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Addressing white privelege

Thank-you for publishing the two excellent guest columnist articles by Dorothy Dempsey and Cathy Pressimone (Viewpoints, Sept. 5-11) . Both articles addressed the need for all of us to be more mindful of the divide that sadly continues to exist between white persons and our black brothers and sisters.

We as Catholics, and yes, those of us who are privileged white Catholics, need to address this concern both in our words and actions. We need to remember the passion, urgent call and action of the late Cardinal Joseph Ritter, who in 1947 addressed this issue head on with courage and forthrightness. Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Belleville now bravely follows in the footsteps of that great man where many others remain largely silent.

Mary Simon, Our Lady of the Holy Cross, St. Louis

 

Any reasonable American must recognize that there has been systemic racism against blacks, and that those who aren't black have been spared many of these indignities.

The difficulty for many occurs when it is suggested that one should feel guilty or even apologize for injustices simply because of the color of their skin. To cast culpability on a race of people without reference to background or character — only skin color — is the definition of racism. Productive dialogue is further hampered by those who use this approach without offering solutions.

The term "white privilege" in many circles has become just another racial epithet. As Catholics, we must always have recourse to God's word. We believe biblical principles are universal truths that address all social challenges. Faith tells us we are blessed and that to whom much is given, much is required. I have received many blessings because of my race, gender, intact family of origin, Catholic upbringing and education, being born in America and more. If you tell me I am blessed, and I must use my gifts to make a difference, I am on board. If you want me to feel shame, or make me feel guilty for structures I have nothing to do with, strictly because of my skin color, then, like all racism, I reject it.

This is what many reject when it looks like they are denying white privilege. This kind of superficial thinking doesn't help others understand or address white privilege.

Jerry Meier, Holy Infant Parish, Ballwin 

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