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Dear Editor:

I think the time has come to stop saying, "It is inconceivable that it happened here!" because the reality is that ‘white rage’ is rearing its ugly head everywhere.

And, it did happen here. An innocent, loving, community-minded brown family man was beaten to death at his Owen Sound restaurant.

There is more going on here than just an unpaid food bill. Was it ‘white rage'?

How does ‘white rage’ manifest itself? In part, and at a minimum, ‘white rage’ looks like small micro-aggressions directed at people of colour; i.e., less than courtesy service in a restaurant or a snide passing remark – likely not noticed by white people in proximity.

At a maximum, it is the beating death of a brown citizen living his life in practiced peace and kindness.

Is there anything that white people can do to further understand the context of white privilege and the reactionary ‘white rage’ that is exposed by extremes of horrific violence? I think that there is.

White Like Me, Reflections on Race From A Privileged Son, by Tim Wise, helps put some of what has happened into context.

In his book, Wise “demonstrates the ways in which racism not only burdens people of colour, but also benefits, in relative terms, those who are ‘white like him.’ He discusses how racial privilege can harm whites in the long run and make progressive social change less likely. He explores the ways in which whites can challenge their unjust privileges, and explains in clear and convincing language why it is in the best interest of whites themselves to do so.”

Yes, white people do work hard and often feel they’ve earned everything they have. Or, life has been hard and the white person doesn’t feel privileged in any way. This book doesn’t discount those feelings. It looks at the larger systemic environment. This larger look allows those who strive for progressive social change an enhanced personal perspective – a perspective grounded in the reality of ‘white privilege’ in which we live.

Yes, Tim Wise is American. That does not detract from the parallel realities one can draw in Canadian society. You be the judge.

It sure would offer some comfort to confidently say, ”It won’t happen here again."

Lindy Iverson




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