A student at an elite university recently wrote to the New York Times: “I’m riddled with shame. White Shame … I feel like my literal existence hurts people, like I’m always taking up space that should belong to someone else … Instead of harnessing my privilege for greater good, I’m curled up in a ball of shame.”
This unfortunate student illustrates the destructive insanity in teaching personal guilt over “white privilege” or any other racial identity. In previous generations, the idea that their skin color made them less worthy than others proved devastating to black people; now some young whites are encouraged to “curl up in a ball of shame.”
No one benefits from such insanity. As Dr. King made clear, in a decent society, individuals must be judged—and must judge themselves—on the content of their character, not the color of their skin.