Letter to editor stock art - old mailbox

I am privileged.

America is the greatest nation on Earth. Do we have a perfect country? No. But we do have a great country where people still are relatively free and able to live their lives the way they choose. Most people in the world do not have such privilege. Believe me. I’ve lived under the oppressive communist regime. I know.

Yes, our history is complex and carries the stigma of slavery. Undoubtedly, we do have some racist bigots. That’s unavoidable. And they’re not limited to whites. But the claims of systemic racism and white privilege are nonsensical. If anything, America should be lauded for the systemic liberation of humanity.

America is a nation where people actually are born free. Our founders believed that all men were created equal, and they ensured the eventual end of slavery. Perhaps it was not as quick as some would like, but nevertheless, slavery did end. And many white people suffered the privilege of losing their lives while fighting to stop this evil. We all should be glad that they prevailed, in spite of great opposition from Democrats.

America is the land of opportunity for all. We all are products of the cumulative choices and actions we’ve taken. No one is responsible for another’s successes nor failures. It’s much easier to shove the blame elsewhere than to own up to one’s own bad choices. Why strive to achieve when I can blame systemic racism for keeping me from succeeding? If systemic racism were rampant in America, why do we have so many successful Americans of color?

George Washington Carver and Booker T. Washington were both born into slavery. Carver became a famous agricultural scientist and inventor. Washington became an educator, author, orator, and adviser to multiple presidents of the United States.

Oprah Winfrey and Jessie Jackson both were born to unwed teen mothers. They overcame poverty and achieved their own success. Colin Powell was born to poor Jamaican immigrants and became a great politician and a four-star general in the U.S. Army.

Being born to a maid did not prevent Bill Cosby from becoming class president and captain of baseball and track and field teams while in school, and achieving success in comedy and acting.

These are examples of just few imperfect but successful black Americans not allowing any "systemic racism" to stand in their way. Perhaps the best example invalidating the existence of any systemic racism is the fact that Barack Obama was elected president, not once, but twice. No bigoted white supremacist people would ever allow that.

None of us chose our skin color. None of us are perfect. And no one needs to apologize for it. Instead of fomenting division and destruction we should strive for unity and preservation of this great nation. We should respect our individual differences and rejoice in the fact that we are all Americans with endless opportunities. We have choices. Too many people in the world do not have such option.

We all are privileged.

Alexandra Matyja

Prior Lake 

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