Bennett Carpenter, the young author of a column published on January 19, has bought into the defeatist and, ultimately, racist notion that something called “white privilege” is enough to keep the black population in metaphorical chains. We are to believe that blacks are so weak as a group that they cannot succeed without some action or inaction from whites. Indeed, the article calls for a challenge to "white fragility" ( a mythical concept that somehow overshadows the First Amendment). His message is that blacks are not masters of their collective or individual fates, evidently helpless to change or improve their own situation. Ironically, the column devotes the majority of its space to a discussion of white fragility, not the power of the black individual. This is condescension of a high order.
The fact is that black students and the black population in general don't need condescending comments from privileged, white Duke students who have seen nothing of life . Black students in particular and the black population in general control their own fates . To argue otherwise is to diminish black individuality. It is only the false messenger who paints blacks in the United States as victims. The marked growth of the black middle class and political class attest to their success. Painting a picture of so-called “white privilege” or “white fragility” simply puts blacks in the back of the metaphorical “bus" of their own lives. If black lives are to matter, they must do so on the basis of individual black achievement, not the condescension of others.
Russell Falconer has no affiliation with Duke University.