In his letter on Sept. 20, a Newsday reader evokes an old and faithful rebuke to the notion of “black oppression”: White people are oppressed, too [“White people have also suffered in U.S.”].
One of his examples, the “Irish need not apply” signs on local businesses in the 1930s and 1940s, is accurate. However, this example and overall perspective holds water only in the context of a drastically narrow viewpoint.
While many, if not most, immigrant cultures can make historical claims to periodic oppression in America surrounding the time of their arrival — indeed, my own culture, Eastern European Jews, can be included — there needs to be a clear distinction between temporary and socially reactive cultural mistreatment, and systematic, institutional oppression.
There is no evidence of pervasive cultural oppression of any white subgroups in the manner and intensity comparable to that applied to nonwhite citizens.
Eric Shyman, Bohemia