black middle class or because of a few pleasant experiences with people of color is short-sighted and furthermore, headed down a dangerous ideological path. Jenkins alludes to the idea of colorblindness within his middle-class neighborhood. But this colorblindness is firstly, delusional, and secondly, purposefully ignorant of the past and current oppressions that people of color experience. National statistics reflect severe discriminations and show the great disparity between white families and families of color (both black and Hispanic) in personal wealth, employment, and housing options.
To quote Paul Hiedeman, a lecturer at Rutgers University, “Socioeconomic mobility says nothing whatsoever about the existence of racial oppression. There were slaves who saved up and bought their freedom, and there were plenty of black folks who started businesses and thrived under Jim Crow. This does not constitute evidence that these were racially egalitarian social orders.”
Let’s talk with people and listen closely to their stories before making sweeping assumptions about a socially intricate and historically complex issue.
Lindsey Plant, Bethlehem