Day to Day Diversity

In my California neighborhood, I do not see intense racial or gender prejudice

According to the meaning of the term woke, I better wake up to my ingrained pride and prejudice. Maybe I’m unaware of my racism and misogyny because I’m a senior and an Italian Catholic. As a thoroughbred descendent of the Roman Empire, I believe there are only two kinds of people in the world: full-blooded Italians and those who wish they were. (This is a joke.) In the prevailing climate I’m hopeless, asleep to my racism and gender bias. But it’s odd that I can’t see it anywhere. I might be wrong, since media propaganda declares it’s systemic, everywhere.

Both sets of my grandparents labored in Boston trenches and sweat factories to survive. The Irish would assault Italians for economic advantage, back in the day. A hundred thousand Italian-Americans were taken to concentration camps during World War II. We have suffered hardships. But I always remember how blacks were involuntarily imported and sold as slaves; the men worked the fields and the women served as scullery maids in Antebellum mansions.

Back in 1965 in Atlanta, Georgia, after starting my 10-year pilgrimage in search of God, I found two sets of water fountains: one for blacks and one for whites. I drank from the blacks’ and got stares. When I got on a bus, the blacks had to sit in the rear, so I sat with them and got glares. Restaurants refused to serve them. Later, black babies were aborted by Margaret Sanger’s Planned Parenthood, ostensibly to lessen the dire burden of unwed black mothers whose husbands abandoned them for lack of economic advantage. President Johnson’s War on Poverty, continued by successive administrations, has spent $20 trillion to end segregation and to level the economic field. Affirmative Action over several decades has seen success.

Drawing from my own experience, I must pose some objections to so-called “white privilege” in America. From 1980 to 2008, I worked with 140 fellow engineers for the City of San Diego, a diverse mix of men and women from all over the world: African-Americans, Hindus, Iraqis, Mexicans, you name it. After diversity training, we got along just fine. Job advancement and equal opportunity opened up for all. Popular culture came to look similar to my workaday world; Oprah Winfrey became a multi-media billionaire, Colin Powell was Secretary of State, and Barack Obama was the first black and Muslim-raised president. Blacks exhibit dominance in athletics and music, with multi-millionaires galore.

In my lower income neighborhood, I chat with black guys visiting white folks three doors over. A young mixed-race boy always says a cheery hello to me whenever he’s out playing, and I on my walk ask how he’s doing. Not a hint of racism between us.

I hike up a hill once a week to talk with a mixed couple, a former captain in the Marines and a PhD. Both are nice friendly people who set up a sidewalk library where I can find a book, plus free lemons from their backyard. Neighbors fill the bookcase with good reads. The ex-Marine proudly flies an American flag on a stately pole topped with a shiny golden eagle. Before the late 196os, mixed marriages were illegal in many states. Today they are commonplace, and this couple is living proof that mixed marriages are a blessing. Again, not a hint of racism.

So, I must be missing something that social media influencers are savvy to.

In my neck of the woods, we had a murder on our street, a black-on-black stabbing. My neighbor, a Chinese-American housewife, and I had to wash away puddles of the victim’s blood in the street. She was frightened of our neighborhood, but I said, “This sort of senseless violence is everywhere, always has been… even in wealthy and gated communities.”

She sighed.

No escape. We all have to deal with it.

I do not see intense racial or gender prejudice within my purview. I no longer see the systemic white privilege that I personally witnessed in America in 1965. It’s been reduced to personal vendettas by twisted individuals, or by street gangs groping for a reason to fight. Political rabble-rousers and a few billionaire socialist influencers are duping the kids born after 1990 who lack the historical perspective of my fading generation. When we oldsters are gone the way of all flesh, who’ll offer perspective? My comparisons of then and now provide sufficient evidence that the current racial hysteria is not justified. It is stoked by irresponsible media.


Richard M. DellOrfano spent ten years on a cross-country pilgrimage following Christ’s instruction to minister without possessions. He is completing his autobiography: Path Perilous, My Search for God and the Miraculous.

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