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The book, Volunteer Slavery, is Jill Nelson’s account of the racial problems she faced as a Black employee in a White company. Working for the Washington Post was a terrible experience for Nelson whose race prevented her from fitting in with co-workers or agreeing with management. Alex Kajtar says, “...Jill Nelson's account of an authentic African-American experience is a disturbing, disappointing and upsetting image of present-day American society...” (Kajtar). Many people would agree with this statement if they read the book, too. However, the problem is that most Americans will never read her book, and will remain ignorant to the plight of the Black American. Thus, the problem is not that Blacks cannot assimilate into White society “properly,” it is that Whites prevent Blacks from developing their identity.
In America there is a phenomenon where some people benefit from the color of their skin, while others are persecuted for the same reason. The White establishment thrust Blacks and other minorities into an “other” category, and punishes them for their differences. This system gives White people many advantages over other groups. This racial advantage has been labeled “White privilege, and allows Whites to be complacent about racial issues because instead of be hurt they actually benefit from their race. Their blindness to the problems of American culture like this, prevent them from seeing the “disturbing, disappointing and upsetting” aspects of Black life. Whites are highly unaware of the “authentic African-American experience” because they choose to remain ignorant (Kajtar). In this way the also choose to benefit from their inequalities that they have implemented into the American system.
Blacks are prevented from enjoying life in the American work force because of their race. The problem is that Whites cause Black misery, but do nothing to change this. Jill Nelson’s White supervisors could have been more accommodating to Nelson’s needs. They could have taken measures to make her more comfortable in the work place, possible by hiring more Blacks. Their newspaper could have began to portray Blacks in a more positive, truthful light.
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