Local View: Un-Fair Critics Should Open Themselves to Exhibit

Kevin Skwira-Brown, Duluth News Tribune, July 15, 2012

I understand how some people are feeling attacked by the Un-Fair Campaign’s media materials. Many of us who are white, when first faced with the reality of white privilege, take it personally. The thinking goes: if white privilege exists and is unfair, then white people must be bad. Well, it doesn’t work that way. White privilege describes a system, not a people. That may not be clear from the billboards, but it’s true.

There has been a lot of hurt and anger linked to individuals personalizing the slogans and reacting to the format of the message. That is regrettable, both for the pain it causes and the distraction it creates. It overshadows what should be collective outrage at the pervasive racial inequality that still exists here in Duluth and across this country.

The campaign’s materials may not be perfect, but the real issue is systems of racism and white privilege. I would invite all of us to spend less time debating billboards and slogans and more time committing to understanding the system of white privilege.

One constructive step is going to the race exhibit sponsored by the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial organization and hosted by the Children’s Museum in the Depot. Go read, listen and be open to new information that sheds light on the system of racism and white privilege, including how it was created and how it is experienced today.

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What: A traveling exhibit titled, “Race: Are we so Different?”

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Funding: The exhibit was made possible with contributions from the Ford Foundation and National Science Foundation

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