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Letter: Should whites take knee during anthem?

To the editor, One of my sons asked me, "What color am I?" I said, "Most people would call us white, so I guess we're white." He wanted to know if he could play with some boys who had darker skin tones. "Sure," I said, not even thinking of white ...

To the editor,

One of my sons asked me, "What color am I?" I said, "Most people would call us white, so I guess we're white."

He wanted to know if he could play with some boys who had darker skin tones. "Sure," I said, not even thinking of white privilege. He had fun playing with them.

A Pew Research Center survey recently found that most white Americans (54 percent) don't think their race gives them much advantage in the U.S., compared to 92 percent of blacks who think it does. In fact, another recent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 57 percent of whites actually think their whiteness is a disadvantage, saying racism against them is as big a problem as racism against blacks.

To see if opinion matches empirical reality, I have spent my career as a sociologist studying racial inequality. The evidence is stark and thoroughly one-sided. White advantage in America is basically everywhere. Scientific research finds that whites get more job interviews than blacks using the same resume and are paid higher salaries for the same qualifications.

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Whites are shown a third more houses than blacks who are interested in the same ones. Whites wait less time at the doctor's office, are provided more information about surgeries, and are given more pain medication. Whites are offered better mortgage rates and car loans. Whites fare better in the criminal justice system, from police interactions to capital punishment sentences. Whites have more books, TV shows, and movies that portray characters they can identify with. Whites have better representation and more advocates in politics, charity organizations, the health care system, and the education system - even their kids get more recess time than black kids do. And the seemingly littler stuff, too, like better service at restaurants, grocery stores, and mechanic shops. The list goes on, unfortunately.

So, should whites take a knee during the national anthem? I don't know. But, whites, including myself, can at least recognize the reality behind the protest so that, as the national anthem says, this great country really can be "the land of the free and the home of the brave."

Justin Allen Berg

Grand Forks

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