2002-02-28 Holland Sentinel Holland is not color-blind

Holland is not color-blind
Holland Sentinel

To the Editor:

Mike Lozaon’s column, “An exercise in futility” (Sentinel Tuesday), is so full of faulty logic, and his claims are so patently absurd, it’s hard to know how to adequately respond. Let’s start with his assertion that American society guarantees “that those with reasonable intelligence can succeed in a goal if they work hard and don’t allow themselves to be handicapped by an attitude that blames one’s failings on others.” Take a look around. The vast majority of wealth and political power in this nation and in Ottawa County still belongs to white people.

Would Mr. Lozon have us believe that such enormous disparity is simply the result of people of color not trying hard enough? The Ottawa Area Summit on Racism did not champion a “victim mentality” as Mr. Lozon claims. If he had attended the event, he would have heard keynote speaker Ray Suarez acknowledge the great strides Americans have made since the civil rights movement, and he would have seen residents of this community working proactively to break down the barriers that deny people of color the privileges we white folks take for granted every day.

Of course, personal responsibility and determination are important ingredients to anyone’s success in life, but the fact remains, whether Mr. Lozon chooses to see it or not, that for people of color, those attributes don’t guarantee success.

We live in a society that continues, through its systems and institutions, to victimize people of color. Does that mean all people of color are drowning in self-pity, begging for white handouts? No! Most are working hard to do the best they can for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Mr. Lozaon may continue to keep his head in the sand that’s his privilege as a white person but in the mean-time, others of us, representing many races and ethnicities, will get on with the work of creating a community where no one is held back because of the color of his or her skin.

Carla Vissers, Holland