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Paragraph of the Day

It comes from Nicholas Kristof in today’s New York Times on white Americans’ misconceptions about race:

One black friend tells me that he freaked out when his white fiancée purchased an item in a store and promptly threw the receipt away. “What are you doing?” he protested to her. He is a highly successful and well-educated professional but would never dream of tossing a receipt for fear of being accused of shoplifting.

I’ve never thought twice about throwing a receipt away (for something I wouldn’t consider returning at least). Before Kristof’s column, I thought that was common practice among all Americans—white, black, green, whatever. Now, I know otherwise. The fact that I don’t fear throwing receipts away—and the fact that I didn’t know that black people do fear that—is the definition of white privilege in America.

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Categories: Race
  1. November 20, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    You have to be kidding me? You take one person’s personal experience and expand it to a population of millions of black Americans. That in and of itself is prejudicial but is hardly an indication of “white privilege.”

  2. December 14, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    It’s a metaphor. See, sometimes people have an experience that opens their eyes to the larger implications. There are plenty more anecdotes and actual statistics that show very clearly that black Americans are considered more “suspicious.” If Trayvon was a white kid in a polo shirt, do you think he would be dead right now?

  1. March 5, 2015 at 9:43 am

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