Letter: Blessed and determined, yes, but not privileged
The writer is responding to a letter in Tuesday’s paper, “People of color are not being heard.”
I regret you feel concerned because of your skin color. I too am white. That’s the way God made me. But privileged? I think not.
In 1960, I tried to join the Air Force so I could go to college. My parents worked at minimum wage of $1.25, I believe. The recruiter scowled, “Nice girls don’t go into the military.”
In 1964, I went into the Salisbury Police Department and asked for an application to be a police officer. The officer in front scowled just as the recruiter had and said, “Women can’t be police officers.”
I took out papers against my ex-husband for failing to pay court-ordered child support for our 3-year-old daughter. They were never served and I never received child support.
In 1969, I was working in High Point and asked to apply for a sales manager position. I was told women can’t do that job. Grossing $4,420 per year, I did not qualify for assistance because I had a job, was not disabled, my daughter wasn’t disabled and my struggling parents helped us.
Never once did I draw food stamps, housing, Medicaid or any public assistance. I did it alone by sacrificing and budgeting every penny. I paid my bills and was able to complete my college degree and receive my master’s degree. I became a sworn reserve police officer for High Point and Gibsonville. I did it while working fulltime and with the support of my second husband.
Was it easy? No. But I didn’t allow it to make me bitter or angry. I became a state probation/parole officer and was told by my male supervisor that women shouldn’t be probation officers. I just dealt with it as a mature, intelligent, strong and determined woman. I have never felt “privileged.” But I am blessed.
— Gail Cauble Gurley-Robins