Professor: “Who have you oppressed today?” White student: “I haven't oppressed anyone today.” Professor: “You're breathing. Have you left your house today?” “Yes.” Professor: “Ok, so you may have oppressed somebody.” (Exchange between Penn State Professor Sam Richards and classroom student.)
The above is a perfect demonstration of the critics' take on my remarks about the myth of white privilege. After a review of my mundane life I asked if there were any indication of white privilege helping me along. No one in the mini-storm of emails afterwards could point one out, but most said that I was spared all of the indignities minorities suffer by my living in “lily white” North Dakota. Really?
Back in the '80s my fiancee and I parked in a downtown Utah city next to another car to do some shopping. Without warning a police car pulled up next to us, another stopped behind us in the street so we were boxed in, two more came up the street, and then most alarming of all a paddy wagon pulled up. After checking my license a cop tersely remarked that I had a broken taillight lens, and left. (My car had been recently vandalized—ever try getting a lens for a 1963 Oldsmobile Super 88?) To this day I have no idea what was going on. Perhaps I'd let my white privilege card expire.
Long-time connoisseurs of fine Forum opining might recall several pieces on my police harassment. The problem was always the same: DAM (Driving After Midnight). It got to the point that former Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney on WDAY Jay Thomas's show mentioned me by name and that I'd started driving a different car, thus the deputies had to start all over. I guess they couldn't see the white privilege placard I had taped to the windshield.
I've lived in wretched, crime-filled parts of New York and Milwaukee, income always being a little tight. I testified at the trial of one of the two Black muggers who assaulted my Milwaukee landlord. I knew my wife and I weren't in Kansas anymore when soon after moving to Milwaukee I came across a cop talking to a crying woman on the sidewalk. In broad daylight she had just been mugged. Like my landlord, she had apparently forgotten to carry her white privilege card. I'm still a naif, but have seen some things.
You won't recall Tony Timpa, who died after Dallas cops zip-tied him and knelt on his back for 14 minutes. Unlike George Floyd he was white, so his death was no big deal.
So let me ask: when you anti-white bigots living in this area look in the mirror and see a color like mine, do you despise what you see as an innate, immutable racist? Do you hate your children because you believe, along with the critical race theorists, that they are racist and privileged to the core and nothing can change that? Black Lives Matter and others have tried and found you wanting. You have no idea of what's coming down the pike because you let your faculties be smothered by political correctness and ignorance.
Nelson lives in Casselton, N.D., and is a regular contributor to The Forum’s opinion page. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.