Letter: White privilege provided opportunities

The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the newspaper by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press. To submit a letter, send it to or Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.

To the editor:

During this pandemic, I have been pondering over the term “White Privilege” and what it means to me. Growing up as a white person in Alexandria, MN, my family did not discuss race because it did not seem to affect us. But the term “White Privilege” made me start to think about why we did not consider race in our everyday lives. I came up with three examples in which, because of our whiteness, my great-grandfather, my father, and I HAVE been on the receiving end of “White Privilege.”

My great-grandfather arrived in Minnesota in 1869 from Sweden and acquired land in Stearns County, Minnesota through the Homestead Act. This had originally been Ojibwe land, but our forefathers moved all the Native Americans to reservations. My great-grandfather received the land because of the color of his skin.

My father served in WWII. When he returned, he was given a government VA loan to buy his first house. People of color were never given this same benefit.

One of my first jobs in Minneapolis was working at the Sear’s factory tower on Lake Street, working with many people of color. One day the supervisor called me into her office and told me, “You don’t belong here. Why don’t you go back to school so you can get a better job?” And I did. Only recently I realized she did not give any of my peers the same advice. Why? Because I was white, and they were not.


These events were positive stepping stones to success in my life.

I wonder if you can think of instances when you (if you are white) have had privileges JUST because of your skin color. Imagine your life if you were never given those opportunities.

Nance J. Anders

Alexandria, MN

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