Nancy Byington identifies “white privilege” as the main reason for my success in life (letter, Dec. 20). She “guarantees” that I had an “automatic leg up” because of a “white male dominance hierarchy” that gave me “every advantage as a matter of course.”

Huh? Knowing nothing about me, my background or my ethnicity, she nonetheless determined that my success in life came from the pigmentation of my skin and not from any effort on my part? Utter nonsense.

America teaches the ideal that, as a melting pot, our ethnicity doesn’t matter, but our efforts do. So I will acknowledge one privilege. I had the privilege of learning early on that my success in life would depend more on my own efforts than on anything else.

Dr. Ben Carson, one of my heroes, received that very same privilege from his mother, a poor black single parent. In both of our cases, the color of our skins had nothing to do with our eventual success. Our efforts did.

Byington ended by recommending that I “become conscious.” One source defines "conscious" as having knowledge of something. So I recommend that Byinton become conscious in this sense by learning more about people before spouting off about them.

Jeff Tschida,

Missoula

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