Letter: Evidence proves it’s harder for Blacks to get ahead in U.S.


Regarding Bill Merrill’s letter to the editor minimizing the existence of racism in America: Bill, I’m glad you have lived such a blessed life and have not encountered racism. I believe, however, that we have an obligation to look beyond our own limited experience and listen to the people who are living the Black experience in the U.S.

While you say that Black people are insulted by the idea that there is systemic racism in the U.S., this is simply untrue. Studies show that most Black — and white — people believe that being Black is a disadvantage in “getting ahead” in the U.S.

Of course, there is plenty of evidence that it is a disadvantage.

There is our history of redlining, crappy education funding and job discrimination. And it’s not just in the past.

For example, it is still true that people with “Black” sounding names get called for interviews less than half the time people with “white” names get called, even when the only thing changed about a resume is the name. That’s a pretty clear example, don’t you think?

On South Whidbey, only once in 40 years have I overheard a racist remark. But I certainly now know, if I didn’t before, that there is plenty of racism that local residents experience.

I’ve just been ignorant of it because I lack Black friends who would share their experiences with me.

I also have to wonder whether the Black people in your workplace would paint such a sunny picture of their experience. I hope you are right, though, because I like to believe that there are at least a few such places in America where Black people can just be without having to deal with constant painful jabs for no other reason than the color of their skin.

Sharon Emerson


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