On August 5, 2020

White people have never had to be guests

Dear Editor,

Most of us know it’s just as important to be a good guest as it is to be a good host. But what if we’ve never been taught how? That hospitality is as much about respecting the rules of the house to which we’ve been invited as it is providing a place of warmth, comfort, and friendship for guests?

According to John Blake’s article on CNN.com, author, blogger, and one of the nation’s most sought-after commentators on race, Damon Young believes that white supremacy is killing white people because “white supremacy has always mattered more than white lives do.”

“One of the things that’s happening in America now is that white people have never had to be guests,” Young replied to an interview question about so many white people becoming “belligerent … even threatening,” when asked to wear masks in public.

“This all connects back to white supremacy and Manifest Destiny, where people feel that everything they see they have a right to. ‘You can’t tell me what to do – I’m a white American.’ And having some pushback against that is causing some hysteria.”

It’s more than a little ironic, then, that conservatives call social safety net programs entitlements. Was it Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) who committed the genocides of Native Americans and Black communities through the centuries? No, it was the white people who saw the rich lands and resources and thought they were entitled to them. They thought they were entitled to slave labor to make their lives easier and wealthier. They felt they were entitled to ‘convert’ Indigenous children and families to Christianity and the English language and white lifestyle.

So instead of being the guests of peoples with whom they came into contact, white people’s history in this country has been one of not even hosts, but of privilege and power, where they felt they had – where they still have – the right to claim all they see as theirs to use to their benefit.

Damon Young is right: White people have never been guests here. And yet our so-called leaders have us on the verge of both a civil war and martial law at the same time, in a country they were never invited to in the first place.

Genie Rayner,


Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

A public education Vermonters support and value

May 22, 2024
By Margaret MacLean Editor’s note: Margaret MacLean, from Peacham, has been an educator for 50 years, working as a teacher, school principal and consultant both in Vermont, the U.S. and internationally. Over the past 14 years Vermont has enacted three sweeping school district consolidation laws. The overarching goals of Act 153, Act 156, and Act…

Vermont’s lost submarine memorial

May 22, 2024
Dear Editor, At the Veteran Administration (VA) in White River Jct, VT, there is a distinct memorial dedicated to the Submarine USS Flier (SS 250) lost during World War II.  Ever mindful of our lost shipmates, friends and family that have served in the submarine service of our country, the U.S. Submarine Veterans, Inc. (USSVI)…

H.121 poses significant risk to Vermont’s business community

May 22, 2024
Dear Editor, As the CEO of the Vermont Country Store (VCS), I strongly support consumer privacy as does the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and many peer companies in the state. I wholeheartedly endorse the Connecticut law that was the foundation of H.121. However, as passed it is my hope that Governor Scott will veto H.121.…

Vermont’s outsize appetite for taxes

May 22, 2024
Dear Editor, Most Vermont taxpayers have just experienced a period of tax focus, specifically property taxes to support our public schools. Some communities are still going through the valuable public debate about property taxes and, more generally, the overall tax burden and trying to evaluate that relative to what we receive for our tax dollars.…