When are people like retired supposed educator Merle Harris, in her recent letter in The Advocate, along with Michelle Obama going to stop trying to convince young black people that they are victims of racism in the past, present and into the future? Institutional racism is a thing of the past in the United States. No governmental agency, local, state or federal, allows racism. No corporation that wants to stay in business allows racism.

To the contrary, government and business do everything they can to employ qualified minorities. Has Harris ever heard of affirmative action or quotas for minorities? Evidently not. It is not the fault of those doing the hiring that so many young black people choose to drop out of school, thus taking themselves out of the competition for high-paying jobs.

It is also not the fault of those doing the hiring that so many public schools are not properly educating the children they are supposed to be serving and that the parents of those children are not holding the schools accountable for their pathetic lack of success. Young black people who are staying in school and educating themselves properly are having no problem finding good jobs because, unfortunately, they have become the exception to the rule instead of the norm.

People like the teacher Harris who want to blame racism for the obstacles in the path of young black people need to look in the mirror for what’s to blame. And the first lady, who went to private high school, an Ivy League university and now lives in the White House, has a lot of nerve complaining about the opportunities she was denied because of her race.

She ought to be encouraging young people to do what she did and not spend their lives looking for problems that don’t exist, except in the minds of people who think the world still thinks like it did a hundred years ago. Reality is hard enough to deal with for every young person; why do people like Harris want to make it even harder?

Michael Sellen

retired sales representative

River Ridge