In his June 26 “My Turn” column, William Folk insists that Black citizens who support the Democratic Party are wrong and should support Republicans instead. His audience is overwhelmingly white, and he parrots every right-wing race-related talking point available.
It’s the most insidious sort of racism to tell an underrepresented population their concerns are invalid.
Try this instead:
Listen to Black people when they tell you that their experiences are not like yours. Recognize as a white person you benefit from the inequity in our sociopolitical system that makes daily life safer and more productive for you than for people of color. Avoid responding defensively and making excuses for how you personally do not contribute to racism or inequity. Avoid retreating behind nationalism and defending the trappings of patriotism, and instead confront the fact that our nation has much to be ashamed of.
Oppose the casual and overt bigotry you hear every day. Admit your privilege protects you from the indignities and inequities faced by many people of minority heritage.
Join with other honorable people to change government, at the local level and higher, to ensure our nation’s power structures, including the justice system, no longer treat people of color differently than they treat you and me.
Listening respectfully and with sincerity is where it begins.
Then stand with Black citizens to improve our civilization.