When future anthropologists read through the archives of the Monticello News in their quest to understand institutional racism from the perspective of a small, southern community, they will no doubt place a bookmark in the May 28th, 2019 letter to the editor entitled “White privilege – is it real?”
Back in my days as an undergraduate at Florida State University, as part of my mandatory Marxist indoctrination process, the professors taught me an invaluable skill required for every social justice warrior: arithmetic. It’s a useful concept that every radical liberal must learn. With it, you can create percentages, start to understand differences in demographic data, and even draw conclusions from that data. Let’s try some.
According to the latest Census estimates, Jefferson County, Florida has 14,288 citizens. Of those, for every 9 white citizens, there are 5 black citizens. That gives us a ratio of 1.8. In a society where all variables are held constant, then we should see a ratio of about 1.8 represented in various institutions. Any ratio greater than 1.8 means there are more whites than blacks relative to the overall sample population.
Jefferson County School District, a spectacular failure of a school district, has a 0.2 ratio. Very few white students. Understandably, many white parents want their children to have a good education, so they pay out of their own pocket to send their children to Aucilla Christian Academy. ACA has a ratio of 106.9. Hmm, perhaps black families in Jefferson County cannot afford to send their children to a better school – perhaps black families do not have the same economic opportunities than whites – To find out, let’s see what the ratio of business owners in downtown Monticello is. Based on my memory from a couple years ago, it is undefined (you cannot divide by zero)! How about the Board of County Commissioners? Their ratio is 4.0. These are not the kind of statistics being discussed during your local Sons of Confederate Veterans monthly brunch. So why don’t these local institutions reflect the demographics of the whole population? If the explanation isn’t racist itself (i.e., “nothing more than intelligent people willing to work”), then the logical conclusion is that there is some sort of institutional bias that limits opportunities for black citizens. It’s so objectively obvious, even a half-Vulcan science officer can see it!
Perhaps the author of the letter to the editor in question doesn’t feel personally privileged, himself. And that may be the case, but that doesn’t negate the statistical fact that by mere accident of being born into a specific ethnicity, your opportunities for success can be predetermined for the rest of your life.
It is a shame that the author didn’t use his “white privilege” to obtain a better understanding of sociology and history. While I don’t disagree with the author’s policy position on reparations, constitutional monarchies in Europe have a much better track record for abolitionism than the United States. Nevertheless, the author’s opinion is a classic example of the unfortunately prevalent culture that led me to move out of Jefferson County. It was a decision that I have never regretted.
Anthony J. Charles