In 1968, Wayne Tuttle ’67 wrote a letter to the editor of The Antiochian. The letter focused on an event Wayne experienced while he was in Chicago, either on Co-op or during summer quarter.
Wayne describes the event as “an excruciating moment when white male privilege, pride in Antioch’s liberal graduates, and a horrible degree of hubris all came together to shame me for the naïve assumptions I’d been making.” He recalled the letter in vivid detail but was not able to find an online version, so Wayne emailed the College’s Office of Communications.
Some fifty years ago, I had an illuminating and uncomfortable white privilege experience just after graduation, I think, while briefly working in Chicago. At the time, the late 1960’s, it provoked/inspired/moved me to write a letter to the editor that was subsequently published.
The writing is very likely somewhat juvenile and emotional, but as an example of the ignorance and confusion and hope of those of us who are still exploring the implications of our white privilege, it might be worth reprinting. Or not, in your judgment.
In any case, if it’s possible for you to go through the archives, find the letter, and send me a copy, say in pdf format, I would very much appreciate it.
Wayne Tuttle, Class of 1967
Communications called in the help of Scott Sanders, expert detective and College Archivist. Scott had a few questions related to dates and publications which helped direct his path to uncover the letter. These questions were sent through to Wayne who replied with two very important clues:
Clue #1: The letter was published in The Antiochian.
Clue #2: The letter was written between January and June of 1968.
After some digging in the College archives, Scott discovered that the letter was published in the “Letters to the Editor” section of the May 1968 issue of The Antiochian.
Upon receiving Scott’s scan of the letter, Wayne replied with some more information.
Thank you! Yes it is the letter, written between January and June 1968, when I was teaching in Nova Scotia.
I have no idea what inspired it, very likely MLK’s assassination but that’s just a guess. In any case, it possibly illustrates the struggle many may be having today to deal with the gap between good intentions and actual behavior.
If you think a reprint might help others deal with foot in mouth disease in the current attempt for greater communication between races, feel free to publish it.
Below is the scan of Wayne’s letter about his experience.
While he had no concept of white privilege at the time when the letter was written, Wayne says he hopes that it illustrates a moment of learning which he expects many Antiochians of his generation have experienced.