Davis Hartwell’s June 16 Maine Voices column is a shining example of white racism and dog-whistle politics. Rather than engage with real issues facing people of color in Maine, he cries “critical race theory!” and blames Black people for speaking in their own defense.

Mr. Hartwell indicates that he is ending his career as a high school history teacher. Good. I would hate to see further generations of young minds poisoned by his outdated views. (I am also sorry that the readers of the Press Herald were subjected to this Fox News trash, and question why that was allowed to happen.)

The question is not whether I, as a white person, am a racist but whether I am aware that racism has shaped my attitudes and assumptions; whether I am listening to and learning from people who do not look like me, and whether my actions and words make things better, especially for the vulnerable. I’m working on it. I will make mistakes, but I will try to learn from them.

Hartwell and others who deny that racism has given them advantages in the world would do well to stabilize their glass houses before embarking on a stone-throwing campaign. Punching down is never a good look.

He is right that Americans of color have more opportunities than they did when he was born in 1954. Where he is wrong is in expecting them to say “thank you for the crumbs” when the loaf of true equity remains out of reach.

Patricia Washburn

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