To the Editor:
I saw it again. It was the topic of an old movie starring Gregory
Peck and the pensive Dorothy McGuire. "Gentleman's Agreement"
was a story of how the privileged withheld privilege from those
perceived to be of an undesirable race. In this case it was the
It stirred memories of old and recent racist experiences. We don't have to look to the dark ages of some distant nation ruled by long gone bigots, and dig up their fossilized remains to explore a culture rife with bias. Nor is it a condition exclusive to New York or Johannesburg. It's here and it's now...right in our own towns.
But there is also hope! It happened in Bemidji [Minnesota]. My Native American husband and grandson were denied timely service at McDonald's. The attendant was using his position to extend white privilege to his Caucasian customers. Finally, the attendant turned to a Caucasian man standing with a small boy and asked for his order. The man gestured toward my husband and said, "This man has been waiting for some time. I believe you should take his order now."
But my husband declined and said he preferred to take his business elsewhere. To his surprise the Caucasian man said he would rather not eat at McDonald's either and they all walked out together. Now that's what it takes to fight racism! Standing together in the struggle for equality. It means a little inconvenience and a lot of rightous indignation.
Yours in the struggle,
Anne M. Dunn
Cass Lake, Minnesota
reprint; first appeared in January 17, 1997 issue of Native American Press