There, I've said it. Somebody had to.
Blacks do not have a lock on unjust treatment. Blacks are not the only people who have experienced discrimination. There. I've said it. Out loud and in print. What's more, all blacks are not identical. They are individuals.
• Jews have experienced discrimination.
• American Indians have experienced discrimination.
• Vietnam veterans have experienced discrimination.
• Irish immigrants.
• Members of most immigrant groups.
• People for whom English is a second language.
• Overweight people.
• Handicapped people.
• Old people.
• Poor people.
Each of the above groups is made up of individuals. They are not composites. They are not identical. They do not all march in lockstep. And they do not vote as a bloc. Over the years, each individual and the generations that followed has made his own way separately. Uniquely. Almost universally in an upward direction.
Children can be merciless. Every child in school has been bullied at one time or another for being different in any way: taller or shorter than average, fatter or thinner than average, smarter or dumber than average, can't catch the ball, wore the wrong outfit, chose the wrong friends, didn't wash behind the ears, anything and everything.
Just as blacks cannot disguise the color of their skin, most people who have also experienced discrimination have not been able to hide their size, age, sex, nationality, religion, historical wounds, or social status. And still we have all blended into the great melting pot that is the United States of America.
Those who blended in were able to dust themselves off and perhaps even grow stronger for their hardships. No other group of individuals believed they were owed special treatment at school or on the job. Not one of them felt entitled to reparations. They moved on. They're over it. They did not join an intersectional group through which they could compete with others for the questionable status of being the most victimized. They did not retreat to safe spaces or shut down all alternative viewpoints. They learned and blended and achieved and advanced, each in his own way.
It is past time for those who cannot seem to get over personal instances of discrimination to stop wallowing in self-pity, to take charge, to do positive things to improve their own lives, to make their way forward without waiting for others to do it for them. As those who have moved on can tell them, they'll be glad they did.
There. I said it, and I think most blacks — those who are not the self-pitying type — agree with me that the path ahead may be rocky at times but it is based on personal effort, development of useful skills, and the freedom to make their own way.
Karen Larson comes from a long line of immigrants who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps over the generations. She is grateful for their accomplishments but does not feel the need to apologize for the social privilege that has resulted for her generation.