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By Amber Randall
A white woman apologized for her “white guilt” and privilege in a speech about race and inclusivity at DePauw University Saturday.
Francesca Moroney Cooper, married to a wealthy lawyer and a 1992 graduate of the college, sought to address inequality in America and how white people have more privilege than other minorities. Cooper claimed that racism is present everywhere in America, before admitting to being a racist herself.
“So today I am here as a white person, who is a little frustrated with the status quo, I am sick and tired of a society that forces a very narrow definition of value on its citizens,” Cooper began. “…Being born with white skin into a society that gives preferential treatment to white people, not only, gives us a lot of privilege, it also comes at a cost. We are expected to be complicit with this perpetuation.”
“What I have found over these last years of practicing Baldwin’s self-examination is that racism really is in fact everywhere. It’s a toxic smog that we breath, an iron clock that we wear. I now know that I am in fact a racist, and I say that not as self-deprecation, but as honest self-reflection. How can I possibly not be, when entire life has led me to believe that that is actually the right way to be?” she continued.
Cooper also bemoaned the “myth of the American dream,” which allows white people to ignore biases and discrimination while ethnicities suffer.
“But if I’m poor, or a person of color, that same status quo is killing me, that status quo means food deserts, no grocery stores, it means under-performing schools that have fewer resources, but dole out more punishments, its means driving in fear of a court system that would put me in jail if I didn’t have the money to pay a simple traffic fine,” Cooper said. “But what is important for me to remember is that none of this is an accident, this was intentional, this is how our country has created the race barrier that exists today. ”