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All whites have to do is assume “privilege” to make right every little wrong thing they do. In “Stephanie”‘s (“Deconstructing Stephanie,” 4/30), case, this Capitol Hill gang assumes the right to define her as a thief—just because they gave her money and did her favors when she asked. Did she break into someone’s home or car and steal anything? No. Did she steal anything while in someone’s house or car? No. One person accused her of “stealing our kindness.” Well, if one poor woman can steal their kindness, they really didn’t have much to begin with. Going after her like pack wolves demonstrates that they’ve given her an incredible amount of power over them, which, quite frankly, isn’t a very white thing to do, now is it? I am so terribly disappointed.
Officer G.E. Nelson theorizes that “it undercuts the moral system.” Well, whites have assumed—tacitly—that this moral system applies to the way they treat one another. They have denied that their way of treating nonwhites is part of the “moral system.” And those hound-dog police officers who are hunting for Stephanie make it clear that they feel powerfully moral—the same way they must feel each time they casually, whimsically, insidiously stop any black man just for being such.
Now, review some examples of white folks stealing:
* corporate welfare;
* farmers’ welfare (in which farmers have been paid thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars to not cultivate land);
* the legal system (think Ken Starr and “our litigious society”);
* government rip-offers (for example, the famous hundred-dollar screw);
* taxes (how many of these Capitol Hill folks have cheated—oh, this year, to jog one’s memory?);
* the shyster, jackleg lawyers who have stolen and who may be, at this very moment, stealing land from descendants of black landowners and from Indians;
* the very existence of these United States, which was stolen in various forms and fashions from the Indians (if their hearts and minds were truly in the right place, they’d simply donate their homes and land to the braves);
* this consumer society—how much do they, as part of the middle class, consume that is produced by very low-wage workers (some of whom are children) from those mining the natural resources to those producing the product?
These are but a few minor examples of white folks stealing—either from others or from the government. In my opinion, maybe they’re just projecting their own self-contempt onto Stephanie. After all, she’s what each and every single one of them is—just on a smaller scale.
One more thing: I’ve had white folks—so-called friends—try to steal my life. When exchanging stories about growing up, I’ve mentioned living in a house; going to camp and a girls Catholic school; summers at my grandparents’ homes in the South; trips; a backyard with a cherry tree and grape vine and swing sets and more. I’ve been told by more than one of these folks that I’m lying, that “You grew up in a building, and you know it.” That is, until they saw the photographs. Stereotypes are easier to deal with. Stephanie is exactly what they need her to be.
So, word to the wise, black folks: We must continue to be very careful around white folks. They’ll take everything they can and are blameless. And, as is the case with Stephanie, they’ll take the truth, steal its very essence, and put her in jail based on their twisted reconstruction.
Finally, Lady Robinson, en garde!