It’s Never Too Late
To the Editor:
Cathy Reiss, while your letter titled “Marxism is not the Answer” is written with a good command of the English language and, to some, may appear to be written with historical intelligence, it is, nevertheless, blatantly racist.
I take particular offense to your reference to America having produced a Black president (President Obama) and a wealthy Black woman (Oprah Winfrey), and in your words: “How could these examples (and multitudes more) be possible if Black Americans were still systemically oppressed by our society’s structures?” Really Cathy? Your statements appear to be naïve and racist, or simply racist.
Here is the definition of “token”: a thing serving as a visible or tangible representation of a fact, quality, feeling, etc. My late husband despised being viewed as a “token” Black. It is humiliating, demeaning, and insulting. America is indeed still systemically racist, and you are using Black Americans as tokens in an attempt to claim your own false narrative.
I’ll give you just one personal example to dispute your false claim. My husband, Maurice, and I took our dog to a veterinarian who was new to the practice we had been using. She refused to look at or talk to Maurice, even though we were standing side by side. The only difference was that he was Black and I am white. She treated me as if I was her best friend. There is no mistaking what was happening. So we were limited in our choice of veterinarian practices simply because one of us was Black. This example isn’t life threatening, but it does demonstrate continued oppression, not to mention humiliation. And this occurred after a Black president was elected and a Black woman became wealthy.
I can never know what it’s like to be Black, but I know what it’s like to see the love of my life being humiliated and dehumanized just because of the color of his skin. I can assure you that our society’s structures (as you call it), built on the backs of Black people by white people, intended to make white people rich and keep Black people oppressed and poor, remains systemically racist. You are insulting everyone’s intelligence by claiming otherwise.
Open your eyes, ears, and heart. It’s never too late.
Todds Road, Sandy Hook July 20, 2020