It is very unfortunate that a University of Iowa workshop on white privilege was canceled because of uninformed criticism by a few legislators. Everyday in America we see evidence that being a white person of whatever socio-economic class is an advantage over being a person of color in the same class. It does not mean that white people are racially superior, it means that white people have an advantage. This is a fact and has been ever since white people first came to North America. By not addressing slavery it was enshrined de facto in the Constitution, just as male privilege was more overtly enshrined.
It has taken a long time to partially overcome these facts and the work continues. Too many white people are unaware of the automatic privilege we enjoy, believing that everyone has equal opportunity. But that is an aspirational goal and progress toward it requires that we address the world as it is. This workshop could have helped open a new and helpful conversation about race here in Iowa that sadly didn’t take place. Yet. I have no doubt that Gen X will make progress on this issue, they already are. But let’s make it easier for them by not shutting down worth while efforts to improve the dialogue now.