I feel compelled to respond to a rather grotesque letter written to Eugene Weekly in the May 26 issue. That letter, abridged: White boys partying outside = “Foolish privilege, soulless losers, self-pity, blaming others for their nothingness.” The Weekly urges writers to avoid personal attacks, so I will merely refer readers to that author’s previous articles.
That said, it must be a privilege to view the world with such a facile lens. It’s far easier to judge people by the color of their skin rather than by the content of their character. An assumption that had these “white boys” been “Black males” (notice the author’s inflection), they would have been beaten by police, is destructively reductionist. That type of conclusion adds absolutely nothing to the conversation. At best, it is divisive and polarizing.
I say this as someone who wants radical change in our government, in our institutions and overall equity. Nevertheless, I do not have to qualify who I am nor where I have been. Neither should anyone else. Ever. We are complex characters. Coming to the table without empathy and/or lacking openness just makes you an asshole.