My Open Letter to Conservatives
Conservative Black Man

Very thoughtful piece! Can’t say I agree with it all, though. I appreciate this country has a sordid past regarding slavery and treatment of minorities in general. Okay. But if we were to create a list of inequities that have befallen any group, or more particularly, any individual, since we are all unique, we would never reach the end. We are all a product of the circumstances existing at our birth, and someone is always going to have it better and going to have it worse. And I’m a little tired of the “you live at the top of the mountain” speech. I’ve never lived there. My parents were dirt poor. I went to school full time while working full time to achieve post-graduate degrees in a marketable area to better my situation. But I’ve been told more than once, by people wearing a straight face, that I didn’t earn a thing. All was handed to me on a platter due to “white privilege.” Really? I’m not even allowed to take personal pride in my own achievements. Working late into the night and 100-hour plus weeks work/school count for nothing I’m told. After all, I live at the top of the mountain. So why wasn’t my Mom and Dad included when the “white privilege” was being doled out? When a friend of mine (black) was looking for a house and one came available in my neighborhood (mixed race, but mostly Asian and Indian) I begged my friend to take a look. Did she? Not even a peek. It was out of the question. She looked in exclusively black neighborhoods and ultimately bought there. Not much of a data set, I agree, but you’re looking to reach individuals and that is my individual experience. So, again, I bristle when people tell me that I’ve created some aura that blacks are unwelcome in my neighborhood. Lastly, I greatly appreciate that you refer to yourself as an American that is black. I truly think that our current method of self-identification fosters separateness rather than unity. Think of how we do it: African American; Asian American; Muslim American; etcetera. Notice how being American is always second? I think that’s a problem. I think if we started thinking of ourselves as Americans first and whatever else second, we could at least take a step toward recognizing that first and foremost, we are in this together. Celebrate diversity, sure. That’s something we Americans do with one another but we recognize that at our core, and not as a secondary superficial acknowledgement, we are Americans. Again, though, thank you for a very thoughtful essay.

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