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Letter: Minorities face challenges whites cannot imagine

Congratulations to letter writer Ms. Gurley-Robins (“Blessed and determined, yes, but not privileged,” Aug. 29) for her hard won accomplishments even though she was a white woman. Yes it’s tougher than being a white male but there’s a hierarchy — white men, and below we have white women, black men and black women. Her perseverance is commendable but she is not correct in thinking that because she succeeded, any other minority can succeed also.

I, too, am a white woman. I wanted to go in the military at a time when it wasn’t acceptable for women but I didn’t let that stop me. I’m not sure if Ms. Gurley-Robins let that deter her or not — I didn’t. I also applied to a professional post-grad doctoral programs where women were a minority and only on my second year attempt did I get admitted.

Yes, it was a lot harder not being a white male, but I’m not bitter or angry. I just disagree with the implication that anyone can succeed if they just try hard enough. Although white, she was lucky and I was lucky, but not all minorities can have such satisfying outcomes. It’s definitely not for lack of trying. Some have challenges we could never imagine.

Whether you realize it or not, there is an implied privilege on which this culture operates. Our success stories do not prove that anyone can make it if they try, but rather that it’s an extremely tough road if you’re not a white male. Sadly, ambition, dedication and perseverance are not enough if you’re a minority.

— Joanne Bryla

China Grove

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